Hoaxes and Pranks of Paul Krassner

In the sixties, Paul Krassner was one of the original Yippies. His magazine The Realist was known for perpetrating political hoaxes.

Krassner began publishing The Realist In 1958, at the height of the Cold War. It was deep leftist political satire in the style of early Mad Magazine and comedian Lenny Bruce, who was Krassner's close friend. For subscribers, the magazine sometimes arrived in the mail wrapped in a brown bag paper. Sometimes, it never arrived at all. The rumor was that the government censors didn't like The Realist and Krassner.

One of the magazines trademarks was its political hoaxes. Its tagline was "The Truth is Silly Putty."

Lenny Bruce and JFK
Krassner's first noteworthy Realist hoax was the 1964 obituary of Lenny Bruce while the comic was still alive. When criticized, Krassner defended himself and Bruce, claiming that he had published the obituary because his old friend might as well have been dead. After all, in 1964, Bruce couldnt find nightclub work because of his longstanding censorship battles with the government.

The most controversial Realist hoax was published a couple of years after the JFK assassination. It was a reaction to William Manchesters authorized Kennedy biography. The Realist article was titled "The Parts That Were Left Out of the Kennedy Book." The parts included a scene with soon-to-be-inaugurated President Lyndon Johnson caught by Jackie Kennedy having sexual relations with the corpse of President Kennedy in its casket. To be more exact, the article stated that LBJ was humping the bullet-hole wound in JFK's throat.

Some members of the mainstream press and other Washington political wonks, including Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, actually believed this incident to be true. It was this hoax that gave Krassner the first of many moments of notoriety.

Another moment of notoriety was The Realist's Disneyland Memorial Orgy, a poster-sized sexually explicit comic panel drawn by Mad Magazine artist Wally Wood. Among the offensive acts depicted in the comic was Snow White being ravaged by the Dwarfs; a nude Tinkerbelle standing too close to Pinocchios growing nose; and Mickey Mouse shooting up with a syringe. Disney ignored the comic and never sued Krassner.

Yippies and the FBI
In 1968, Krassner co-founded the Yippies with Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. The Youth International Party was a response to the upcoming Chicago Democratic Convention. In Chicago, they named Pigasus the Immortal, a pig, to be their partys presidential nominee.

In 1975, the FBI paid a visit to Krassner after he published a hoax interview with Patty Hearst during the period when the heiress had been kidnapped.

Krassner in Recent Years
During the eighties and nineties, Paul Krassner began writing for television and freelancing articles for mainstream magazines.

These days, he's semi-retired, writing for various publications including High Times and the online zine, The Huffington Post.
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Posted By: Elliot Feldman


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