November 24th, 2014
Rating: 5 StarsReading Paul Krassner is like imbibing LSD: describing it ain’t nothing like experiencing it. PM Press, a relatively new publishing outfit, has a great series called Outspoken Authors, which is nothing short of mind expanding, strangely serendipitous and desperately needed today. Everyone you ever wanted to read but were afraid to admit you didn’t know is here: Michael Moorcock, Ursula Le Guin, Cory Doctorow and a host of other. Hopefully, this list will grow and increase, but in the meantime they have a bouquet of Paul Krassner material to warm the heart of any aging radical or hippy, and instruct and educate anyone young and interested in the history of the United States.
Titled Patty Hearst & the Twinkie Murders: A Tale of Two Trials, the book explains in chilling detail how a woman can be sentenced to 35 years in prison after being kidnapped and brainwashed for robbing a bank, and how a man can be sentenced to six years for killing a mayor and city Supervisor, shooting the mayor several times in the body and head and then re-loading to take care of the supervisor. Interlaced here is the Jim Jones tragedy, so the stories explain two urban clichés, “drinking the cool aid”, which resulted in the deaths of over nine hundred people in what became known as the Jonestown Massacre, and the “Twinkie defense”, which justified the two murders in city hall.
Experiencing Krassner’s writing is extraordinary. There’s no fireworking mumbo jumbo attack on the English language that “New Journalism” and Tom Wolfe inflicted on America, nor is it any mystic stream of consciousness nonsense. It straight out brilliantly written and reasoned prose describing the unbelievable and utterly outrageous and mind boggling hypocrisy of aspects of American culture. Krassner’s writing proceeds logically, describing himself and his friends in the moment of whatever he happens to be working on. For example, during the police riots supposedly defending city hall from thousands of gay people reacted to the absurd sentence the murderer of a gay city supervisor received, Krassner relates how his experience with a policeman wielding a billy club left him crippled for life.
About Krassner the late George Carlin said: “The FBI was right–this man is dangerous–and funny and necessary.”
If you don’t know Krassner, buy this book.
If you do know Krassner, I know you will.
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