Who's to Say What's Obscene?

Who's to Say What's Obscene?
Politics, Culture and Comedy in America Today
Introduction by Arianna Huffington




Press Reviews

The Nation

"[Krassner] uses the concept of 'obscenity' as a moral framing device to drive a series of free-form observations on war, drugs, sex, entertainment culture and connections between the past and the present. Krassner is not only concerned with identifying what is not obscene (in his view, pretty much anything to do with sex); he crafts a definition that instead encompasses greed, dishonesty, cruelty and murder. . . . Throughout the book Krassner retains the affect of a hip elder statesman with a perpetual twinkle in his eye, reminding his readers that politics without humor is boring and that laughter without a moral compass is lame."
— Danny Goldberg


Salt Lake Underground Magazine

"Krassner very blatantly points out how, through a carefully staged smoke and mirror routine, our priorities are being manipulated by politicians, media, and the filthy rich. . . . Ignore anything that is actually newsworthy and focus on Bono dropping the F bomb on TV or Janet Jackson's nip slip during the super bowl. What is truly obscene: all content that we enjoy as entertainment being controlled by a very small group of wealthy businessmen, or Tommy Chong selling a few bongs over state lines?"
—Ben Trentelman


The Playboy Nightstand

"Krassner lives in a world where Truth and Satire are swingers, changing partners so often you never know who belongs with whom. His latest collection of entertaining essays, which originally appeared in publications as diverse as High Times, The Nation, Adult Video NewsOnline and the Huffington Post (Arianna Huffington wrote the introduction), covers comedy, the drug war, the counterculture, dead icons and freedom. Don't miss the parts they left out of the Borat movie, the short history of racism in standup and the discussion of whether Moses might have been tripping when he parted the Red Sea."


Book News

"For readers unfamiliar with Krassner, his credentials--author, journalist, editor, talk show guest--seem fairly safe. But combine those with his role as a co-founder of the Yippie movement, his membership in Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters, and his X-rated standup comedy routine and those initial credentials sound downright dangerous. Krassner is a satirist and he uses that skill here with his irreverent takes on the hypocrisies and absurdities in politics, comedy, and other aspects of American life. Offensive or funny? It's a matter of taste."


Booklist

"Krassner writes on anything that catches his eye: the war on drugs, stand-up comedy, Don Imus, to mention just three topics. . . . The collection also includes a number of touching memorials to cultural icons Krassner has known, including Allen Ginsberg, George Carlin, Kurt Vonnegut, and Robert Anton Wilson." -- Jack Helbig


The Bohemian

"All of the essays in Krassner's new book have been published before--in High Times, The Huffington Post, The Nation and The L.A. Weekly--but they all read as though they were written yesterday. That's because Krassner is always shocking, always provocative and for all his shenanigans, amazingly serious about the pornography of power and the obscenity of war (as well as Somali pirates and piracy on the web)." —Jonah Raskin


Publisher's Weekly

"Krassner (Confessions of a Raving Unconfined Nut), publisher of the Realist magazine, ruminates on American social and political hypocrisy in these essays that drift between current events and the heyday of the 1960s counterculture when the author dropped acid with the Merry Pranksters and palled around with Abbie Hoffman. Krassner weighs in on the last election cycle, the decriminalization of marijuana, and racism, with a stated (and largely achieved) goal of illuminating the gulf between what society says and what it does."