Tag Archives: counterculture

RIP Paul “The Realist” Krassner (1932 – 2019)

Paul Krassner February 1967 interview by Joe Pyne

Paul Krassner was an American author, satirist and political activist, founder of the freethought magazine The Realist (1958-2001) and a key figure in the counterculture of the 1960s.

He is famous for writing “The Parts That Were Left Out of the Kennedy Book” (1967), “My Acid Trip with Groucho” (1981) and for designing/and/or/distributing the FUCK COMMUNISM! (1963) and Disneyland Memorial Orgy (1967) poster.

He was severely criticized by Robin Morgan in 1970 in “Goodbye to All That“:

“Goodbye to lovely “pro-Women’s Liberationist” Paul Krassner, with all his astonished anger that women have lost their sense of humor”on this issue” and don’t laugh any more at little funnies that degrade and hurt them: farewell to the memory of his “Instant Pussy” aerosol-can poster[1], to his column for the woman-hating men’s magazine Cavalier, to his dream of a Rape-In against legislators’ wives, to his Scapegoats and Realist Nuns and cute anecdotes about the little daughter he sees as often as any properly divorced Scarsdale middle-aged father; goodbye forever to the notion that a man is my brother who, like Paul, buys a prostitute for the night as a birthday gift for a male friend, or who, like Paul, reels off the names in alphabetical order of people in the women’s movement he has fucked, reels off names in the best locker-room tradition—as proof that he’s no sexist oppressor.”– “Goodbye to All That” (1970) by Robin Morgan

The entire issue where he is depicted with a spray can of “instant pussy” referred to, can be read here[2].

RIP Rip Torn (1931 – 2019)

Rip Torn was an American actor. To an international audience he is remembered for his roles in Coming Apart (1969), Maidstone (1970), Tropic of Cancer (1970) and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1974).

Excerpt of Coming Apart
Famous hammer hitting scene of Maidstone
Tropic of Cancer, full Italian dubbed version
The Man Who Fell to Earth trailer

The book Cult Movie Stars describes his integrity and says that he “took parts only in films that he considered artistic and/or politically correct.”

He was also known for his on-set conflicts. While filming Maidstone for example, Torn struck director and star Norman Mailer in the head with a hammer. With the camera rolling, Mailer bit Torn’s ear and they wrestled to the ground. The fight continued until it was broken up by cast and crew members. The fight is featured in the film.

RIP Stanley Donen (1924 – 2019)

Stanley Donen (1924 – 2019) was an American film director and choreographer best-known for Singin’ in the Rain (1952).

We remember him fondly for directing Bedazzled, an updated version of the Faust legend set in 1967.

Dudley Moore plays a lonely young man whose unrequited love of his co-worker drives him to attempt suicide. Just then the devil (Peter Cook) appears and offers him seven wishes in exchange for his soul.

The film’s fun-loving association with the Swinging London of the 1960s is smart and well-executed.

Love it.

“War is good business – invest your son.”

GET UP, STAND UP![1] is the title of a wonderful exhibition held at the Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art in Brussels, featuring numerous posters of the 1968-1973 civil protests across the West.

A sampling:

       

“Gone with the Wind, the film to end all films”, showing Reagan and Thatcher, a criticism of the atomic bomb.

“War is good business – invest your son”, a criticism of war.

“Milk in such containers may be unfit for human consumption”, a criticism of DDT.

“The age of nations is past, the task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the earth.” —Teilhard de Chardin, a criticism of nationalism.

A Roland Topor graphic on censorship used by Scanlan’s, criticism of Nixon.

A poster mentioning the “Chicago Seven trialG. Harold CarswellThe Cattonsville 9Jackson StateInvasion of CambodiaKent StateMy Lai MassacreAlaskan pipelineITT scandalWatergate Caper, 20,000 Americans dead, ? Asians dead, 26,000,000 bombs, General LavalleWheat ScandalUnemployment.”

Histoires d’A, On ne mendie pas un juste droit, on se bat pour lui (W. Reich), criticism of anticonception.

“Jesus was an only child”, criticism of anticonception. Correction: Jesus was apparently not an only child, he had brothers.

‘In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni’ by Guy Debord is ‘world cinema classic’ #187

In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni (1978, Guy Debord) is world cinema classic #187

I watched all of this film yesterday, sparked by a renewed interest in Guy Debord, who I probably discovered in June 1994 (exactly 20 years ago) via the Wired article by R. U. Sirius on French theory, back in the day when Wired was a cool magazine.

There are several reasons why the life and work of Guy Debord should quicken your imagination:

  1. The cover of his book Mémoires is made of sandpaper to maximize damage to neighboring books when placed in and out the library shelf.
  2. His anti-film Howlings in Favour of de Sade consists of black and white screens (no images) during 52 minutes.
  3. His citing of Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity.
  4. He is the protagonist of the excellent read Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century.
  5. He defined the term psychogeography and practiced la dérive and détournement.

I also posted two ‘Debord’ photos[1] [2] on Tumblr.

The Man Who Boxed Sex

I spent a considerable amount of time researching Wilhelm Reich over the weekend and I’m not done yet: I’m watching the Austrian documentary film  Wer hat Angst vor Wilhelm Reich? [1] as I write this post. Above is the cartoon “The Man Who Boxed Sex,” a malicious parody of the ‘Orgone energy accumulator’ of Wilhelm Reich. Before leaving this space, be sure to check Kate Bush’s video of “Cloudbusting” (see link below).

These biographical notes are the fruit of my labour:

Wilhelm Reich (24 March 1897 – 3 November 1957) was an Austrian psychoanalyst, a member of the second generation of psychoanalysts after Sigmund Freud, and one of the most radical figures in the history of psychiatry.

He is chiefly remembered for three things. He tried to synthesize Marxism and psychoanalysis in studies of fascism, producing the book, The Mass Psychology of Fascism, inventing Freudo-Marxism. He claimed discovery of what he called orgone energy, which many scientists still dispute and call pseudoscience. The persecution of him and his theories by the Nazi Gestapo in Germany, and later the US government (which burned his books) until his death in a US prison.

Reich continues to influence popular culture. Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev made a film about him, W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971) and Kate Bush‘s single “Cloudbusting[2] (1985) describes Reich’s arrest through the eyes of his son, Peter, who wrote his father’s story in A Book of Dreams (1973); the video for the song features Donald Sutherland as Reich and Bush as Peter.

He was featured in the documentary The Century of the Self (2002) by Adam Curtis.