Re: [sixties-l] Request for film course ideas on the 60s

From: Paul Krassner (
Date: Tue Oct 16 2001 - 14:54:09 EDT

  • Next message: Marty Jezer: "Re: [sixties-l] Request for film course ideas on the 60s: anti-terrorism bill, Vermont's Pat Leahy"


    Nancy and I are going to Amsterdam during Thanksgiving Week for the Cannabis
    Cup where I will receive the Countercultural Hall of Fame Award. They're
    making a documentary about me for the presentation, and I'm wondering if
    there's any footage of me in your inventory. Below will appear in the LA


     In 1968, during the Democratic convention in Chicago, I was a speaker at an
    Unbirthday Party for Lyndon Johnson at the Coliseum. I revealed to the
    audience the true story of a reporter who had once interviewed LBJ and,
    after the formal question-and-answer session, the president, referring to
    the Vietnam war, told him, What the Communists are really saying is ^Fuck
    you, Lyndon Johnson, and nobody says ^Fuck you, Lyndon Johnson and gets
    away with it. I paused. Well, I continued, when I count three, were
    all gonna say it--and were gonna get away with it! Are you ready?
    One...two...three... And, from the Yippies and Mobilization-Against-the
    War and the Clean-for-Genes, it came at me like an audio tidal
    wave--thousands of voices shouting in unison: FUCK YOU, LYNDON
    JOHNSON!!!--a mass catharsis reverberating from the rafters.
     And so, thirty-three years later, last Thursday--Day 5 of the Retaliation,
    symbolized by CNNs change of logo, from Americas New War to America
    Strikes Back--I had a strong sense of continuity while emceeing a rally at
    Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, starring Ralph Nader, the Green Party
    candidate for president in 2000. This event, a stop along his People Have
    the Power grassroots-organizing tour, was originally supposed to be about
    corporate domination generally and about the energy crisis specifically, but
    it had since become intertwined with the international situation, and Nader
    had morphed from a consumer advocate into an antiwar leader.
     As a political satirist, my role was to provide comic relief. Steve Allen
    once said that comedy is tragedy plus time, but we were all in the midst of
    an ongoing tragedy that only kept intensifying instead of dissipating. Jay
    Leno had reverted to Clinton jokes, David Letterman was demonizing Osama bin
    Laden, Bill Maher chickened out of defending his remark about military
    cowardice, and Jerry Seinfeld considered observational humor about airplane
    food too controversial. This rally would mark the first time I performed
    since the suicide-bomber attacks, and I felt slightly apprehensive about
    what tack to take.
     However, a couple of hours before going on stage, I watched George W.
    Bushs press conference, and now, at the risk of committing comedic treason,
    I was inescapably compelled to report my own version: Bush explained that
    simultaneously dropping bombs and food on Afghanistan is just an example of
    compassionate conservatism...divulged that the ABM treaty had an expiration
    date in tiny print...pointed out that the United States gave $43 million to
    the Taliban because theyre a faith-based organization...
     When I introduced former stand-up comic and teacher Tom Ammiano, the openly
    gay president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, he began: You all
    know me, Im the president who you can believe when I say, ^I didnt sleep
    with that woman. Then he launched into a rap about the upcoming election
    with propositions on the ballot for public power, solar power, and the
    Municipal Utilities District (MUD) Board, concluding, We can pass the MUD
    initiative and say, ^Fuck PG&E!
     Medea Benjamin, founder of the human rights organization Global Exchange
    and Green Party candidate for U.S. senator from California in 2000, provided
    a transition to the Mid-East by asking the audience, What one word can sum
    up the real reason why were there? And three thousand voices shouted back
    in unison: Oil! Indeed, the U.S. government has been negotiating to build
    oil pipelines running beneath the Caspian Sea through Afghanistan.
     Although Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter and Time magazine contributor
    Roger Rosenblatt have both declared the end of the age of irony, Nader
    delineated the frightening ways that Bushs campaign slogan, I trust the
    people, not the government, utterly reeks with irony. Truth is the first
    casualty of a nation in crisis, he said, stressing the importance of
    guarding our liberties. Americans must be vigilant about attacks on civil
    liberties in the wake of the September 11th terrorism.
     Nader insisted that the inhumane and criminal terrorists be brought to
    justice, but advocated an end to the bombing. He posed a question to the
    audience: How many of you, since September 11th, have wanted to express an
    opinion that was something other than the thought-police stampede? To all
    those who raised their hands, he advised, If you feel yourself inhibited,
    thats the moment to break out and make yourself known. Otherwise, your
    silence is allowing suppression of the Constitution.
     The prolonged standing ovation Nader received was indicative of the
    burgeoning peace movement, with teach-ins at college campuses and, in
    effect, on the Internet. I reminded the audience that ABC correspondent
    Cokie Roberts was asked if there was any opposition to the war. None that
    matters, she replied. Well, I continued, would you all care to join me
    in saying ^Fuck you, Cokie Roberts when I count three? Okay,
    one...two...three... And it came at me like an audio tidal wave--thousands
    of voices shouting in unison: FUCK YOU, COKIE ROBERTS!!! I was
    experiencing a moment of deja vu supreme.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Wed Oct 17 2001 - 19:54:48 EDT