The Parts Left Out of Conspiracy Theory
Krassner not only attacks establishment values; he attacks decency in general.—ABC newsman Harry Reasoner
To classify Krassner as a social rebel is far too cute. He's a nut, a raving, unconfined nut.—FBI memo asking Life Magazine not to publish further essays by Paul Krassner.
The FBI was right….This man [Krassner] is dangerous--and funny; and necessary.—George Carlin.
I predict that in time Paul Krassner will wind up as the only live Lenny Bruce.—Groucho Marx
As you could probably ascertain from the above, Paul Krassner (above left) stands out as arguably the most prominent conspiracy researcher associated with Mae Brussell. Born in 1932, Krassner distinguished himself early as a violinist, and performed at Carnegie Hall at the tender age of six. Upon reaching adulthood, however, his interests drifted more towards satire. He founded The Realist, a counterculture magazine influenced by the snarkiness of beatnik culture, in 1958. During the 1960s, he co-founded the Yippies with Abby Hoffman and Jerry Rubin. Like Hoffman, he also performed standup comedy at the suggestion of his friend Lenny Bruce.
The Realist reflected Krassner’s political views, which, although radical and leftist, were still rather conventional in terms of accepting the official version on many issues (with the exception of the war in Vietnam). Upon meeting Brussell in February of 1972, his consciousness and the scope of the magazine would expand. He encouraged her to write two articles for his magazine: one in which she would outline Lee Oswald’s function in the JFK assassination; and another in which he wanted her to compare Nixon’s ascendancy to power with that of Adolf Hitler.
While working with her on the two projects, the vast amount of information she had already collected in her files pretty much blew him away. In a 2003 article, Krassner recollected his impression of seeing Brussell's files for the first time:
I stayed overnight, devouring material from Mae’s massive files. The next morning, my head was still swirling in the afterglow of a fresh conversion. Previously, my religion had been Coincidence, but now it was becoming tempered with Conspiracy. On the bus back home, I pondered the theological question Mae had posed: "How many coincidences does it take to make a plot?On her radio show, Brussell spoke often of Krassner, especially since he was her favorite editor. Sometimes, you can hear a tinge of motherly concern about him, especially when forced to sell off the The Realist to Larry Flynt’s publishing company, and take on a job as Hustler’s literary editor. (I found that somewhat funny, since there was only ten years difference in age between the two.)
Krassner’s coverage of such stories as the kidnapping of Patricia Hearst embroiled him in the official investigation after publishing a fictionalized interview with the fugitive heiress. Apparently the FBI and other Intel agencies did not share his sense of humor.
It would perhaps be misleading to characterize Krassner as a conspiracy researcher. To this day, he refers to himself as ‘an investigative satirist.’ Yet, through his “Parts Left Out Of” series, a number of satirical pieces purporting a behind–the-scenes view of controversial events (e.g. “The Parts Left Out of the Patty Hearst Trial,” “The Parts Left Out of the Kennedy Book,” et cetera), his fiction, his writings about Mae, and his continual vigilance, Krassner has already contributed substantially to paranoid culture.