The Realists

The 60s’ Most Outrageously Irreverent Magazine, boasts the by-line to the Best of the Realist, a book I currently have out on loan from the Mid-Hudson Library. That byline does its subject a dis-service: The Realist was outrageous, certainly, and irreverent, for sure, but it was something much more than that. Founded by Paul Krassner while living at home in 1958, published all the way through the 60s and not giving up the ghost until 1974, the Realist combined biting political satire with hard-edged political and social commentary: inbetween its regular baiting of the Catholic Church, the FBI, the dead Kennedys and the many live ones, it also ran features by the likes of Lenny Bruce, Henry Morgan, and Kurt Vonnegut. Better yet, it interviewed many such icons under its monthly “Impolite Interview” – conducted, in each case as far as I can tell, by Krassner himself, who also gave the Yippies their name. (Oh yes, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin were also occasional contributors, especially in 1968 as the Yippies launched their suicide mission to Chicago.)

The Impolite Interviews – conversations of such erudition that I occasionally wondered if the subjects hadn’t been given the opportunity to go back and edit their comments – make for revealing reading; they’re like a window into the anything-is-up-for-discussion whirlpool that was the sixties. I had fun reading them. And in the spirit of the Realist’s own sense of adventure, I thought I’d pull out a few choice quotes and see if you, the iJamming! readers, can figure out who said what. No prizes that I can think of, just use the comment section below and we’ll let it run for a while.

You will notice that all the interviewees are white males – the only exception in the book was Dick Gregory and there was no quote by him that wouldn’t give his skin color away – and you may have particular reason to wonder about the man behind the final quote. But such were the sixties. The civil rights battles (for non-whites, women, gays and others) were being fought, one could argue, but they had not yet been won. And so…

The quotes:

1) “I’m a terrible coward. When I have a complaint against a department store, I try to avoid using the phone – I’d much rather put it on paper and avoid all danger of any personal combat.”

2) “Very few artists I know are happy. The kind of artist who writes a poem about peace is the kind of guy I flee.”

3) “In London, you can get laid for thirty shillings – what’s that, about four bucks? Well, I mean you wonder how is it possible to see a stranger, interesting-looking chick, know you can make it with her for thirty shillings, and then just walk on by? Christ, you’d think a guy with money would simply lay one chick after another right straight through the day. Right? Well, not a bit of it, old chap! The reason is they’re used to it by now.”

4) “No amount of analysis is going to let me go into a store and ask for contraceptives.”

5) “Abortions are a terrible karmic bummer, and to support them – expect in cases where it is a bona-fide toss-up between the child and the mother’s life – is to harbor a worm of discrepancy.”

6) “Over a 200-year period, women are really going to emerge as human beings. But in between, a lot of people are going to have miserable lives, because they don’t have skills, they’ve become dependent in all the wrong areas; because they’re competitive when it comes to cocktail hour and having a big mouth, but they’re not really competitive – they don’t want to be girls, but they don’t have the courage to be men.”

The interviewees:

a) Woody Allen
b) Joseph Heller
c) Ken Kesey
d) Norman Mailer
e) Mort Sahl
f) Terry Southern

Who said what?

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2 Comment(s)

  1. Rich

    30 March, 2008 at 12:23 am

    1. e
    2. b
    3. f
    4. a
    5. c
    6. d

  2. 31 March, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Nice try. You got three of them right. If no one pops back up in a couple of days, I’ll tell you which three and we’ll go from there!


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