'Playboy': Paul Krassner Vs Andrew Breitbart


[Iconic American liberal Paul] Krassner thought it might be fun if he rang up his longtime cultural adversary and invited him to sit down and discuss their differences and similarities. Breitbart wanted to meet at Applebee’s, says Krassner, but the actual location remains a secret. The result, we think you’ll agree, is one hell of an interesting dialogue.

KRASSNER: I was surprised to learn you consider my work to be one of your inspirations. You also claim that the mainstream media had a double standard and didn’t criticize me the way they do you and the conservative movement that you represent. That’s not true, though. I’ve been excoriated in papers from the Los Angeles Times to the Chicago Tribune to The Washington Post. My favorite headline was give this man a saliva test. You’ve also praised Abbie Hoffman and the Yippies and Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters as heavy influences. Both those men were close friends of mine and remain my touchstones, and yet you’re at the other end of the social and political spectrum. What I want to know is, how do they fit into the context of your personal mission?

BREITBART: Well, at the time you were doing what you were doing, trailblazing and causing mischief and mirth and effecting the type of political and social change you were attempting, there’s no doubt you were being challenged by others. What I’m talking about is the current order of the media in the 21st century and how history now looks on the Merry Pranksters, Abbie Hoffman, Ken Kesey and Hunter Thompson with great reverence. It’s as if they’ve been given their own wing of the journalism school. I don’t want to simplify history. I understand that, at the time, you went through hell, and the same could be said of Matt Drudge. From 1995 until about 2002 the same forces were trying to claim that Matt Drudge had no right to be doing what he was doing, which everybody now accepts as commonplace and accepted practice–AOL just purchased the Huffington Post for $315 million for replicating, on a left-of-center bent, what Matt Drudge does. So the trailblazers, while they’re trailblazing, can have slings and arrows hurled at them, and I’m not trying to diminish the peril you went through. I’m stating that right now, when I’m reporting truths on Wednesday and causing mirth on Thursday, the press has a problem with that. I’m saying no, you’re not going to define me; I’m going to define what I do, and you’re going to have to deal with it. I gained my inspiration from the knowledge that you guys went through the same process, and I’m using you as models.

KRASSNER: In your book you write, “Man, how I long for the days of Sam Kinison, Richard Pryor, Abbie Hoffman, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, George Carlin and Lenny Bruce, and today the only people upholding their free-speech legacies are conservatives like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh.” At first I thought you must be kidding. What about Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Sarah Silverman, Lewis Black, Margaret Cho, Marc Maron, Rick Overton, Harry Shearer, Kathy Griffin, Wanda Sykes, Richard Lewis, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Larry David, Rachel Maddow, Paul Provenza? The place is overflowing with liberals upholding their free-speech legacies.

BREITBART: I would say that they exist within a protected class for the most part. As long as they adhere to liberal orthodoxy, they’re protected and can say anything against anyone at any time. It’s the conservatives who are challenged by the reigning order of political correctness. There’s nothing transformative or dangerous about a liberal in Hollywood or a Sarah Silverman or a Chris Rock being offensive, because they know they’re granted a “get out of jail free” card, whereas Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter exist outside that comfortable order. So I’m rooting for those people over the ones like Jon Stewart, who are in a protected class.

KRASSNER: By the way, I was once on a TV panel with Ann Coulter, and during a commercial break I suggested to her that the labels “conservative” and “liberal” had become obsolete. I asked her what she thought might be appropriate substitute labels. “Americans and cowards,” she said.

BREITBART: I love Ann Coulter to the core of my being. Nobody humors me more. If there’s anyone I want to have a dinner with and who can have me on the floor laughing–and her laugh is infectious, and to anybody who knows her, she is just a star. Anyone on the left who would spend five minutes with her would be laughing, and in puddles of their own urine laughing, even when she’s making fun of them. Leftists have an inability to have a sense of humor about their sanctimony.

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