Playboy: Krassner vs. Breitbart


Playboy ran a lengthy conversation between our pal Paul Krassner and our former-pal Andrew Breitbart.

KRASSNER: As a Supreme Court Justice, Thomas has declared that the Constitution gives states a right to establish an official religion, that prisoners have no constitutional right to be protected from beatings by guards, that a school official is allowed to strip-search a 13-year-old girl to look for two extra-strength ibuprofen pills, that a key part of the Voting Rights Act giving blacks political power in the South should be struck down, that an American citizen could be held as an enemy combatant with no charges and no hearing. He announced a decision that threw out a verdict in favor of a black man who had been convicted of murder and nearly executed because prosecutors hid evidence that could have proved his innocence.

BREITBART: I don’t know the answers to these things. If you had given me this detailed information, I could have come back with my detailed response. This is like the Sarah Palin “gotcha” question on Paul Revere. I’m not able to answer this because you are coming to me armed with data, and I don’t have the ability to see whether there is a rational argument to defend it or not.

KRASSNER: Well, it’s all a matter of record. Recently a campaign-finance watchdog, Protect Our Elections, asked the FBI to investigate Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia, seeking his disbarment. It alleges that he falsified his financial disclosure forms, that he engaged in judicial corruption by receiving $100,000 from Citizens United during his nomination and then in 2010 ruled in favor of Citizens United without disclosing that fact or disqualifying himself, and that he engaged in judicial insider trading to enrich his wife by providing her with information about that decision prior to its issuance, which she then used to launch a new company to take advantage of that decision.

BREITBART: Do you believe in innocent until proven guilty?

Playboy: Krassner vs. Breitbart


  1. Christ, what an asshole.

    While I appreciate the full disclosure, I think everyone would understand if you didn’t acknowledge ever knowing Breitbart.

  2. Why waste time with these ideologues. Part of their psychology is not to be affected by cognitive dissonance.  It’s like trying to teach a dog physics.

  3. That was a terrific read. From time to time one forgets what a civil debate looks like. Not quite Buckley and Mailer, but pretty good sparks around Sherrod and ACORN. Thanks for posting. When did they start running articles?

  4. Wow, Breitbart makes no attempt at all at answering any of the challenging idealogical questions. How was he ever a friend of Boing Boing’s?

  5. Well, he was never my pal. I said “our” pal because he was on good terms with others here at Boing Boing. I had a very enjoyable dinner with him 3 or 4 years ago and we talked about music that made people happy. When we dipped into politics, I was surprised at his change in tone, and I veered the conversation back to happy music of the 70s.

    1. I have in my travels found that it is possible to have a pleasant and enjoyable conversation with almost anyone as long as you avoid these 3 topics:
      1. Politics.
      2. Religion.
      3. Mac vs. PC (Although this may for some people fall under either 1 or 2. …or if you’re Cory, both.)

  6. Brietbart’s defense of Coulter as a ‘funny’ human being sounds like Franz Liebkind’s description of  Hitler. Typical situational ethics and morals, plus the “I don’t have the data to compare” and “I’ll leave out anything that doesn’t fit my lunacy” so he can avoid real anwers. 

  7. I have some sympathy for Breitbart on a personal level. From what I’ve read of his background, he’s got a real axe to grind against his liberal adoptive parents. The way he irrationally and unethically goes after anyone and anything that might benefit liberal goals, shows a person in real pain at a deep level.

    That said, douchebaggery in the service of irrational douchebaggery is a choice. May he wake up from it some day.

    1. But he’s one of those ‘pre-9/11’ liberals, who suddenly became a mouthbreathing wingnut because 9/11 changed everything donchaknow. He’s not Alex P. Keaton; he’s just somebody who realized it’s a lot easier to make a buck filling the niche of anti-Hollywood Hollywood-guy.

      1. he’s just somebody who realized it’s a lot easier to make a buck filling the niche of anti-Hollywood Hollywood-guy.

        One Dennis Miller is quite enough, thank you. 

  8. “…you are coming to me armed with data, and I don’t have the ability to see whether there is a rational argument”  pretty much defines Breitbart.

  9. Breitbart or no, thanks for featuring Krassner, one of my favorite people of the 20th century. He’s a good candidate for “Father of the sixties counterculture,” but whenever he was introduced along those lines he’d cry out, “I demand a paternity test!”

    An underrated book about the political moods of the late 1960s/early 1970s among counterculturalists is Krassner’s _Confessions of a Raving Unconfined Nut_, PK’s autobio. He found out the FBI had a file on him that described him as a raving unconfined nut. Harry Reasoner’s only response to Krassner was that Krassner was “attacking decency in general,” which PK really loved.

    And he can still be seriously hilarious, at 79 yrs old. 

  10. Aww, wooks wike big mean ol’ Boing Boing hurt Andy’s wittle feewings. Let’s have a pity party: one, two, three–AWWWWWWW.

    RT @AndrewBreitbart What a pathetic clip job by @BoingBoing: Read full Playboy article & see what I mean. Pathetic: @Frauenfelder @xeni:twitter 

    1. Mr. Breitbart:

      I read the article before I read this story.

      You may wish to shelve your grind-axe — your dedication to honing it is giving you a myriad of self-inflicted gashes.

      The ‘institutional left’ that you so rabidly decry aren’t ‘protected’ – they’re doing the right thing. They value human beings over money. They accept that hypocrisy is wrong, that the rules apply to themselves, too. Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh aren’t fighting for people. They don’t have visible love for humanity beyond their immediate blood family. They don’t believe the rules apply to them. They do what they do in pursuit of monetary gains.

      Another difference between Krassner, Hoffman, et al – including the “institutional left”, as you put it – is that there’s not a large group of credulous and violent censorious thugs following their words, that would beat Coulter and Limbaugh senseless in an alleyway because they disagree with them. The Coulters and Limbaughs of the world are extended privileges not available to others – no jail time or no prosecution for crimes they’ve committed that would see someone in the “institutional left” spending time in jail. A 25-year old poor black male who trafficked in the amount of Oxycodone Limbaugh did would be spending 10 years in state prison.

      Your argument that Ayers wrote Obama’s memoirs completely ignores the fact that Obama has written and continues to write other material that is consistent with the tone, style, level, and understanding of the memoir’s writing!

      And if the Tea Party has “nothing, nothing, nothing” to do with social issues – why are they so heavily focused on the birth certificate of a non-WASP male who was elected President of the United States? Why do they lambaste Obama for the economic downturn, which occurred during Bush’s term, and was the result of Phil Gramm’s “laissez-faire” economic policies? Why do they shout about Secession, when they told ‘liberals’ “AMERICA LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT” for eight years?

      Sarah Palin is a terrible executive, Michelle Bachmann is a dangerous bigot, and Rick Perry is as crooked as they come! They don’t give two bits of care about the people they hurt, just as long as they benefit financially from what they do.

      Yet you “controversially support” them.

      Mark my words, Mr. Breitbart: Mark Frauenfelder clipped the best possible angle on you from that article. That clip is practically a PUFF PIECE for you, compared to the remainder of the article.

      You’re a cheerleader to venomous, un-funny, out-of-touch, financially vampiric hypocritical spinmeisters. BE GLAD that the clip merely portrays you as reserving your opinion until knowing the facts (on a subject that the informed reader is aware that you profess to know all the facts on!)

      Be grateful that ‘bad’ publicity is better than no publicity.


      1. I think you’re being a little unfair to venomous, un-funny, out-of-touch, financially-vampiric hypocritical spinmeisters and the people who defend them. And deservedly so.

  11. “…the Sarah Palin “gotcha” question on Paul Revere’
    You mean the question “What have you seen so far today and what are you going to take away from your visit?”

  12. On the other hand, I gotta admire someone who has the nerve to tell the world he suffers from premature ejaculation. 

  13. I really don’t like Andrew Breitbart’s projects but he comes across fairly well in this article unless you already think he is the son of the devil.  In that case don’t bother reading the article.  Hell – Andrew even got the last jibe in ‘I thought this would be funnier’  and I agree I wish Paul Kassner had just goofed around with him a bit or tried to be more satirical and less old man indignant.

  14. Reading this article I realized that whenever I see Breitbart or read him interviewed I come away with this impression that (ignoring his politics) he is completely full of himself, that he has this vision of himself as some crusading hero out to right the wrongs of society, except that unlike Gandhi or MLK it’s more about serving his own ego than mankind. 

    Anyone who seriously believes the conspiracy theory that Bill Ayers wrote Obama’s book may as well be talking about how they faked the moon landings as far as I’m concerned.

  15. I’m going to continue not really having any idea who Andrew Breitbart is.  His name can live in that part of my brain reserved for cloned starlets and one-hit boy bands.

  16. “Another difference between Krassner, Hoffman, et al – including the “institutional left”, as you put it – is that there’s not a large group of credulous and violent censorious thugs following their words, that would beat Coulter and Limbaugh senseless in an alleyway because they disagree with them.”

    You might be on to something. I’d rather get fucked up with Coulter and Limbaugh and mock them until they cry. WTF kind of neonazi fuckdoll loves the Grateful Dead?!? WTF kind of fascist junkie can’t go chill in a military base for a year or two just because he has a boil on his fat ass? I’m sure I’d have a blast beating the shit out of them in an alley (and then feel appropriately guilty while washing off the blood) but goddamn could you imagine how awesome it would be to play the devil in their trip to hell? Lets get high and have some fun!

  17. “BREITBART: Do you believe in innocent until proven guilty?”

    Sure.  And if I don’t have any proof, I’ll just make some up and cut it into the video.

  18. Hrm.  Maybe I’m just missing something, but Breitbart’s major, overwhelming thesis seems to be ‘that segment of the media which draws fewer than half of total viewers and readers is doing a disservice to America by reporting facts, and should instead report the made-up stories which I favor, thus balancing them on the liberal-conservative axis by making them entirely conservative.’

    I mean seriously…  the answer to almost all the questioning seemed to be either ‘I don’t think that’s a fair question’ or ‘well, society is so liberal, I HAVE to be a radical conservative, even if it means saying I’m being fair but being entirely unfair, because, you know, liberal media!’

    Ah well.  As someone wise once said, the facts do have a liberal bias these days.  Didn’t used to be that way, but whatcha gunna do?  Socialism is, after all, a dirty word, and not a fully functional political party in various European countries that has helped them weather storms aplenty.

  19. You can see the contempt Breitbart–and the Right in general–have for pretty much everyone in that continual whine of “the liberal media is sooo mean to us!” 

    The implication is that the reason anyone with a grain of sense rejects the Right’s beliefs and values (such as they are) is entirely a matter of spin.

    Gosh, it couldn’t _possibly_ be anything wrong with those beliefs themselves!

    [Le sigh.] With enough money, and the right ad campaign, I’m sure Breitbart (or anyone else) could sell samples of his own feces to a small number of people–and metaphorically, with the “Big” websites, that’s what he’s done. 

    But what he, and the rest of the Right don’t get, is that the reason they can’t sell it to most Americans isn’t a problem with the marketing (or the media’s occasional disinclination to play along with them).

    It’s the product itself. And Breitbart figures that since he’s too dumb to tell the difference, the rest of us must be as well.

  20. Read this yesterday.  While he has made some significant screw-ups, he has brought forward an interesting thought.  In a world of endless storage and ubiquity, why doesn’t the media provide unaltered and unfettered access to interviews and data?  

  21. One of the most dishonest interviews I have ever read. Softball questions and standard propagandist answers peppered with hackneyed lies like “liberal media”.  Breitbart brings nothing new to the table, praising Coulter and other right wing mooks. There is not a single syllable in that interview that isn’t carefully crafted to fit his ideology or assert himself as some sort of “conservative hero saving America from the liberal nazi’s”. How about answering a single question. He can never, ever do that though. Once he answers any question truthfully, the smoke and mirror show is over.

  22. His comment on Michael J. Fox mocking by Limbaugh really tells you his mindset — Fox is hollywood, he’s a liar.  He’s a monster.  I can demonize him.  He’s not an actual human being with feelings.  Fair Game (hey, wasn’t their another cult that used to use that phrase?)  Believe me, I live in Hollywood, and I’ve seen many examples of scummy, lying, bad people being fawned over, and yet — I don’t think I could monster-ize their humanity to the point I could make fun of their illness.  Ever …

  23. I hate to get trolled like this but come on! 
    Breitbart on page 2:  “I’ve had too many things happen in my life that, as my father-in-law, Orson Bean, says, there’s no such thing as coincidences. I’m starting to doubt my doubts. ”
    Brietbart on page 3: “Did it time with Congressman Weiner attacking Clarence Thomas? Yes, it did. That would be called a coincidence, and there’s no logical or metaphysical way to make the argument that I was able to convince him to mis-tweet a picture of his erect penis to a woman in Seattle with whom he’d had online communications.”

    So, coincidences are meaningful when they support my narrative. I mean, i agree with what he’s saying about Weiner but you can’t pick and choose your superstitions, bro.

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