Paul Krassner, co founder of the Yippies speaks for the Independent Lens segment during the PBS portion of the Television Critics Association press tour at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 12, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California.

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Counterculture Activist And Former SF Resident Paul Krassner Dies

Melissa Culross
July 22, 2019 - 2:04 pm

Counterculture satirist and former San Francisco resident Paul Krassner has died. He was 87. 

Krassner challenged social and political norms through his work as an activist and a satirist in the 1960s and beyond. He published the magazine The Realist from the late 1950s until the mid-1970s.

"Starting really in the 60s, you know, there was a huge outpouring of underground newspapers, and satire became a big thing, led by folks like Krassner," said Brandon Loberg with the Beat Museum in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood. "And I mean, Krassner could arguably be the foremost of that genre."

Krassner also was one of the founders of the Youth International Party, a group of activists and pranksters. He came up with the the group's shorthand name, "Yippies." 

Even in this digital age, Krassner's legacy lives on because the genre of satire lives on.

"We might not be reading about these things on the pages of The Realist anymore, but we're reading it in social media; we're seeing it in blogs; we're seeing it on YouTube," Loberg said. "People are still turning the screws in popular culture, so to speak, in ways that I think Krassner would continue to approve of."

Krassner lived in San Francisco for a time in the 1970s and and early 1980s. He died at his home in Desert Hot Springs in Southern California on Sunday.