Front Book Cover --The Worlds of Herman Kahn The Intuitive Science of Thermonuclear War by Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi

"...[an] LSD-trip of a book ..."
- Robert Matthews, New Scientist

"...adventurous approach and rewarding..."
- Louis Menand, The New Yorker

"... a stunningly researched and entertaining book..."
- Bill Geerhart, Conelrad.com

Read the full reviews and more...

 

Click Here to Order The Worlds of Herman Kahn The Intuitive Science of Thermonuclear War by Sharon Ghamari-Tabrizi 

 

Reviews About The Book Interview
Comedy of the Unspeakable Book Excerpt/Other Articles About the Author

Comedy of the Unspeakable

 

Click to Enlarge -- Photo of Herman Kahn in front of the Herman Institute outstretching his arms
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Herman Kahn

 

Comedy of the Unspeakable
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This chapter is the most wide-ranging in the book. I discuss the various elements of vulgar comedy with which Kahn’s sick jokes resonated; hard-boiled detectives and horror shows; The postwar anti-comic book crusade; Mad Magazine and the fad for sick jokes; Sicknik comics such as Tom Lehrer, Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Dick Gregory, Jules Feiffer; political humor and satire; and end the chapter with Kahn’s conversations with Stanley Kubrick and the making of the film Dr. Strangelove.

“Comedy of the unspeakable,” Chapter 9 of The Worlds of Herman Kahn, Harvard University Press, 2005.

 

Click to Enlarge --Comedian Bill Dana as Joe Jimenez, Civil Defense Warden
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Comedian Bill Dana as José Jiménez, Civil Defense Warden

 

Bill Dana

Comedian Bill Dana as José Jiménez, Civil Defense Warden
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Conelrad is by far the best online encyclopedia of American cold war culture. It is chockfull of resources such as tv shows, films, songs, advertisements, book reviews. Readers would do well to spend some time exploring the site. It has many hidden pockets of goodies not immediately apparent from its home page menu. An important component of Conelrad is its collection of recorded songs in all genres about atomic war. For that go directly to http://www.atomicplatters.com/

MP3 file, courtesy of

 

View this PDF of the Outsider Newsletter: Navaksy and another friend, Richard Lingeman, also put out a satirical paper called The Outsider’s Newsletter.
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Outsider Newsletter

Navaksy and another friend, Richard Lingeman, also put out a satirical paper called The Outsider’s Newsletter. Its premiere issue claimed that “just about anybody can get the ‘inside’ story by reading Time and I.F. Stone’s Weekly. But it takes persistence, courage, and intelligent ignorance to get the outside story – the story of what is not going on.”

 

View this PDF of The Monocle: A Leisurely Quarterly of Political Satire
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The Monocle

The Monocle: A Leisurely Quarterly of Political Satire
In 1957 two Yale students, Victor Navasky at the Law School (who would become the longtime editor of The Nation) and Jacob Needleman, a philosophy grad student, founded The Monocle, a “Leisurely Quarterly of Political Satire.” Its first issue of 500 copies was gobbled up – nice enough figures for the equivalent of a college humor magazine. Appearing quarterly, the magazine reached a circulation of 15,000 to 20,000 copies. With 5,000 subscribers and wide representation in bookstores, The Monocle “developed an underground following all over the country,” recalled Navasky. It attracted all kinds of contributors: the art editor for Mad Magazine drew something occasionally, a foreign service officer dashed off stories about a State Department nudnik, the managing editor of American Heritage magazine parodied Eisenhower stumbling through the Gettysburg Address. Some notable authors also appeared in its pages: Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., (who is represented by the article reproduced here in “Hole Beautiful,” Nora Ephron, Neil Postman, Calvin Trillin, David Levine, even William F. Buckley, Jr. Navasky remarked, “Unofficially we were mostly left-liberal Democrats with anarcho-syndicalist pretensions.” As proof of the magazine’s cult popularity, Navasky recalled that when he arrived in Chicago in 1968 to cover the Democratic National Convention, he cabby asked him his name, curious to know whether his fare was a celebrity. Navasky told him, muttering, “You would never have heard of me.” “Navasky? The Monocle, right?” shot back his driver, to the everlasting satisfaction of his passenger. Take a look.

 

View this PDF of Koren Superkahn: cartoonist Ed Koren generated a comic strip for The Outsider’s Newsletter called “Super-Kahn, Government Contractor.” Here are some panels from his series.
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Koren Superkahn

Before he began to draw cartoons for The New Yorker, the cartoonist Ed Koren generated a comic strip for The Outsider’s Newsletter called “Super-Kahn, Government Contractor.” Here are some panels from his series.