Letters to Playboy, in the November 1967 issue, in response to Jacob Brackman's article in the August issue, The Underground Press

NOTES ON THE UNDERGROUND

I was delighted with Jacob Brackman's article, The Underground Press, in the August PLAYBOY. I was pleased with its accuracy, although there were a few mistakes, but I was even more pleased with the objectivity and good judgment shown by Brackman in his assessment of the whole underground-press movement. His historical analysis was thorough and important. I hope PLAYBOY will now publish articles on the entire underground phenomenon, because the underground press is just one facet of what's happening in this country. We are its voice, but its heart has yet to be discovered.
Allan Katzman, Editor
The East Village Other
New York, New York

Although I've been reading the underground press for a good many years, I encountered much new information in Brackman's article – and I enjoyed it.
Albert Ellis, Ph. D. Executive Director
Institute for Rational Living
New York, New York

Brackman's article The Underground Press was really good. I am glad it avoided concentrating on the more sensational aspects of the underground press and, instead, discussed its real function as the voice of the anti-bullshit refugees from the wars and soft sells of the Great Society.
Liza Williams
Santa Barbara, California

The Underground Press was an illuminating look at the radical newspapers – which are as familiar as the back side of the moon to the average establishment-newspaper reader. As a journalism major, I occasionally read various underground papers and find them interesting – if not always rational. But perhaps our society needs more irrationality, more outrageous opinions and – something that the underground press is certainly providing – more sex. With the establishment press serving us page after page of sterile pap crowded among the Pepsi-generation advertisements, the need for the likes of the underground press becomes ever more apparent.
Kenton E. Lymons
San Diego State College
Spring Valley, California

Extensive traveling has made me aware of the strong international nature of the underground movement. In fact, the influence of the underground press, which Brackman described so accurately, can be felt as far as Prague, Buenos Aires, Stockholm or Tokyo. Such publications as Ramstadt (Amsterdam), Mandala (Paris), Icteris (Newcastle), Plastika (Warsaw), Decollage (Cologne) and many others are broadcasting on the same wave length, dynamiting the same taboos and making the same breakthroughs.

There is a tradition behind the underground press that probably goes back to the 19th Century anarchist newspapers; but the importance of The East Village Other, The Oracle and the Los Angeles Free Press comes not simply from their political stance but from the radical change in human consciousness they are helping bring about. The intelligent use of mind-expanding substances, participation in an enduring sexual revolution and an effort to modify the structure of society – these are the common denominators of the underground movement. It is presently developing into a tremendous international force. Brackman and PLAYBOY must be thanked for their perceptive appraisal – as well as for stressing that the news most mass-circulation papers find "fit to print" reflects only the establishment mentality and has little to do with what's actually happening. There are quite a few of us in France today who enjoy PLAYBOY precisely for such courageous and well-informed articles. Bravo!
Jean-Jacques Lebel
Paris, France

We think Brackman and PLAYBOY should know that the underground high school newspaper movement comprises much more than just the South Hampton Illustrated Times. Through our activities on The Student Voice, we have come in contact with at least 40 underground high school papers – and we're sure this is only a fraction of the total. – Most of these papers have sprung up independently in the past year or so. Yet they show striking similarities in spirit. Taken as a whole, their unanimity is a significant comment on the state of American culture from that very place where culture is transmitted – the American high school.
Bruce Gardner
Lyn Altomare
The Student Voice
Oakland, California

Words should move you to feeling . . . words should move you to feeling. That is my only criticism of the article by Jacob Brackman on the underground press. It's well written, very factual, it tells the story clearly and cleanly; yet something is missing. It is exactly this lack of feeling in journalism that created the underground press.
Mel Lyman, Columnist
Avatar
Cambridge, Massachusetts

You've been had by Jacob Brackman. What you printed was a good history of the New York underground-press scene, with slapdash bits of hearsay stuck on the edges. Although his rambling history of The Village Voice was mildly interesting and the sexual manifestoes of Tuli Kupferberg were fun, I was soured by Brackman's lighthearted trot through the rest of the world at one paragraph per paper. Just another instance of a New Yorker who thinks he is standing at the center of the universe.
Lee Felsenstein
Berkeley Barb
Berkeley, California