Ken Kesey and Abbie Hoffman Would Have Hated To Say They Told You So: Part 2 of From KGNU’s Archives to the Air

Image via Briscoe Center for American History, Austin, Texas Weatherby Gallery

From KGNU’s Archives to the Air, Part 2

Produced By John Kelin and Alexis Kenyon From KGNU Archival Audio 

On this second episode of From the Archives to the Air, we hear from two sixties icons, Ken Kesey and Abbie Hoffman. 



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Hoffman released ‘Steal This Urine Test” in 1987. This controversial book prophetically speaks about the “war on drugs” as a civil rights issue. In this 1988 interview with KGNU, Hoffman, who was trained as a clinical psychologist at UC Berkeley under Abraham Maslow, points out a central problem with the Reagans’ “just say no” campaign: “So, ‘just say no’ to addicts is like saying, ‘just cheer up’ to a chronic depressive. I mean, it has no meaning at all.”

Hoffman told KGNU that the war on drugs program was a hoax.

“You get the impression that the government actually cares about drug abuse, which it doesn’t. Over the past four years, it’s taken money away from drug treatment programs.”

Author Ken Kesey poses in 1997 with his bus, “Further,” a descendant of the vehicle that carried Kesey and the Merry Pranksters on the 1964 trip immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Kesey, who died in 2001, is the subject of the new documentary Magic Trip.

In a 1987 interview, Kesey told KGNU, “The first time a caveman reaches out and hands another caveman a bone instead of hitting him over the head with it, that’s a revolutionary act.”