From 1995 on, the underground press in Berkeley has had its own underground in the form of the Pepper Spray Times. Carol Denney, the writer, artist, editor and publisher, is something like a mashup of Mark Twain, Molly Ivins, and R. Crumb. This is noir satire, totally irreverent, outrageous, and hilarious. Now this monthly four-pager is immortalized in the two-volume anthology, Pepper Spray Paradise covering 1995 through 2020, and in a highlights sampler, Pepper Spray Picnic.
What readers say:
- Everyone both needs and deserves at least a smile and better yet, an opportunity for a big loud laugh. Pepper Spray Times never fails to provide that. – Shirley Dean, former Mayor of Berkeley
- It achieves a fine level of satire reminiscent of The Onion. One of my favorite parts is the recurring Lena Deeter column, “Ask the Experts.” – Alan Gould, Planetarium Director Emeritus and Global Systems Science Curriculum Developer
- Molly Ivins said, “Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful.” It’s a weapon we certainly need more of in these times. Carol is Berkeley’s Molly Ivins; who else comes close in giving a voice to the voiceless and shining a light on the dystopian political landscape. – Harvey Smith, activist and author of Berkeley and the New Deal.
- Where else are you going to read about villainous developers raiding the housing trust fund for low interest loans on yuppified apartments? Hard Times and later Pepper Spray Times brought you information and a laugh with their clever writing and tongue in cheek reporting from their ace staff. – Dave Kamola, Hard Times graphic designer emeritus
- First to Lena Deeter for wonderful and impossible advice– I keep reading and slowly start feeling better and better. Perspective adjusts, smiles return. I can still laugh! Thank you so much Carol Denney — we love you! — Joan Kloehn Bergman, Fairfax
- I’ve found in Pepper Spray Times enormous insight, devastatingly witty humor, and honest clarity. The PST is a joy to read; when it arrives in my mail, I rush to open it. – Paula Friedman, author
- While I’m reading PST, the year 2020 briefly seems bearable; even beer can’t do that! – John Hoggatt, Unspiek, Baron Boddisey
- Provides a multitude of delightful snapshots of commentary on the absurdities and contradictions of local, state and national politics. It also includes a substantial dollop of philosophical musings and lots of fun artwork. – John Wetzel, Land Surveyor & Musician
- With its deeply satirical take on contemporary issues, wildly comedic anecdotes and total silliness, anyone who isn’t laughing from these articles is probably still sitting on their living room floor trying to figure out how to change a lightbulb. – Wendy Karner, Brooklyn Intellectual and Sunday School Teacher
- This always amusing newsletter never fails to highlight the ways in which local government has failed to deal intelligently with the situation of the moment. – Mark Nelson, MA Oxon, Photographer
- No one in Berkeley city council or the white house dares to step out of line for fear of Pepper Spray Times. As the engine of capitalism continues its assault on the planet and the intelligence of our people Pepper Spray Times tirelessly educates, agitates and inspires. – Doug Minkler, poster maker
- As a former member of the World Affairs Council, Lena Deeter’s advice has helped millions. Now turning her attention, she gives her sage advice, opinion and commentary working as a columnist for Pepper Spray Times. – Randy B., Lena Deeter’s son
- Pepper Spray Times is harsh, hilarious, and hefty–hits back with humor against cruel absurdities each month. – Robert Norse, Free Radio Santa Cruz netcaster
- Pepper Spray Times – Weapons grade satire, armor piercing humor. Carol Denney keeps it spicy but not salty. A perfect anodyne for dystopian dyspepsia. – Stephen Dunifer, Founder, Free Radio Berkeley