Wednesday, February 10, 2021

So Long and Thanks for All the Fap: Larry Flynt, 1942-2021


When I was an adolescent sneaking peeks at "dirty" magazines friends had boosted from their fathers', uncles', or older brothers' stashes, Hustler was the "dirtiest" thing going at the mainstream newsstand level (in the back of a storage room at my first "real" job, I discovered evidence that my employer was into a whole different level of stuff you couldn't find at 7-11).

For anyone coming of, um, tumescence after 1990 or so, it's presumably a "so what" thing. These days, any kind of porn you want is a few mouse clicks away. Back then, you either had to get the stuff at second hand on the sly, or know a clerk at the local convenience store who was the older brother of a friend and didn't care whether you were 18.

Most "civil libertarians" profess to admire Larry Flynt for his several legal battles on behalf of freedom to publish whatever he damn well pleased, while decrying what he actually did publish (and not mentioning things like time he shouted "Fuck this court!" in the very sacred sanctum of the US Supreme Court itself and called its nine justices "nothing but eight assholes and a token cunt").

At least they notice that even after he was shot and paralyzed, he opposed the execution of the supposed shooter -- a racist serial killer who confessed that he'd been outraged by Flynt's interracial porn but was never charged with the shooting (he got the needle for eight other murders). And I suspect most Americans celebrated (fundamentalist Christians perhaps secretly so) when he caused Jerry Falwell "emotional distress" with an incest parody, then beat Falwell in court.

I don't know if he was a "good person," but he sure did some good stuff. And personally, I include the porn itself among that stuff. It was a lot more interesting than what passed for "sex education" in my day.

He died today, at the age of 78.


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