Larry Flynt

Archive for August, 2013


Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Larry-Flynt-200x200Larry Flynt is America’s most controversial and perhaps most effective living defender of the First Amendment. However, by his own admission, Larry Flynt did not set out to defend the Bill of Rights. He set out to have some fun and make some money. By the time he hit thirty, he had turned an $1,800 loan from his mom into a chain of eight strip clubs and founded the Hustler newsletter to promote his clubs. A couple of years later, that newsletter would become a full-fledged national magazine and Larry Flynt would become a millionaire.

As Hustler grew, Flynt published more and more graphic pictures and more and more outrageous articles and satirical pieces all of which added up to Mr. Flynt spending a lot of time in court on obscenity charges. As he defended himself, he found himself having to defend the First Amendment. Unwilling to allow the courts to settle the matter, an assassin with a high-powered rifle attempted to take Mr. Flynt’s life shooting him in the spine and paralyzing him below the waist. This would only intensify his efforts at defending the First Amendment leading to his landmark case Hustler Magazine v Falwell which would go all the way to the Supreme Court ultimately vindicating the right to parody public figures.

Interview Transcript

LF: You ready, Mr. Flynt?

LF: Yes.

HM: Okay. Well, boys and girls, guys and gals. It is a real pleasure today, because on the Bryan Callen show, I am current sitting in Larry Flynt’s office, on the 10th floor, overlooking pretty much all of Los Angeles. And we’re going to be asking Mr. Flynt some questions about everything from the First Amendment to sex.

So the first thing is, Mr. Flynt, how did you become interested in the First Amendment?

LF: Like everybody else, I think I always took it for granted. I had to stand in a courtroom and listen to a judge sentence me to 25 years in prison before I realized that free speech could not be taken for granted. So, I became embroiled very early on in all the First Amendment issues. And I spent 20 years of my life—in the 70s, 80s—putting out brush fires all over the country, where they were wanting to put people in jail for what kind of book they published, or what kind of movie they made.

HM: And, you know, obviously, you made a tremendous personal sacrifice in that quest, you were shot. And to what degree did that intensify your interest in the First Amendment? Did that change—

(For full article click here)

Don’t Be Ashamed

Monday, August 26th, 2013

larry-flynt The recent trend of firing teachers for previously working in the adult industry or posing nude is outrageous. One of them, Olivia Sprauer, was even canned for just being a swimsuit model. This kind of policy belongs to the era of sexual repression, not the 21st century. It’s time to keep backward morality out of the classroom.

I would not want anyone who modeled or performed for my magazines, movies or websites to ever regret it or be later punished for it. Adult work is legitimate work. Performers and models contribute to the economy and pay taxes like everyone else. They should not have to endure a backlash for the rest of their lives as a result of an activity that was fully legal and victimless.

As for the charge that a teacher’s “questionable” past or moonlighting job interferes with their work, no one has been able to show that there is anything about modeling or performing that prevents a person from being a capable teacher. In fact, that kind of life experience may even make them better at their jobs.

Besides the injustice, there’s the hypocrisy. Erotic entertainment is everywhere, and everyone watches it. You can bet that the people who boot these teachers out are the same ones who get off on the photos and movies they claim to condemn.

I applaud the fired teachers who go to court to get their jobs back. It’s a tough battle, but they are helping to establish a body of legal precedent that will eventually put a stop to this kind of discrimination.

Larry Flynt

Ken Cuccinelli

Monday, August 19th, 2013

What kind of absolute, total asshole tries to outlaw blowjobs? This one does. With his recent attempt to reinstate Virginia’s throwback “Crimes Against Nature” law, the state’s attorney general has once and for all declared himself the mortal enemy of all men. If Ken “The Cooch” Cuccinelli had his way, there’d be no oral sex, no anal, no handjobs, no anything that doesn’t result in a God-fearing baby. Hell, he’d probably even outlaw those “VIRGINIA IS FOR LOVERS” bumper stickers. But here’s the really bad news for Virginians: This anti-sex goon is trying to be your next governor.

The Cooch’s recent effort to suck all the fun out of his state came after his prosecutors failed to nail a 47-year-old dude who asked a 17-yearold girl to blow him. They ignored the obvious charge of attempted statutory rape and instead tried to dust off the state’s musty, crusty sodomy law since it would slap the old creeper with a rock-hard felony rather than just a limp misdemeanor. The U.S. Appeals Court—which exists in the 21st century—rendered a smackdown. The Cooch stepped in to stiffen up his cherished sodomy law. The court had to again slowly spell out unconstitutional for him.

That case involved a man and a girl, but Cuccinelli claims his war on penis-polishing is aimed at gays. He’s so afraid of another man falling onto his dick that he’s willing to ban any kind of sex that doesn’t involve a vagina. “My view is that homosexual acts, not homosexuality, but homosexual acts are wrong,” he crows. What the fuck does that mean? It’s okay to be gay as long as you keep it bottled up until your balls explode? Can any straight dude ever imagine saying, “I sure do love the ladies, but I ain’t ever gonna fuck one”?

Cuccinelli has tried before to turn his obsessive cock blocking into legal precedent. In 2010 he spouted an official—and failed—recommendation that Virginia’s public colleges and universities not include sexual orientation and gender identity in their nondiscrimination policy. What’s next? Straight-only water fountains?

Let’s be clear about this: The idea of men fucking each other makes a lot of guys nauseous. But there’s a big difference between not wanting to think about it too much and Cuccinelli trying to turn his homophobia into state-sponsored hate. Consenting adults should be able to fuck whomever they want and not have to be treated like second-class citizens for it. This is America, Kenny, not Saudi Arabia or Botswana or some damn place.

According to The Cooch, the kind of blow jobs he can’t stop picturing “don’t comport with natural law.” The irony here is that Ken “Crimes Against Nature” Cuccinelli has already demonstrated louder and longer than a goose in heat that he doesn’t know shit about nature.

Take his positions on global warming and pollution, which boldly display his ignorance that even Virginians need fresh air, water and a lack of hurricanes to live. Like a blustering Tea Party sock puppet, Cuccinelli plugs his ears and hollers blah, blah, blah at any mention of the Environmental Protection Agency.

He claimed the EPA “falsified data” in an attempt to drive Virginia’s “economy into the ground.” Why would the EPA would want to do that? Cuccinelli’s not clear on that, but he’s darn sure it has something to do with that black man in the White House, the one who also dared to raise fuel-efficiency standards in line with the Clean Air Act. (We won’t even bother to go into The Cooch’s flirts with birtherism and his war on Obamacare. It’s the same old racist, obstructionist Tea Party claptrap.)

We can already hear Ken braying in objection: He’s not anti-environment; he’s against the government telling free enterprise what to do! Unfortunately, that’s more Teabag ger lip service. Taken as a whole, Cuccinelli’s collective crusades reveal him as a typical rightwing ideologue who cares more about his imaginary wishworld than reality.

No one knows that better than Virginia’s scientists. They’ve had The Cooch up their asses for so long, the state is now suffering a brain drain. Abusing his legal power to carry out a witch-hunt against climate researchers, Cuccinelli embarked on a long campaign to discredit the University of Virginia’s former assistant professor Mich – ael Mann, along with his colleagues, on the basis of the state’s Fraud Against Taxpayers Act. The Cooch’s claims of phony data were ruled vague and unwarranted—unlike Mann’s precise, peer-reviewed work. According to Kenny’s logic, climate change is a giant scam cooked up by crafty eggheads to milk taxpayers out of all that sweet funding cash.

The scam theory is one of Kenny’s most pervasive and insidious themes. In his recent manifesto The Last Line of Defense, The Cooch vilifies all forms of assistance and funding as no better than theft and subsidized addiction. Medicare is “despicable,” welfare is “unconstitutional,” and covering healthcare needs specific to women is like being forced to pay for “kumquats.” In Virginia, being a donkey’s ass won’t necessarily lose you an election, but Cuccinelli’s bag-of-hammers approach to women’s issues just might.

While the attorney general was at it, he decided to piss all over the minority vote as well. Not only did he openly oppose the federal government’s lawsuit against Arizona’s “show me your papers” law, he also tried to authorize Virginia cops to ask anyone they stop to prove their legal status. The one good thing about Kenny is that he’s a useful blueprint of what’s unfixable about the Republican Party.

Virginia’s state Senate Democratic leader, Richard Saslaw, summed up Cuccinelli: “He was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party.” And what if he gets elected governor? “The state is screwed,” Saslaw said with a fine choice of words.

Obviously, there’s only one good way to use Cuccinelli’s beloved “Crimes Against Nature” law: to stop him from sodomizing Virginia.

Jazz Is Still Kickin’

Monday, August 12th, 2013


by Nat Hentoff

I began reporting on jazz and knowing its key players in the late 1940s, also learning life lessons from them ever since. Tenor saxophonist Ben Webster advised, “Listen, kid, when the rhythm section ain’t making it, go for yourself!” I’ve done that in hassles with editors and wives.

Obituaries for my favorite musical genre began when rock overran jazz’s popular big-band period (Benny Goodman, et al), and they keep marching on. Benjamin Schwarz recently added one in The Atlantic: “The End of Jazz: How America’s Most Vibrant Music Became a Relic.”

Such a relic that jazz combos are still booked around the world. For example—I kid you not—in Siberia. Meanwhile, Jazz Times magazine reported that UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has “officially designated International Jazz Day…to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe every April 30.” As jazz legend Duke Ellington (1899-1974) marveled, “The music is so free that many people say it is the only unhampered, unhindered expression of complete freedom yet produced in this country.”

So how come these grimly misinformed obituaries keep blowing clinkers only in America? “Kids here just aren’t interested in this music anymore,” they lament, “so its audience keeps on dwindling.”

Really? There are more and more high school jazz bands nationwide, and many of them participate in the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington support program and annual competition. Among those impressing the judges is the jazz band at my alma mater, Boston Latin School.

When I attended BLS in the 1940s, jazz was never mentioned and certainly never performed. During a visit there many years later, I delighted in its band’s swinging rendition of Ellington’s “Things Ain’t What They Used to Be.” Later I told the young musicians that Duke would have been very pleased. They were stunned that I was so old, I had actually known the jazz icon.

And I was stunned at what I heard at the 2012 Mingus High School Competition & Festival at New York City’s Manhattan School of Music. I had been told by established jazz musicians that Charles Mingus’s repertoire would be too difficult for high school jazz bands to play. Well, they not only wowed me but also John Thomas Dodson, conductor of the Adrian (Michigan) Symphony Orchestra.

After one band went lights out with “Haitian Fight Song” and “Better Git It in Your Soul,” Dodson posted on his Mingus Lives blog: “I’m guessing that many of the high-school students had never even heard of Charles Mingus before they began to work their minds, ears and instruments around his music. By now, his work has become a part of them.”

I advise the authors of jazz obituaries to also wake up to Jazz House Kids in Montclair, New Jersey. As noted on its website, this community based organization “provides the framework for students to cultivate the talent, discipline, skills and principles they need to play, sing and appreciate America’s original musical art form.” Mike Lee, head of music instruction at Jazz House Kids, notes that some of its most advanced student musicians “range in age from nine to a grand old 12.” Too young for obituaries?

Since my three lifelong vocations are education, jazz and the Constitution, I’ll proudly mention my kinship with the late jazz percussionist and composer Max Roach. In 1960, as the civil rights movement was gaining momentum, I was A&R director at Candid Records when it released his album We Insist! Max Roach’s Freedom Now Suite. “You write a lot about the Constitution,” Max told me years ago. “So ours are individual [jazz] voices listening intently to all the other voices. That’s how the Constitution works.”

Whether or not We the People still have a living Constitution after Bush and Cheney and, more damagingly, Obama, I have many immor tal reasons to rejoice: Max Roach, Duke Elling ton, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Sidney Bechet, James Moody, Billie Holiday and all the other creators of the spirit-lifting, thought-provoking life force this country has given the world.

Even if jazz, like our personal liberties, becomes another casualty of Americans’ apathy, this freedom music will keep on living around the globe anyway. As Sidney Bechet told me, “You can’t keep this music down wherever it wants to go.”

Stalkers Paradise

Monday, August 5th, 2013


by Robert Scheer

The snoopers are our new best friends? Unbelievable but true when, for the first time in human history, it is the norm for people to volunteer to be spied upon. Folks eagerly pay for the very apps that betray their privacy with a ruthless efficiency unmatched by the most oppressive tyrants of old.

The secret agents of a Hitler or Stalin were limited to monitoring people’s mail, eavesdropping on the telephone or clumsily tailing suspects they wanted to get the goods on. But that’s primitive junk-snooping by the standards of today’s surveillance state. Now people willingly authorize the use of their location and trigger access to every movement, purchase and conversation to any corporation or government agency that cares to “mine” their data, along with information from the rest of the world’s population.

Whereas in the past the files of a dictator’s Gestapo were barely read and almost impossible to collate as they gathered dust under lock and key, today’s data searches are conducted with a speed and thoroughness that defies comprehension. The movie you watched, your thoughts about its content posted on Facebook, the dialogue it provoked among friends—including the most intimate or wildest thought any of them have on any subject from the political to the pornographic—are instantly and permanently revealed to just about anyone curious enough to inquire.

The revolution in information technology has left in its wake a stalkers paradise. The sanctity of self has been rendered nonexistent, and the very idea of the individual as an independent entity exploring life in private is an endangered species.

Although we kind of know that we are all under a totally invasive microscope, we soothe any incipient anxiety with the rationalization that the supercomputer searches only zero in on the bad guys and never innocent folks like us. When one of the evildoers gets caught, we cheer wildly and marvel at the technology that made it possible, never thinking that it is a privacy-destroying weapon that could easily target saints like ourselves.

That was my first reaction when I read about how a prosecutor in Pasadena, California, was able to sift through 30 billion files in order to track the movement of a murder suspect. That means law-enforcement agencies can easily sift through as massive a database to nail you on any allegation even if you are never charged, let alone convicted, of a crime.

An exaggeration you say? Hardly, as the New York Times recently made crystal clear. In a story looking at how data-mining is affecting all aspects of our lives, it divulged that “retailers across the country have helped amass vast databases of workers accused of stealing, and are using that information to keep employees from working again in the industry.”

The operative word is accused, but as the Times reported, those accusations can be of the flimsiest sort and “often contain scant details about suspected thefts and routinely do not involve criminal charges. Still, the information can be enough to scuttle a job candidate’s chances. Some of the employees, who submit written statements after being questioned by store security officers, have no idea that they admitted committing a theft or that the information will remain in databases.”

Permanent databases are as easily searched as they are prone to error. Files containing the groundless suspicion of a hostile supervisor that you might have shoplifted can be combined with a friend’s Instagram photos from your long-ago bachelor party, an overdue credit card bill, medical records, divorce proceedings and adolescent ramblings about a horrendous first date you can’t even remember posting somewhere on the Internet, all of which present to the world a creepy view of you that you are unaware is in circulation and that needs to be corrected.

This is all because we have no laws protecting your private data from being widely disseminated without your “opt-in” permission to share such personal information across infinite platforms. When you granted permission to a computer prompt to “use your location,” all you wanted was the hint of a good restaurant nearby. For that you squandered the right to dine, and think, in private. Surely the sacred right to privacy deserves better legal protection than that.

larry flynt's book