Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Pornographer unrepentant, news at 11

Larry Flynt is alive and well, and still pissing people off left and right. His website, however, is surprisingly inoffensive (well, perhaps 'not obscene' is a better description than 'inoffensive'), safe for work, and politically aware:

"I've been accused by some readers of favoring the political Left in HUSTLER. I don't believe that's true; I simply take aim at assholes when I see them, and these days, there seems to be a lot of them on the Right. But since it's assholes I despise, it really doesn't matter to me what side of the political fence they sit on. Gephardt and Lieberman are assholes too, for my money."

Flynt is a pretty complex guy, sure to offend everyone on some issue or another; some people will be offended by everything about him. The last time I heard anything about him was when the Oliver Stone film was out... until yesterday's interview in the Independent, which was as heretical as I'd expect it to be:

At 40,000ft, the editor of Hustler looked down the cabin and had a vision of "a guy with sandals on, and an old man with a beard. I took it to be them," says Flynt, referring to God and Saint Paul.

Deeply affected by the appearance of his distinguished fellow-passengers, he began making changes to his magazine. The cartoon strip "Chester the Molester" became "Chester the Protector - Guardian of Young Girls". Hustler, Flynt promised, "will no longer demean women."

If you take a look at the "Asian" section of the Hustler website (you might begin with "Noy", a young woman who explains how surprised and thankful she was to discover that US servicemen have larger penises than the humble Vietnamese) you'll notice there's been something of a rethink on this front.

"What happened to fighting for Jesus?"

"What happened was, I went to a psychiatrist. And he diagnosed me as being bipolar."

"And that's why you saw God?"

"Right. If only all of those born-again converts would take a little lithium, like I did, they'd be fine."

Some part of me has great respect for anyone who is so unflinchingly obdurate in his heresy.