Oct. 20, 2004 9:00 p.m.
Larry Flynt’s office looks as gaudy and flashy as you
would expect of a porn king ““ but the mahogany desks are real
wood, and the gold leaf isn’t spray-painted yellow. Flynt has
made a lot of money selling smut, but he is also a serious critic
of the political and media elite. He has used his fame and money to
fight hypocritical leaders and limits placed on the First
Amendment. His new book, “Sex, Lies and Politics,”
takes a hard look at the Bush administration. Incidentally, he
would also like to take a look at the Bush twins ““ he made a
$10 million dollar offer for nude photos of them. To promote the
book, Flynt will have a signing today at 7:30 p.m. at the Borders
dB Magazine: Why did you write the book, and will it be
important to read regardless of who wins Nov. 2?
Larry Flynt: Well, I’m modest, but I think it’s the
most comprehensive book that’s been written about the Bush
administration. We don’t pull any punches, and we are a lot
more thorough than the national media. It’s an important book
for people who really want to understand the so-called Bush
dB: Both you and Princeton economist Paul Krugman point out
that Bush’s “average” $1,000 tax cut in fact
gives only $100 to the median American family. Does that make you
really smart, or everyone else just dumb?
LF: It’s all semantics. I can’t believe the debates
were allowed to be conducted in the fashion they were ““ where
the candidates shouldn’t question one another or respond.
It’s not fuzzy math. You know they bury everything in the
deficit. Many young people can’t understand today when you
tell them they’re going to have to pay the deficit down. They
can’t relate to that. Some time people are going to wake up
and realize that they really got shafted.
dB: You mention in your book that hypocrisy is one of the
worst things in American politics. Why is it such a
LF: Any time you take a public position contrary to the way you
live your private life, you are espousing a form of hypocrisy that
really tears at our very fiber. I’ll give you a good example
of that: Congressman Bob Barr, who we dealt with in our
investigation of the impeachment hearings. Here is a guy who was
head of the Republican pro-life caucus, and he would go out on the
floor of Congress and say that abortion was equivalent to murder.
On one occasion, he went home and drove his wife to the hospital to
have an abortion. He paid for that with his own personal check,
which we have a copy of.
dB: What can the media do to keep politicians honest and
better cover important issues?
LF: The media definitely are more concerned with who gets the
next interview with George and Laura Bush than asking serious
questions about what’s going on in Iraq. But as far as the
media itself ““ in the last two decades they’ve really
gone astray. They are lazy and incompetent to a great degree. And
70 percent of the major news outlets in the United States are owned
by major multi-nationals. So you may be a good reporter
that’s moderate to liberal who can do a good job, but if you
have any ambitions to climb that ivory tower, your attitude is
going to have to change because those guys are all conservative
dB: Have conservatives changed much in the last 50
LF: The line was more defined. Republicans were honest about
their positions, but then they realized when (Richard) Nixon came
along that they had to start selling the big lie. You tell people
something over and over again and pretty soon people are going to
believe it. The Southern strategy, which later on turned into the
religious right, was basically formulated and started by Richard
Nixon. So the Republicans and Democrats spent more time fighting
than supporting our country, and that’s really sad.
dB: As you’ve alluded to in your book, do you think
part of the problem is that conservatives are too sexually
repressed to be compassionate or truthful?
LF: Absolutely. It’s true more than ever. If you’re
from a conservative family, when you decide to leave the nest,
you’re going to be a conservative. And your sexual attitudes
are going to be conservative. And what all conservative Republicans
face is they don’t have a great deal of control over their
sexual attitudes. So they just keep some stuff in the closet.
That’s why its a lot easier to catch them than the Democrats
because the Democrats just wear that stuff on their sleeves.
dB: You ran for governor in the recall election. Do you
think Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing a good job? Has he been
LF: Schwarzenegger’s been doing a good job, and I always
felt he would because anything would be an improvement on Grey
Davis. But as they say in politics, the honeymoon will come to an
end. He’s got to tightly control a Democratic majority in
Sacramento, and without their cooperation, he’s not going to
be able to do anything. So when the gridlock comes, you’re
going to see what Arnold’s made of.
dB: What do you want people to get out of your book at the
end of the day?
LF: One thing that came out of the book ““ that I
wasn’t looking for when I started it ““ I was amazed at
the amount of cronyism. Everyone that worked on the Bush campaign
either has a job in the White House or out in Iraq. I mean, it
couldn’t be more sleazy.
dB: What do you think is the future of the Internet, porn
and free speech?
LF: That’s a big question. Back in 1973, the Supreme Court
in Miller v. California, ruled to allow individual communities to
set their own standards and judge obscenity. But I don’t
think people on the high court had the Internet in mind, much less
cable TV. I also don’t think they were aware that in San
Francisco or New York, something is not offensive that is offensive
in Mississippi or Texas. So they have produced publishers trying to
second guess viewing habits. But there is going to be a very
important obscenity case that will go to the U.S. Supreme Court in
the next two to three years. And it will be interesting to see
because if communities are defined by what materials are available,
then any hotel you check into and you can order a XXX video to your
room, and you can get anything you want to on the Internet … that
kind of blows the community standard theory. Either the Supreme
Court is going to have to define obscenity or are going to have to
rule that it’s not obscene as long as it takes place between
dB: What are your views on copyright? As a pornographer, do
you mind when you hear about college students downloading your
LF: No. I don’t care.
dB: How would you like to be remembered 100 years from now:
more as a porn king or a politician?
LF: I’d like to be remembered as someone that’s
spent the majority of his life expanding the parameters of free
speech. Without our basic freedoms, democracy means nothing, and so
many people take their freedoms for granted. The case I won in 1988
is taught in law schools, and I’ve had professors write me
and say “The People v. Larry Flynt” is required
viewing, and that’s encouraging.
dB: Is there anything else you want people to know?
LF: Ask me what I’ve learned in 30 years of the porn
business: You’ll never know why a man loves his dog or his
woman because you always see a man with two you wouldn’t have
neither one of.