an insider’s look at larry flynt

At least two readers of this site work for the infamous Larry Flynt, the fleshy, wheelchair-bound publisher of “Hustler” magazine. Lots of people in LA do. It’s not really their fault. Flynt publishes about 100 different magazines. And not all of them are porn. They run the gambit from “Cat Fancy” to “Barely Legal.” It’s not something that they tell you in college, but, if you graduate with a liberal arts degree, and you find yourself in LA, there’s a good chance that you’ll be writing for Flynt.

I suppose it’s possible that every reader of works for Flynt, but only two have outed themselves to me… Anyway, I was trading emails with one of them, and I asked whether or not there were any stories about Flynt that I could post here. Following is what I received in response to that request.

On November 1, Larry Flynt’s birthday, we’re all called upstairs so that we can “celebrate.” Most people ignore it; it’s about 3pm and people have work to get done. After three calls over the intercom from some hapless secretary, a security guard comes on and tells us that it is mandatory that we go up and sing happy birthday for him.

We go up into an opulent conference room, with oak paneling and the ostentatious rococo art, and are forced to wait until roughly 40 people are herded in. Flynt is silent and looks glum as a large cake with a handful of candles is brought out. Roused by his handlers, he waits as we’re forced to mumble our way through a flat version of Happy Birthday. Then he proceeds to sputter out the candles, wheezing as great gobs of spittle sprinkle the whole cake. What has seemed obligatory and joyless now seems vaguely pitiful, especially as his wife (handily beside him at all times) cuts a piece of cake and rams it in his mouth.

A brief interlude–A week prior to this a friend and I had been walking back from the pizza parlor and seen a man with obvious developmental disabilities being pushed along in a wheelchair by his nurse. The man looked to be in his mid-60s, and as they passed a hedge of roses, he would lean over and bite them off. As the petals fell from his mouth, they looked like feathers. His nurse ignored all this, as the man smacked his lips and ate flower after flower.

Larry Flynt reminded me of nothing so much as that man, as he smacked his mouth around the cascade of frosting and crumbs that rolled out of his maw and his eyes wiled around the room and people crowded backwards out of the door to avoid having the remnants of the cake foisted upon them.

Another time, while I was waiting for someone up on the 10th floor to sign-off on something, Larry was lingering in the hallway.

He motioned his security guard (he has at least one, often two, armed guards with him at all times) to come closer, come closer, come closer, until the guard’s ear was inches from Flynt’s mouth. Then, with his Jabba-the-Hutt bellow, he yells “Asshole!” and gives his barking, staccato chortle, “Har har har.” The guard laughs with him, uneasily. He then beckons the guard down again; “Come closer,” he says. The guard again puts his ear over Larry’s mouth, and Larry, like a four-year-old with a new word again yells “Asshole! Har har har.”

He did this three times while I was waiting, like a kid who throws a toy only to delight in his or her parent’s repeated retrieval.

Fundamentally, Flynt is a cross between The General from the Big Sleep and Jabba the Hutt, a fat, disabled man who is alienated from every pleasure he used to over-indulge in. That he’s impotent is one of the central ironies of the fact that every girl set in every magazine has to be approved by him.

I don’t know about you, but I kind of like knowing that millions of men around the globe are masturbating tonight to pictures hand-chosen by a kind of fleshy, bitter, baby of a man. Seems kind of poetic.

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  1. Scuttles
    Posted May 10, 2008 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Yet… I’m still not convinced it sucks to be Larry Flint.

  2. mark
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    It’s hard to work much sympathy up for him, but, yeah, his life clearly sucks.

  3. Dr Cherry
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Larry Flynt is disabled because a white supremeist shot him for publishing inter-racial p0rn.

    What’s more disgusting than Flynt’s mortal presence is those supposedly supporting hard-fought freedoms of speech who don’t give the man any credit for doing something they’d likely never have the guts or resources to do: take on the government.

  4. Scuttles
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Well mark, if you’re really lazy, you like to look at naked girls all he time, you enjoy tormenting people who can’t do anything but laugh nervously and smile about it, and you don’t give a damn what anyone thinks of how disgusting you are, his life doesn’t suck at all. Jabba seemed pretty satisfied with his lot. It would suck for US maybe and the people around him, but from his standpoint… I wonder. Seriously.

  5. schutzman
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m can’t wait to see how you try to smoothly transition this into a thoughtful discussion about handicapped accessibility at the Riverside Arts Center.

  6. egpenet
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps, a plaque, the Larry Flynt Memorial Lift.

  7. mark
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I never said I didn’t support Flynt’s right to do what he does, Dr. Cherry. I think he’s within his rights. That doesn’t mean, however, that I enjoy seeing women fed into a meat grinder… So, no, I don’t idolize him. He’s not a hero of mine. But I’ll defend his right to do what he does… None of which changes the fact that it’s weird as fuck that the man choosing what American men jack off to is an fleshy, gurgling, impotent invalid.

  8. mark
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    And I wouldn’t stop at the Riverside Arts Center. I’d give Flynt Water Street. I think it would be perfect for Hustler City.

  9. Brackache
    Posted May 11, 2008 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Soggy, limp, and the closer its protectors get to it, the more it abuses them.

  10. Paw
    Posted May 12, 2008 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    “I jack off to things placed before me by an impotent man-baby.”

    Great t-shirt idea.

  11. hustler
    Posted May 14, 2008 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    LFP doesn’t actually publish Cat Fancy – that’s Fancy Publications, which is in the valley. They’re the only other big publishing company here.

    Also, while we used to publish about 100 legitimate titles, now we’re down to Hustler, Taboo, Taboo Illustrated, Beaver Hunt, Barely Legal and Hustler Fantasies. We sold off Hot Boat and folded Tips And Tricks last year (apparently, it was the biggest video game magazine after Nintendo Power and they’re still doing specials). Oh, yeah, specials

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