Larry FlyntCommentary by Pete du Pont
January 24, 1997
Host intro: With a new autobiography and a movie about his exploits, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt has been hailed as the new First Amendment poster boy. It doesn't sit well with commentator Pete du Pont of the National Center for Policy Analysis, and at least one unusual ally.
Stop the presses. I agree -- for once -- with Gloria Steinem.
The arch-feminist and I are equally revolted by pornographer Larry Flynt's new sainthood.
Current wisdom portrays Flynt as a First Amendment crusader.
But Flynt's supreme court victory, in a suit brought by Jerry Falwell, merely confirmed the right to parody public figures. Is Flynt, who regularly publishes images of women being raped, tortured and stalked, who complains when others use their First Amendment rights to attack his business, the best we can do for a free speech hero?
In a recent article, Steinem speculates that if, in Flynt's images of mutilation and mayhem, the victims were black men, or even animals, few would defend him. But show the same images using women, and all's fair. Second, if you're looking for a serious First Amendment case, consider that of the nazis who marched in Skokie, Illinois. But nobody's making a movie glorifying them.
Even radio's Howard Stern has paid F.C.C. fines in the millions for saying things that aren't offensive enough to make it into Hustler.
So I'm glad the First Amendment's there for Larry Flynt. I just don't feel like throwing a party over it.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA, we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont, and I'll see you tomorrow.
Host outro: Monday, Pete du Pont talks about the improvement offered by the line item veto.