Did everyone else know this? Have I been in the dark? Apparently so because this interview didn’t seem to make waves at all, but when I read it I got legitimately creeped out by this legitimately creepy portrayal of a man who is, apparently, legitimately creepy.
It’s not even the beginnings as a “hillbilly” or him losing his virginity to a chicken that he later killed. It’s not even his anger at his mom’s alleged promiscuity that creeps me out. OK, that does creep me out, because I never understand how kids know about these things or how they come to the conclusion that it’s something they should be upset about.
This is an interview with well, a shell of a man. From what I have read about Mr. Flynt and his rage and his tantrums and feelings of entitlement, he seems to be all burnt out by this point. A lot of the first part of this centers on a description of him that bears witness to that: “Now he is lolling almost lifelessly in a chair. His head is barely able to look up at mine, and his hand is barely able to reach up to shake mine” or “His face is round and entirely unlined, making him appear to be a gigantic, gnarled baby.” Take your pick. Either way you end up with a huge version of this:
The bits about him molesting his daughter, and his reluctance to own his (obviously low) opinion of women was what really struck me though. For a man so hell-bent on breaking taboos and busting open doors and putting women on his covers in meat grinders you’d think admitting that he lowkey hates the ladies wouldn’t be an issue. I mean, does he think his readership will dwindle? Are the guys who picked up Hustler to see the gang rape or the 18-year-old getting penetrated by 50 and 60 year old men going to say, “Whoa, I can’t have anything to do with this guy. I love women!”? Probably not.
And I am not a puritan by any stretch of the imagination. I can understand the allure of a gang bang, please believe me. I am also aware of the allure of the silver fox. I just know that it’s not sexy when somebody is clearly portrayed as lacking agency, and that person, in these scenarios, is the woman involved.
The irony here is that he made a fortune portraying us as creatures who enjoy being raped, beaten, sent to concentration camps, etc, and is now an almost lifeless creature himself. I don’t know if I believe the saying that “What goes around comes around” but perhaps, in his case, it is a little true. This man seems to have spent all his life force trying to show us the very recesses of human sexuality only to become this intensely repulsive human being. Curious, isn’t it?
He seems like one of those folks who feel bad about their desires so they justify them by harping on the fact that it’s OK for them to exist and to share them with the world when that’s not even the issue on the table. People like that always sound like they’re trying to convince themselves more than anyone else, which makes me wonder why feel like you have to do that in the first place? We’re all adults, right? And we all have the freedom to say what we want, right? Own it!
It’s not like it’d shock anyone, Mr. Flynt.