On Tuesday I had the pleasure of interviewing Larry Flynt at the invitation of PromaxBDA for the opening session of their annual conference
Pleasure, because this year marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case Falwell vs Flynt. Larry Flynt fought a battle on behalf of all of us for the First Amendment and the protection of free speech. Whatever your view of Larry Flynt (and Larry and I do not see eye to eye on a number of things, as we discussed in the green room) if he hadn’t won that battle, well, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman wouldn’t have been able to exist to operate their outrageous humor, political satire and freedom of target-picking in the way they do today, and neither would any of the rest of us.
Larry wrote on his blog:
Keep in mind that starting trouble can be a lonely business. When I took my free-speech case to the Supreme Court, I was on my own. Now everyone’s reaping the benefits of my victory. Sometimes it may seem like you don’t have a chance of winning, but you sure as hell won’t if you don’t try.
Not a lot of people have gone looking for trouble as much as I have, and I have the scars to prove it. Everything I know I learned the hard way. Why didn’t I ever learn my lesson and shut the hell up? Because life may be a bitch when you’re fighting for freedom, but the other option is worse.
My greatest hope is that the next generation will look at what I’ve done and realize that sometimes there’s no greater honor than being a righteous pain in the ass.
Beyond the Supreme Court victory, not as much has changed as Larry and we would like to see. The battles to build a business based on ‘adult content’ that he describes in his autobiography An Unseemly Man are battles I and my team are still fighting today to build MakeLoveNotPorn, a #realworldsex platform with a social mission. We couldn’t empathize more with ‘Sometimes it may seem like you don’t have a chance of winning, but you sure as hell won’t if you don’t try.’
And so, to every piece of business infrastructure and not-available-to-us funding source where ‘no adult content’ in the small print means we have to exercise determination, ingenuity, battling, bootstrapping, begging and pleading – we will continue to be a ‘righteous pain in the ass’, in our determination to make this business work and to drive a more open, honest, healthy, truthful attitude to and dialogue around #realworldsex in the way that we all want to see.
I asked Larry where the name ‘Hustler’ came from originally. He said for him the meaning was someone, whether a man or a woman, who just wants to get ahead, in business and in life.
We’re hustlin’. 🙂
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