Okay, so Russia invades Georgia. Another war that will no doubt add to global instability, slaughter lots of people, drive yet more women and girls into sex slavery, and serve as an excuse for speculators to reverse the plunge in oil prices. The Washington Post reported (buried on page 12) that sleep deprivation was still being used at Guantanamo long after the Bushies said they had banned that particular torture back in 2004. For all we know, it probably is still being used. The subprime meltdown continues to turn what once were redoubts of middle-class security into crime-ridden, roach-infested slums, and I am sure that food riots continue all around the world.
So, what was the lead story on the CBS Evening News this past Friday?
Former Democratic Presidential Candidate John Edwards's Love Child.
No fucking wonder that more and more people are turning to The Daily Show for news.
Thursday evening I watched the premier of The Right to be Left Alone, the new hagiography of that First Amendment Saint and Martyr, Larry Flynt. Yes, a martyr because he was shot for daring to publish a picture of a naked white woman getting it on with a naked black man. Integrated pornography, after all, is a milestone of civil rights.
This alleged documentary did give at least pretense of being "fair and balanced" by giving Gloria Steinem and the late Andrea Dworkin about twenty seconds each to bitch about Flynt's shameless exploitation of women, but, of course, this complaint was immediately followed by an articulate, healthy former porn star who liked her career as a slut and did not feel exploited in the least and was now apparently thriving as a well-dressed corporate executive who obviously does not need the aid of Steinem's victimology to, er, penetrate the glass ceiling. No mention of the high suicide rate or the high rate of drug use and venereal disease in the porn industry. No, just one former pornstar atop the corporate ladder makes the adult industry worthwhile. You can fuck yourselves to the top, too, little girls!
And no mention of Hustler's glorification of its regular cartoon character Chester the (Child) Molester. Because consenting adults should be left alone to prey on children.
But what was really pathetic about this garbage was that Larry Flynt, garbage that he certainly is, was and is right to point out that the mainstream media are nothing but whores for our warmongering plutocracy. Instead of being what it should be, the Fourth Estate that speaks truth to power, it offers us distracting lurid nonsense like stories about Edwards's Bastard Child. Of course, you don't need a loathsome toad like Larry Flynt to make this really obvious point. But doesn't it boggle the mind that journalistic integrity has reached such a nadir, that even the textbook example of the sleazy pimp and pornographer can say with an entirely straight face that he is outraged by how corrupt and craven the mainstream media have become? What is even more mind-boggling is that throngs of people will go to hear him croak out this outrage. Have people become such intellectual serfs that they need to hear what should be self-evident (even to a MySpace teenybopper) confirmed by a filthy fat frog?
Anyway, before I go, I would be very much remiss if I did not stress that Larry Flynt is a monster, and that his magazine is so disgusting that it almost made me vomit. I am not being metaphorical. One of the cartoons was so sick that I literally had to run to the toilet because I feared that I would dirty the floor with vomit.
It is true that Hustler now publishes very serious writings of political journalists such as Nat Hentoff and Gregory Palast, and they should be ashamed of themselves for letting their stuff be seen amid such palpable depravity. The Right to be Left Alone lauds Mr. Flynt as a champion of Free Expression. If allowing such filth to be seen and peddled is the price for living in a free society, then give me a totalitarian dictatorship, please. I do not need Flynt to read trenchant critiques of the Bush Administration and his whores at Fox News and The New York Times. I can read Z-Mag, Harper's, The American Conservative, and The Nation, none of which have any hint of pornography, all of which are much better written (that's not saying much, of course), and all of which because they don't come with a bonus DVD (showing lots and lots of lurid distracting nonsense, by the way) are much, much, much cheaper.
By the way, no one even jokes about reading Hustler for the articles. There is a reason for this. Gregory Palast and Nat Hentoff (among others) are simply casting pearls before sewer-drenched swine. Pathetic.