Thursday, April 21, 2011

Larry Flint A Free Speech Advocate

Last night I caught CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight and his interview with Hustler magazine founder Larry Flint.

Tell you what. I was very impressed with Larry Flint and truly appreciated his view on the need to preserve the American rights of freedom of expression and the press.

I never read, rather looked at Hustler magazine other than the cover sitting in a newsstand. There was an unwritten code of conduct that Playboy was a far classier magazine because of the articles (yeah right) and only those with some perverted senses would pick up Hustler magazine. Regardless, the magazine never generated much interest for me.

When, Woody Harrelson starred in the 1996 movie, The People vs. Larry Flynt, I not only appreciated the great acting of the movie, but the significance of Larry Flint in American history.

I do not wish to ruin this great movie by going into details, but the movie revolves around the 1988 United States Supreme Court Case, Hustler Magazine Inc. v. Falwell. Due to Flint’s persistence and his good lawyer, the Supreme Court rendered an important decision.

The Court ruled that the First Amendment’s free-speech guarantee prohibits awarding damages to public figures to compensate for emotional distress intentionally inflicted upon them as in the case of a satirical magazine article.

After that movie, I still never looked at Hustler magazine, but appreciated Flint’s tenacity for sticking to principles that he believed in.

As Piers Morgan was interviewing the now older pornographer, I and hopefully others viewing the show realized how significant Flint has been for advocating the guaranteeing of rights as stated in the First Amendment.

Quoting from last night’s show, Flint stated:

Freedom of speech is not freedom for the fellow you love. . It's freedom for the fellow you hate the most. And a democracy can't exist without free speech and the right to assemble. And that's what Americans tend to forget . . . (Americans) are born into a culture where they take all of their freedoms for granted.
Perhaps because his business is so controversial, Larry Flint became one of our many national philosophers or writers who remind all Americans not to take our freedoms for granted and continue to work to maintain that those freedoms remain intact.

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