Lisa vs. Larry Flynt

LJ: Oh, I had fun with that. I would just look at the setting and look at the girl and come up with a name for her. I'd just use really dopey names, like Jessica. You know, names that guys like. They couldn't be named Edith or anything like that. They always had to be Tracy and Stacey. But I was allowed to be a little more creative when I went to Chic, because that was like the nicer version of Hustler. I actually named one Catherine. I wouldn't have named anyone Catherine for Hustler.

NT: You also were responsible for the "Beaver Hunt" feature [where readers send in their own nude photos]. What was that like?

LJ: That's a great job. That'll depress you. I had to sift through the mail and pick out a bunch of decent ones, pick a variety so there weren't too many blonds, or too many women in the same position. That sort of thing. There were so many women that were so fat, or had no teeth or were obviously drug-ravaged, it's hard to imagine they would want to be seen naked. But there's something admirable about that, too: "Well, I'm fat, and I'm hot."

NT: Did you see Flynt in the office much?
LJ: I saw him a lot, but I only talked to him maybe three times. The first was when he was bringing Milos Forman around, and I was introduced to him. Then a week later he came in again and asked me who I was. I was the editor of Chic [at the time], the editor of one of his magazines, and he had no idea who I was. He didn't seem to be all there. To be fair, maybe he just didn't care. I guess he knows what's going on, but he definitely has his priorities.

NT: Does he have an inner circle of employees, the way the film depicts?
LJ: Well, his girlfriend works there; he fired someone and made her talent coordinator. Which is gathering the naked chicks. Her prior experience is she was his nurse.

NT: What does he actually do now?
LJ: He approves the covers of all the adult magazines, and he picks out all the cartoons, which is a big selling point, even though they're racist and not funny. He definitely strikes fear into people [in the office]. He's kind of a larger-than-life character. He wears, like, pink pimp suits and he rolls around in a gold wheelchair, and he rides around in a white stretch limo with a naked woman painted on the side.

NT: So what do you feel is his talent?
LJ: It was he didn't give a shit about his public image. He didn't care if he had to spend a few months in jail. He really likes porn, he really likes sex and he just went with that; he's really focused on it.

NT: What were your female co-workers' attitudes toward Flynt's publications and their readership?

LJ: One woman I knew who worked at the Hustler Digest--after it folded, she worked in one of the more mainstream Flynt magazines; she worked at Modern Gun. Actually, she preferred the porn to the gun stuff; she found it disturbing. But most of the women, we all thought it [the porn] was funny. But I like porn, so I didn't have any kind of contemptuous attitude toward the readers, whoever they might be.

NT: Do you have any take on what it was like to work for Flynt in his heyday versus now?

LJ: I think probably in the '80s it was pretty cool to work there, because you could feel like you were taking down the establishment working there. Maybe there was a feeling among the people who worked there that they were really doing something worthwhile, it was more than just a job.

NT: Are you going to see the movie?
LJ: Oh, yeah. I'm going to wear my "Larry Flynt for President" tee shirt.
NT: Do you think you'll have any sense of pride after seeing the film?
LJ: No. It was just a job. And not even a good job.

If you wish to praise, bury or simply compare inseam sizes with Peter Gilstrap in an electron-based format, modem up our online cousin at: www.phoenixnewtimes.com. The bonus: features so hot they can only appear in a digital bitstream!

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