“He’s Wearing This Big Diaper He Had Made Up From An American Flag”

From “Larry Flynt at Home,” Jean Stein’s Los Angeles Review of Books recollection of the puke-inducing pornographer/Constitutional rights champion at the height of his powers in 1983, as he was planning a Presidential run. In this segment, screenwriter and novelist Terry Southern has been summoned to Flynt’s Los Angeles lair, by a wired Dennis Hopper, to work on a dubious film project about Jim Morrison:

“The next guy to arrive was Marjoe — you know, that guy who used to be a child evangelist. And the other person who was a permanent guest for the moment was Madalyn Murray. Madalyn Murray has devoted her entire life to trying to get the Bible outlawed in school. She’s a professional atheist, very courageous. For some reason Larry Flynt was interested in her cause. I think he wanted to fuck her … mind-fuck her I mean.

About 4:00 P.M. Larry Flynt comes in and says, ‘Sundowner time. Time for a sundowner.’ He’s in a wh
eelchair. His wheelchair is motorized and gold-plated, and it has little American flags like on an ambassador’s car. He’s wearing this big diaper he had made up from an American flag.
‘They treat me like a baby,’ he said, ‘so I’m going to behave like one. And if I poo-poo in my diaper, I’ll be poo-pooing on the American flag.’ He’s trying to explain this to this huge Indian — what the hell is his name? He’s a great Indian guy who’s about seven feet tall … Means, Russell Means. He’s there, and meanwhile I hear this shouting, and it sounds like a big argument, but it’s just Liddy and Tim Leary rehearsing their act, I mean their ‘debate.’ About time for dinner, Frank Zappa arrives, you know him. Quite a grand zany. So there’s this very long table of odd people.

After dinner Larry said, ‘Come into my study, Terry, you’re going to need some money for the weekend.’ We went into his office and he said, ‘There’s a briefcase by the couch where you’re sitting. Put it on your lap and open it.’ So I did. It was full of packs of hundred-dollar bills. Larry said, ‘It’s a million dollars. I have this on hand to give validity to the offer.’ And he showed me this circular: A standing offer from Larry Flynt to the following women who are prepared to show gyno-pink. One million cash to Barbara Bach, Cathy Bach, Barbi Benton, Cheryl Tiegs … They were mostly kind of obscure, but there were one or two that were totally out of place, like Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda. He was offering them a million dollars if they’d pose and do a gyno spread, what he called ‘flashing pink.’ And so he said, ‘Take whatever you think you’ll need for the weekend,” and he made a point of turning around to use the phone so I could take what I wanted. When he finished his call, he asked, ‘How much did you take?’

‘Two hundred dollars.’

‘You must be a fool — you could have taken more.’

I said, “I don’t think I need any more than that.’

‘Well, I like an honest man,’ he said.”•


Larry Flynt, the First Amendment champion:

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