November 2019

Featuring Lana Rhoades

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Sleaze, Legalese & How to Hustle the Court

On a sunny California day in 1998 I was home from college, visiting my mom and grandmother. We happened to be standing in the parking lot of the distinctive black oval building on the edge of Beverly Hills known as the “Flynt Building.” (Larry had moved his headquarters there a few years previously.) It was a weird time. The country had been whipped into a frenzy by the Republican attempt to impeach Bill Clinton for lying about an Oval Office blowjob from White House intern Monica Lewinsky. (Lewinsky and I, by the way, had gone to the same high school.)

Flynt, a die-hard Democrat, had responded to the Clinton-Lewinsky witchhunt with some choice checkbook journalism, exposing the infidelities of impeachment committee member Bob Livingston, a right-wing Congressman from Louisiana. The hypocrite (a breed Flynt particularly detests) resigned in disgrace.

Standing there in the shadow of HUSTLER headquarters that day in the wake of the Livingston payback, my mom said to me, “Larry Flynt is our family’s political hero.” A man who publishes spread shots of naked women is our family’s hero? How did this happen? 

LIFE WITH LAWYERS
I remember that moment in Beverly Hills because it brings together many strands of my life and career that still continue today. Just as I seemed destined to pursue a career in law, my path is also strangely interwoven with a growing affinity and appreciation of Larry Flynt’s actions and legal precedents. For one thing, I knew what it was like to live your life with one or more lawyers at your side.

I come from a long line of rabid Progressives, many of whom—like both my parents—have been attorneys. My 85-year-old cousin once called a radio station saying Republicans did not deserve to live. My grandmother, a Polish Holocaust survivor, grew up in a Socialist environment that tolerated abortion and prostitution. She embraced capitalism, but could never stand closed-mindedness and greed.

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