Do you remember the book All I Really I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten ******ital**** by Robert Fulghum? Film producer Oliver Stone seems to have his own version: All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in the ’60s. And what did the profoundly paranoid Stone learn? Drugs are good. Life is hard. Sex is good. War is bad. Rock and Roll is good. No one in authority should be trusted.
In every film from “The Doors” to “JFK,” the dazed and confused Stone completely rewrites history from his own paisley point of view. Ignoring the reality that drugs, sex, and rock and roll are killing people in droves these days, Stone insists that if we could just eliminate the authoritative and repressive moralism in this country today, we could enjoy all the fruits and freedom of a 60’s Love-in. In his tilted world, vices are virtues, and vice-versa.
In his latest film, “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” Stone presents the perverted porno-king as a champion of Constitutional rights. Flynt is the two-bit hustler who turned his penchant for pornography into a multi-million dollar publishing empire. As the creator of Hustler******ital***** magazine, he was brought to trial for pornography, but was never convicted. Instead, his material was protected by the Freedom of Speech clause in the First Amendment. The film itself is brilliantly manipulative and winning Golden Globe and Oscar nominations for Woody Harrelson (who plays Flynt) and punk-rocker Courtney Love (who plays his girlfriend, Althea).
Conservative organizations are offering the usual protests, however, there is one small voice in the crowd has some real credibility. It is Larry Flynt’s daughter, Tonya Flynt-Vega. She was in San Diego recently and was interviewed for the local Christian TV show, Crosswalk. She is a Christian now, dedicated to speaking out about the destructive impact of pornography on our society.
The picture she paints of her father is that he’s anything but a virtuous hero. Her pain is still evident as she shares stories of growing up with a man who sent his daughters pornographic Christmas cards, made them dance naked for his pleasure, and gradually grew more abusive until he was sexually molesting them on a regular basis.
“My father is a sick man. He used pornography to break down my inhibitions when he would abuse me,” she confesses. “I suffered tremendously. I am a living witness of the effects of pornography on someone’s life.”
Tonya is encouraging people not to spend their money to see the film. It not only sends the wrong message, but her father is a major investor in the project and stands to profit greatly from its success. “In a sense, I am being re-victimized by this film. It’s so full of lies. I think child abusers should be punished, not lifted up as heroes.” She tried to write a book about her life a decade ago, but her father threatened to have her killed if she published it. “My father doesn’t care about the First Amendment or free speech. He’s only interested in whatever will fill his pockets with money.”
Vega becomes very animated when she speaks out about the horrific impact of pornography, especially on women and children. Our tolerance has given these people permission to foist the most hideous images on the public. Underground topics like penetration, defecation, mutilation, necrophilia, and murder as sexual gratification are being found in ‘mainstream” publications, not only protected by the First Amendment, but accepted. ‘This is the stuff that feeds serial killers, and stores have it sitting around the candy counter for any child to pick up.”
The world of entertainment teaches us to trust our feelings rather than the facts. It tends to equate talent with truth. Movie-makers like Stone are talented enough to get people to trust their version of the truth, and millions of Americans are buying into Hollywood’s lies. We need to take a stand against pornography, but our first task is to learn how to tell the truth from the lies. It’s simple, really. All we really need to know, we learned in Sunday School: Pornography is wrong. The Word of God is true. Man is sinful. Jesus saves. If we don’t take a stand, evil wins.
David S. Hart is the host of Media Matters, a segment of Crosswalk, a local Christian TV show found each Friday evening on your local cable access channel. As the author of It’s All Rock and Roll to Me, he speaks across the country about rock music and youth culture. If you have questions or comments for Dave, or if you would like to schedule him for a Rock Talk, you can call him at 576-8211 or e-mail him at [email protected].