Sunday, January 19, 1997
Let's exercise our freedom
to avoid sleaze


BY LAURA PULFER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Let's stay away from the Larry Flynt movie in droves. While we're at it, let's let the tabloid featuring photos of a dead child languish on the newsstands.

It's just a suggestion. I'm not trying to tell you what to do or anything. This is America.

Both the Oliver Stone-produced film, The People vs. Larry Flynt, and the tabloid Globe have every right to exist. They are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Free speech. Free exchange of ideas.

So here's my idea: Don't give them any money.

Then I bet they'd go away.

It's your money

Larry Flynt is sleazy, but he can't put a gun to your head and make you go to the movie. You have the right to spend your $7.50 on, say, The English Patient, instead. Or you could write a check to the ACLU just to show that you support the principle.

And there are many wonderful things you might spend your $1.39 on besides a tabloid that shouts that it has the CRIME SCENE PHOTOS from the ''little beauty sex murder.''

Do you really want to line the pockets of an outfit that would picture the hand of a dead 6-year-old child? Then have the gall to congratulate itself for the ''sensitive'' use of the stolen photos.

You can find this publication at the same place where you buy your food.

Yuk.

But, of course, the Globe wouldn't be there if it were not making money. And Larry Flynt wouldn't be the hero of a movie unless Hollywood thought we'd pay to see it.

Let's fool them.

If you stay away from this movie, the only thing you'll miss is the whitewash of a creep.

You will also miss a performance by grunge artist Courtney Love. Much beloved by critics, she has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the New York Film Critics Circle already has handed her kudos for best supporting actress.

Let's see, now. The Widow Cobain plays the role of a woman with no class, no morals and a drug habit. She finished filming in June and entered a drug rehab facility two months later.

(Incidentally, when I went to the movie, I was on assignment, working; the Enquirer doesn't like me to complain about things I haven't seen.)

The rubes of Cincinnati

And meanwhile, in case this matters to you at all, the people of Cincinnati were portrayed as rubes. And hypocrites.

Cynthia Hardie Boone, a vice president at Northlich Stolley LaWarre, says this probably doesn't matter to us. Her company is Cincinnati's largest advertising, direct marketing and public relations firm and has handled public relations problems including everything from corporate takeovers to consumer boycotts.

She says she doubts most people outside Cincinnati will focus on the location, but those who do ''certainly won't get to see Cincinnati at its best.''

Which is?

''Honorable people disagreeing reasonably and displaying extraordinary grace in difficult circumstances.''

Geez. She's good.

I feel better already.

Plus I've lived here long enough to know that she's right.

So, let's disagree reasonably and gracefully waltz right past the things that disgust us.

The Globe and Flynt Publications would have no interest in publishing photos of dead children or women in handcuffs if nobody bought what they were selling. Larry Flynt has said proudly on many occasions that he did it for the money.

He now is rewriting his history and Oliver Stone is his partner. Mr. Flynt would like to be known as a defender of freedom of speech ''for all of you,'' as he is now fond of saying.

Let's hold our noses and tiptoe past the the movie and Hustler and the Globe. Let's celebrate the laws that protect them. Let's laugh at their pretensions. Let's just refuse to be their business partners. Let's take away the spotlight.

And the money.

Laura Pulfer's column appears in The Enquirer on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 768-8393 or fax at 768-8340. She can be heard Monday mornings on WVXU radio (91.7 FM) and as a regular commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.