Sunday, May 16, 1999

Jabba the Flynt

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The last place I expected to see a Star Wars Action Figure was in a Hamilton County courtroom. But there he was, leering and grinning, the one from the evil underworld planet, Hollywoodian.

        He's surrounded by adoring freaks who think he's a hero. He keeps naked women in chains. He traps good guys and holds them prisoner while he feeds on innocent creatures.

        Jabba the Flynt.

        His groupies and fans say he's harmless. But he squats at the top of an $8 billion porn empire. His “legitimate” celebrity face is the mask on a monster whose tentacles reach from the White House to your house.

        When charges were filed against Jabba in Cincinnati, the prosecutor showed our editorial board one of his Hustler store's videos.

        It was nothing like what Jabba's friends and lawyers describe. It was not “innocent sex,” “free expression” or merely “naked people.” It was violent gang rape, simulated for a leering camera — at least I hope it was simulated. It's hard to tell the difference — especially for unstable psychos.

        Research has conclusively demonstrated that such porn can be “a potent catalyst for sexually abusive behaviors such as rape.”

        Male college students exposed to soft porn were more likely to believe women enjoy being raped, began to fantasize about rape and required more deviant and graphic porn to achieve the same stimulation.

        This is what Jabba's magazines and videos teach boys ages 12-17, who are the biggest consumers of porn. Innocent creatures.

        Research shows that porn is an accomplice in crime. Thousands of child molesters, serial killers and rapists can't be wrong: They are often porn addicts, using it to fuel fantasies they act out with innocent victims.

        A study of 38,000 sexual assault cases in Michigan found that 41 percent involved the use of pornography just prior to the act or during the act.

        At the least, porn teaches young men to see women as sex toys. Women in chains.

        And in the past 20 years, as porn has multiplied like bacteria, through mail-order videos, the Internet and “mainstream” media, it has polluted our culture, turning our entertainment into a Superfund Site of toxic trash.

        Listen to radio “shock jock” Howard Stern, wondering why the Columbine High School killers didn't rape their victims: “There were, like, really good-looking girls running out of there with their hands over their heads. Did those kids try to have sex with any of the good-looking girls? They didn't even do that. At least if you're going to kill yourself and kill all the kids, why wouldn't you have some sex?”

        His comment on the rapes of Kosovo refugees: “Those Albanian women are hot.” His co-host: “The Serbs are just having a good time.”

        Demands that he be fired were ignored.

        After all, it's only about harmless sex, remember? If Howard Stern wants to encourage boys to rape girls before they murder them, it's none of our business.

        If Jabba the Flynt is an honored celebrity guest at the White House Correspondents Dinner, who cares?

        If he blackmails Congress to prevent the impeachment of a president who was caught acting out Hustler videos in the Oval Office, what's it to us?

        Here's what: Jabba the Flynt and Howard Stern and their sicko cult of cultural arsonists are the modern version of Faulkner's Snopes family of barn burners. Do nothing, and sooner or later they will get around to your barn. Your home. Your marriage. Your children.

        One study in the porn research I've been reading explains a lot. A group of teens was exposed to massive amounts of prime-time television that dwelt on sex outside marriage. Then, when asked to rate examples of sexual indiscretions, they judged them “significantly less bad” than a peer group that had not been overdosed with TV sex.

        Now consider that an average high school graduate has seen 15,000 hours of TV, compared to 11,000 hours of classroom instruction; and that each year's TV viewing included 14,000 instances of sexual material, with 94 percent depicting sex outside of marriage. “Extramarital sex is portrayed eight times more commonly than sex between spouses,” the research reports.

        Thank Jabba the Flynt, the Henry Ford of the porn industry. He's made it so respectable, we don't even blink when we find out Bill Clinton's “hot line” call is phone sex.

        Cincinnati had Jabba cornered for peddling porn to a 14-year-old boy — the crime he perpetrates on a galactic scale every day. But the phasers were set on stun. He got away with a $10,000 fine and a promise to sell no more videos. Just magazines.

        Too bad. He'll be back in the sequel.

Peter Bronson is editorial page editor of The Enquirer. If you have questions or comments, call 768-8301, or write to 312 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.

Flynt looking for 'Hustler' retailers
Video porn debate plays on