Archive for Thursday, August 7, 2008

Flynt film recalls free speech fights

August 7, 2008


Jerry Springer wants to know whether America has talent. Larry Flynt fights to see that America still has a constitution. What a night of television!

¢ Larry Flynt's magazine may not be your cup of tea. And that's the point of the documentary "Larry Flynt: The Right to be Left Alone" (8 p.m., IFC). It would be easy to dismiss Flynt as a sleazy man who publishes a dirty magazine and enjoys pushing people's buttons in a low-brow manner. But this film recalls all of the times that Flynt put his money and his life on the line for the first amendment.

In addition to being shot and paralyzed by a man offended by a photo essay on interracial sex, Flynt has taken cases involving obscenity, parody and satire to the Supreme Courts of several states and the U.S. Supreme court.

Flynt has tangled with leaders of the so-called Moral Majority as well as notable feminists. His life story and legal fights were the subject of the 1996 film biography starring Woody Harrelson. Since then, he has involved himself in exposing the hypocrisy of preachers and politicians and suing for reporters' rights for unfettered access to cover the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Flynt, seen here in interviews made for the film and decades of archival footage, decries voter apathy and corporate media that has turned journalism into a branch of entertainment. (For proof of that, check out news "anchor" Julie Chen on "Big Brother 10" (7 p.m., CBS).

The film and its stranger-than-fiction subject make the point that freedom of speech has meaning only when it is extended to the most contentious and disagreeable.

¢ Two summer talent hunts culminate tonight. "Last Comic Standing" (7 p.m., NBC) takes 90 minutes to announce its winner. That's because it features standup performances by Jon Lovitz, Gilbert Gottfried, Penn and Teller, Joel McHale and John Reep, last Summer's "Last Comic Standing" winner. And we get to see the summer's top 12 perform, as well. The winner walks away with $250,000, a new car, a deal with NBC and a gig at a casino.

¢ A winner will also emerge on the finale of "So You Think You Can Dance" (7 p.m., Fox). The winner will win $250,000. Look for performances by Jonas Brothers and the cast of "Criss Angel Believe."

¢ The series "Some Assembly Required" (7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Discovery) returns for a second season explaining manufactured items of all stripes.

Tonight's highlights

¢ A scent explains Henry's descent into madness on "Ugly Betty"

(7 p.m., ABC).

¢ Grissom returns to a double-murder investigation on "CSI" (8 p.m., CBS).

¢ Another week of Vegas callbacks on "America's Got Talent" (8:30 p.m., NBC), hosted by Jerry Springer, features judges David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne.

¢ A hostage-keeper's identity deviates from the playbook on "Flashpoint" (9 p.m., CBS).

¢ Michael participates in a heist on "Burn Notice"

(9 p.m., USA).

¢ On two episodes of "Samantha Brown: Passport to Great Weekends" (Travel), Washington D.C.

(9 p.m.), Las Vegas

(9:30 p.m.).

¢ Damon's stunt results in serious injury for a rival player on "MVP" (10 p.m., SoapNet).


cato_the_elder 9 years, 10 months ago

I would suggest the internal transposition of one sentence of the story: "But this film recalls all of the times that Flynt put the first amendment on the line for money in his life."

jmadison 9 years, 10 months ago

Contrast Flynt with the actions of Random House which has reneged on publishing Sherry Jones' historical novel "The Jewel of Medina" about Mohammed's child bride Aisha after a University of Texas associate professor of Islamic history, Denise Spellberg, leaked the contents of galleys she was reading, to pressure groups, which threatened Random House with reprisals if it published the novel.

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