American Epiphany


God, the apostle Paul, and the comedian Lenny Bruce appeared to prominent American pornographer Larry Flynt when in 1977 he was flying over the Rockies in his labia-pink jet.
The porner was thrown into this spiritual spin because he was messing too much with the Sun. And when biology clocked him at thirty-five, when a man needs to straighten out and get his job done, the Sun roared. Happens to many of us maturing guys, only in less otherworldly ways. With the pink-shot sophist Flynt it took an extreme turn not, primarily, because he was filthy in an extreme way. Many guys are. But because he had become one of the notorious agents of ill eating away at the Western world.
Flynt had had religious flashes for some time prior, he recaps. Again, nothing unusual for a guy that age and life history. But what made his case singular and exemplary for all to see, was the shift to a whole new level of meaning: the plight of a whole race of people, of White people, of us.
Let’s go to the logbook. One of the most publicized corruptors of right-minded life in America and the Western world is having existential anxieties due to hitting a passage threshold. The evangelical sister of the evangelical president of the United States steps into his life. The contact verges on a near-sentient linking to the highest powers of the Western world. Now comes the pivot: a liaison to those powers initiates a Christian, i.e., beyond reason, acceptance of a demoralized to the core but also influential in his realm man. One example: wasn’t it him who published a photo of a previous U.S. President’s naked wife for the whole world to chew on, for which he got only more notorious and richer? Out of that combustive mix the otherwise casual processes of hitting peak manhood had gotten fused into a form of spiritual flare. Ruth Carter Stapleton certainly played a part in triggering the pornographer’s vision, including some of the casting.
Some, because the Lenny Bruce character clearly springs up from Larry Flynt’s own crassness, combined with the first-hand knowledge of the rot setting in the Western world. That’s when things got really interesting.
Lenny Bruce was born in 1925 on Long Island and died in 1966 naked on his bathroom floor in Hollywood from an overdose of morphine. In 1964, after his arrest for using obscene language on stage, Norman Mailer, James Jones, and other “prominent intellectuals” defended him as a social satirist “in the tradition of Swift, Rabelais, and Twain.” Bob Fosse’s flick Lenny (1974), starring Dustin Hoffman, showcased Bruce to the hoi polloi as a “martyr of freedom of speech”...>>