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Al Goldstein Interview

Al Goldstein, founder of 'Screw' magazine, talks about porn, poop, and politics.

Al Goldstein was a cabdriver, an insurance salesman, an international photographer, and a reporter. He is best known, however, for his time as the executive editor and publisher of Screw, a position he held since he and Jim Buckley created the tabloid in 1968. A blend of explicit sexual material, political commentary, and social satire, Screw mirrored society and the personality of its outspoken publisher.

Although complaints deluged the New York District Attorney's office when Screw hit the stands—over 50 irate calls during the first week alone—no action was taken. Assistant D.A. Frank Conboy stated at the time that he didn't want to give the paper publicity. As it turned out, Screw didn't need it. Even without an effective distribution system, the publication prospered. Goldstein was arrested, however, shortly after issue No. 15 appeared, lampooning New York Mayor John Lindsay.

Goldstein lost that case. In the years to followed he would see many of the tabloid's profits eaten up by legal costs, as various government agencies tried to rake him over the coals for obscenity. The most expensive—and notorious—prosecution stemmed from a 1974 federal indictment in Wichita, Kansas. Goldstein was convicted of conspiring to mail obscene materials: Screw subscriptions. The verdict was overturned, however, on the grounds that the prosecutor had made inflammatory remarks to the jury. A retrial was scheduled.

Around this time Goldstein underwent a tracheostomy (cutting a small hole in the windpipe to facilitate breathing). Although it was widely suspected that Goldstein had undergone surgery for no better reason than to avoid a retrial, this was not the case. He had been having trouble breathing for quite some time. Ultimately, government doctors ascertained that the publisher's health—mental and physical—was indeed too frail to allow him to stand trial for the time being.

In due time, Goldstein had his day in court, and the trial ended in a hung jury (nine for acquittal, three against). But besides giving him headaches, Screw made Goldstein a celebrity. Even conservative Playboy interviewed him in October of 1974, although the material was so severely edited it gave a distorted view, presenting Goldstein as a sex freak and totally ignoring the serious political issues he represents.

Men's magazines have changed greatly since Screw first came on the scene. Many have adopted its formula. Often it has been said that the publication eventually softened over the years. This was not true. Screw became more explicit. The tabloid effectively changed people's tastes and dealt a serious blow to sexual prudery. Its circulation was ever on the rise, and it was distributed nationally despite the fact that the paper was once sold only by a handful of New York City news dealers.

In the interest of free speech, guaranteed by the First Amendment, and of the principles of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” embodied in the Declaration of Independence, HUSTLER's Larry Flynt conducted this vintage interview with the irreverent Al Goldstein. Goldstein passed away in 2013 from renal failure, and left behind a legacy in the world of pornography and gentlemen's magazines.

HUSTLER: Why has Screw been prosecuted more than any other sexual publication, including HUSTLER?

Al Goldstein: Screw's mission has been to offend, attack, and ridicule. Nothing is sacred to Screw, including the pretenses of its own publisher, me. But it's the political content that causes people to want to press charges against us. Their excuse to get at us is the sexual content.

For example, I recently obtained my FBI file. Early in 1969 the FBI wrote a memo stating its outrage that No. 11 of Screw contained an article entitled “Is J. Edgar Hoover a Fag?” The FBI was so offended it instructed a New York City morals squad to arrest us. It wasn’t incensed by the explicit nature of the photos—the close-ups of genitalia, the tits, the ass. The FBI was offended that Screw had the audacity to say J. Edgar Hoover was gay. Of course, we all know he was.

Another very early arrest was caused by a photo we printed of John Lindsay. He was then mayor of New York. On one hand Lindsay was a typically phony liberal, and on the other hand he was a sex-hating hypocrite. We made fun of Lindsay, and 24 hours later I was handcuffed in the Tombs." 

How long did it take the FBI to respond once you had requested your file under the Freedom of Information Act? Have you received all the information? 

It took eight months to get the corporate files, but the FBI has refused to give me my personal file, so I’m going into federal court to force it to turn the files over. 

Why would you have to resort to force? Isn't the FBI required by law to respond within 10 working days?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is as law-abiding as President Richard Milhous Nixon and Attorney General John Mitchell were. The fact that I’m entitled to my files is all the more reason it won’t give them to me.

Do you think the time will ever come when pornography will no longer be a political buzzword?

I’m encouraged by the fact that someone like incumbent Ralph Perk lost his mayoral primary in Cleveland, Ohio. He based his whole campaign on an antiporn posture. He had the city garbagemen delivering tremendously biased questionnaires, which intimated that people who enjoy pornography are in some way disturbed.

Abe Beame, the ex-mayor of New York City, was another politician who fought to put pornography out of business. I did what I could to hurt him—I endorsed him in Screw. I’m sure that cost him some votes.

Are these signs that the public is changing its attitudes toward pornography?

Basically what you’re asking is, will the voter suddenly be sane and rational? Of course not. But it’s nice to know that in this simple-minded society we live in, not all asshole politicians can so warp the political process that they can ensure their reelection by opposing the right of people to see sexually explicit material.

Yet there are too many other areas in which these politicians have been successful. For instance, there's Congressman Robert K. Dornan, a Republican from California, with whom I’ve debated. He's a nice Neanderthal bigot, and his positions are frightening. Nevertheless he was elected.

Do you believe in majority rule?

No. Majority rule means tyranny. Ninety-nine percent of the people don’t give a shit. For 50 years now, studies by various statistical-measuring services have shown that most people, if they had to vote on the US Constitution, would vote it down. Most people feel that homosexuals should not teach in our schools and that blacks should not have equal rights.

The majority would vote against the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, all the amendments. Most people are prejudiced and do not want differences of opinion, differences of lifestyles, to exist. If the majority rules, the minority will be crushed.

Then how should we elect our president? By the majority of the popular vote?

I’ll accept the faulty democracy we now have and the vote—simply because they seem to be working all right. After all, we got rid of Nixon. I really do have hope. I believe in the system as long as I feel that I can make a difference. But if the system is trying to trample my rights, or the rights of homosexuals, or any other group, then I’m going to say, “Hey, we're not going to take that.”

You don’t seem to believe in people. Why, then, do you want to be involved at all?

The worst thing that any individual can do is to be resigned, to feel helpless and hopeless. When you do that, you’re like the 99 percent of the people around who are just waiting for death to take them away. 

Illustration by Danny Hellman

Rumors have circulated that your tracheostomy was performed to delay your retrial, because you feared being sent to prison.

No, I put that hole in my neck because that’s where I store dimes when I want to make a phone call.

Have you done any sex tricks with it?

Occasionally I finger myself, but I come so quickly that I get a headache.

What kinds of weird sexual attitudes does the publisher of a pornographic rag like Screw have?

I see a nice-looking woman wearing a bikini on a beach, but I don’t want to tie her up and hang her from a meat hook. I want to fuck her and have her fuck me, because sex is a very constructive, exciting part of life. I think I’m open in terms of my own sexuality, and yet I’m also amazed at how prudish I am at certain other levels. I’m not into a swinging marriage. My marriage is classic: I'll cheat now and then—and hope I don't get caught—and if my wife screwed around, I’d divorce her. That's not very healthy, so I’ve got a long way to go.

Does being overweight make you feel sexually inferior?

Absolutely. I do very poorly with new women because fat is currently out. I’m sure Orson Welles doesn't get laid that much either. One of the few areas of displeasure and pain to me is being a fatty. Fat people are sexually isolated in our society and are subjected to tremendous rejection.

Will you ever be concerned enough with this rejection to do something about it?

I’m thinking of either a bypass or a lobotomy. I'll toss a coin to decide which one. The good thing is no one will know the difference.

Do you have a strange kink or fetish?

My ultimate fantasy is to be allowed in Larry Flynt's vault, roll in his money and gold, and drop two loads on his currency. That would be exciting.

You're sidestepping the question. Are you so ashamed of your sexual fantasies?

I want Jane Fonda to sit on my head as we discuss New Left politics. I want her desperately. If she reads this, I hope she'll satisfy me.

Who are some of the other celebrities in your fantasies?

There was this stripper, Candy Barr, I remember. She was the first girl I jerked off to. Very pretty. She'd enjoy being eaten. I’m very oral. My first turn-on is to eat a pretty woman. Fucking her is second.

Eating pussy is much more intimate, much more private. With fucking you really don’t get the taste, the smell of the woman, unless she's been racing horses around the track. I think it’s pretty shocking that the Supreme Court said that eating pussy is an act against nature (Doe v. Commonwealth's Attorney for City of Richmond, Virginia, 1976). That blows my mind! For a Court majority of six old, senile farts to tell me how to conduct sex is ludicrous.

Anyway, I’d also like to eat Candice Bergen. Tricia Nixon: I feel I’d understand her husband's politics better if I went down on her.

What fascinates you about Candice Bergen?

She seems bright. Good legs. She has a self-sufficiency I find appealing.

You get attacked frequently by members of the women's movement. Why would Screw receive more ridicule than Playboy, as an example?

I actually think Screw is less vulnerable simply because we exploit men and women equally. But I also feel that the feminist movement is full of shit. It is supposed to be this classless group of women, but in reality it's elitist. It's supposed to be protecting secretaries and barhops, but there are no secretaries, no housewives in most feminist groups. Instead, the groups consist of people who earn their living by writing. The more they disseminate feminism, the more they get for the sale of their articles.

Frankly, I think these women are exploiting the movement. Also, I refuse to be made the “heavy” for the women's movement. I’m as exploited by conditioning as women are, and yet I'm blamed for being unfair to women. That's as stupid as blaming me for the sins of slavery. I never owned a black, and as long as I haven’t owned a black and no one can show by my own actions that I am mean to blacks, I refuse to feel guilty. The feminist movement tries to blackmail men. In fact, one of the first editors of Screw was a woman, who's now working for Penthouse.

A great deal of research indicates a link between sexual repression and antisocial behavior, whether it be child abuse, violence in society or all the so-called kinks, fetishes, and the acceptable sexual perversions that exist in society today. Now this was the general thrust of a HUSTLER article on child abuse by Dr. James W. Prescott. He wrote that we’re breeding violence into our children and that we’ve created the violent society we live in simply because we function under the theory that physical discipline (pain and suffering) builds strong moral character. Prescott said that this theory is a myth, that what we need is love and that sexual repression does nothing but contribute to our neuroses. Do you agree?

Absolutely. We only have to look at the era in Greece 400 years before Christ. The city of Sparta was a military fortress where everything revolved around war and violence. As a matter of fact, it was all right to steal as long as one didn't get caught. Nothing of much value came from that city, unlike Athens of the same period. Athens belonged to the literary and intellectual worlds of Plato, Pericles, and other brilliant minds. The Athenian mentality produced beauty, intelligence, and sensuality. Ironically, Sparta has given us the military mind, which can’t get orgasmic relief, so instead it releases bombs and rockets.

But that negative body attitude, that uncaring view of life, has also spawned alcoholism, drug abuse, and self-humiliation to the point where it’s easier to reach for a joint or bottle or gun than for another person.

I agree completely.

Isn't much of this largely the result of the Judeo-Christian ethic? Didn't God intend for us merely to live fairly with one another?

I judge religions on the basis of what they do, and I'm afraid to say that the insidious power of religion has been with us for thousands of years. I do not respect irrationality, stupidity, or superstition, and much of religion is rooted in these.

Do you think there will ever be a true separation of church and state?

I'm afraid religion’s going to be with us for a long, long time. My objection to religion is that instead of being used constructively, it’s been used as an instrument of destruction. If religion really preached the holiness of the body and its use sexually, I would applaud religion, even though I’m a nonbeliever. But religion teaches us that sex is bad, and that's what I find so very alien to me.

How does pornography fit in then?

Pornography is far less dangerous than romanticism. Both are fantasies; both have weak premises. But romanticism is why three out of four marriages wind up in divorce court—sexual unhappiness being one cause. Pornography tries to depict some reality, however. Naturally, it too can be misused, but I prefer pornography completely to idealistic, romantic bullshit.

In what way do you believe pornography can be misused?

Through its occasional rigidity. It would be bad for the woman who's having a problem with an orgasm to think, as she watches someone twisting and cavorting on the screen in a porn theater, that all it takes is a stiff cock to have 12 orgasms. And, conversely, it's uncomfortable for males to see all those men in porn films with 12" cocks. When I look at Johnny “the Wadd” Holmes, I don’t want to unzip anymore; I don’t have enough meat to work with. What we're talking about is accepting ourselves for what we are, and romanticism clouds the issue more than porn.

Photo via Sun Sentinel

Why should you be protected by the First Amendment when you seem unwilling to support majority rule—one of the fundamental principles of democracy?

I think the greatest component of democracy is the concept of containing multitudes. That means, within me is a fascist, a Jew, a liberal, a repressive Ronald Reagan-type of person. Within me are so many different kernels of my individuality that I don't know which is really me, and I want to be able to give them all full expression.

Furthermore, I like to be honest publicly about the diversity of my own sexuality, the lack of guilt I feel about it, and the admission that I am what I am. Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter said the right to be left alone is important. I have the right to be what I want to be. And when I see injustice, I have the right to yell, “Enough! Let's stop it!” The real reason I do what I do is because we have the First Amendment, and I intend to exercise it.

During your obscenity trial in Wichita before the change of venue to Kansas City the prosecutor, Larry Schauf, accused you of abusing your right to First Amendment protection. You were accused of being motivated by money and little else.

If I went for the dollar, I would really be a super-rich person who played it safe. The way to make the most money in this country is to deal with sex without touching on politics. Mafia people I knew in the early years of Screw's existence said, “Quit attacking the Pope. Quit attacking the politicians. Quit attacking Nixon.” They were right. The legal fees in Kansas in 1976 were $235,000. The 1977 trial should probably cost me another $250,000. If I had any brains, I'd sell tits and ass and not do political commentary. But I love the political commentary. While growing up in Brooklyn, I remember being told in civics class that America was free. I was stupid and jerky enough to have believed those words.

Would you accept majority rule if the US Supreme Court justly interpreted the Constitution?

The Constitution is a flawed document written by a wealthy minority. During America's early period, a man couldn't vote if he didn't own any land. Mankind is imperfect. Majority rule doesn’t work; it has never worked. The average person is too busy watching Police Woman and Charlie's Angels on TV to help run the government and protect my rights.

I favor knowledgeable, intellectual people protecting me from majority rule. The Supreme Court was not appointed by bright, artistic people like Adlai Stevenson, but by Richard M. Nixon, who represented the majority—the lowest common denominator.

But isn’t the Supreme Court supposed to interpret the Constitution whether or not its judgment corresponds to the people's opinion?

The Supreme Court is a political instrument composed of malleable political creatures. It's not some august body of intellectuals and cerebral types who are going to maximize fidelity to the Constitution. Today's Court is frightening in its stupidity. Four of the nine justices (Warren Burger, William Rehnquist, Lewis Powell, and Harry Blackmun) were appointed by Nixon. They should have disqualified themselves once Nixon left the presidency, because they are part and parcel of that man’s corruption.

But weren't Nixon's appointees confirmed by the Senate?

Right. With rare exceptions the Senate's role is to rubber-stamp the president's choice. If there is nothing in a candidate's past, if he has no police record and if no investigations reveal any violations of the law, the Senate will usually confirm a Supreme Court candidate who has been nominated by the president. A very bland person with the most conservative, right-wing political philosophy of anyone in the country can be appointed to the Court if the Senate can’t uncover any tangible evidence that would disqualify him.

Nixon didn't want to appoint a Supreme Court that he could control—that would have been too obvious—but he did want to have one that would be predictable. By appointing the narrow minded bigots who shared his own conservative politics, he would have the Court he wanted.

Good examples of the type of people that he attempted to get on the Court are G. Harrold Carswell and Clement F. Haynsworth. Luckily, both men were rejected by a very courageous vote in the Senate. Carswell was an advocate of racial segregation. And Haynsworth himself was exposed for his conflict of interest in court cases. If these two men were among Nixon's first choices, what did we get when he nominated Burger, Rehnquist, Powell, and Blackmun?

Nixon was not fit to be president of the country, yet his appointees to the Supreme Court are interpreting the Constitution of the American people. If the Larry Flynts and Al Goldsteins of this world don't look out for the rights of the people, who will? The Nixon Supreme Court?

Are you worried about going to jail? 

Society will always punish the people who say the things that society wants to suppress. Going to jail is not something I relish, but I feel I can do the time, and I refuse to be so intimidated by prison that it will change my course of action. 

Illustration by Tony Millionaire

Is there any form of sexual behavior that you find repugnant?

Yes, eating shit. I saw a movie recently at Lincoln Center entitled Salo, the last film made by Pier Paolo Pasolini, a brilliant Italian filmmaker who was murdered by a homosexual boy he'd picked up. The film deals with the Marquis De Sade, humiliation, brutalization, eating shit, and being pissed on.

Salo makes HUSTLER look like Atlantic Monthly. It not only tells you how to eat shit, but also how to get the shit really smelly by eating beans and contaminated food so the excrement is even worse smelling than if your bowels were healthy. Since it was a Pasolini film, however, it was acceptable to the pretentious intellectuals, the same intellectuals who would say that HUSTLER's gone too far, the same people who defended Fanny Hill, Ulysses, Lady Chatterley's Lover and Ralph Ginzburg’s Eros. I found Pasolini’s film despicable and disgusting, and I wanted to throw up. But I believe it had every right to be shown.

But how about all the scatological content of Screw?

Shit and piss. I am fascinated with the fact that every day we probably use our cocks six or seven times to piss. Most of us who are healthy wipe our asses at least once a day because we shit. All that wonderful food that we’re eating at the Palace and other great restaurants is going to be turned into shit in about nine hours. That's the fascinating secret, and I love it. And by extension, when I look at adults I say, “Did that adult eat pussy? Did that adult fuck?” It’s a secret that adults don’t want to share with fellow adults. Metaphorically, they're all little containers of shit looking for a place to drop some.

People who have known and worked with you characterize you as being neurotic. Even your lawyer, Herald Fahringer, once said that Screw is your way of responding to an authoritarian society. Is this true?

I would verify that, sure. Almost anyone who tries to bring about change has to be a little unbalanced. If you’re balanced, you’re not going to fight. Yes, within me I’m sure there are certain self-destructive components. The average politician has such components too. To be a true believer, to be a zealot, you have to be a little different.

Psychiatrists would say that you were neglected in your childhood and are now seeking the limelight, even though the real point here is that you are merely outraged at the injustices and the illogical nature of the system we are forced to live in.

Psychiatrists and phony liberals would rather see me as a case study for a textbook than deal with the issues I bring up. They did the same thing during most of the Vietnam War: To justify the genocide being perpetrated against the North Vietnamese, they believed—in true double-think fashion—that the Viet Cong were not really human beings. So when Al Goldstein raises an issue, these same people discount what I have to say because I’m supposed to be sick.

But don’t you offend people unnecessarily just to get attention?

Why don't people say Martin Luther King, Jr., was merely seeking attention? Nobody ever says that. People always assume that if you’re in the sexual field, all the psychological components that make you what you are have to be negative.

Then how far ahead of his time is Al Goldstein?

I would say 15 to 20 years. I am also a father now, and I would like my son to live in a saner world than I do. I don’t want my son to have to go through my drawers to find my pornography, as I found my father's. I would like my son to be able to masturbate without feeling guilty, wondering if his mind is going to turn to oatmeal. Whatever options my son has—if the boy is raised with love, sanity, and care—I think whatever choice he makes will be fine. Truthfully, I don’t care. If he wants to suck cock in the subway, if that’s where he's at, I hope I can be a good enough father to love him. He's probably going to identify with his rather crazy father, and be very much like me—fucked up.

Al, most people will concede currently that pornography is not harmful to adults. But everyone is now concerned about the children. Do you feel children are affected by pornography, keeping in mind that you have a child yourself?

If my son saw in Screw a picture of two persons fucking, he probably would look past the couple and say, “What's that on the door?” I think you only perceive something when you’re ready for it. The only problem with looking at pornography is its detached sexuality—meaning the lack of an emotional context. I don’t think the boy should read it, but I would not hide it. When I was twelve, I found my father's collection of pornography. I remember running into the bathroom and jerking off. I was all right. In fact, I was happy to know my father actually looked at pictures of naked women.

How do you feel about children who are exposed to pornography, not necessarily through the sale of it or because you yourself hand them a copy, but because they might pick it up on a street corner?

I don't believe it's going to hurt a child. However, I publish and edit Screw for adults. All we hear from the censors is “What about the children?” It’s a very emotional issue, but you can’t let the rights of children negate the rights of adults.

What do you see as the future of the porn industry?

Clothing. I think people are going to get basically satiated with nudity. The unknown is always what's exciting and titillating. The problem with all men's magazines is that too much is being shown, but I wouldn’t want a court to tell us that. I'm personally sick of so much nudity, so I jerk off to Bloomingdale's catalogs or the New York Times Magazine.

How would you rate the top three men's magazines?

If I had some time to read, I would pick Playboy. Editorially, it's comprehensive. Sexually, it is without a doubt the weakest, almost apologetic. I get the feeling that every time Hef drops a load he says he's sorry. I haven’t been able to jerk off to Playboy in 14 years. What I like about it is the advertising. I'm a big reader of ads. I want to know which hi-fi systems to buy, which new speakers I can stick in my Rolls.

I really like jerking off to Penthouse. I think Guccione is very responsive. The women are comely enough, so I like it. I find HUSTLER the hardest magazine to jerk off to. First of all, I think women's genitals are ugly. HUSTLER is the most enjoyable for me to read because I can keep score of what you guys have stolen from me. If I wanted to drive people out of the BMT subway so I could get a seat, I’d read HUSTLER. 

Photo via Brunch News

Many of your critics have written off Screw. They feel that you, like Clay Felker of Esquire, are too Manhattan-oriented, that you feel that the whole world revolves around the Big Apple and that you'll be unable to respond to the rest of the people around the country. Do you buy such criticism?

People all across the country fuck in the same way, with the same instrumentation. I’ve eaten pussy in the Midwest and fucked my brains out throughout most of this country. Sex is a universal, a common theme. I don’t think there are many geographical differences.

To be a little more specific, some people say Screw isn't as outrageous as it used to be.

People tell me, “Gee, Screw was so brave eight, nine years ago, and what's happened to it?” The answer is, everyone has become more candid and we’ve just gotten used to it. It’s just like a drill running at a 90-decibel level; after a while you tune out that drilling. You get used to a certain level of candor just as you get acclimated to a certain level of sound.

But often you don’t try to further liberate sexual views. You use sex to insult and abuse.

Screw is very nihilistic. We on the staff are sexual anarchists. We were the only publication to come out in favor of continuing the war in Vietnam, because we felt the war was increasing our readership. Everyone in the foxholes was reading Screw. We felt the United States should have attacked the Chinese mainland. The more men in uniform, the more Screw readers there would be.

You have not only offended the government with your publication, but you have also offended most of our institutions and a great number of influential people in this country. Do you ever worry about your safety and the safety of your family?

I wouldn't be surprised if in the next two years there is a bullet in my brain. I am afraid, so often, of being killed that most of the time I have a .38 strapped to my ankle.

At any rate, due to the Supreme Court's ruling in the Miller decision, it’s apparent that the government has taken quite a few shots at you. Literary, artistic types and intellectual, liberal journalists were willing to sign editorials in your defense. But, ironically, they wouldn't appear in court to help establish that Screw was not “utterly without redeeming social value.” Why was that?

Cowardice! For example, in the 50s, when blacklisting was going on—when good intellectuals were not permitted to work in Hollywood– the Left was silent. Even the American Civil Liberties Union worked with the FBI in the '50s and 60s.

One time Morris Ernst, who was head of the First Amendment Lawyers, threw me out of a meeting of the group because he thought Screw was obscene. He died recently, and it has been discovered that he'd cooperated with the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover while heading the ACLU's legal division. That's the kind of liberal he was: phony.

The point is, why should we expect courage in pornography when courage has never existed? Courage is unique, rare and applauded, but we must realize that most of the so-called intellectual press is as gutless with respect to the issue of pornography as it is with any other dissent.

How do you feel about your public image?

I don’t want to be the Fred Flintstone of the flesh world, and I tend to be perceived that way. I think it’s because I'm honest. You're not supposed to be honest. Look at all the trouble Jimmy Carter got into when he said he had lust in his heart. Not being able to implement the ideas I have and the contributions I can make to society is very frustrating. So, in that regard, I would like to be more respectable, to be a national figure, to continue having the same death wish as Larry Flynt (to be hated and loved simultaneously). I don't merely want to write empty words for an editorial page in Screw.

Do you ever consider giving up?

I remember getting letters from readers as far back as '68, '69– five years before HUSTLER first appeared—stating, “I can’t believe a newspaper like yours is around. How long will they let you get away with it?”

I used to write these people, or call them, saying, “They’re not letting me get away with anything; I have a right to do it.” I corroborated for these people their validity to exist. Whether they were into swinging or nocturnal cocksucking in a theater or just masturbating or even paying for their sex, suddenly here was somebody saying, “Hey, I do what you do and I do it publicly.” The readers felt less frightened.

The main thing that keeps me going is rage. Rage and anger. I am competitive. I do not want to be defeated. I do not want to lose. I do not want to be emasculated. It's me against them. It's high noon every day of my life, and I think I’ve been shot in the balls a few times, but I’m still able to draw my gun. If I’m going to be thought of as a bear, I want to be thought of as a grizzly.

I’ll only stop when pornography is legalized, when the Supreme Court finally grows up and legalizes what we're doing. Then I’ll feel that the battle's over and that we’ve won.

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