I’m certainly not a fan of Larry Flynt, but being someone who studies satire for a living, I have to give credit where it’s due: the rationale behind the porn industry’s request to Congress for a $5bill bailout is wonderfully ironic:

“The take here is that everyone and their mother want to be bailed out from the banks to the big three,” said Owen Moogan, spokesman for Larry Flynt. “The porn industry has been hurt by the downturn like everyone else and they are going to ask for the $5 billion. Is it the most serious thing in the world? Is it going to make the lives of Americans better if it happens? It is not for them to determine.”

Francis said in a statement that “the US government should actively support the adult industry’s survival and growth, just as it feels the need to support any other industry cherished by the American people.”

“We should be delivering [the request] by the end of today to our congressmen and [Secretary of the Treasury Henry] Paulson asking for this $5 billion dollar bailout,” he told CNN Wednesday.

Flynt and Francis concede the industry itself is in no financial danger — DVD sales have slipped over the past year, but Web traffic has continued to grow.

But the industry leaders said the issue is a nation in need. “People are too depressed to be sexually active,” Flynt said in the statement. “This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex.”

“With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind. It’s time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly.”

So far, there has been no congressional reaction to the request.

Larry Flynt can rest easy: if the porn industry ever goes under (not likely!), he’s got a future over at The Onion.

Update: Roger Kimball responds humorlessly to the same news by claiming that the times are just too horrid for satire. His readers will probably scoff and snort at the appropriate moments, but that claim is as old as Horace and Juvenal. And yet the old Romans managed to put down the Falernian long enough to deliver another stroke or twenty of the satiric lash to deserving idiots. Like Kimball, Horace was writing for a like-minded audience, but one that expected wit and taste as well as judgment. Time to get with it, Kimball, and stop trotting out the same tired examples, like Manzoni, over and over again.

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