‘Bloodbath’ is a Trumpian word straight out of Larry Flynt’s playbook

by | Mar 20, 2024 | Politics/Government, Pop/Life

photo from Indiana Capital Chronicle/Getty/Scott Olson

Sigh. It’s been a little while since the last time the former president went on a rant like the one on Saturday in Dayton, Ohio. It was awful enough to make headlines and to send his sycophants into damage control over what their idol actually meant. 

Context is the argument this time, something which Donald Trump has spent his life disconnected from. To help reconnect his actions to a coherent perspective, I would like to make a comparison to help the MAGA cult see their way through it. 

Larry Flynt was a pioneer, I guess, in the world of pornography during the 1970’s and 1980’s, as the publisher of Hustler Magazine. What was Flynt’s differentiator? That he was willing to go further, more provocatively, more dangerously than Playboy and Penthouse were willing to go at the time. Then in November of 1972, he got his big break when he acquired sunbathing photos of former first lady, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and he was willing to publish them.  

His smut magazine sales went from a few thousand to over 2 million. I imagine it was a bloodbath at the Playboy Mansion that quarter. Hugh Hefner couldn’t have liked finishing second.

Back to Trump

“Bloodbath” is a provocative word, one that should be reserved for only the most extreme circumstances. Dictionary.com defines it first as, “a ruthless slaughter of a great number of people; massacre,” and second as, “a period of disastrous loss or reversal.” I like visually powerful words too, but I know what they mean. 

In Saturday’s rant, while showing Ohio Republicans that neither he, nor they, know how tariffs work, Trump proposed a 100% tariff on Chinese auto imports. The crowd cheered. I never thought I would see a gathering of Republicans delight in approval of a historic, enormous tax increase on themselves. Now I have. 

In the midst of this moment, Trump warned that this newfound love affair with exorbitant taxes can only prosper if he wins the election in November. And if he doesn’t, “it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole—that’s going to be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for our country.” The boisterous adoration of the former president continued.

Several national media outlets, normally prone to ignoring the details of most Trump rallies, began reporting what he had said, the actual words he used. Suddenly, “bloodbath” sounded bad. His choice of words has people arguing over what he meant. Contextually, it doesn’t matter what he meant. It only matters what people heard. 

It’s reminiscent of Larry Flynt’s historic First Amendment fight. In 1983, Hustler published “a parody ad for Campari, in which infamous Christian right-winger, Jerry Falwell, recounted a sexual encounter with his mother.” The ad brought publicity and revenue, but it became a more important battle for the constitutional freedoms of speech and press. It was provocative speech. Many Americans also thought it was dangerous. 

No matter the context, I can’t think of what the societal value of the Falwell ad was in 1983, or the value of Trump’s bloodbath speech on Saturday. The personal value of the offensive commentary is identical: provocativeness.  

Flynt legacy

The “bloodbath” comment can be added to the voluminous pile of similarly offensive Trump commentary. In the same speech on Saturday, he also said immigrants weren’t human. “They’re not people, in my opinion,” he said, later referring to them as, “animals.” These comments went largely unnoticed but will likely have violent consequences too. If these people aren’t even equal to an Alabama embryo, can’t Trump’s following freely dispose of them? 

Flynt fought for the right to publish any damn thing he wanted all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And ultimately, he won. Pornography actually became protected speech in America, along with a bunch of other questionable speech and publishing standards at the time. In 2024, the internet pornography industry is now on the defensive, but without Flynt, who passed away in 2021, at the age of 78. 

The 1996 film, “The People vs. Larry Flynt” tells the story well. It also details the abhorrent nature of the man, his poor mental health, and the other thing he clearly shared with Trump: infinite selfishness. 

The 45th president of the United States will almost certainly provoke violence when he loses his bid to become the 47th. He’s done it before. The context won’t matter then either.  

Next month, when Trump’s trial in New York begins regarding his fraudulent business documentation of his payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, remember Larry Flynt. These two men have more in common than not. Primarily, they both are, or were, classless provocateurs. 

One of them was a smut dealer. The other was president.

3 Comments

  1. Bill

    I’d like to think that his “bloodbath” comment was more of his feed ’em red meat words, not thinking, or caring, what the words mean. He has proven intellectually capable of that. But I fear they were more instructional and predictive, and well chosen by him.

    Reply
  2. Jodi Dant Graves

    The sad thing in Indiana and the smaller states( mostly red Trump supporters) still have a larger voice in elections with the electoral college .
    5 candidates running for governor on the Republican ticket and 1 Democrat candidate. All though she’s a past Republican
    You never see her name anywhere . I’m puzzled by the fact republicans get free publicity but never see stories or comments about Democrat. I don’t think democrats even know whose running on their ticket.

    Reply
  3. Carol Neaville-Wright

    it is clear Hennifer Mc Cormick must be thrift with her money.She does not have deep p9xkets like GOP .
    SHE is out there 6/15/24 a fund raiser for hey and Destiny Wells atPatk.next to Avon To we n Hallon U.S 36.

    Se het web a ite for details where she is speaking. Last week she was on Boone ccounty, Zionsville.

    Reply

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