Why not bail out the porn industry?

As much of a completely disgusting sleazebag as I think he is, at some level I grudgingly have to admire Larry Flynt. He never misses an opportunity for self-promotion and annoying the hell out of politicians, and he’s back now, promoting himself and annoying the hell out of politicians.

This time, he’s asking for a $5 billion bailout for the porn industry:

Another major American industry is asking for assistance as the global financial crisis continues: Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis said Wednesday they will request that Congress allocate $5 billion for a bailout of the adult entertainment industry.

“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.”

At first glance, I had a hard time (oh, geez, did I just make a bad pun?) finding a good argument against this. After all, the list of companies in line at the federal trough continues to grow, with states and municipalities putting their hands out as well. Why not the porn industry? Surely we can’t have all those buff, silicone-laden porn stars out of work. It’d be a disaster! There’s just one problem:

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.”

D’oh!

The porn industry appears to be doing pretty well, even in an economic slump. I’m guessing the decline in its DVD sales is probably more due to the fact that media everywhere is increasingly moving online, and that the DVD and CD are in the process of going the way of the dodo. Since it’s in no danger of going out of business, then there is no reason to give it a bailout, no matter how many other industries are getting them.

Unfortunately, this time around Flynt seems to be pretty late hopping on the “give me a bailout too” humor train. When that sort of humor has made it into Jay Leno’s nightly monologue (which it did at least a month ago), its time has already come and gone. The time when Flynt’s stunt would have been much funnier and its political point more effective was around the time the auto companies were groveling in front of Congress in December.

Flynt’s usually quicker on the uptake than that with publicity seeking behavior; he must be slipping.