PRISONER OF X: 20 YEARS IN THE HOLE AT HUSTLER MAGAZINE by Allan MacDonell; Feral House, 2006

I have no doubt that twenty years of being employed at Flynt Publishing would lead one to be exposed to excesses of every sort—so I also have no doubt that some hyperbole is being employed in this book as well. The amount of time penning the "asshole of the month" column would be quite handy as a training ground for such poison pen verbiage that is spread liberally about as Allan MacDonell describes his co-workers and their work habits, as well as his copious drug usage and weeks of bleary eyed mornings. While many of his targets are most likely well earned (especially "Chester The Molester" creator Dwaine Tinsley) the flames that he burns his fellow employees with at times seems almost misdirected: while MacDonell is tough on himself in this book, maybe he should have been even tougher. A lot of his behavior he plays off as "status quo" work relations for Hustler, but one wonders if that is truly the case and he really just isn't just making excuses for his own asshole-ish ways.

Whatever the case, Larry Flynt almost comes off as Jabba The Hut under MacDonell's eye, practically leaving a trail of slime as he oozes into his office. Too many pages of this gets wearing and the mind starts to wander, which is a shame as MacDonell has plenty of good stories to tell and one wishes that he told more of them, such as his cleaning up period and the time when Flynt vs. Falwell was taking place, as well as the publicity hungry times of President Clinton's impeachment, where a lot of bluster and vagueness brought down a congressman.

Instead most of the book is taken up with minutiae and the day-to-day environment. Then again, not detailed enough for you to get the idea of how an issue of a magazine such as Hustler is created—does it build organically bit by bit or is it sewn together out of disparate parts of the female anatomy to present as crude an image as possible?

I didn't get an answer to that question, but I did find plenty of entertainment in this often times hilarious book. MacDonell won't really inform you on the porn industry, but this makes you turn the page quickly enough that you don't notice. Yes, you get the feeling that he's trying to get back at Flynt for all his years there (his reasoning behind his firing isn't really believable) and all his perceived grievances, but you'll either be too busy cringing or sneering to really notice.

Oh, he did make “Asshole Of The Month” after this book was published.

I love it when things complete themselves.

-Les Scurry

AMAZON

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  1. jefferson says:

    as I recall, Les is quite the authority on assholes.

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