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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Freedom Of Speech And An AJET Publication

One of my favorite letters sent to myself while editor of Tochigi-ken’s infamous Tatami Times newsletter for those on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Programme) was one sent to me for the June 1991 issue.

It was typed and even signed… and if one actually had the knowledge and experience, he would note that the signature was a pretty good likeness to whom it was purporting to be.

Because of the typed document, and the fact that someone knew enough to use the name - it had to be from a guy. The content even reads like a guy’s. I’m pretty sure I know who it is from. Except… now that I think of it, there was only ever ONE person who ever called me “An-do-roo”.

Maybe he’ll respond to this serious accusation. But it doesn’t sound like something he would have written.

Anyhow… here’s that Letter To The Editor:

Dear An-do-roo,
As a JET from another prefecture who is lucky enough to see the Tochigi Tatami Times fairly regularly I want to say how great the T.T. has been the last 3-4 months, especially considering how few AETs take the time to contribute.
The quality of articles and professionalism exhibited in the article that have been sent in are really something all JETs can be proud of. I really like the articles devoted to sexual matters and so-called “bathroom humor.”
The best example was the recent poopie article which was truly spellbinding, but we all know that something like that could only come from one of our chugakko ichi-nen-sei. Maybe you could have given credit to the 12-year-old mind that wrote it and to the guy who was lucky enough to get to translate it into English.
You also have a wide variety of subjects discussed, unlike Jay “I-cab-only-think-of-jokes-about-Northwest-Airlines-and Dan Quayle-but-that-seems-to-be-enough” Leno. Of course, if you’e long on space you could always run a few dozen more bicycle accident stories, I never get tired of those. Then too, there are always more condom pictures to consider. Those are always appropriate, well-appreciated and in good taste.
Also, a good magazine like the T.T. never smacks of hypocrisy. That’s why I’m always glad to see the “Lush of the Month” page glorifying drunkenness. I assume none of the JETs in Tochigi ever drinks too much, at least not the ones that criticize the Japanese for drinking excessively.
Well, that’s about it for now. I have to get back to editing my own magazine. I’m currently overseeing exciting research to find out if there is any correlation between nose picking, frequency of use of vulgarity and low IQ. Should be great reading.

(signed first name only)
Larry Flint

P.S. If you don’t start getting more submissions for the next T.T. how about running a list of prostitute prices in Utsonomiya for your next edition? My list is out of date.

(Ed. note: For the uninformed, Larry is the publisher of Hustler magazine. It’s an adult-nudie book. Larry has long been a supporter of freedom of speech and of the press. He was shot and paralyzed by an Agnus Dei who objected to those rights.) (Or it’s a pseudonym.)


Okay, that's the end of that... 

So… if you were me, receiving submissions for a newsletter that you had to sometimes type up, but usually just had to photo copy (from and back) and staple, address, pay for mailing to send out to the provincial AJET community, what would you do if you received such a letter of comment?

It wasn’t signed - at least not really.

Then again, was it a scathing critique of the work you put into the magazine these past few months?

Or was it applauding some of the things you did, and critiquing some of the stuff that done.

I did add that wasn’t signed.

The infamous “poopie” article was something submitted by person's unknown. It was funny, and described different types of craps one makes. Was it appropriate for the newsletter? No. That’s me in 2016 saying that. At the time, who the hell was I to say what humor was tasteful and what wasn’t.

I was going to publish and let the audience decide. So I did. And some did. I applaud Larry Flynt.

But was it really a scathing critique? The writer obviously knew who Larry Flynt was, and correctly (or unluckily) surmised that I would too. After Hugh Hefner, Bob Guccione, Larry Flynt was the next well-known publisher of an adult magazine or three.

That editor’s note below the LOC… that was me making a point… that the real Larry Flynt believed in freedoms of speech and expression, and that he was shot (and paralyzed) by a ultra-extremist religious “Lamb of God” for sticking up for his right to do so. However... turns out that MY information was incorrect (though I did read what I wrote from a copy of Hustler!) In reality, Flynt was shot by an ultra white-supremacist who objected to an interracial photo in Hustler

Anyhow, the writer mentions the condom photo (guilty, mea culpa), the Lush of The Month, photo(s) submitted by JETs of their fellow JET(s) behaving drunk. Not my idea, but it was a popular feature from before I took over, and I kept the tradition up until no one sent in photos anymore. Imagine what it would be like nowadays with everyone (almost) having cellphones.  

So… it’s funny… the letter writer rips the person who submitted the Poopie story (for having written it or having stolen it from a Grade 1, 2 or 3 student), might be sarcastically helpful regarding the sexual matters and bathroom humor, criticizes an over-abundance of bicycle accident stories, implies that people who swear are nose-pickers and have a low IQ…

But again, chooses Larry Flynt as the persona to deliver his message.

I couldn’t tell if I was being peed upon or congratulated… which is the height of proper insulting. So kudos, there.

My response, however, trumped the letter… by knowing who and pointing out just what Larry Flynt was all about, I made my point without having to swear or pick my nose.

For me, this was like having a battle of wits against and unarmed opponent.

As a final aside… the letter writer miss-spelled Larry’s name.

It’s Flynt, not Flint.

You'll notice I spell it so throughout this blog, except for the letter itself, appearing as it was written and published.

At the time, I was pretty sure it was spelled incorrectly in the Letter, but I wasn’t sure. No internet back then.

That was why, in the Ed. note, I merely called him Larry. I recall reading in a copy of Hustler (he also put out Chic) that Larry had been shot and paralyzed. 

Somewhere with a magazine,
Andrew “I’m a magazine writer” Joseph
PS: I always signed my own stories. All writers are ego-maniacs.
PPS: The image above is of a guy that is ripped. I couldn't find an image of a magazine being ripped (double entendre).  


  1. I think I had to wipe the drool off the side of my mouth, but thank you for NOT using an image of a ripped magazine. The LOC was very funny though somewhat caustic, and the fact that you printed it says a lot about you as well. On a side note, who back then could ever have predicted that Playboy would go "no more nudes"? I only ever read it for the articles ;-)

    1. I still have my November '76 Playboy for the Jimmy Carter interview - and Patti MaGuire who was later Playmate of the Year and later Jimmy Connor's wife.
      After a while, one eventually gets around to the articles. Yes, I was not yet a teenager when I saw this issue the first time, and bought a 'fresh' copy as a 20-something.
      As for the LOC... who was I to censor something sent in to the magazine. That was the whole point. I published a 'poopie' joke page because it was amusing. The letter was amusing, too. I was hoisted by my own petard - damned if I do, damned if I didn't.
      As for the photo - you're welcome. I figured I could be fair and put in a photo of a guy who looked amazing for a change.

  2. You didn't ask permission to use my pic. It's ok. I'm not mad.

    1. Ha... I could have used that photo of you, too! Not a current one, but when you were younger and in shape.
      Despite working out for five years solid, 6x a week, hours a day and eating well, and doing stomach crunches with weights up to 200lbs... I never could get a six pack to show. Hairy stomach and chest... that's MY excuse.