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With his head up his ass and his prospects looking appropriately dim, lanky wordsmith Allan MacDonell left the pioneering L.A. punk magazine Slash in 1983 for a copyediting gig at Larry Flynt Publications.

Two decades later he would be fired from the organization after having risen to its uppermost echelons, ultimately serving as Creative Director for all print publications owned and operated by the wheelchair-bound icon of obscenity.

Along the way MacDonell controlled and overwhelmingly contributed to the content of Hustler. He also blasted a unique slot for himself in the annals of adult-film history under the pen(is) name Christian Shapiro.

Reviews of X-rated entertainment bearing the Shapiro byline were bizarre, unblinkingly honest, and grotesquely hilarious. The same can be said for the Christian Shapiro piece "Pornography and Satori" that appears in Adam Parfrey's landmark underground classic Apocalypse Culture (1987, Feral House).

And now MacDonell ups the revelation ante in Prisoner of X: Twenty Years in the Hole at Hustler Magazine (Feral House), his all-holes-scarred account of life in the gash lane.

As a boss, MacDonell was so superhumanly ill-tempered that NPR produced a piece in 2005 that featured several former underlings at first recounting various horror stories but then, without exception, admitting that they can only feel profound affection for the man.

Readers of Prisoner of X will understand. They'll also learn a whole lot about Ted Turner's rectal predilections, among countless other wonders unique to MacDonell's continuously amusing experiences.

What kind of a creep will read Prisoner of X?
The kind of creep who knows that he only goes around once in this life. A creep who recognizes that his time on this planet will be greatly enhanced by vicariously sharing the XXX-world misadventures and triumphs of the creep who lived and wrote Prisoner of X: 20 Years in the Hole at Hustler Magazine.

Will any of the creeps at Hustler read it?
I've heard that a bunch of the creeps there are engrossed in it, perhaps to an unhealthy level. There are also the people who I worked with at LFP, and I think a lot of them are going to read it too, to see how full of shit I might be.

How did you personally shape the porn industry in the 1980s and '90s?
My big contribution was the piss shot. Out of spite, I ordered a Hustler photographer to capture the liquid action as a young woman squatted, opened her legs, and emptied her bladder by the side of a road.

I had failed to realize that the typical porn photographer, much like me and the basic XXX audience at large, has a stunted appreciation of self-degradation. The shots of this girl taking a whiz came out terrific and became a staple.

From then on out, at least one girl per issue was gushing the golden froth.

Penthouse jumped on the piss wagon immediately. The men's-sophisticate connoisseur couldn't open a newsstand skin magazine without a stream of urine spraying into his face. The great appeal of close-up shots of girls peeing is that they reveal an intimate bodily moment that, unlike orgasm or sexual arousal, is not faked.

And also I was involved in the making of Barely Legal magazine.

What's the story with Barely Legal?
My main contribution was that I thought we should make it a magazine by young girls, for young girls. The conceit was that all the editors would be young girls, and all the readers would be young girls, and of course they would always be talking about sex--sex with guys, sex with girls. So it would be sort of like being a spy at a slumber party. And I thought it worked really well.

How many of the girls were actually just eighteen?
Maybe a quarter of them. Occasionally you'd get them as old as twenty-three. It all had to do with the way you shot it. You'd make it look like they have no makeup, you'd stick to girls with natural breasts, and a lot of times it would be a little more amateurish when it came to photography.

What are you most proud of?
Barely Legal and The Flynt Report. There was a high level of creative writing in Barely Legal, and a reviewer once compared The Flynt Report to [Eighteenth Century American pamphleteer and revolutionary] Thomas Payne.

What was the first pornography you ever saw?
Fuck, I have no idea. But when I was a kid I found this Playboy with Jayne Mansfield in it where she was showing her ass in one picture and her tits in another and I was a goner for life. I haven't looked at a porn magazine since I left Hustler, but I love to look at the erotic photography in women's magazines and I think I have a good eye for it. A lot of guys say that, but I have the r?m?o back it up.

Did you ever look at gay porn at Hustler?
No, but I think I could pick out the hot shots there as well.

What was the most hair-raising experience you had researching a story for Hustler?
Going to jail always makes me nervous. I went behind bars twice in the service of Hustler magazine, both times to visit convicted murderers. The first trip was to San Quentin prison to chat with a Death Row inmate who had been convicted twice of murdering his wife. They were two different wives, and he murdered them many years apart. The killer had surprised both of these women, from what he told me, in compromising sexual situations. A gun happened to be in his hand at both encounters.

The condemned man had promised me a spot as a witness at his impending execution, but as far as I know he remains alive today. This convict's message was: "Don't get angry because this sure as hell isn't worth it."

My other Hustler-related jail time was at the San Francisco city lockup, where serial killer Richard Ramirez was being housed while on trial for a murder separate from his Southern California freeway slay spree.

While waiting to interview the Night Stalker, I was ordered to stand against a wall within reach, I felt, of the main population. My phobia of incarceration was activated by groups of strolling convicts looking at me in what in retrospect I can interpret as friendly curiosity.

At the time, I was freaked out. Then I spotted Richard Ramirez being led into the interview room. We exchanged grins, and I became completely calm. Even at the time, I realized that my stabilizing reaction at the sight of a man who had raped, tortured, and killed at least a dozen victims was twisted.

How much masturbation was involved in a day of porno reviewing? Did you rub one out at the beginning and then get down to business or what?
The reason it is a bad idea to ask this question is the same reason that porn mags do not run photos of porn reviewers adjacent to the reviews they have written. There are some images that you are better off keeping clear from your mind if you hope to enjoy sexually explicit entertainments free from intrusive and troubling visuals.

That disclaimer aside, reviewing porn tapes was usually more irritating than arousing. I'd have one hand on the fast-forward button and my other hand taking notes. A stack of seven more tapes would be waiting for review. I'd be lucky if one scene out of the entire seven tapes was worth a load. But later, when I was off duty, those singular scenes would be replayed to climactic effect, often alone but sometimes in the company of an adventurous and sex-positive young woman. I cherish those memories.

What's your favorite sexual activity to watch being performed in a movie?
First the blowjob, by the girl to the guy. Maybe he does some cunnilingus. Then anal, with the girl on the receiving end. Same applies in real life.

What turns your stomach?
Couples porn.

You've written about the disgust factor in pornography, both in Prisoner of X and in "Pornography and Satori," your chapter in Apocalypse Culture. What's your opinion of pornography now?
I don't believe in porn addicts, but there are those who say that pornography prevents people from becoming involved in real, meaningful relationships--you know, getting married and having kids. To that I say, "Thank God!"

Who are the greatest porn starlets of all time?
Taija Rae, Traci Lords (Picture: 1 - ), Ginger Lynn, Vanessa Chase, Vanessa D'Oro, Careena Collins, Annette Haven (Picture: 1), Madison, that tall Asian girl who used to be a nurse (Picture: - ), and Joanna Angel (Picture: ). Honestly, if a male is able to answer this question and limit himself to only one starlet, he has missed the point of pornography entirely and may be gay. Ask him to rattle off his list of queens who qualify as the single greatest video bum boy of all time.

What are the best and worst celebrity sex videos you ever saw?
The worst is a toss up--as in tossed-up lunch--between two. First there was an endless compilation reel that was presented as being Chuck Berry licking poo from the crap ovens of a collection of crude chicks, gulping girl urine, and filling a blonde's yap with pee.

Second was the footage purported to document Oscar-winner Jane Fonda slinging a strap-on dong up the crapper of newsman Ted Turner while he pumped the slot of a brunette I had never seen before in my life. I came away with the impression that both these tapes were true and authentic.

The Berry aberrations triggered my gag reflex for the obvious shit-eating reasons. The Fonda-Turner outing put me in a state of confusion and perplexed, involuntary speculation. I would look at the outside world, and what I saw on the surface could not be trusted as representing the true reality of how things are. In short, those fuckers skeeved me out.

The closest I remember to a positive reaction to celebrity sex images was the satisfaction I derived from stills that were being marketed as representing Mick Jagger in the saddle with a Vegas semi-pro dancer/stripper. The girl was a bit of a bulldog. Looking at her, I remembered at least six women who were better looking than her who I had deliberately not had sex with.

In that moment, Mick Jagger was revealed to me as someone who would have picked up my discards, had they been available to him. This knowledge would have comforted me if I had known it back when I was an anxious thirteen-year-old worried about what the world held in store for me.

In your tenure at LFP, were you ever less than charitable to your employees?
No. Never. [Laughs] I know where this fucking question is coming from! I can be short-tempered and irritated and I can make the cutting comment, but I'm not a gratuitously mean person. When NPR did the piece on me as a boss and they interviewed some of my former employees, when the host segued to me, she used the word "love," like they loved me.

You felt loved.
I felt pretty fucking great.

Is there a future for Hustler or dirty magazines in general?
Are you telling me that they still publish Hustler? I suppose as long as there are sexually deprived males who lack Internet access and have no TVs or laptops upon which to play DVDs, and who do not have a subscription to Maxim or other magazines of its ilk, and are willing to seek out the increasingly rare newsstands that stock semi-hardcore pornography, then the audience for a publication such as Hustler, but done competently, will be thriving and vital.

Who should play you in the movie adaptation of your book?
If Wally Cox is not available then I insist upon performing as myself, with Scarlett Johansson (Picture: - 2) under me as the current wife. Salma Hayek (Picture: 1 - ) should be signed on to slip between the sheets as my first bride. And Joanna Angel must be attached to go crazy like a monkey all over me in her portrayal of the long-term girlfriend I had between the two marriages. If producers fail to meet any of these conditions, all deals are off.

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