CINEMA: NOT SO SICK

MASOCHIST BOB FLANAGAN WAS ALSO A SUFFERING HERO

He could have emerged from Jesse Helms' darkest nightmare of an NEA-performance psycho: a guy who nails his penis to a board and calls it art. Yet Bob Flanagan, masochist with a cause, might win the sympathy of any stony conservative, for he was one of the longest-lived survivors of cystic fibrosis, a lung disease that takes most of its victims in childhood. His daft wit even turned his affliction into a Mary Poppins-style ditty: "Supermasochistic Bob has cystic fibrosis/ He should've died when he was young, but he was too precocious.../ A lifetime of infection and his lungs all filled...

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