Friend calls: "Was Dennis live today or was it a repeat?"
Luke: "It is often hard to tell when Dennis is live or a repeat, because so often when he's live, he's repeating himself."
July 16, 2001
Dennis Prager kvelled over the successful firing of a missile over the weekend, which makes the space-based US missile defense plan sound more feasible.
Prager speculated that those against the US arming itself against missiles were probably also opposed to people arming themselves with guns.
Then Prager discussed the case of a man in the San Francisco Bay Area who received three years in prison for throwing a woman's 19-pound dog to its death. The woman had caused a traffic accident with the man. He got out of his car. She rolled down her window to apologize. He opened her door, grabbed her dog and threw it on to the street where it was run over.
The man received a three year prison term. Prager supported this, not so much for the sake of the dog, but for the trauma the man caused the woman, in killing her dog before her eyes. Dennis noted that he had three dogs, and if anyone killed one of his pets in front of him, it would traumatize him.
DP says: The woman and the man are both dangerous. The woman for statements equating the value of human life with animal life.
In his second hour, Prager considered that he might've been wrong on the following matter. He read approvingly from Bill O'Reilly's column.
Prager initially condemned the media's fascination with the Chandra Levy disappearance. DP says that the media is almost always wrong to discuss the private sex lives of famous people.
Thirty-two years ago this month Sen. Ted Kennedy drove off a bridge on Martha's Vineyard, and his traveling companion, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowned in the Chappaquiddick pond.
What the heck they were doing out in a desolate area late at night has never been explained; that is if you don't buy the senator's explanation that they took a wrong turn. And it took Kennedy hours to report the incident even though a prompt call might have saved Ms. Kopechne had there been an air pocket in the car.
At the time, the big three TV network news broadcasts covered the story but not particularly aggressively. Kennedy's lawyers spun; the TV reporters recorded their words. The Vineyard police said it was clearly a tragic accident in which no one was culpable; the TV guys wrote it all down.
In the end, Kennedy skated. He was embarrassed and his presidential ambitions were crippled, but a few years later it was all water under the bridge.
Now we have the Gary Condit-Chandra Levy story, which contains similarities to Chappaquiddick. Once again a member of Congress is in the spotlight, and a young woman could very possibly be dead. And once again the establishment media is having trouble with the situation.
I was amazed to learn that, as of this writing, "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather" had not even covered the story, according to Associated Press television writer David Bauder. In the more than two months since Chandra Levy disappeared, ABC's "The World News Tonight with Peter Jennings" has covered the story only twice.
Of course, the cable news networks have done hundreds of reports, so many that at times it is painful to watch. My program "The O'Reilly Factor" has been leading the charge.
Apparently the powers that be at CBS News and ABC News see the Condit-Levy story as much ado about sex. And sex is not welcome on the national evening news. If those entities were parents, the human race would die out.
But of course the Condit-Levy matter is much more than sex. The story is about a congressman lying to the police about a very serious matter and bringing immense pain to the family of a missing young woman. If the evening news people don't get that, what can I tell you?
Ted Kennedy is lucky there were no cable news networks back in 1969. If there were, he and the inept Martha's Vineyard cops would have been under tremendous pressure. Just like Gary Condit is today.
Do you think Condit would have finally admitted his affair with Ms. Levy if the media hadn't pounded him for two months? Do you think the bungling D.C. cops would have begun actually investigating the situation if the cable press hadn't brutally criticized the department? If you answered yes to those questions please send your resume to the network news people.
The Condit-Levy story is tawdry no question about it. But that is no reason to ignore it. A powerful congressman misleading authorities who are trying to find a missing girl is no small matter. And what about those authorities? They're terrific aren't they? It took the New York Post to uncover a key piece of evidence – that Ms. Levy made a flurry of cell phone calls to Condit just before she disappeared. Perhaps the D.C. police should turn the investigation over to the Post.
I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of bad police work. O.J. Simpson, Jon Benet Ramsey, Robert Blake and now Chandra Levy. How about some case cracking – OK people? There are too many homicides going unsolved these days. If the cops can't figure out who killed a 4-year-old girl in her own home, what can they figure out?
Say what you want about media overkill on the cable news outlets, and the pun is not intended. But without us, high-profile crime stories would be even harder to solve. Something bad happened to Chandra Levy. Something bad happened to Mary Jo Kopechne. And you'll never find out what happened or why if you are locked in on the network evening news.
In his third hour, Dennis Prager said Britney Spears, and other famous people, are role models whether they like it or not. They can't opt out. And that Britney is a bad role model. DP prefers that Spears were promiscuous in her private life and present a modest public image.
Spears often notes that she's a virgin.
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - Britney Spears wants everyone to know she's not a little girl anymore. That's the message in her third album, due out Nov. 6, and her live concert special from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas airing Nov. 18 on HBO.
``I really want this to be shocking and edgier,'' Spears said Friday at the Television Critics Association summer gathering. ``This show will be an event. It's going to be to the next level as far as stunts.''
``I want to do things that people have never seen before,'' said Spears, 19, wearing a clingy purple mini dress. ``I don't want to be considered a role model.''
DP says: This is good old contemporary narcissism. I am preoccupied with me and I owe the public zilch. It's tough that you don't want to be considered a role model. You are a role model. You have no choice. We do not choose whether or not to be role models. Whether you are famous or not famous, it is not your choice to be a role model.
Britney Spears has chosen to be one of the most publicly identifiable figures in the world. Hollywood types can't ask for our attention and money but no responsibility. I want you to look at me but not take me seriously. How Britney Spears dresses affects millions of girls.
Nobody is saying to Spears or Hollywood or sports, that we are going to check all of your private behaviors. But what you do in public, and what becomes known, becomes the business of the public. When Britney Spears goes on MTV and does an R-rated striptease, how can she say I don't want to be a role model. Of course she's a role model. A woman called my radio show and said her first grade daughter had been invited to a Friday night "Dress Up As Britney Spears" party.
Birtney claims to be a virgin, as if that matters. It is not her private sexual behavior that influences young girls, it is her public sexual behavior.
To say that I do not wish to be a role model means you wish to be a bad role model.
I don't wish to be a role model but I am. And this affects the way I have to comport myself in public.
We are all role models. When little kids see you, you are a role model. You can not opt out. That's why people watch their language around kids.
Every older brother, sister, aunt, uncle, stranger is a role model.
Britney Spears is a bad role model for girls. And this has nothing to do with her private sexual life.
Luke says: Prager covered several topics in his last hour, including the most shocking new reality shows (Spy TV) from England. Boredom and secularism are a deadly combination, says DP. The West, because it is rich and secular, is bored and constantly seeks excitement.
July 13, 2001
Caller: "Dennis, when did you abandon Orthodox practice?"
Dennis: "I was raised Orthodox but after my Bar Mitzvah on I was never Orthodox. I did however try Orthodoxy once again after my first child was born (1983). For a number of years, I lived an orthodox life to try it again as an adult. I'm quite observant but I always announce that I am not Orthodox because I never want to mislead anybody. Many Orthodox institutions have used some of my writings on Judaism, particularly my first book 'The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism.' But I will drive to synagogue on the Sabbath for example."
Caller: "What about kosher? Is that important to you?"
Dennis: "Yes. But my level would be different from yours if you are Orthodox. I don't care, for example, about dishes at a restaurant. If a dish has touched bacon and then was washed, I will have food off of it."
Caller: "What would you advise young people, especially Jews, aged 12-25 about whether they should follow what you're doing?"
Dennis: "I am proud to say that I have brought a lot of Jews to Judaism. And they know, as my own children know, that I do not give a hoot if my children or any Jew I influence expresses a serious Judaism as an Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or Hasidic Jew. I am just as happy. I have zero preference."
Caller: "What happened after your Bar Mitzvah?"
Dennis: "I don't have an Orthodox temperament. For example, I never got into praying. Never. I love singing and Torah study. Davening essentially has bored me. In most synagogues, I am bored out of my mind. I'm sure that's a lapse in me. I was raised in a world where so much is actually said in prayer, that it is actually speed read."
July 12, 2001
Dennis Prager praised this Washington Post column by Richard Cohen.
The standard journalistic formulation applied to this case -- as it was to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky -- is that of the "powerful man" and the powerless young woman. That phrase -- "powerful man" -- happens to appear three times in a recent Maureen Dowd column.
It has been used by many others, not a few of them men. Indeed, it has become something of a journalistic cliche -- the only politically correct way of looking at an affair between an older man and a younger woman.
But just how powerful is Condit? Sure, he can secure a grant for some water project or maybe track down an errant Social Security check. But he cannot keep his private life out of the papers and off television. He cannot tell the cops -- as you or I would by this point -- to shove off when they ask for their second or third Q&A session. He cannot even deny the police entry to his apartment. Insisting on his rights would -- paradoxically -- be lambasted as an exercise of his presumed power, and if, ultimately, he is implicated in something beyond extramarital sex, it will be because -- not in spite -- of his presumed power.
Prager praised this Newsweek column by George Will:
Gross quotes, but does not sufficiently dwell on, philosopher Eric Voegelin’s thoughts about “the simple man, who is a decent man as long as the society as a whole is in order, but who then goes wild, without knowing what he is doing, when disorder arises somewhere and the society is no longer holding together.” Political philosophies that celebrate atomistic individualism need to be re-read in the light cast by the crematoria of Auschwitz.
The Holocaust, writes Gross, is “a foundational event of modern sensibility, forever afterward to be an essential consideration in reflections about the human condition.” So, again: Why in Jedwabne did neighbors murder their neighbors? Because it was permitted. Because they could.
DP says: When you permit people to do evil, massive cruelty and sadism will take place. Evil comes naturally.
July 2, 2001
I heard Alan Aranson from the Prager List call in to Dennis's show today.
On Friday, Prager spent his first hour with John Stossel promoting his 10PM show that night on radical environmentalists. Today Prager spent all three hours of his show playing the first segment of Stossel's show and discussing it with callers.
Gil writes on the Prager List: Speaking as a member of the executive committee of the Sierra Club, Alan had understandable difficulty being clear on his points.
I figure since Alan initiated the call to DP, he felt he had something to say. I'm not sure what that was. As DP's microphone makes it difficult for most incoming callers, but especially for those who can't answer without inserting apology after apology, I really do understand.
Just as I've given Alan ample opportunity to answer questions raised by his ideology, and over which questions he has ducked repeatedly, I'd like to give him the opportunity here to restate what he tried to say to DP.
What were you trying to say to DP? What were the questions he asked you, and what were your answers? Those are softball questions if I ever you heard one Alan. Hit 'em outa the park.
Alan replies: Actually you might need a little help, so in brief. If Dennis didn't trust a TV news program to edit him accurately why should Stossel be trusted when editing his subjects. I.e. we can't be sure what the people shown actually said or meant.
I know enough about water and forestry to know he botched those subjects - why should I trust his other segments?
Why not drill in ANWR? We are working at the margins and we can save more petroleum, sooner by raising mileage standards then by drilling in ANWR. Besides there are plenty of other places to drill. There isn't a one to one correspondence between a belief and a public policy position. Playing the old "nature worship" line would be pointless, even if it were true, which it isn't.
XXX: alan didn't do very well, OTOH, you've always been able to overcome
DP's intimidation. How come?
Alan Aranson writes Dennis Prager over the weekend: Dennis:
I caught the show Friday night and it was as bad as one could anticipate from his appearance on your program and Michael's. When someone deals with areas with which you are familiar (water and forestry) and does a poor job, it becomes hard to trust them in other areas. This was as biased and unfair as the most obnoxious left-leaning efforts.
Also, I jump back and forth on the Sunday morning programs. Today I happened to catch Tom Daschle. On energy he opposed drilling in the ANWR and our national Monuments. He mentioned conservation and alternative sources. He also mentioned drilling on the North Slope and in other areas. He absolutely didn't rule out all drilling. His point was that we are not going to produce our way out of our problems.
I then happened to jump to Tony Snow on Fox. He had Energy Secretary Abraham on. Tony asked him a question based on the Majority Leader's appearance on another broadcast interview - the one I had just heard. His question represented Tom as opposing ALL drilling - something he didn't say. This is not the first time Tony has misrepresented an environmental issue. He did the same thing in an article on the Endangered Species Act.
I learned on Religion on the Line that a measure of ones character and integrity is ones willingness to criticize ones own side when it is wrong. Dennis, your side (conservatives, Republicans) repeatedly distorts and outright lies on environmental issues.
You possess a bully pulpit; when are you going to step up to the plate? If you don't feel comfortable with your knowledge on this issue you certainly shouldn't give unchallenged (I think you know that a caller doesn't have the same effect as being on the upstream side of the microphone) time to anti-conservationists.
Regards from a seventeen year listener, Alan Aranson
Stossel reduced the rather complex issues of western water use to "dams are good because I have water at home" (close quote). This is a little simplistic and reductionistic.
Forests: Why pick 1920 as a base year, after all Europeans have been doing forestry in North America since 1607? The reason is that, up to the early twentieth century, "forestry" was basically cut and run. Stossel and his ilk would rather not talk about that. So they don't.
Forests aren't equal. The increase in pine plantations in the south doesn't offset the loss of old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest or hardwood forests in the South and Midwest. Timber companies plant trees - of course but what kind? Replacing trees on an eighty year rotation is one thing; cutting more old growth on public land is another. This is the short answer. Books are written on what Stossel leaves out.
June 27, 2001
Why I Hate Beauty
From PsychologyToday.com: "Hollywood Publicist Michael Levine suffers from the contrast effect. The theory is simple-men are barraged with images of beautiful and unobtainable women in the media, making it difficult for them to desire the ordinarily beautiful. Here he explains why beauty is making him so miserable."
Luke says: Levine was Dennis Prager's guest in the first hour. About a year ago, I was a guest of Levine's on his radio show "The Spiritual Seeker." I remember his girlfriend hanging out in the studio during the show and the two were very physically affectionate.
Dennis says: I am having Michael Levine on because of his honesty.
Luke says: I remember listening to Levine praise Prager on the air with a similar fulsomeness.
Levine writes: "Beauty is driving me nuts. And even though I am a successful, redblooded American male, divorced and available, it is beauty alone that is keeping me single and lonely."
DP says: That is what I call honesty and that is why I am having him on. A study included in Levine's piece was done by two psychologists at Arizona State University. They asked male college dormitory residents to rate photos of a potential blind date. They photos had been rated by other male dorm residents to be of average attractiveness. If the men were watching an episode of Charlie's Angels, the blind date was rated as less desirable than she was by males watching a different show. The initial impression of romantic partners of women available to them and likely to be interested in them, were so adversely affected that the men didn't even want to bother.
I have a man in front of me who is lonely because of a surfeit of beautiful images. He's in public relations in Hollywood. If you see a picture of him, he is surrounded by six beautiful women.
Are these all women who work for you or are they just lined up for the photo? Oh, that's funny [they were just lined up for the photo]. I thought this was your office staff.
Levine writes: "My exposure to extraordinary beauty is ruining my capacity to love the ordinarily beautiful woman in the real world. Women who are more likely to meet my needs for really deep connection and partnership of the soul. The strange thing is, being bombarded with visions of beautiful women, or for women, socially powerful men, doesn't make us think our partners are less physically attractive. For a man married to a woman of ordinary looks, it doesn't change our perception of our partner. Instead, by some sleight of mind, it distorts our idea of the pool of possibilities. These images make us think there is a huge field of alternatives."
DP says: Now of course, the reality is not the case. Now, this is the longest introduction before a guest that I've ever had. I'll never forget the man who'd been married for many years and then divorced. And he said, 'It's unbelievable what happened. The day I divorced, all those beautiful women I'd seen, disappeared.' Which proves the power of vision.
That Michael Levine is surrounded by real beautiful women is not the issue here because today all men are surrounded by images of beautiful women through TV, advertisements and movies. Until about 100 years ago, the number of physically beautiful people that any person would see would not equal what one would see now in three hours.
Now you drive along and here is a 50-foot picture of Christy Turlington in a bra. Until recently, men never got to see a beautiful woman in a bra. But now you turn the LA Times or the New York Times and there are gorgeous women in bras smiling at you. That's the scene used in Something About Mary for the guy to fantasize about.
Michael Levine says: Dennis, I have to be honest with your honest. Much of my thinking on this subject was incubated by much of what you had taught on the radio about insatiability. I work in marketing. I work in the Hollywood dream factory. I've concluded that your insights into the male - female dynamic are powerful, not just as they relate to dating, but to marketing.
If you take your hand and put it in cold water, and then put it in warm water, the warm water will feel warmer to you than if you first put it in warm water originally.
Are unbelievably beautiful women often devoid of character in other areas? The truth is that very beautiful women often skate by on their looks and don't develop the other aspects of womanhood. So I'm left with a tragic choice.
DP: You have access to beautiful women because of your work.
Michael: And it is something I wish I didn't, in some ways. It's a curse. I wonder if I lived in a small community in South Dakota, whether or not I'd be married. That I work in the entertainment industry among the most beautiful women on planet earth, the average woman I come in touch with, is more beautiful than 99.999 % of all women on the planet. I have such a skewed life.
DP: You do, but if it was only about your life, I wouldn't talk about your article or you. Your work only exacerbates the problem. Because the guy in South Dakota who watches a lot of TV is also bombarded.
Michael: A million and a half women in American have had breast augmentation.
DP: When I was a kid, the only bra ads you could see were on plastic mannequins. And not even a face. Just a bust.
Wars have been fought over feminine beauty. In the Bible, King David sends a top general to die because King David wants his beautiful wife Bathseba. The power of beauty can not be overstated.
Your brain wants you to marry.
Michael: Marriage is God's plea with the human being to grow up. And you have had a great influence. A lot of this article has been influenced by your brilliant insights into the human condition. And you've been courageous as well.
Luke says: In Prager's third hour, he discussed San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, taking part in gay film festival, was bent over and spanked. DP thought this presented a bad image of gay life as decadent.
DP: Is it conceivable that a female politician, say Diane Feinstein or Barbara Boxer or Christie Todd Whitman, would do this in public? Or would that end her public life?
What is it then that allows Brown to get a playful public spanking at a gay festival to cheers and whistles from the boisterous crowd? This could not happen at a heterosexual festival. Because people expect decadent behavior from gays. Which is an insult to gays.
Gay groups, what vision of gay life do you want the public to have? I thought you argued that gays are just like everyone else, except for sexual orientation?
Gay spokesmen argue that the term 'gay lifestyle' is intrinsically bigoted and biased. Homophobic. Then what do you call this lifestyle? Heteros don't publicly spank their mayors. Is there a gay lifestyle?
Men don't wear women's clothing at the Saint Patrick's Day parade or any regular parade. Men don't spank female mayors.
I think it is demeaning for a mayor of a city to get publicly spanked.
When I think about the behavior of gays at any gay event, and we non-gays are told to keep our mouths shut about behaviors that would not be accepted from heterosexuals, maybe there is a gay lifestyle.
June 26, 2001
Dennis Prager read extensive excerpts from this chilling article in the USA Today:
ZARQA, Jordan — The Hotaris are preparing for a party to celebrate the killing of 21 Israelis this month by their son, a suicide bomber. Neighbors hang pictures on their trees of Saeed Hotari holding seven sticks of dynamite. They spray-paint graffiti reading "21 and counting" on their stone walls. And they arrange flowers in the shapes of a heart and a bomb to display on their front doors. "I am very happy and proud of what my son did and, frankly, am a bit jealous," says Hassan Hotari, 54, father of the young man who carried out the attack June 1 outside a disco in Tel Aviv. It was Israel's worst suicide bombing in nearly four years. "I wish I had done (the bombing). My son has fulfilled the Prophet's (Mohammed's) wishes. He has become a hero! Tell me, what more could a father ask?"
Lured by promises of financial stability for their families, eternal martyrdom and unlimited sex in the afterlife, dozens of militant Palestinians like Hotari aspire to blow themselves up, Israeli and Palestinian officials say. Their goal: to kill or injure as many Jews as possible in the hope that Israel will withdraw from Gaza and the West Bank. Israel captured the land in 1967.
At any time, Israeli officials believe, Hamas has from five to 20 men, ages 18 to 23, awaiting orders to carry out suicide attacks. The group also claims to have "tens of thousands" of youths ready to follow in their footsteps. "We like to grow them," Yosef says. "From kindergarten through college."
In Hamas-run kindergartens, signs on the walls read: "The children of the kindergarten are the shaheeds (holy martyrs) of tomorrow." The classroom signs at Al-Najah University in the West Bank and at Gaza's Islamic University say, "Israel has nuclear bombs, we have human bombs."
At an Islamic school in Gaza City run by Hamas, 11-year-old Palestinian student Ahmed's small frame and boyish smile are deceiving. They mask a determination to kill at any cost. "I will make my body a bomb that will blast the flesh of Zionists, the sons of pigs and monkeys," Ahmed says. "I will tear their bodies into little pieces and cause them more pain than they will ever know."
June 25, 2001
Dennis Prager spent his first hour discussing two boys, who at age ten, brutally murdered a two year old boy. Now the boys have turned 18 and are being released from prison. Prager was torn. Some callers supported executing the boys. DP has long supported capital punishment down to the age of Bar Mitzvah - 13.
The British public opposes their release, according to a poll, by a ratio of five to one.
Then, at 9:50AM, Prager got a caller who changed his mind.
Caller: Think about the message this sends to kids. That you can murder and get away with it.
DP: You're right. You just changed my mind.
In hour number two, Dennis said his new book would be on the consequences of a world without God. Then after that his book on male sexuality.
Dennis discussed kids who do not have anything to do with their parents. Dennis notes this violates the Sixth Commandment, unless the child was horribly abused by the parents.
In his third hour, Prager discussed favorably this article in the Seattle Times:
The cops on the street have different names for it: de-policing, selective disengagement, tactical detachment. They even joke about it, calling themselves "tourists in blue."
Whatever the term, rank-and-file officers in the Seattle Police Department say it is a spreading phenomenon in the city's black neighborhoods, and a logical reaction to chronic charges of police racism.
De-policing is passive law enforcement: Officers consciously stop trying to prevent low-level crime and simply react to 911 calls. Many officers, wary of being labeled racists or racial profilers, say they hold back or bypass opportunities to make traffic stops or arrests of black suspects.
Saucier said the real problem is a thornier one, and lies within the black community. Police are deployed according to crime incidents. The more crime in one neighborhood, the more police. More police means more contacts with the public, and more potential for conflict.
Saucier and other officers cite statistics that consistently show blacks commit a disproportionate number of crimes, especially violent crimes. Department of Justice studies show black males, who make up 6 percent of the population, commit 40 percent of the violent crimes. The vast majority of the victims are also black.
June 22, 2001
Dennis Prager discussed his policy on ads. He said he accepted ads for any legal product, even ones for non-kosher food which obviously he could not eat. Dennis said he would not endorse an advertiser that he did not believe in, and had refused to do so on various occasions. For instance, while at KABC he would not read the ad phrase "Friends don't let friends plead guilty to drunk driving" and that cost him an advertiser.
DP says: "I have ethical obligations to my audience and I have a deep desire to have this program heard widely and sponsored widely. And that is also an ethical concern. If I say to you, 'Folks, I have used the McMillen vacuum cleaner and to my knowledge it is the best vacuum cleaner in the world,' I really mean that. That doesn't mean it is the best vacuum cleaner in the world. There may be a better one I've never used."
Dennis Prager Apologizes to the LA Times for Remarks About Andrew Howard
Luke says: I just found this story where Prager apologized.
May 23, 2001 Dennis Prager asked why the following story didn't mention that the homosexual talkshow host died of AIDS. And why the use of "life partner"? Do they use that for heterosexual couples? And Prager also wonders about the "Gay Nightlife" button on the front page of LATimes.com.
From the 5/22/01 LA Times: Andrew Howard, who with life partner Karel Bouley broke ground as the first openly gay couple to host a radio talk show, died unexpectedly Monday morning from a pulmonary embolism. He was 34. The duo had been with KFI-AM (640) for two years.
"I'm sure there are a million gay [radio] hosts, but not many of them are open, and no one had ever appeared on the air as a gay couple," said Ron Rodrigues, editor-in-chief of Radio & Records magazine.
Their show, "Karel & Andrew," ran weeknights on the top-rated KFI, which also broadcasts programs hosted by conservatives Laura Schlessinger and Rush Limbaugh.
Luke says: An LA Times employee called Prager to agree that not mentioning AIDS was dishonest. She then defended the term "life partner" as an appropriate way to refer to one member of a gay couple. She also defended the LA Times search to include more stories about hispanics and other minorities.
(May 30, 2001) KRLA's Dennis Prager responded yesterday morning to Karel's charges that Dennis was politicizing Andrew Howard's obituary in the LA Times.
Dennis contended that Karel was furthering the gay agenda saying that Andrew died of complications of AIDS when, according to Karel, it was not true. Karel called Dennis a "low-life piece of crap."
"Last week I read an obituary about a talk show host that had died," Dennis opened his KRLA show this morning. "I knew that he had been diagnosed with AIDS 12 years earlier. In fact, there were quotes from his partner stating that they expected him to die and, in fact, they were looking for tombstones, according to a piece in an LA radio magazine. I concluded from this that the LA Times was not saying that there was anything AIDS related in his death, but ascribed it simply to a pulmonary embolism at the age of 34. Now, I made the mistake in saying, with certitude, that his death was AIDS related. I apologize to the LA Times. I said that they had told a lie. We do not know whether it is true or not, until an autopsy is conducted. I do absolutely apology to the LA Times but it wasn't just the Times. The Orange County Register also didn't mention the AIDS."
Dennis related Karel's KFI comments on Monday calling Dennis "a low-life piece of crap." Dennis responded: "First of all, I have never called anybody in 19 years of radio, except a murderer, this kind of name. The level of my show is so different from that kind of radio. It's that kind of radio that makes me embarrassed sometimes to say I'm a talk show host, that people should think that this is the sort of hysteria and demoralizing of the airwaves that can take place. The whole charge without the name calling is actually the opposite. It is the media that I talked about, not the poor man who died. I opened that discussion offering truly sincere condolences to the partner, whom I have never met, and to the man who died, whom I had never met. I had nothing bad to say about these people. I don't know them. I only felt bad for Karel on the loss of his partner. Whether you are gay or straight, you lose the closest person that you love in life, it is a very powerful loss. I didn't talk about that. I talked about the media. And now the partner is taking a victim's status role is the way it is in America today. Everybody is permanently victimized and they can lash out irresponsibly, but I didn't victimize him nor his partner. It was the media. Do the media report the deaths of gay men with AIDS honestly? The issue isn't gays, the issue is the media."
The rest of Dennis' first hour was calls about the subject of gay deaths and media reporting on the subject. He concluded the hour with a request to KFI for equal time to answer the charges.
Not Impressed writes on alt.radio.talk: "Yeah, but he couldn't just apologize. He had to go on one of his trademark rants about victim mentality after he himself whined about being called a piece of crap (which he is)."
Sacred and Profane
David writes: Dear Luke: I've read your web site on and off since the early days, like 1995, when the Internet and AOL were the same thing to me. I've been especially interested in your frank discussions of religion, your relationships with your father and Dennis Prager, etc.
I was raised without any reference to God or any kind of spirituality. I was pretty much raised by television and the Texas public school system. My father in particular was averse to any belief in God and felt that science and "logic" held all the answers. My parents divorced when I was 6, and since I spent a lot of time in day care and home alone, I longed for a real family without being really conscious of that desire. I considered myself very self-reliant and well-educated, and believed that my parents' divorce had left no deep emotional scars.
I became a Christian in college after breaking up with a girlfriend at age 19. This woman was everything I longed for, especially after meeting her parents who were strong Baptists and loved each other very affectionately even at age 40. My girlfriend told me the story of how when she was 10 her parents' marriage was on the verge of collapse, with lots of fighting. She began pulling the family Bible off the shelf and readin aloud to her mother. At that time her mother wanted nothing to do with God and threw her daughter out of the house in a rage. But she quickly realized the wrong she had done, and brought her daughter back and gave her life to Christ. Soon the father followed suit and their marriage was healed. I was amazed because even the couples I knew who stayed together more than 10 years seemed to have joyless marriages, and yet here was one that was clearly vibrant. I decided that the difference must be contained in that Bible.
I bought my own Bible and started reading and attempted to live to please my girlfriend, but no matter what I did my words always seemed to hurt her and those around me. I realized that my own efforts were not enough to bring the change I knew I needed. I gave up alcohol but it was my heart that needed changing. It amazed me also that my girlfriend's family always treated me with respect and love even when they knew I had done some thing to hurt their daughter. I went to the length of going 24 hours without speaking, thinking that as long as I didn't open my mouth, I couldn't insult anyone or cause any more hurt. Obviously my own efforts were in vain.
Then when I got back to school, suddenly my academic skills no longer allowed me to coast through classes. I failed a midterm exam miserably and felt that the one thing I was good at, learning, wasn't going to save me either. I finally pulled out the New Testament and gave my life to Jesus.
Life since then has been up and down for me. I've always had a deep sense of guilt over sexual sins. Frequently when I have made attempts to give up porn and masturbation, memories of past sins will spring up in my mind and make me think, it's useless to try to live a life of purity since I have already failed. And then to assuage those guilty feelings, I go back to the fantasy life to escape reality. A vicious cycle for sure.
It got to the point in '95 where that shadow of guilt really overtook me, and my connection with God seemed severed or at least clouded. I embarked on a rebellious period and using AOL I started meeting women and dating and having sex. I had given up meeting another "perfect" woman and thought if I couldn't be married and be a father then I would give up pursuing purity as well. I left my church and ignored all the phone calls and letters from Christian friends.
At first I felt liberated because I no longer felt that the people around me were judging me. I could be myself, etc. But as I look back I realize that the tolerant attitude was really an expression of a lack of love. I bounced around AOL parties and had sex with any woman who would do it with me. Not to mention strippers and prostitutes.
I remember one night in particular when the sex was over, I felt an intense desire to hug and kiss and pet afterwards. The woman was someone I had known a while and I had a sincere affection for her. Yet my partner just rolled over and fell asleep. I lay awake in bed all night feeling profoundly rejected, and went home early in the morning without saying goodbye.
I kept at it, having sex with married women and women much younger than me. But gradually I began to realize that the love and fulfillment I longed for wasn't coming. And it wasn't going to get better, no matter how physically beautiful the girls were. I was right on the verge of sinking to the next level of despair.
I think I am very much like you, in that my heart is not satisfied in a neo-religious liberal community where there seem to be no absolute moral standards. And yet I find it so difficult to live a life that meets the standards of orthodoxy.
Then I met my wife and everything changed. We both had run from God, and as we got to know each other we realized if our relationship was going to have any chance we needed to get back to church. I went back to my pastor and of course his graciousness to me was immediate. I've been married for 5 years now, and have a son. Few days go by where I am not overwhelmed by the love and blessings God has given me. Our wedding rings are engraved with the words, "God's Gift". Of course it's not always bliss, but the worst day is better than the best days out there on my own, alone, running from all of God's commands.
Yes Luke there is a kind of orthodoxy that is cold and legalistic. But it is easy for us who are hurting and feel that our connection to sinful habits and lifestyles cannot be broken, to see all orthodox people as controlling and merely power-hungry. Note that I am only referring to Judeo-Christian values here. But we miss the truth that the one true God who created heaven and earth is both totally loving, and totally righteous. The same God who loves us tenderly and receives us is the God who cannot tolerate the slightest hint of rebellion or impurity. It's a paradox. So God's divine character is a "hot" orthodoxy: perfectly righteous but also perfect and passionate in His love for us. His law is designed to make us the best we can be, in fellowship with Him, not to crush us into spiritual slavery.
The world cannot accept this -- they cannot perceive that God can have both attributes of love and holiness. They think it's either one or the other. Either he loves us unconditionally and doesn't care how we behave, or he is an angry tyrant who wants to throw us in hell at the first sin.
Intellectually, this is why Christianity satisfies me so much. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob loves every member of humanity wholeheartedly. But he cannot accept the rebellious and impure into eternal life -- his justice demands retribution. So in his infinite love his Son offered himself as a substitutionary atonement for us. Because of that sacrifice in our place, God's justice is satisfied. All we have to do is receive that gift. The just shall live by faith.
So then righteousness becomes not something we do to earn eternal life. Our righteousness is as filthy rags -- the things do to try and earn salvation mean absolutely nothing. We can only accept God's free gift, purchased through Christ. Once accepted, God can work in us to produce righteousness. We begin to obey Him out of thankfulness and love, instead of out of fear and obligation.
Now I'm beginning to grasp these truths in my heart and really appropriate them, instead of just reading and grasping intellectually.
Luke, you can be "ingrafted" into the people of Israel, God's people. But it doesn't happen by trying to become Jewish culturally or even trying to live up to the righteous demands of the law. We become grafted onto the Vine when we accept Christ's sacrifice for our sins. As Paul says, true circumcision is of the heart, not a physical thing. An empty practice of religious duties, whether Christian or Jewish or Hindu or Animist, counts for nothing -- God wants our hearts. God bless you as you search for the one true God. But don't hold onto your chosen career so tightly that you miss out on hearing His call on your life. God called Abraham to leave Ur, to leave his father's household. He may well be calling you to leave journalism, and trust Him to provide a new career.
"Whoever comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him."
"I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."
June 14, 2001
Dennis Prager today spent three hours on this new survery on the attitudes of people in their 20s towards marriage. Prager zeroed in on the 94% who sought a soul mate in marriage.
Dennis asked his wife Fran if they were soulmates. She said she hated the word - it made her want to throw up. "That proves we're soulmates," says Dennis, "because I agree. That's why we're married, because of these similar reactions.
"These survey findings are bad for America. The notion that I will only marry if I find my soul mate is bad.
"What does the term even mean? You folks looking for a soul mate are looking for something you can't even define. I think what it really means is, 'I want my clone.' The greatest disease in America is narcissism (an unhealthy amount of self centeredness). I see the world solely through myself. This is both a moral and a psychological problem and it can tear down a country.
"It means, my soul mate will meet all my needs. My soul mate will be the perfect lover, the perfect friend and the perfect intellectual equal. Look at singles ads - how shallow they are. As a a happily married man of 13 years, whether you share a love of Italian food and tennis is insignificant."
Prager approvingly quoted a professor who said that ten years into marriage, you don't have the endorphin rush that you started with. You may feel attracted to someone else and believe that person is your true soulmate.
DP: "What if someone said, 'I won't drive unless I can have a Bentley.' You'd think the person a fool. Is there anywhere else in life you'd say that, 'If I do not have perfect...' And soulmate means perfection. 'If I do not make $200,000 a year, I will not go to work.' That sort of thinking is destructive.
"People will think, 'My soulmate will read me perfectly and we won't fight.' That's immature.
"Do you get married because you believe in marriage or because you've met your soulmate? It is better to marry because you believe in marriage.
From the survery web site:
Young adults today are searching for a deep emotional and spiritual connection with one person for life. At the same time, the bases for marriage as a religious, economic or parental partnership are receding in importance for many men and women in their twenties. Taken together, the survey findings present a portrait of marriage as emotionally deep and socially shallow.
· An overwhelming majority (94%) of never-married singles agree that "when you marry you want your spouse to be your soul mate, first and foremost."
· Less than half (42%) of single young adults believe that it is important to find a spouse who shares their own religion.
· A large majority of young adults (82%) agree it is unwise for a woman to rely on marriage for financial security.
· A clear majority (62%) agree that while it may not be ideal, it’s okay for an adult woman to have a child on her own if she has not found the right man to marry.
· Over 80% of women agree it is more important to them to have a husband who can communicate about his deepest feelings than to have a husband who makes a good living.
· A high percentage of young adults (86%) agree that marriage is hard work and a full-time job.
· Close to nine out of ten (88%) agree that the divorce rate is too high and that the nation would be better off if we could have fewer divorces, with 47% agreeing that the laws should be changed so that divorces are more difficult to get.
· Except for restricting divorce, the majority of young people see little role for government in marriage. Eight out of ten agree that marriage is nobody’s business but the two people involved. A substantial proportion (45%) agree that the government should not be involved in licensing marriage.
June 12, 2001
"Life at its best is bitter-sweet," reflected Prager the day after his son David graduated from Shalhevet High School, a nominally Orthodox Jewish day school. Dennis spent an hour on the topic "How old do you feel?" Dennis felt he didn't belong in the parents section of the graduation ceremony. Dennis still wants to horse around like his son.
A 40-year old man who works on college campuses said he felt just like them but they don't view him as like them.
Eight kids for spoke for too long, says Prager. One Iranian girl cried all the way through the speech and DP's wife Fran started crying too in empathy. And Fran didn't even know the girl. The girl spoke with unaccented English because she wasn't cursed with bilingual education.
Dennis Prager writes on LATimes.com: The likely execution of Timothy McVeigh has presented opponents of capital punishment with a serious dilemma. None of their usual arguments for keeping all murderers alive applies here: McVeigh is not a member of a minority group, his guilt is not in doubt, and he had the highest caliber defense. Moreover, all polls indicate that most Americans--even a majority of opponents of capital punishment--support McVeigh's execution.
Consequently, opponents have launched a particularly vigorous campaign against executing murderers. Given the fervor and ubiquity of editorial opposition to capital punishment and the belief of increasing numbers of religious people that it is always immoral, it is a good time to rebut these arguments.
First, we who support capital punishment for murder--and only for murder--ask opponents to acknowledge that allowing all murderers to keep their lives after deliberately taking others' lives is, at the very least, unjust. If a man steals your bicycle and society allows him to keep and ride around on that bicycle, most of us would find that profoundly unjust. Why, then, is it just to allow everyone who steals a life to keep his own?
Dennis Prager writes for the Wall Street Journal editorial page June 8, 2001:
The disproportionate and often unseemly media attention given to the president's daughter, Jenna, cited twice for underage drinking, may have at least one positive effect -- forcing the country to rethink its drinking laws. You need to have a pretty hard heart to believe that a 19-year-old woman deserves to be reported to the police and punished by a court -- not to mention nationally humiliated and publicly psychoanalyzed -- for ordering a margarita.
Finally a truly wise society might consider my producer Charlie Richards's idea: Switch the age of drinking with that of voting. Personally, I'd sooner trust the majority of 18-year-olds to drink responsibly than to vote responsibly.
As embarrassed as Jenna Bush may be after having police called in to cite her for drinking a margarita, the country ought to be even more embarrassed by such irrational treatment of a decent young woman and by the misuse of its police resources. If it is, the president and Congress should do whatever is necessary to allow the individual states to set their own drinking age. You can call it the Jenna Bush Bill. You can certainly call it compassionate conservatism.
By Carl Pearlston
http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- MY love affair with the ADL began almost 25 years ago. It has just ended with a curt note from the Board President advising me that I haven't shown a sufficient "demonstration of commitment to the ADL" to warrant retention on the Executive Committee or the Regional Board." How did it come to this?
Then, in its otherwise commendable nationwide partnership with Barnes and Noble in the program Hate Hurts, which sponsors books and educates teachers and young children to fight hate, the ADL endorsed the books Heather Has Two Mommies and Steve Has Two Daddies as suitable tools for teaching tolerance to young children. Teachers' workshops and children's reading groups were organized, using these and other books in conjunction with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), which had earlier achieved a certain notoriety for its own school workshops wherein teenagers were taught the fine points of "fisting" and other homosexual practices.
TURNING JUDAISM ON ITS HEAD
In this manner, fighting "hate" became a euphemism for an attack on sexual morality, the traditional family, and the Jewish view that children deserve a loving father and mother, not two fathers or two mothers. It is only through a perverse notion of "tolerance" that support for traditional teaching about the family is intimidated, and condemned.
When Dennis Prager participated by invitation in a panel discussion on church-state issues, some members actually hissed and booed his remarks in a hostile display of intolerance. A respected board member persistently repeated to all who would hear that Prager was insane.
When the organization published its harsh attack on the Religious Right in 1994, I was distressed as were many politically conservative Jews who do not share the ADL view that politically-active conservative Christians are our enemy. As (Jewish) syndicated columnist and JWR contributor Mona Charen wrote, "The ADL has committed defamation. There is no other conclusion to be reached after reading its new report, The Religious Right: the Assault on Tolerance and Pluralism in America. It is sad that an organization with a proud history of fairness should have descended to this kind of character assassination and name calling."
Luke says: What happened to Carl Pearlston (getting kicked out of the ADL) has undoubtedly happened to Dennis Prager and many Pragerites. All clubs have rules, written and unwritten, and if you violate them, you get thrown out. This happens within Prager's world and the world of Orthodox Judaism and Conservative Judaism and within the Republican party and everywhere.
XXX writes Luke: ""Great men" and those who think they ought to be so considered, don't like being embarrassed by those who "don't understand" or "can't appreciate" what the great man is doing. This applies to Prager as much as to the ADL's Abe Foxman.
"You WILL shutup or you will not be favored or acknowledged or listened to again -- get outa here. It's sometimes called "closing ranks." People who don't know call it a conspiracy. It is the way things are done.
"Usually, if you really like someone, you don't expect to see this coming. You're not prepared. You're blindsided and feel foolish and naive and hurt.
"These guys get their feelings of accomplishment too much from the opinions of others. If you find a flaw in them, you are now of no use to them. This is the part of morality that DP cannot face. He is a failure.
"If i've been good for you in the past, I deserve your homage for all time, no matter that what I'm now doing is harming more than it helps.
"Confusing celebrity with greatness is why we have these horrible monsters -- the distinction betweeen notoriety and notableness has finally been eradicated by our celebritorious subculture."
June 7, 2001
Dennis Prager discussed a new sex harassment study released by a liberal feminist group which claims that most girls in college have been sexually harassed.
Prager wondered how much the harassment was related to the scanty way many girls dress? Are girls allowed to sexually harass guys by dressing provocatively but boys are not allowed to comment?
Upset With Prager's Preaching
Jeff Marks writes to LARadio.com: Dennis Prager says that in his 19 years on radio he never ‘name called’ anyone. This might be splitting that proverbial ‘hair,’ but I remember so clearly, and in fact wrote Dennis with my disdain, when, about two years ago, a caller phoned in, polite, low-toned, to disagree with Dennis on the subject at hand. Dennis asked the gentleman if he had read the article being quoted. The man said ‘no,’ he hadn't. Dennis' response was: ‘Well then, sir, you are a whore,’ [exact quote] and without waiting for a response, hung up on the man. Dennis, without question, is no less petulant then those far left liberals that he so loves to condemn.
May 30, 2001
LAPD Sees Blue Over Cop Spread
Today's Los Angeles Times reports on a cop who shows all in the July issue of Playboy:
Ginger Harrison picked the props for her nude photo session for Playboy magazine with great care.
After all, the last police officer to do so, from New York City, was fired because she appeared in her official uniform.
So Harrison, a Los Angeles Police Department officer, made sure she didn't repeat that mistake. The 28-year-old Santa Clarita resident is believed to be the first sworn LAPD officer to shed her clothes for Playboy magazine.
The magazine features a six-page pictorial of Harrison posing nude with police props provided by the magazine.
"I hope the [Police] Department looks at this in a positive way," the Foothill Division veteran said. "Maybe it can bring us into the 21st century, where women don't fit a stereotypical role. Lighten up. It's just nudity."
The LAPD has called on the city attorney's office to determine if posing for the photo spread violates department policy in any way, said Sgt. John Pasquariello.
New York Police Department Officer Carol Shaya was fired after she used her own police equipment to pose in Playboy in 1994, said magazine spokesman Bill Farley.
Luke says: I listened to Dennis Prager, one of the world's great moral thinkers, on his nationally syndicated radio show today. He favored the LAPD firing Harrisson.
Dennis said: "The problem is that she posed nude publicly. If she and her husband had attended a private wife swapping party and never publicized it... But was simply found out by some newspaper, I would defend her. A couple of years ago, this happened to some teachers in Florida. There was a married couple who attended swingers parties. But they never publicized it or told it to their students. And I was actually angry that it was reported. I didn't want students to know. And I defended the teachers right to do what they wanted privately.
"This woman is not posing privately or anonymously. She posed nude as a member of the Los Angeles Police Department. How does the police department comport itself publicly? Playboy is not using her primarily because she's good looking. But because she's a member of a police department. The point of Playboy was to get a naked policewoman. Naked women are a dime a dozen. Naked policewomen are not a dime a dozen.
"Playboy identified her as a member of the LAPD and which department. And because this is public, it is the public's duty to react. If she were a waitress and Playboy did a layout on the gorgeous waitresses of Duluth, who cares? The Duluth restaurant would probably be thrilled. They'd get more patrons. If she were a secretary or actress, there'd be no discussion.
"Let us say she was a member of President Bush's cabinet, would this be irrelevant? Of course not. Do we want certain professions to maintain a certain level of dignity? You could say there is nothing undignified about going naked but of course there is. Would you walk down the street naked? What if a police officer decided to carry his gun and nothing else? Would that dedignify the role of the policeman? Of course it would. And the fact that it is in pictures doesn't really change it.
"I am stunned that this is a big debate. That the LAPD just don't know what to do.
"If I posed naked, would you think that would reflect on my work? Of course it would. Would you take me as seriously? Of course not. You don't need King Solomon to decide this. Does this act of posing nude in Playboy enhance or detract from the dignity of the police department?
"Not only that, it has to undermine morale. Let us suppose she's part of a duo in a patrol car with a male officer. What is this guy supposed to think when he has just seen the July issue of Playboy? Do you think he is thinking mostly about, 'Gee, how do I get the next robber?'
"How can she be viewed as anything but a sex object by her fellow officers because she has decided to so portray herself? You can't be a sex object and a policewoman at the same time. That's the issue.
"To me it is a no-brainer. Of course she should be fired.
"Of course some guy will recognize her. There are guys who study these models. The women say they are recognized years later. You're a policewoman on the beat. And the whole battle was to have women taken as seriously as men as police officers. Which was not an easy battle as men are more intimidating...
"What if a guy sees her in a patrol car stopped at a red light and he walks over to her and says, 'Hey, can you sign your breasts here? I've got a great picture of you naked. Could you sign it for me?' Does that enhance the ability of the police department to do its work?
"Can a fellow officer say to this woman, 'God, I love your breasts. You have gorgeous breasts. What a set of boobs you have.' There's no doubt that the man would not only be fired, he'd be made an example of male evil. Why? He's only commenting on her picture. What if he brings it into the police station and shows it around? He's dead meat."
Next Prager shifted to gossip.
Dennis noted the web site Democrats.com accused Florida governor Jeb Bush of having a much denied affair.
DP: Should we inquire about whether our public officials have ever had an affair? And should the official respond. I say that public officials should not respond. It is demeaning to discuss them. But the media will hound and hound public officials on this.
I'd like to see all Democrats and Republicans sign a statement that they will never respond to questions about their sexual lives and their marital behavior. Or, we will when the editor of the Orlando Sentinel tells us about his private life.
May 23, 2001
Dennis Prager asked why the following story didn't mention that the homosexual talkshow host died of AIDS. And why the use of "life partner"? Do they use that for heterosexual couples?
And Prager also wonders about the "Gay Nightlife" button on the front page of LATimes.com.
Andrew Howard, who with life partner Karel Bouley broke ground as the first openly gay couple to host a radio talk show, died unexpectedly Monday morning from a pulmonary embolism. He was 34.
The duo had been with KFI-AM (640) for two years.
"I'm sure there are a million gay [radio] hosts, but not many of them are open, and no one had ever appeared on the air as a gay couple," said Ron Rodrigues, editor-in-chief of Radio & Records magazine.
Their show, "Karel & Andrew," ran weeknights on the top-rated KFI, which also broadcasts programs hosted by conservatives Laura Schlessinger and Rush Limbaugh.
Luke says: An LA Times employee called Prager to agree that not mentioning AIDS was dishonest. She then defended the term "life partner" as an appropriate way to refer to one member of a gay couple. She also defended the LA Times search to include more stories about hispanics and other minorities.
In his third hour, Dennis Prager criticized basketball player Vince Carter for flying to his college graduation before the Seventh Game final of
Prager praised the remarks of LA Times columnist Diana Pucin:
And still the talk goes on. Did Vince Carter do the right and wonderful thing by taking a break from his team to attend his college graduation? Or the wrong and selfish thing by abandoning his teammates and his employer and distracting himself from the biggest game of his life?
That we are still talking about this shows, even if it shouldn't, how much it matters what famous athletes do.
That we are still talking about this also shows how hard so many try to find role models. It is a fine thing Carter has done, getting his degree from North Carolina even after he has made enough money to last his lifetime and several more. His mother should be proud, of her son and of herself, that Carter stuck to it, lived up to a promise and completed his course work.
What if seven or eight of the Raptors had wanted to attend a graduation, a birthday, an anniversary, any of the many personal occasions that might be considered important to a man?
In the real world, the one in which most of us live, when we are paid to do a job, we follow the rules. Sometimes we miss important days and events in our lives and in the lives of our families. We do it and no one notices.
The point is that Carter is no hero for showing up in Chapel Hill on Sunday. Honor Carter for his degree. But also dishonor Carter for being a bad employee. Make sure you get both lessons.
From DennisPrager.com, Prager's official web site:
More On Arab Antisemitism
We find signs of the emergence of a dangerous and unprecedented trend in the history of the conflict that is winning support among the secular Arab leadership. It is a trend designed not only to link Israel and world Jewry, but also to push both beyond the realms of international legitimacy, and hence, beyond the boundaries of humanity.
Haaretz editorial, May 8, 2001
Dennis Prager writes: Haaretz is Israel’s most prestigious newspaper, a solidly pro-peace liberal/left newspaper. Yet, even it notes the Jew-hating trend in the Arab world that parallels that of Nazi antisemitism — both German and Arab antisemitism push the Jews and Israel “beyond the boundaries of humanity.” The existence of Israel and the Jews is being deligitimized. Whereas once the Arab regimes’ enemy was “Zionism,” the enemy is increasingly the Jew — the villain of humanity from the time of Jesus to Muhammad to now.
The Pope’s Reaction To The Anti-Jewish Hate
Defying both infirmity and common sense, Pope John Paul II flew into the heart of bigotry and was greeted in Syria by astounding anti-Semitic statements for which he has uttered not one word of rebuttal. The ranting of a bigot has gone unrebutted. The pope was stoical in his silence. Not so much as a head was lifted, an eyebrow raised in condemnation. Not for the first time, the church kept its counsel. Not for the first time, it may learn that its silence can be lethal.
Richard Cohen, columnist, Washington Post, May 8, 2001
Yesterday the pope visited Quneitra, a city in the Golan Heights that Syria chose for political reasons. It maintains that the city was razed by Israel in 1974 before being returned to Syria, which Israel disputes. By scheduling an event at the site, Vatican planners created another opportunity for Mr. Assad to use the visit to stir passions against Israel.
New York Times editorial, May 8, 2001
The Age Of Stupidity (Dodgeball Section)
“[Dodgeball] is something that should not be used in today’s classroom, especially in today’s society,” Diane Farr, a curriculum specialist in Austin, Tex., said.
The Austin Independent School District, where Ms. Farr works, banned dodgeball more than two years ago.
“With Columbine and all the violence that we are having, we have to be very careful with how we teach our children,” Ms. Farr said, referring to recent school shootings, including the one in April 1999 near Littleton, Colo., in which two teenagers killed 12 students and a teacher and then killed themselves.
New York Times, May 6, 2001
Dennis Prager writes: “Educators” and other academics are increasingly opposed to dodgeball. I believe with all my heart that most people get stupider the more time they spend studying the “social sciences” beyond college. There was an Age of Reason, a Renaissance Age, and the Age of the Reformation. We live in the Age of Stupidity.
The Ford Foundation And The ACLU
Anthony D. Romero, a 35-year-old lawyer who has been an executive at the Ford Foundation for the last nine years, will become executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in September. He will succeed Ira Glasser, who announced his plans to retire last August, after 23 years as head of the organization. “It’s the thrill of my life,” said Mr. Romero, who will be the first gay and the first Hispanic man to head the organization.
New York Times, May 1, 2001
Dennis Prager writes: Not widely noted, but highly significant, has been the takeover of the largest American philanthropic foundations by people on the left. This makes the hiring of a Ford Foundation official as the new executive director of the ACLU quite understandable and utterly unremarkable. The Ford Foundation and the ACLU have virtually identical social values.
From the May 15, NY Times:
David S. Sidikman, a Democratic assemblyman from Nassau County, has introduced legislation for the last six years to encourage joint custody. "With my law," he explained, "a judge would look at a couple like the Giulianis and say, `Go to a mediator and work out your differences so you can submit a plan for joint custody.' That way you'd spare the kids an awful fight to decide which parent is fit."
Mr. Sidikman's legislation has gotten nowhere, partly because of opposition from some feminist groups that argue it would hurt women. The change would certainly take away power from women, who now win sole custody 93 percent of the time in New York, according to Mr. Pierce.
Luke says: Dennis Prager spent over an hour on this topic. He said it exemplified how trial lawyers and feminists are hurting society.
Dennis Prager has devoted many shows to these recommendations on how to catch a good man.
By Lisa Conrad Cohen (as originally posted on DennisPrager.com)
1. Watch how a man treats his mother.......because that's how he will treat you.
2. You don't need to know what he has in his bank account......but is he financially stable (doesn't have collection agencies after him, in debt up to his ears, pays his bills on time)?
3. A first date could be going out for coffee. It doesn't have to be an expensive dinner. Why waste someone’s money and time if you know right away it's not going to work out.
4. You might not like something about him on the first date. Give him another chance. People are sometimes nervous and not exactly themselves on a first date......as long as the guy doesn't seem like a serial killer).
5. Ladies, you don't need to sleep with him right away. A man will have more respect for you if you wait to get to know one another better. Become FRIENDS first and talk about your interests in life (family, views on children, religion, long term goals). I've always believed that a nice courtship leads to love and lots of romance, but most of all RESPECT....His probation period should be at least 2 months. (whether you're 21 or 40 and seeing him every weekend or everyday) Believe me it works.
6. If he doesn't call you after the first date, don't pursue him. He may be busy with business or a personal matter. If he wants to see you again, he'll call eventually otherwise lose his number. Men who are interested love to pursue.
7. Ladies, DON'T talk about ex-boyfriends on the first date. It's boring and unimportant and it makes you seem like you're holding on to the past. Be interested in what he has to say. Men like to be the center of attention.
8. Watch how a man treats his animals. If they are nurturing and gentle and kind that's a good man....as long as he doesn't treat his animal better than he treats you. If that's the case, run fast.
9. Remember the old movies when the man courts the woman before they consummate the relationship. Let him court you and treat you like a delicate flower. He should put you on a pedestal.
10. If the man is over 40 and has never been married, chances are he's either gay or a confirmed bachelor. A lot of men are notorious for long committed relationships but won't pop the question. Reasons are immaturity or he doesn't want the responsibility of a family. That's not a real man. Unless he tells you upfront. Finally, going out on a first date is kind of like an interview without being so businesslike. Keep interviewing until the right one comes along. But remember nobody's perfect....not even you.
May 8, 2001
Matt Benjamin writes to the New York Observer in response to Anne Roiphe's piece in the 3/26/01 edition:
Anne Roiphe's piece "Britney Spears is Good for the Jews" peeked my interest, especially considering I was at the 92nd Street Y Event in which the topic came up.
First of all, Roiphe has a few facts wrong. Dennis Prager did not "hear" that a Jewish transvestite bingo night was "permitted in an unnamed J.C.C." In fact, Prager noted specifically that it was the Philadelphia J.C.C, and that he saw a picture of the event in USA today. Roiphe speculates that perhaps Prager heard the story from "conservative drumbeats that pass from hill to hill across the land." To the contrary, Prager clearly noted that he read of the event in a national paper with wide circulation.
Roiphe argues that "we should be thankful that the little girls were not dressing up as JonBenét Ramsey. I would have said that the obvious glitter of the pop star, who makes a lot of money and receives a lot of adoration, creates a model of female sexual power."
Perhaps if the Britney dress-up was for a college sorority party, we could applaud or at least understand the need for models of "female sexual power." However, unlike college students, six-year old girls do not even understand what "sexual power" is, let alone what sex is. At six, I didn't know what an orgasm was and, in retrospect, don't regret not having known (especially because I couldn't yet have one). What's nice about childhood and pre-adolescence is that a child has some time to be curious about so many other kinds of things before perhaps the greatest of life's curiosities (and for many teens and adults, obsessions) takes hold. Sex is a great thing, but it's not really a big deal for six year olds. Ultimately, it is adults that would decide to hold such an event (unless the kiddies are making the decisions nowadays) and why any adult (short of a kiddie-porn purveyor) would want to see a six year old girl dressed up like a scantily-clad pop star is beyond me.
Roiphe compared girls dressing up as Britney to what "little boys do in their Superman capes: They were practicing for the real thing. Sexual power—flash and dash, the enjoyment of the body—isn’t a sign of moral decay. It’s a fact of life." As a former boy and Superman wannabe who put on his Superman cape almost every day, I have to say that my desire to fly and have X-ray vision had nothing to do with getting laid or enjoying my body. Superman himself does not have sex with mortals (except in Superman II, AFTER he loses his powers) and I never got a sexual vibe from either Superman or Clark Kent. Also, Superman's cape is another article of dress, but Britney's wearing less and less these days. Would Roiphe allow little girls to "dress up" like strippers and porn stars to express their sexual power? Roiphe also writes that "the boy who imitates Sammy Sosa is not just a boy of summer; he is also dreaming of high salaries and applause." Again she's off the mark on boy dreams. I wanted to be Don Mattingly to be Don Mattingly. The applause and the salaries are not so relevent to ten year old boys, whose parents pay for everything anyway.
I agree with Roiphe when she writes: "Just as war games do not cause boys to become snipers, girls imitating rock stars are not so much a breed of deadly Lolitas-in-waiting as a flock of children playing dress-up." However, let us remember the context of the event - a Jewish community center. Prager's point is not that all boys must be prevented from playing wargames and that girls should be prevented from dressing up as older women. He was arguing that this is not an appropriate event for a Jewish community center. Roiphe might well ask in retort: Why? I would answer: Because dressing up like rich, adored pop stars is not "Jewish", either from a religious or cultural standpoint. There are times and places for certain activities, and a Jewish community center is not a place for each and every event.
As for transvestite bingo, Roiphe writes: "I don’t see any harm in their playing their game at the J.C.C. I haven’t heard of any sexual diseases transmitted on bingo night. It doesn’t seem like a great spot for doing drugs or having sex in the aisles. And if it provides a little sociability, isn’t this a good deed—exactly what a J.C.C. should be providing for its members and neighbors? Doesn’t the very fact of transvestite bingo night tell us that all kinds of sexual behavior are part of the human spectrum and, in fact—if no one is hurt—one is as humdrum as the next?"
While there may be no harm done by holding transvestite bingo, this is also not a "Jewish" event and it is better to hold it elsewhere. If J.C.C.'s are vehicles for providing sociability, are there any limits to what kind of events can be held there? Where is the line drawn? Frat parties are great forums for social interaction. Should we allow Sigma Chi to buy a keg and bring it over to the local JCC?
As for transvestite bingo telling us that all kinds of sexual behavior are part of the human spectrum, what of other forms of sexual expression that tell us the same thing? I realize that Roiphe adds an important caveat -- "if no one is hurt" -- but would she be ok with a "consensual anal sex" night at the JCC? After all, many loving couples (heterosexual, homsexual and other) express their sexuality anally. Would Roiphe want a "Teen Hookup Night" for teens who want to meet up and express a key element of the human sexual spectrum? What about Consensual Incest Night?
She writes: "Do we only allow people into the J.C.C. who have never done anything proscribed by Leviticus? If we make that one of our criteria for admission, won’t there be some unfortunate drop in membership?"
Prager never said that JCC's should forbid people who have violated Torah law from entering. There is a difference between private practice of an act and public display and encouragement of it.
Roiphe more than implies that Prager was overreacting to what she (and many others) view as harmless (and even beneficial) events. However, while I don't think the Britney Spears dress-up night and transvestite bingo are signs of an outright moral decay among Jews in the United States, they do illustrate the broader reality that for many Jews, tolerance and fun are among the most important values. Young girls may well yearn to become like Britney, but that does not mean the adults have to encourage and promote it. Transvestites are alive and well in the world, and their activities, bingo or otherwise, should not be forbidden and condemned. However, this does not mean that Jews must display their tolerance by allowing them to do it at their community centers. There are limits to tolerance. Even some acts that don't cause outright harm need not always be tolerated.
May 7, 2001
Dennis Prager was scandalized by this article in the UCLA Daily Bruin:
By Darolyn Striley
(Striley is a third-year women's studies student who likes to sleep on the right side of the bed. E-mail comments, titillating tips and delightful disparages to email@example.com.)
We are joining two very unlikely highly sensitive areas. One is a cavity full of hard sharp objects used for, among other things, chopping and devouring food. This cavity, known as the mouth, is also extremely sensitive to taste. Tastes can easily change our mood – and we surely don't want mood changes. The other is extremely sensitive to touch.
So we have two things that can easily wreck havoc on each other. Yet they're so damn good together, almost like peanut butter and jelly. So how do you make them work well enough so you don't end up in the emergency room from an accidental dental slip or in the bathroom vomiting from a repulsive taste or smell?
First and foremost is cleanliness, for pete's sake people, be C-L-E-A-N. There's nothing worse than tasting urine, sweat and other things we secrete. I know it's hard to be completely clean, especially if you practice spontaneity (which I'm a big fan of), but if your gonna see your other half you know there's potential. And there's no excuse if you're getting ready to spend the night together because you know anything might happen.
Plus, you want the experience to be a good one, so they can do it over and over again. You might also want to learn what to do with the penis or vagina when your faced with them, no pun intended. Of course, everyone is different and you're going to want to customize your technique to your partners' preference. But here's a few tips to get you started.
Luke says: I saw Dennis Prager speak Sunday at the second annual UCLA Hillel Yom Limud (Day of Study).
He spoke for about 40 minutes on why be Jewish. And he started by mentioning the UCLA Daily Bruin article above. He said it was another reason to be Jewish. That as Jews, we know and value discretion about such matters. They are not for a daily paper.
Prager's talk was a familiar one to those familiar with Prager. He said that Judaism gives moral boundaries, disclipline and guidance. DP said he was not an ethnic Jew and not interested in ethnicity. He was motivated primarily by Judaism's values.
At the beginning of his talk, Prager acknowledged the great Jews in the audience, including his friends Avraham Infeld (Jewish educator who's known Prager since his Brandeis Bardin days in the 1970s) and Orthodox rabbi Yitzhok Adlerstein who apparently hasn't seen DP in years. Prager and Adlerstein used to be good friend and regularly studied Talmud together. DP said it was worth showing up to UCLA Sunday just to see Rabbi Adlerstein, a tall charismatic press liason for the Rabbinical Council of California.
At 2PM, I took in a lecture by Young Israel of Century City Rabbi Elazar Muskin who praised a couple of Prager's essays - the one defending the historicity of the Exodus and his one on homosexuality.
Infeld was the final speaker of the day and he announced that he was totally changing his talk to respond to Prager. Avraham said he squirmed in his seat while listening to DP and that most everything DP said was wrong. According to Infeld, Judaism is not a religion. It is the religios culture of a particular people - the Jews. Infeld quoted from the book of Ruth, where Ruth tells her stepmom Naomi, "Your people shall be my people, and your God shall be my God." Note that peoplehood comes before theology.
Infeld said he loved Prager, even though Prager was wrong. Because Prager was "mishpocha" (one of the tribe).
Dennis had to leave quickly after his speech to conduct an orchestra. He kevelled about it at the start of his Monday morning radio show.
DP: "At one moment, I just basked in it. I think I got a smile on my face. It is not the ego. I would be honest with you. I get the biggest kick out of the rehearsals. It is making music. I don't play any one instrument well enough to be in the orchestra. My only instrument is my score reading, my conducting. And to make that music with highly accomplished musicians is an experience I wish you all could have..."
On May 10, Prager will discuss film music. DP believes that the most beautiful music written now is not classical but film music. The editors on the show hold that the heydey of film music was in the 1930s and 1940s while Prager thinks it is best now.
DP: Did you hear what the Syrian dictator said to the Pope on his first visit to a mosque and to Syria? What this dictator said about Jews was staggering.
DP read from the London Telegraph, May 7, 2001: In Front Of Visiting Pope, Syrian Dictator Accuses Jews Of Torturing Christ, Committing Treachery Against Muhammad
Mr Assad said Palestinians were being murdered by “those who killed the principle of equality when they claimed God created a people distinguished above all other peoples”. He added: “They try to kill all the principles of divine faiths with the same mentality of betraying Jesus Christ and torturing Him, and in the same way that they tried to commit treachery against the Prophet Mohammed.”
DP said regarding the Daily Bruin article above: "Sex is an act indistinguishable from other physical acts - like eating, drinking, sleeping, urinating. It's just another act you engage in.
"Sex needs, aside from love, a sense of mystery. This has been destroyed by sex education.
"Remember how I talked to you about the high school students who made a porn film? [This behavior] is bereft of joy.
"Forget morality, but the lack of joy, mystery, romance, beauty is the issue.
"With all their sex education, college students today don't need this. They need a desexualization of the environment. It's already hypercharged.
"The bombardment of sexual messages is not healthy for human sexuality. I'm told by many therapists that the incidents of impotence among college students is high. When you bomb, you have victims. The sexual bombardment has victims."
In his second hour, Prager discussed a school district in Texas which banned Dodge Ball.
Dennis Prager added a great new section to his web site DennisPrager.com, called "Prager On Life" from which I copied this:
More On The Former President Of The United States From Those Who Knew Him Best
The FBI Director’s relationship with the Clinton White House deteriorated so bad in its waning years that Director Louis Freeh decided to wait for a new Administration to conclude the bureau’s investigation of Iranian government officials linked to a 1996 bombing in Saudi Arabia which killed nineteen Americans and injured five hundred.
By the end of the Clinton era, Freeh had become “so mistrustful of Clinton that, although he believed that he had developed enough evidence to seek indictment against the masterminds behind the attack, not just the front-line suspects, he decided to wait for a new Administration,” the NEW YORKER is planning to report on Monday….
The FBI’s investigation into Clinton-Gore fund-raising activities and the role of the Chinese government led to a series of disputes. At one point, during a late-night phone call between Freeh and deputies William Esposito and Robert Bryant, about whether to brief Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (and thus potentially Clinton) before a trip to China, Bryant said, “Why should we brief him? He’s a crook. He’s no better than a bank robber. Would we tell a bank robber about our investigation?”
Drudge Report (citing The New Yorker), May 6, 2001
Expert Offers Common Sense Response To Opponents Of Missile Defense
The opponents of the [missile defense] system are quite right to say that so far, the research and testing has yielded very little. Of course they can’t have it both ways. If the system is unworkable, then it can hardly be so destabilizing, can it?” Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, quoting 80-year-old Harvard economist Thomas Schelling, Washington Post, May 7, 2001
The United Nations Further Demeans Itself
And so it has come to pass that the torments of the world’s most unfortunate men, women and children will be monitored not by the U.S., but by the likes of Sudan, China, Libya, Algeria, Syria, Vietnam and Cuba. The latter are all members in good standing of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, from which the U.S. was ousted last week. Let us lift up a little prayer of supplication to Eleanor Roosevelt, the idealist who helped found this institution in 1947 to protect the world’s people from tyranny. Wall Street Journal, May 7, 2001
Dennis Prager says: With great sadness, I now conclude that good people can differ on whether the world be better or worse if there were no United Nations. If this is allowed to continue — that the world’s most cruel and despotic regimes, but not America, which remains mankind’s’ last great hope set the human rights agenda for the U.N. — it is time for good people to consider actively opposing an institution that will be a force defending the torture of innocents.
Is Dennis Prager On The Board Of 'Heal The Kids'?
According to the 3/3/01 Daily Mail, Dennis Prager is on the board of the controversial Michael Jackson - Rabbi Shmuley Boteach charity 'Heal The Kids.'
Geoffrey Wansell writes for the Daily Mail:
THERE can never have been the prospect of a more bizarre spectacle in the entire 178-year history of the Oxford Union. Shortly after 7pm next Tuesday, Michael Jackson, the pop star as famous for his plastic surgery as for his platinum records, will rise to his feet beside the controversial Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of The Jewish Guide To Adultery, and the psychic spoon-bender Uri Geller to address the Union on the 'lessons that may be learned from children'.
Standing in the famous wood-panelled room made famous by speeches from Winston Churchill and Mother Teresa, the androgynous singer, who has amassed a 400million fortune, will tell the Union that he has started 'an initiative' called Heal The Kids to benefit 'children all over the world'.
But the 350 students who cram onto the Union's worn wooden benches won't be reminded by the singer that he has faced child abuse allegations and is raising his own two children without the benefit of a mother. Nor will he tell them about the tangled financial details that lie behind his socalled initiative.
As so often in the weird, even slightly sinister, fantasy world of Michael Jackson there is in all this more hyperbole than fact, more spin than substance. How do the singer's views on 'helping children', for example, square with the child abuse allegations that were levelled against him in the U.S. in 1993 - allegations that saw him pay dentist's son Jordan Chandler a reported 18.5 million in an out- of-court settlement. 'Jordy' Chandler was a 13-year-old child when police in California investigated claims that Jackson had molested him.
HOW does Jackson explain the fact that his two children, aged four and two, not only don't live with their mother, Debbie Rowe, but have seen her rarely since their birth?
Those uncomfortable facts about his own methods of healing children will be left unspoken, but they will not be the only omissions.
The 42-year-old singer, whose recording career has stumbled significantly in the past decade, is also highly unlikely to tell them that Heal The Kids is not even a registered charity in Britain - in spite of the fact that money is being raised in its name at the 10th annual 'Michael Jackson Day' concert in London on the evening after his Oxford Union speech - a concert he is expected to attend.
Jackson, who broke a foot last week but nevertheless insisted on coming to Britain, may also refrain from reminding the Oxford Union that he launched a similar initiative, called Heal The World, in 1992 - only to see it shut down in 1998 in the wake of allegations by Britain's Charity Commission that it had not made a charitable donation for three years.
In fact, the British trustees of Heal The World decided 'the name had been so disfigured by the actions of Michael Jackson that it was not worth continuing to run the organisation in any form', as their final minutes - which I have uncovered at the Charity Commission - bluntly conclude. When the trustees tried to contact their American counterparts, they received no response and even had a letter returned as 'not known at this address'.
After a final anguished appeal, a firm of New York lawyers eventually told them that the American Heal The World Foundation was itself being wound up.
His fellow speaker Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (pronounced B'tayer) will also talk about modern parenting. But the 34-year-old rabbi is unlikely to reveal that L'Chaim, the charity of which he was a director in 1997, had its bank accounts frozen by the Charity Commission in September 1999 in the midst of 'allegations relating to the application and control of the charity's funds'.
The usually voluble rabbi may also fail to reveal that after an official inquiry last year, 'an agreement between the charity and former employees was reached and a sum of 150,000 was paid back to the charity', in the words of the official Charity Commission spokesman, who added: 'The former employees were Mr and Mrs Boteach.'
Subsequently, the diminutive Boteach - he's just 5ft 2in tall, and a father of seven children - was forced to resign from the Willesden synagogue where he preached in North-West London after publishing a guide called Kosher Sex.
He was accused of conduct unbecoming - by bringing the rabbinate into disrepute - and publicly reproached by Elkan Levy, president of the United Synagogues.
NOW based in New York, where he sees or talks to Michael Jackson 'almost every day', the rabbi is the author of 11 books, including one titled Dating Secrets Of The Ten Commandments.
Bizarre though it may sound, Boteach and the reclusive star were introduced by the man who will lead them onto the Oxford Union platform - 54-year-old psychic Uri Geller. 'I met Shmuley at a Jewish Book Fair about three-and-a-half years ago, when we were each signing books, and I immediately liked him,' Geller told me this week, 'and I had been introduced to Michael by Mohamed Al Fayed about three years ago. So I brought the two of them together.'
Perhaps not surprisingly, in the wave of publicity surrounding Jackson's arrival, Geller and Boteach have this week been promoting a book they have written together called Confessions Of A Rabbi And A Psychic.
But after [Diana] Ross married businessman Arne Naess, Jackson switched his affections to Elizabeth Taylor, whom he now sees every week when he is in California, and whom he has invited to become a member of 'the advisory board' of Heal The Kids, alongside Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Elie Wiesel, former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, American radio talk show host Dennis Prager - and Uri Geller.
This week Geller steadfastly defended Jackson, saying: 'When I met him, I discovered a very unusual, shy, spiritual, sensitive man. I have never really believed in the allegations, otherwise I would not associate myself with him.' But even Geller can't deny that after the singer bought his Never-land Ranch, two hours' drive north of Los Angeles, he began hosting 'sleepover parties' for young boys.
From Moses to Maimonidies to Dennis Prager
Rabbi Daniel Lapin writes in the 1/25/01 Idaho Statesman:
Rabbi Fink should know that over 3,000 years of Jewish tradition - - concerning both Torah law and rabbinic commentary, from Moses to Maimonides to Dennis Prager -- are squarely on the side of Pastor Fischer in the debate about normalizing homosexuality.
But that's not the real point. Rather, what we wish to stress is the ethical obligation incumbent on every man or woman who is given a public platform: to address complicated issues like homosexuality with civility, logic, and thoroughness.
Judaism absolutely deplores taking the low road of ad hominem attacks (e.g., labeling defenders of the Judeo-Christian tradition's view of homosexuality as "homophobic"). This is typically the refuge of those lacking the force of argument and truth.
Anne Roiphe writes for NYObserver.com:
The other night I was on a panel at the 92nd Street Y, biting my tongue as fellow panelist Dennis Prager spoke in a deep, ominous voice—as if the weatherman was predicting Armageddon—about the nation’s debased moral fiber. We were discussing the role of the country’s Jewish community centers in nurturing the Jewish sojourn in America. Mr. Prager, who writes on Jewish subjects and has a radio talk show in California, said that he had heard that first-graders in one J.C.C. had a “dress-up-as-Britney-Spears day.” Gasp! He’d also heard (from conservative drumbeats that pass from hill to hill across the land?) that a Jewish transvestite bingo night was permitted in one unnamed J.C.C. Mournfully, he told the audience (not in these exact words) that Jews were going to hell in a handbag. He probably meant Hillary’s handbag, although he didn’t say so.
The moderator wouldn’t let me get my two cents in on this one, so I stayed up all night phrasing and rephrasing my response. Here it is.
Let’s start with the shocking Britney Spears event. I would have said that we should be thankful that the little girls were not dressing up as JonBenét Ramsey. I would have said that the obvious glitter of the pop star, who makes a lot of money and receives a lot of adoration, creates a model of female sexual power. The little girls of the J.C.C. were doing no more than little boys do in their Superman capes: They were practicing for the real thing. Sexual power—flash and dash, the enjoyment of the body—isn’t a sign of moral decay. It’s a fact of life. Just as war games do not cause boys to become snipers, girls imitating rock stars are not so much a breed of deadly Lolitas-in-waiting as a flock of children playing dress-up. I would rather they imagined themselves in a singer’s clothes than in a Barbie-goes-on-a-date outfit. It bodes better for their futures.
I wonder why Mr. Prager is so concerned with proper dress; both of his examples of immorality run rampant hinged on clothes. I am more concerned with the immorality of children unable to get health insurance, old people who can’t eat because they spend all their money on prescription drugs, carbon dioxide that will destroy the ozone and things of that sort. Character is about love of others, control of self, honesty in your dealings with others, commitment to the bettering of the world, caring (as the Talmud says) for the widow and the orphan. It is not about monitoring the dress of others.