By Luke Ford

Dennis Prager loves Friday the 13th for several reasons. His youngest boy, Aaron, was born on Friday the 13th. Two. Prager hates superstition. Three, he looks forward to the Sabbath.

Prager's nephew has an article in today's Wall Street Journal.

DP says his callers changed his mind on the sports utility vehicle issue. He recommended an article in today's Wall Street Journal. Environmentalists want companies to have a higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standard. The current standard is 27.5 miles per gallon. But more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly cars are lighter, and therefore less safe. Lighter cars kill more people.

The head of the National Highway Traffic Association owns a Ford Explorer (sports utility vehicle). DP's wife Fran drives a sports utility vehicle. DP drives a luxury car (BMW?).

Part of the reason that people buy sports utility vehicles is that there are fewer big cars available because of fuel efficiency requirements. Prager read a stat that for every extra 100 pounds that a car weighs, it saves 300 lives.

A caller said that we need strong cars made of light material.

DP likes the environmental standards but he also cares about human lives. DP favors higher speed limits, even though that causes more deaths. Everything comes with a price.

DP's son David is 15 and will begin driving soon. Prager said he would take a second mortgage to keep his son in a big car, so he would be safe.

Prager ridiculed Consumer Reports magazine comment that most people do not need SUVs. DP says most of us do not NEED most of what we buy. Most of us do not need fancy stereos.

DP called CR part of THE ANNOINTED, to use the title of Thomas Sowell's great book.

[Remember how Prager frequently criticized the media for reporting salacious details of personal lives such as of the President, because we did not NEED to know it. News is not information we NEED. It is about current events that are either interesting or important or both.]

1:08 PM

Dennis Prager strongly opposes pictures of naked children. He believes in preserving children's innocence. DP has little problem with adult pornography.

DP talked about the recent Barnes and Noble case for selling a book with pictures of nude children. DP supports book stores ordering any books. But he says that because space is limited, stores must choose which books they stock, and he wishes they did not stock books with naked kids.

DP says that such photos are not art, and that society loses nothing by banning them.

DP thought it was disgusting that a 65 year old man, photographer David Hamilton, liked to photography naked little girls. That Hamilton thought them erotic.

A society that does not have laws to protect its children does not deserve to survive, says DP. It should not be a conservative-liberal-male-female issue. It is decency.

"The spectacle of 65-year old men photographing 13-year old girls with their legs spread is wrong. That it can be done artistically is irrelevant. Murder can be done artistically."

Prager quoted from this 3-8-98 LA TIMES article:

ATLANTA--The girl in the photograph is the archetypal kid sister. No more than 12, her body is a boy's, but her face is pure woman. The contrast is so intense that you almost don't notice: She's wearing a defiant gaze and nothing else.

The photograph is alluring, arresting, fine art in the eyes of many. But in Alabama and South Carolina and Colorado and elsewhere, it's the ultimate indecency. No matter how many museums hang it on their walls, the photograph is seen in parts of America as "child pornography."

And one day soon the courts may see it that way too.

From Darwin to Mapplethorpe, from Elvis to 2 Live Crew, the frontiers of free speech are forever being explored and forever being fought over. So, two weeks ago, it seemed like just another day in the life of the 1stAmendment when an Alabama grand jury indicted Barnes & Noble bookseller for peddling "obscenity," namely two coffee-table books from two reputable publishers.

But this is not your father's 1st Amendment fight. This bitter debate about acclaimed photographers David Hamilton and Jock Sturges centers on both the intent and the content of their work, on their "backgrounds" as well as their foregrounds, on Hamilton's unorthodox beliefs about young girls as much as Sturges' disturbing behavior toward one.

Specifically, the Alabama grand jury cited "The Age of Innocence," by Hamilton, and "Radiant Identities," by Sturges, two books of large-format, high-quality photographs thought by thousands of critics and consumers to be socially acceptable, even wonderful.

But both books focus almost exclusively on naked girls, poised on the precipice of puberty. Sometimes the girls are featured suggestively, other times erotically. In a typical Sturges photograph, a girl about 10years old lies back on a futon, her arms outstretched, her exposed genitals drawing the viewer's eye to the center of the frame. In a typical Hamilton photograph, a girl of 13 gazes at her new breasts, touching them tentatively.

DP has little problem with families being naked, but he didn't want them to sell photos of their naked kids.

Even if it is published by a big publisher and packaged in a lovely book, it is still disgusting.

To be attracted sexually to a non-sexual being - a prepubescent child - is sick, says DP.

Prager says that if we do not ban these types of photos we are not a decent society.

[Isn't that an extreme judgment? If we do not do one thing, we are indecent?]

DP then discussed his nephew Joshua Prager, the son of DP's brother Kenneth. Joshua Harris Prager wrote about Leonardo DiCaprio, the 23 year old star of TITANIC.

Prager claimed that over eight million people visited a web site dedicated to DiCaprio, a highly dubious statistic. That is probably just the number of hits which is distinctly different from visitors.

Josh said that most of these visitors were adolescent girls.

Josh says that half of paperback nonfiction bestsellers revolve around Di Caprio.

Prager felt bad that his web site only gets 200 hits a day. [He should call me - I could tell him how to increase that a 100x]

Callers said that this sort of adoration of movie stars has gone on for 70 + years, but the web gives people now easier access to information about their favorite people.

By Roger Ebert/ Chicago Sun-Times

Strangers are forever telling me about this or that movie they've just seen, and I can guess by their manner how enthusiastic they really are. Titanic moves them. They feel real affection for it.

Those who love it are taking others - insisting that they go. Hollywood talks about "word of mouth" as the best advertising, because people believe it when a friend likes a movie. But with Titanic, people aren't just talking. The movie is doing an unusually high rate of repeat business because many repeaters are dragging along friends, insisting they share the experience.

Is there something buried and mythic in Titanic that strikes a deep chord and makes it into a quasi-ritual for those who love it? I think so. I know there are those who go because they like the love story, or are fans of Leonardo Di Caprio, or admire the special effects. But I think the breadth of the film's success is better explained by the way it touches universal feelings.

Then there's the romance. It's like an interlude in an opera, the moment of heedless abandon before tragedy comes crashing down. Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet, as Jack and Rose, are an attractive and likable couple, but they don't have the presence of, say, Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in Gone With the Wind. Their romance is effective primarily because it is doomed; every moment has a bittersweet undertow because we know what's coming.

Titanic's appeal is made of many things. It is exciting, glorious to look at, intelligent in the way it explains the tragedy - and one of the best MADE films in cinema history. But the heart of its appeal, I'm convinced, comes in the power of the sacrifice at the end…

Prager is happy that today's college kids have little interest in politics, and tend to be moderate politically. DP is glad they are concerned about their careers rather than politics.

DP wishes kids had more desire to learn, and not just train to make money. DP admitted that he is concerned about the ability of his kids to make a living, and he empathized with a father who was concerned that his daughter wished to major in Philosophy.

A recent college graduate phoned in to say there was a very small market for philosophers.

Prager was encouraged that kids wanted to start their own businesses instead of climbing the corporate ladder.

DP says life is a marathon, not a sprint. Whether you make lots of money immediately out of college does not matter much. He is thrilled by all that he has learned, even if it did not benefit him economically.

DP prefers CDs to LPs, because they are quieter. DP is returning slowly to his old format of taking calls on anything.

Prager checked out the movie reviews for DANGEROUS BEAUTY in the LA DAILY NEWS. It got two and a half stars. DP found it the most provocative movie he has ever seen. He discussed it with his wife for weeks. DP thought BOOGIE NIGHTS worthless and boring. The DAILY NEWS gave it four stars. DP says that critics who see a movie every day, grow jaded and their tastes differ from his and most people.

Prager opposes more government aid to college education. All it does is jack up prices. DP does not believe that everyone has to go to college. We benefit more from people who work and read books.

When P was at Columbia, he remembers 'idealistic students' rampaging around campus, breaking up classes and making a mess.

Prager loves graphic design and has been publishing his own newsletter for 15 years.

P wants kids exposed to many types of courses so they can find out what they love.

From Dennis Prager Web Site:


March 13, 1998

Dennis began today's show saying how much he liked "Friday the 13th." He said that he particularly liked it because his youngest son, Aaron, was born on "Friday the 13th." Dennis said that he doesn't like any kind of superstition, he never has. In high school he chose #13 for his basketball jersey.

Dennis' opening topic was in reference to an article in today's Wall Street Journal. It showed how the new environmental laws were actually causing deaths. The more the government regulates the auto industry to produce greater gasoline efficient cars, the more people die on the roads. The articles noted that the only way to gain such gas mileage is to build lighter cars. These cars cannot withstand the heavy impact of head-on collisions. This is resulting in higher traffic deaths. Dennis was angry that the government is choosing the environment over humans. Dennis made a special point to note how critical it is to protect the environment, he is a big believer in that. But not at all cost, not at human cost, Dennis said. When he and his wife, Fran, chose their cars, they did so with safety in mind. Dennis said that his 15 year old son, David, will be driving soon. The last thing Dennis wants him in is a light weight car. Dennis was annoyed with the Consumer Reports magazine that wrote that most people do not "need" Sports Utility Vehicles. Dennis wanted to know, who are they to tell us what we need. What does that mean, "need?" Dennis said that we don't "need" most things that we buy. Dennis said, take a look at your stereos, clothes, etc. Do you really "need" what you own? It is a simple fact, Dennis pointed out, the heavier the car, the safer you and your loved ones are. People "need" to stay alive.

During the second hour Dennis brought up the lawsuits against some booksellers for displaying books of naked children. Dennis said that he believes that all booksellers should offer all books in print but that most books are not on display. There are plenty of times that you want a book but have to order it. No bookseller is ever forced to display any book. Dennis abhors these books of naked children. It shows their genitalia and they are often in compromising positions. He is angered that people refer to this as art. One book in particular displays the portraits by a 67 year old photographer. Dennis said that it is ridiculous to call this art. When a 67 year old man photographs pre-pubescent girls naked with their legs spread apart, this is wrong. This should not be accepted in society. Children have the right to their innocence and their dignity. Dennis emphasized the importance of maintaining the fragile dignity of children. He said that they rely on us since they can't make decisions on their own. That people claim that these photographs are okay since their parents okayed it is a ridiculous notion. These parents are wrong, the photographers are wrong, and the booksellers are wrong for carrying the books in their stores. This is not art, Dennis said. You could call everything in life art. He said that with just the right lighting, a photo of someone being murdered could be considered artistic.

Later in that hour, Dennis interviewed his nephew, Joshua Prager, who is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. His piece on the popularity of Leonardo DiCaprio, appeared in today's paper. Josh said that so far, over 8 million young girls have visited web sites devoted to the young actor. Dennis asked Josh if this was a phenomenon never really seen before in our history? Josh said that he didn't think so. That each generation of young girls has their idol. The difference with today's adolescents, Josh said, is that they now have access to the Internet.

For the final hour, Dennis opened up the phone lines for listeners to call in on any subject. He did make one opening statement that he is encouraged by the recent polls that showed today's college kids are less interested in politics and more interested in their careers. Dennis is thrilled that they are not so interested in politics. He said that our nation will be much stronger if more people would open up a small business and care less about what is going on in politics. Dennis is encouraged by these polls but added that he wished more college students today cared more about learning than about their careers. Students today shouldn't feel this dire need to make lots of money the instant they graduate. They should use college to enrich their lives, not their wallets. They should learn about many subjects, not just graduate only knowing business or computer science. History, geography, geology, foreign language, philosophy, these are all subjects that will enrich a life. Dennis noted that people are living longer today. Can you imagine graduating at 22 years of age only knowing computers and then spending the next 50 years only earning your money through computers? Dennis wanted to know what kind of people are we producing for our society? Pretty soon most adults will only know one subject. He said that we are becoming not only uninformed, but also boring.