Luke Gets Mail
Debbie writes: "That humans are not basically good. That it is natural for people to do evil ."
--Come on, Luke, you know better than that. Humans are neither good nor evil. It is frequently easier to do bad. You oversleep, you call your boss and tell her your car broke down. It's a lie. It's bad. And it's easier. We don't set outselves on a path to do bad (or sin if you prefer), but bad ultimately presents itself. The weak choose it. The strong do not. We are none of us perfect. The Lord gave us free will.
Also, don't you think that there is a difference between bad and evil? Hitler did evil. But does telling your boss you had a flat tire when you were really sleeping through the snooze alarm constitute evil? Now, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong (and I may well be) but doesn't the difference between you as a Jew and me as a Christian basically begin and end with the New Testament? So, if we all believe that the Lord created Man in His own image and likeness, and gave him free will (which resulted in that little apple problem in the Garden), then doesn't it stand to reason that evil is not part and parcel of the human makeup, but merely a weak spot? One which most manage to overcome and a few succumb to?
Luke says: I do believe there is a huge difference between bad and evil. My petty self-serving lies are bad, the terror of September 11 was evil. What does it mean that God created us in His image? Theologians and Bible scholars argue over that. I do believe we have free will. That means a choice between opposites - good and evil.
Catherine writes: Luke, Yesterday on your site you touched on a lot of the questions I had about you as far as your feelings about your religion. As an outsider without a whole lot of knowledge about you there are a few thoughts I have. First of all I'm thinking maybe your father's religious teachings were too extreme, too constricting for a young boy/man from your generation. I'm sure this topic has been explored in your own thoughts and therapy but it does seem as though this Orthodox Judaism is a rebellion against your parents. Not only did you go as far to the extreme as possible against their beliefs but you in a sense denounce Jesus which is, I would think, a direct shot in the heart to your dad.
My other thought about your conversion is that maybe you've been made to feel guilt over your porn journalism to the degree that your self esteem has suffered. I can't imagine why, knowing that you're a decent person in your own heart (and your fans see it too) you would put yourself in the position of being judged so harshly by a group. That must have hurt you terribly. By keeping your acceptance back into the group a goal, a failure to overcome, aren't you setting yourself up to be hurt again? I don't think you did anything to be ashamed of and even if you did, you deserve forgiveness. Why would you think you deserve less, why put a goal in mind that may be completely out of your control to attain? Why WANT to be a part of such an unforgiving group?
Luke don't you realize that even if you are allowed back in to your shul, that you may never truly be accepted...that you may essentially always be branded a peddler of sorts by these people and that you could start fresh with people that could get to know you for who you really are? I just hate the unfairness of it! Damnit doesn't it make you angry? Don't you believe enough in yourself to know that you don't have to answer to anyone here on this Earth as to what's in your heart? Doesn't your religion allow you a personal relationship with God, and allow you to start anew and be judged on how you conduct yourself to your fellow humans and the depth of love in your heart for your God?
I think I understand your need to be included in a community of people that you respect, that you can look to for some faith in humanity perhaps or even just friendship and companionship with people that seek nothing from you but your shared ideals. After being exposed to the worst of humanity by seeing pornography up close naturally you're jaded. However, knowing the hypocrisy that exists in this world are you being honest with yourself about just who's judging who? Statistically we both know that in every group there are the deviants. There are men in that shul diddling their daughters, beating their wives, gambling, etc. Maybe less than most groups. Remember I sent you an article about HIV in the Orthodox Jewish community? There was a woman quoted who watched her closeted gay Orthodox brother die alone for fear of retribution within his community. That article was just one aspect of the problems in any society as a whole. I hope that you're not putting too much faith in these people Luke.
An Eye For An Eye
Concerned writes: Dear Moral Leader, Why do I find this JPEG so deliciously satisfying? Am I evil?
Chaim writes: The problem is that whereas the central symbols of our civilization are complex structures, theirs are merely big rocks. I would prefer we detonate a thermonuclear device on the Kaba to take out Mecca, and another one on Medina. But our leaders are too weak to see the wisdom of this.
Fred writes: Also, Moral Leader, when I read this I laughed and then circulated it to numerous friends. Am I evil? Tacky? Too much time on my hands? One of my former partners says that the Israelis should send the following message to Hamas. The next time a suicide bomber strikes, Mecca is vaporized. Query what they'd do.
How Do We Tell Right From Wrong?
When I was a child, I was taught the difference between right and wrong by my parents and my religous community. I learned that God was the ultimate source of moral authority, and that the clearest reflection of God's will was in the form of the Bible and the Seventh Day Adventist church.
In my teens, I came to believe that the arbiter of right and wrong was human reason. We could examine a moral issue like abortion and reason our way to the correct answer. We could hold each of our beliefs up to the shining light of reason and refashion ourselves through our intelligence.
For a while I flirted with Marxism. I learned that most people's understandings of right and wrong are primarily shaped by their economic system.
Then I converted to Orthodox Judaism where I learned that God was the source of right and wrong, and that His will for our lives was most clearly expressed in the Torah and the ongoing rabbinic tradition.
I came to Orthodox Judaism through non-Orthodox Jewish thinker Dennis Prager, who articulated a rational and moral understanding of the Jewish tradition which is frequently at odds with Orthodoxy. So, like Prager, I felt free to go off on my own and do what I believed was right, even if it differed from the Orthodox community (while still paying much respect to the tradition). Among the quirky things I did, I wrote about the porn industry. No Orthodox Jew can have anything to do with pornography.
Eventually I found the conflict between my Orthodox community and my deviations too painful and I resolved in August to bring my deviations more in line with the community. But do I now automatically accept everything Orthodox Judaism says as divine truth? Well, I have my doubts about some things, but I'm much more circumspect now about how openly I express my doubts and disagreements.
When I first turned on to Judaism through Prager, I wanted to be a moral leader like Prager. In 1995, I thought seriously about writing a book on right and wrong. I'd still like to do that, but I am much humbler now. My understanding of what is possible for me is much more limited. I no longer feel that I can go off and say and do whatever I think is right, community be damned, take my lumps and keep on trucking. I'm much humbler and more careful now.
Over the years I've formed close ties with many members of my Orthodox community who, at times, have vouched for my sincere religiosity. I owe these people. I don't want to betray them. But I must be honest than in admitting that my freedom of thought and speech is considerably limited by these obligations. My pronouncements on moral issues, such as pornography, are compromised because I just don't have the freedom anymore to think everything through for myself and explain in detail how and why I've come to a certain position. On most moral issues, Orthodox Judaism has already come to a conclusion.
I no longer see myself as primarily an autonomous individual following his conscience. Now I primarily see myself as someone who's trying to belong to the Orthodox community. By making this commitment to Orthodoxy, I've considerably limited my options in life, in thought and in speech.
For what reason now should people listen to what I say when I feel that I must weigh everything I'm about to say by the standards of my community?
Most of my psychological state is now shaped by my interactions with others, and almost everyone I have close connections with is an Orthodox Jew. My psyche is shaped by how well I fit in with the Torah believers - where I stack up in religious and communal status. By how often I pray with a minyan (Jewish all-male prayer quorom), how much I study Torah, how carefully I observe the Dietary Laws and other commandments, how much I watch my speech, etc... If I deviate too much from the Torah norm, I will be humiliated and shunned. If I follow the Torah, I will be welcomed and encouraged.
XXX: Are you davening every day with a minyan? Have you found a new home?
Luke: I haven't found a new home where I daven and study every day. I go to different synagogues. I'm a little gun shy about getting too close to one again. I keep my distance now. I pray at home. I read at home. I go for walks alone. I go to different shuls and spread myself around so I don't wear out my welcome. My Orthodoxy community, to the extent it knows about lukeford.com, is glad I've rid myself of it but there's no welcome mat out to me. Nor do I expect one. I have to prove myself.
It's like the book of Ruth. Naomi tells her two non-Jewish stepdaughters, go back to Moab, and implicitly, worship the Moabite gods. Ruth has to overcome Naomi's objections and push to go with her to Israel and to Israel's God and Torah. Orthodox Judaism takes the same approach. Go back to the gods you were raised with.
Some Orthodox Jews think that I've turned Judaism into my new journalistic beat and that I only go to shul to find something to write about. Or worse, to find bad things to write about Jews. At the synagogue I attend most often, several people have told the rabbi that I should be booted but he's not buying it.
I haven't found my new career path either. I'm in that awkward in-between place. I'm a wandering Jew without a home. I am in exile because of my sins, chiefly the sin of hubris, that I have the rationality to determine right and wrong for myself.
Unwittingly, I brought strange fire into the Orthodox community, simply because I chose to make myself a part of the community while writing and researching some very strange topics. By introducing this strange fire, even though I never spoke about it in shul, I've engendered shock, horror and disbelief which turned rapidly into revulsion and anger at me. I'm now trying to dampen the flames. It will be a lot of work and I will not succeed fully. I keep encountering people in shul who say, 'Hey, I heard XYZ about you, that you only come around here to write bad things about Jews.' I feel like I'm assembling an anti-terror coalition.
When I converted to Judaism, largely under the sway of Prager, I thought Judaism was rationally and morally compelling. Now I realize that it requires about as much faith as any other religion.
My natural approach to religion is instrumental - I seek to use religion to do good things in my life and the lives of others, rather than just being overwhelmed by the religion in itself.
I frequently encounter precepts in Orthodox Judaism that make little sense to me or that clash with my learning in the wider Western tradition. So I've learned to use different "approaches" to things which appear to make little sense. I once learned this listening approach - if you truly want to hear someone, assume that what someone is telling you is true, then seek ways of understanding how what you've just heard can be true. I do this too with the Torah. I assume the Torah is true, and then seek ways of figuring out how different teachings and practices can be true (without violating my reason and conscience).
When I encounter something that does not seem to be literally true, such as the historicity of the Garden of Eden, the Flood, the Exodus, etc, I treat these things as stories of divine truth that seek to teach divine truths.
XXX: Does Orthodox Judaism really require multiple things which seem to be opposed by reason or is it just one thing - that the entire Torah, every letter, came from God?
Luke: No, a well-read and morally sensitive person new to Orthodox Judaism is going to be continually confronted with teachings and practices that seem to be untrue and immoral. Orthodox Judaism is fundamentally at odds with modernity as well as the Greek, Christian and secular approaches to life that dominate our society.
Orthodox Judaism makes huge demands on not just a person's conduct but also his thinking. It continually conflicts with the things you learn in college or in the LA Times (such as the historicity of the Exodus). One feels at times that by aligning with Orthodox Judaism you're aligning yourself with a two-thousand year old outlook (the Talmud), removed from the findings of modern science. I was not fully aware of these conflicts when I first converted to Judaism.
It's very difficult to work as a regular journalist and live as an Orthodox Jew. It's difficult to study the humanities and be versed in literature and live up to the Torah. But the diamond trade and medicine fit nicely.
The trades that come naturally to me - acting, writing, journalism, literature, provocateur, talkshow host - does not fit naturally with Orthodox Judaism. The Torah places such huge restrictions on me in these fields that it makes achieving success in them difficult.
XXX: You converted to Judaism while living in your parents home?
Luke: Yes. My parents were tolerant and understanding. I grew a beard and wore a yarmulke around the house. I answered my parents' phone, 'shalom.' I was sick at the time and Judaism was about the only thing that gave me meaning so they tolerated it. And before that, I was into Marxism. So Judaism was better than that. I got myself into trouble by writing a letter to the Seventh Day Adventist journal of thought Spectrum, taking issue with my dad's theology. That did not make for shalom bayit, peace in the house.
I made kiddish Friday nights (blessing over wine) and made my own Passover Seder with my mom.
XXX: Out of Marxism, Judaism and pornography, Judaism was the best.
Luke: Yes, my family was horrified by lukeford.com.
XXX: Did they disown you?
Luke: No. They paid for a whole battery of psychological tests which showed I had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The psychiatrist recommended 10-15 years of psycho-therapy. I returned to therapy because of the recommendation. And a small part of the reason I sold lukeford.com was for my family.
XXX: What happened to your DennisPrager.net site?
Luke: I gave the domain name dennisprager.net to Dennis and placed the content I had on there on lukeford.net. I'm not pals with Dennis. There are certain fundamental tensions in life, and writing an unauthorized biography of Prager, who takes his life and work very seriously, is unalterably tense. I've created numerous forms of tension in my life. The alternative is to lead a boring safe unchallenging life.
There are lots of things you just can't do if you want to belong to polite society. You can't use the word 'negro' or 'fag' or 'kike' or 'dyke.' You can't make negative references about groups of people like Jews, blacks, lesbians, Muslims, etc. You can't talk honestly about race in our current environment. You have to be very careful about how you talk to women in the workplace or other supposedly oppressed minorities.
I thought I had the inner fortitude to go whereever truth led me and to take my lumps and keep on trucking. I don't. As I get older, I'm learning to cave in more to community and to be more careful about saying what I truly think. I'm more circumspect, perhaps devious.
This makes me more humble about making moral pronouncements. I realize how much my thinking is inextricably intertwined with my group identity, and that I deviate from that identity at my great peril. I think that honest journalism about pornography or race relations or white nationalists or Muslims is moral but you can't really do it in our present society.
On the day John F. Kennedy was shot, Tom Wolfe, a journalist at the time for the now defunct New York Herald Tribune, went to various ethnic enclaves in New York to get people's perspectives on the assination. And he found folks in the various enclaves blaming outsiders for the assasination - Jews blaming redneck southerners, Muslims blaming Jews, blacks blaming whites, whites blaming blacks and Puerto Ricans or Italian-Americans. Wolfe returned to the office and wrote up these fascinating opinions but the paper wouldn't print them. I find these honest reactions fascinating but you can't publish them in polite society.
My Thoughts On September 11
September 11's terrorism and Americans reaction to it bolsters many of my deepest beliefs. Such as:
* That humans are not basically good. That it is natural for people to do evil.
Look Homeward Angel
It annoyed and wounded him to be considered "queer." He exulted in his popularity among the xxx fans, his heart pounded with pride under all the press clippings which he carefully stored here. But he resented being considered an eccentric and a fag, and he envied those of his fellows who could attend any shul they wanted in the community. He wanted to obey the Torah's laws and to be respected: he believed himself to be a sincerely conventional person - but, some one would see him after midnight, bounding along Pico Blvd, with goatcries beneath the moon. His suits went baggy, his shirts and drawers got dirty, and his shoes wore through. He did not mean to go unkempt. He hated to act - he wanted to brood upon his entrails for fourteen hours a day.
Sometimes, when he was in a chafed and bitter temper, he would hear a burst of laughter from a student's room, and he would turn snarling, and curse them, believing they laughed at him. He inherited his father's conviction that the world was gathered in an immense Jewish conspiracy against him: the air about him was full of mockery and menace, the leaves whispered with treason, in a thousand secret synagogues people were assembled to humiliate, degrade, and betray him. He would spend hours under the terrible imminence of some unknown danger: although he was guilty of nothing but some obscene scribblings on the internet, he would enter a minyan, a synagogue, a House of Torah Study, with cold constricted heart, awaiting exposure, sentence, and ruin. Again, he would be wild, extravagant, and careless, squealing triumphantly in their faces and bounding along possessed with goaty joy, but inside he was pure fear.
As he davened (prayed) along, he heard men laugh at his antics and say that he needed to write under a psuedonym. Me! Me! Luke Carey Ford. Levi Ben Avraham. Your Moral Leader. Luke Ford - the Scourge of the Pornographers, the Moses of the Jews, the Jesus of the Christians, the Osama Bin Laden of the Muslims.
Levi of Nazareth Ford, mocked, reviled, spat upon, and exiled for the sins of others, but nobly silent, preferring death than to cause pain to any rabbi. Levi, the Unknown Solider, the Martyred Journalist, the slain God of Harvest, the Bringer of Good Gossip. Yes, Luke Byron Ford, carrying the pageant of his bleeding heart throughout the internet.
But what, typed Levi very slowly into the darkness, if I'm not a Genius? What if nobody else thinks I am? What if when my shekels run out, I must take a job as a secretary for a Century City law firm?
Kendra Jade Sings
My friend Kendra Jade (of Jerry Springer fame) sang before a packed house at the Whiskey A Go Go on Sunset Blvd in Los Angeles this weekend.
Turn And Face The Change
Will from Halifax, Canada writes: Hi Luke: I have been through some changes in my life just as you are going through now. Fortunately, I did not have to provide web content during my introspective phase.
I see 'the advisory committee' et. al. complaining on Lukeford.net every day that you should return to porn -- if for no other reason than to replace the pathetic hack who has taken your spot on Lukeford.com. Apparently your scribes about getting kicked out of shul or lunching with the same Jewish Princess as your friend are not enough for the crowds coming to this ad-free spot on the Internet. I think they are missing the point.
Compared to xxx gossip, your life is indeed pretty ordinary. You don't get your cannon waxed much these days and you no longer watch other people boffing on shoots. You get kicked out of shul and you are too introverted to have much to say about September 11th. You publish old interviews. Still, this is all for a reason.
One of the things academics love to debate is the concept of CONTENT on the Internet. The forray rages back and forth about a definition of CONTENT and the end result is usually that nobody wins the argument and nobody spills any blood. I would take the position that what you are currently doing with Lukeford.net is providing CONTENT of a type I find particularly interesting - real life.
You could have done more with the van trip up the coast and you could let us in on the intimate content of your discussions when you get booted from shul, but you are providing reality CONTENT which is lacking anywhere else. Think about it, the mundane days of an introspective xxx quitter have never really been published in a semi-live format before. True, this might not cause anyone to get a chubby, but what I find in your writing here at Lukeford.net is an opportunity to see what is going through the mind of a near-famous man as he tries to pull his life together. And, I find it interesting.
So, here is my question which I would like you to respond to either personally or on the site:
Did you quit xxx because you wanted to, or because you thought someone else wanted you to?
When I was in my early 20s I was able to travel all over the world as a busker. I saw Japan, New Zealand, Europe, all 50 US states and the entirety of my own country (Canada) over a three year period. I gave in to the demands of the people around me and got a day job when I returned home to British Columbia for a summer. I have worked 9-5 ever since. I have a good life, Luke, but I gave up what I loved doing for the wrong reasons -- partly because people made me feel guilty and partly because I listened when they said what I was doing wasn't well with my life and they had no respect for me.
The odd thing is that the people who berated my chosen lifestyle (parents etc.) are now dead or not in contact with me any longer. You are having the same experience. The people who said you had to quit porn, lest you be labeled a 'bad person,' are the same people who now keep busy seeing what they can ban you from. Their backs are turned so far around you might as well have gone back to Christianity. If people don't love you when you write about porn they won't love you now either. They are proving this every day.
I don't know if the value of Internet CONTENT for academics supercedes one's own desire to persue a career in "the arts," but I can clearly see you aren't happy and the visitors to this site can't be making that feel any better. Start tomorrow doing what you want to do. If you do go back to porn it is not failure. If you don't go back it isn't failure either. Failure only happens when you stop doing what you love to do.
Luke says: My feelings about quitting lukeford.com are mixed. Overall I am happier for doing it. I can't fully separate myself from my community and its standards. I see myself mainly in relation to others. I constantly feel myself moving up and down the status scale. I see people struggling with poor health and screwed psyches and unemployment and I thank God that I have it better. Then I see people who have many friends and close community and the honor of good people, and I yearn for what they have. Writing is what I love. I am doing what I love to do. I am reading the books I want to read. I'm reading lots about Ernest Hemingway because there's much that I admire about his pre-1930s writing. Though on a human scale, he was a wreck.
Will replies: A busker is a troubador, street entertainer, street musician etc. It is properly spelled busquer but nobody without a PhD. in English can accept that. Buskers date back to the 14th century when live theatre and music were impromptu performances which happened spontaneously in the streets of small-town England. At least this is the earliest reference I am aware of. It is an interesting way to make a living and is not, as far too many people assume, panhandling or begging. In fact, busking is protected by law in most Western countries as it works on the assumption that money will be given if the show is good - no specific verbal direction required ("buddy can you spare a swine?")
Luke asks: So what sort of work do you do now? How long have you been married? Do you have kids? What sort of Jewish upbringing did you have? How much Jewish stuff do you do now?
Will replies: My upbringing was a strange as they come. My grandmother (maternal) and paternal grandfather were Jews. Nana married an alcoholic athiest and my Jewish grandfather married a Catholic - just like me! My mother and father were both supposedly Christians. My mother had been an Anglican missionary and worked in the Indian schools run by the church here in Canada (houses of cultural genocide we now realize).
My grandmother and I are very close and I consider myself culturally Jewish but I do not observe or practice religious rites or rituals. I took a great interest in studying Talmud and going to shul around the age of twenty but was shunned by the mainstream for being a 'mixed-breed' Jew.
When it was time to marry at age 28 (ten years ago) my search for a rabbi who would marry us in my home proved fruitless despite my thought that I would find an understanding rabbi who would respect my own respect for my cultural heritage. I was not asking to be married at the synagogue, so I thought we could work something out. As a last resort we went to the Catholic church which would have been quite happy to oblige us if we cared to provide a substantial contribution to the 'restoration fund' of a five year old church - $10,000. Otherwise I would have to convert - which again required a substantial.....................
My busking days saw me playing guitar, singing and telling my own jokes. When I was a teenager I was not impressed with disco or the band Kiss so I collected comedy records. I know more one liners than Jackie Martling and have varied them to be suitable for a public audience including children. Late night shows I sunk to filth as one would expect.
My real job is helping people see what is good about each day and about life. Through this I also accomplish the goals of the corporation. I studied English at Simon Fraser University, journalism at Holland College and I also have accreditations in music and ocean navigation. I have studied Torah and New Testament as well as writings from several world religions including the Qu'rhan and European Sufism a la Gurgieff and Ouspensky. I am not very up to date regarding proper observances of our Jewish holidays as I now celebrate the wrath of organized consumer Christmas along with my wife and her family.
We get winter, and yes some snow. You drink whiskey, dig out the shovel and smoke while you find the sidewalk and driveway. If all else fails you get wrapped up in a warm duvet and have sex - just like in Minnesota.
At least we appreciate summer, don't have earthquakes and are mostly free from gun-toting freaks. Last time I watched the news we had not been attacked by fundamentalists with mental health issues either. Basically, I would say we survive it rather well.
If it is any consolation, our Jewish women are also very high maintenance. If you spent some time up here you would never leave Luke.
Can American prose move beyond self-absorption?
TO READ "THE BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2001," the new collection of two dozen essays edited by Kathleen Norris and Robert Atwan, is to realize two things. The first is that writers in America today possess a literary instrument of enormous power. The second is that those writers have almost nothing to use it on except themselves. What is perhaps the most extraordinary, turbo-charged general prose that the English language has ever known is harnessed to the largest narcissistic examination of selves--and what, in the absence of any larger topic for the beautiful prose, prove to be often little and uninteresting selves.
If the present-day wielders of the essay manage, in the wake of the attacks of September 11, to aim their gorgeous writing style at the high moral topics now forced upon us, then we may be able to echo Shelley in our time--in defense of prose.
WTF Is Luke Doing?
Curious writes: Just read Luke's site today and found it crammed full of crap about some producer I never cared about. Would anyone aside from the interview subjects themselves buy such a book? Pure Drivel!
Khunrum writes: Luke, Get real buddy. Nothing you could write now is of any interest to anyone. We thought you had an exciting life when you were Tinseltown's numero uno (or numero DOS ) porn scribe on the go. We of the advisory committee (I think I speak for all) believed it was glamorous to know all those young porno trollops. To go on shoots and watch them get boffed. To be able to take pictures of them naked. To perhaps nail down some poon tang yourself. To get your cannon waxed by Kendra Jade. Whether or not it was as much fun as we imagined I don't know. However, now that your porn career is on hold I can assure you your life is more boring than ours. I don't believe there is a market for your shtick as it is now. Do we want to hear which shul banned you this week? Which Rabbi would like to drop you behind Taliban lines? Which snotty Jewess won't give you the time of day? I don't think so. Reading about constant rejection is not fun. Sorry buddy, wish I could help.
Chaim Amalek writes: Amen to all of it. What next Luke, writing about your bodily discharges?
Helpful writes: Rumdar speaks the truth. Do you have a publisher for your Hollywood producer book or your bio? If not why bother? Books are rather passe now. Nowadays you needs a script to peddle to get the babes. Switch to a script of your life. Seinfeld's got nothing on your rollercoaster existence.
Chaim writes: Expanding on what Rum wrote before, when Luke was in porn, we all were two degrees of separation from every player and porner in the Western World. And that was as close to the glamorous world of celebrity culture as most of us was likely to get in life. Now we are two degrees of separation from the sorts of people we already have in our lives anyway, and it just is not all that interesting. Now Q, on the other hand,......
Luke says: But aren't you guys enjoying your new opportunity on lukeford.net to get up close and personal with the major players in Hollywood as well as learn secrets insights into what women want?
Khunrum replies: We already know what women want. Children, pricey automobiles, expensive houses (with lot's of square feet), jewelry, fine dining, security, nice vacations and prozac. Tell us something we don't know. What they don't want.....too much sex.
Curious writes: I stumbled upon this photo of Luke just a few short months ago when he was still in porn journalism. Does this man look unhappy to you?
Luke says: Grasshopper. Don't you know that we are but dust in the wind? It is not earthly happiness that matters but rather storing up treasure in Heaven.
Goddess writes: okay, guys, stop ragging all over luke. i, for one, am enjoying reading articles that luke apparently took over six years to transcribe... and yes, curious, i think luke looks extremely sad in that photo...after years of practice and therapy, he's learned to hide it so well....the tears of a jackass...I mean "clown" and all that jazz....
Chaim Amalek writes: I spend my days wondering if it's gonna be anthrax, a truck bomb packed with radioactive waste (likely targets if here: Times Square, or one of the tunnels), poison gas on the subway, or a few more muslims in planes. You know, Manhattan has a population of 3,000,000 during the day on about 20 square miles of it. We take a lot of food to feed, and if they knock out just a few tunnels (the original plan in the '93 attack), not enough trucks will get in here to feed us all. It will be a bit like Leningrad in WWII. Except that we will be able to get out, one way or another, I suppose.
Now, what was it you were saying Luke?
Helpful writes: Dammit you selfish bastard, Chaim! Get some perspective you putz! Luke has girlfriend troubles and you fret about mere mortality? Grow up!
Luke says: Maybe which should take bets on which disaster? Over and under for how many killed? Ok, I'll wager 27,000 dead with anthrax. Sheesh, if Chaim is depressive, let's liven things up guys.
Khunrum writes: Don't worry buddy, I have it from excellent sources that Dubya plans to drop you damned Yankees some of those 70,000 food packets they are using in Afghanistan to fatten up our enemies. BTW Chaim, how do you think your taste buds will react to camel steak? With a little imagination and seasoning they say it tastes just like Pastrami. God Bless America.
Luke, Michael Jordan came out of retirement. Get with it. No one will put you down for getting back into xxx. We never wanted you to leave. You were pretty close to the best at what you did. Your only rival, Gene Ross. Now there are all sorts of sins being committed under the banner LukeFord.com. Return and claim what is rightfully yours....take back your turf. Your were once Luke Ford.com and reporters phoned you because like the Terrorism Experts we see on tube now, Luke was the foremost xxx Expert. At the moment you are just another schmuck on the block. Like it or not buddy, it is difficult to shift gears. Your are forever linked to the sleaze industry. Roll with it.
Chaim writes: "Depressive" - is that some sort of Hollywood Liberal Jewish insult? Well, out here I am, on this at least, in the majority. You cannot know the sort of apocalyptic shit and scenarios everyone is running through his head out here. And not as fantasy, but as actual "what do I do if X happens?" stuff.
Your Moral Leader says: Of course I am very sorry to hear that... I feel helpless. At least know that you are in my prayers... I don't sense the same apocalyptic foreboding here in Los Angeles...perhaps because this is the City of Angels and we're especially protected by the divine presence.
Luke says: So I'm sitting in the park in Beverly Hills on a sunny Sunday afternoon reading the Thomas Wolfe novel Look Homeward Angel when my friend "Jake" walks up. We stroll together around the park to a pack of Persian Jews who aren't friendly. I ask Jake if he's dating anyone. He says he met this hot Jewish girl from New York, over Rosh Hashanah and they went out once. Now they're exchanging email. I say, oh, how interesting, is her name Gina? Yes he says. I had Rosh Hashanah lunch with the same woman and we're now exchanging email too.
Resolution To Luke's Law Bill
I asked the law firm KL to fax me anything they have where I take responsibility for the bill. They faxed me six pages where I did just that, so I paid the $3800.
Harry Bernsen - Producer
In the summer of 1996, I interviewed several Hollywood producers, including the husband and wife couple that created and oversaw the TV show Northern Exposure.
I interviewed Harry Bernsen, father of actors Corbin (LA Law) and Collin.
Born in 1925, Harry, at age 13, followed in his father and grandfather's footsteps into the Chicago theater.
Raised in Christian Science, Bernsen, in 1943, joined the Marine Corp and served in World War II. "I was the first one to land in Nagasaki after the atomic bomb."
In 1953, Bernsen met and married actress Jeanne Cooper. They had their son Corbin on September 7, 1954. Next came Collin and daughter Caren (in 1960).
Cooper starred in the CBS soap opera "The Young and the Restless" for more than two decades.
During the 1960s, Bernsen produced plays in Europe and the US. In the early 1970s, he produced several black exploitation films including Three The Hard Way (1974) and Take A Hard Ride (1975).
Bernsen helped produce the 1978 seven-hour NBC miniseries "The Awakening Land" starring a young Jane Seymore.
In 1980, Bernsen and Cooper divorced though they remain "good friends."
"This may fall apart," Bernsen tells me on a summer day in 1996. "I created this thing for television called 'Two Women Abroad.' A big name American woman spends two weeks with a major foreign woman like Raisa Gorbachev in Russia or [the widow of Sadat] in Egypt or Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. I may be partners with Barbara Streisand's company.
"I want to do 13 one-hour TV specials a year. Barbara's company wants to do four to six a year.
"This would be one of the things closest to my heart. Because again, I adore women. It's all women. I have a Greek woman and a Danish woman who helped me develop the concept."
Harry adores several women in our cafe.
"It's everything about women. We would give [American actress] Susan Sarandon a list of 50 women around the world and ask her who would you like to spend two weeks with and talk about politics, birth, sexuality, food, clothes, everything. Not just talk, they go. Sophia Loren wants to start hers out with Italian cooking and then go through everything. [Unintelligible] wants to talk about the sexuality of the French man and then go through everything. Raisa Gorbachev wants to talk about the loneliness of politics in Russia. [Sadat's widow] wants to talk about the psyche of the Egyptian male and how they relate to women. Princess Diana wants to do England."
Harry says he only wants to work on projects "for the betterment of mankind. Also, I love to have women involved. I'm working with a woman director [Deborah Chaymes?] in Sausalito right now. She makes sensually erotic films for women. She also has an educational film company that is very good. She's coming down next week.
"Now let me get to your list of questions. Do you remember what they are?"
Harry: "I do."
He draws the list of questions out of his pocket.
First question - what inspired you to devote your life to this?
Harry: "My family. And I fell in love with an actress (Dolores Hart born 10/20/38) while I was married. She was my client. She's going to be the next Grace Kelly. She came to Rome while I was living there (in the early 1960s). She was a converted Catholic. We spent a lot of time in Rome together. No sexuality just the relationship was great. My wife always sort of resented it.
"Dolores left Rome and came back here. She got engaged. She was under contract to Hal Wallis, one of the major producers in the world. Hal threw a party for her [in 1963] and gave her a beautiful mink coat for her engagement. And she threw up all over the mink coat and packed out. She called Maria Cooper, Gary Cooper's daughter, and joined the Abbey of Regina Laudes in Bethlehem, Connecticutt as a cloistered nun.
"I got very angry with her. I told her, 'You've got the ability to reach millions of people, why are you going in this abbey with 45 nuns?' She's been there for 33 years. Left there two or three times. 'You should be out telling the things you think about and all.'
"I used to go up there two or three times a year. We'd have dinner under a thing because she was cloistered. I ended up with a ridge under my nose because I kissed her through the lattice work. I said to her, if you have the ability as a communicator, you better use that ability.
"That idea drove me. I want to get out certain ideas that I have. And they're becoming better and better. I'm a very religious person. I go to church every Sunday. I go to a lot of churches. I mainly go to the Encino Community Church. This girl I go with, we went to a black gospel church in Pasadena. We went to a Latvian church. I have this great relationship with this Latvian Lutheran minister. I read the Bible every day. And I base my whole life [on this].
"When I graduated [eighth grade] in 1937, the teacher gave me a little thing called 'The greatest thing in the world.' It's based on First Corinthians 13. 'Though I speak with the tongue of men and angels, and have not love...' I send everybody copies of that. I base everything I do around that word 'love.' And I don't mean sexual love, though that is part of it.
"I feel that two things are happening right now. There's a lot of love in the world. I don't dig what's happening now with Atlanta and TWA 800 [terrorism]. And we're facing a millenium in four years. We better shift the course of humanity. I like to incorporate that stuff into what I do.
"I don't believe in evil. I don't believe in death. I don't believe in sickness. It's nothing to me. Say a friend of yours died. A lot of people say that's the end of it. His ashes are in Forest Lawn. But if you go to the ocean, and you see somebody sailing until he goes over the horizon and you don't see him anymore, he's still sailing.
"If you see an ambulance going down the street, what do you think?"
Luke: "That somebody's hurt."
Harry: "I always think, somebody's giving birth. My kids think the same thing."
Luke: "How do you look at the TWA explosion?"
Harry: "That's a good one. I'll have to give it a little thought. I just have this philosophy about everything. It may be simplistic. It may be wrong. I'm 71 years old. I work out three days a week with a trainer. I lost 30 pounds in the last four months and I want to live another 30 years. I want to have babies with this woman [Harry's girlfriend] and to be fair to her, I want to live another 30 years.
"We're close to doing a picture right now on Dietrich Bonhoeffer [German Protestant theologian who tried to kill Hitler]. His father was one of the main psychiatrists in Germany. His wife's son is the director of the Cleveland Symphony. They almost had Hitler declared insane before the war. A lot of German generals and admirals joined Bonhoeffer and 80% of the German church joined Hitler. And Bonhoeffer's father wouldn't declare Hitler insane without seeing him in person. And his father backed away.
"There were other assasination attempts on Hitler. The last two years of Bonhoeffer's life he was in a prison called Flossenberg. Just as the Russians were coming in from the East and the Allies from the West, Bonhoeffer could hear the bombs, Hitler, in one of his final commands was that Bonhoeffer must die. He was hung by piano wire eight days before Hitler killed himself.
"Bonhoeffer said if I see a mad man driving down, do I console the people he hit or do I stop the mad man? Martin Luther King said that if your enemy has a conscience, you act like Gandhi. If your adversary has no conscience, like Hitler, you act like Bonhoeffer.
"I've been at this project for 20 years but it feels like it is coming together now. I'm waiting for a call today from William Hurt's agent at William Morris. I have a German partner who's bringing in 70% of the financing. We brought Hugh Hudson, who directed Chariots of Fire, to direct. He became a pain in the ass. Unbeknownst to me, he and Hurt had a run-in two years ago in Wales.
"Hurt looks like Bonhoeffer. Hurt was a theologian before he became an actor."
In the year 2000, the independent movie arrived as "Bonhoeffer & Canaris - Enemies of the State."
Harry: "I spent time with the Dalai Llama last week. I believe in everything. I love the entertainment business. The excitement. What it has the ability to do to people - how they talk, make love, think.
"I can say anything to anybody. How do you think I could talk to this girl [in our cafe] like that? Could you have done that? Give her your card..."
Luke: "I could but I almost never would."
Harry: "I do it because... I don't want to take her to bed. I just want to love her."
Luke: "I want to take her to bed."
Harry: "I'm strange that way. I'm very much in love. I'm finally with a woman that I don't want to screw around on. I just think you can influence people and show them how to love. Isn't that true?"
Harry speaks to the attractive girl.
Harry: "See, she agrees.
"There are a few things that I'm doing that I have a hard time justifying why I'm doing them. But there's a lot of money involved. I try to find a reason. As a producer, you get the shit kicked out of you every day. You're rejected.
"I loved Independance Day. The idea of a Jew and a black guy saving the world, I loved it. A person who was a wimp became a hero. The world got together to fight a common enemy. I want the world to get together to find a common good - angels. That's a script I'm working on.
"I'm working on a picture with this director in Sausalito about Edna St. Vincent Millay, the American poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner. Have you heard of the expression "burning a candle at both ends"? That's one of her poems. She was a forerunner of sexuality, bisexuality, drugs, dope. She was one of the great American poets who died in 1953.
"There was a terrorist conference in Egypt four months ago. There were 29 world leaders there and only one was a woman - Mary Robinson of Ireland. If there had been 29 women there, it would've been a better place."
Luke: "Do you think women are ethically superior to men?"
Harry: "That's a good question. I don't think they're jaded. I think they're compassionate and nurturing.
"I saw this mother of a Muslim terrorist on TV talking about now her son is dead, he can have all the beautiful things in the world. Seventy virgins... I don't believe in that. This is where the beauty is. Like that woman there. I don't believe in death."
Luke: "People die. My mother died when I was four. My family has never been the same."
In a 1970s interview, Harry praised Idi Amin, the former Ugandan dictator who killed about 500,000 of his own people.
"I was praising Idi Amin. I'm a DeGaullist. I believe that France is for France and the world is for the world. I agreed with a lot of the things that Idi Amin was saying at the time. He wanted the teachers to be Ugandans. I believed in that. Of course I was proved wrong.
I found Harry Bernsen's name on the front page of SexVigor.com in an ad for a videotape entitled "Secrets of History's Greatest Lovers."
"What women have wanted us to know, but we were afraid to ask"-Harry Bernsen, Film producer
From People magazine 12/5/88:
The bride wore blue, the ink on her divorce was barely dry, she was five months pregnant and the ceremony took place on a restaurant patio. Not your traditional wedding arrangement, perhaps, but in Hollywood, anything goes.
And so, while a guitarist played in the background, British-born actress Amanda Pays, 29, and L.A. Law's Corbin Bernsen, 34, were united in holy matrimony. The thoroughly modern couple read their own vows during the nondenominational service while everyone got properly choked up. ''It was very romantic,'' said Bernsen's sister Caren. ''Every time I thought I was going to start crying, I'd turn my head.''
The 6 P.M. ceremony was short and sweet. ''It was very contemporary,'' says Harry Bernsen, who recommended his own minister, Philip Nicola, from the Unity by the Sea Church in Santa Monica. ''((It)) was about joy, peace, harmony and love.''
From People magazine 9/16/91
Cooper claims she never pushed either child into acting. While raising them in Beverly Hills, she says, she encouraged their independence... Cooper lives alone, a one-minute drive away from the Hollywood Hills house Corbin shares with wife Amanda (The Flash) Pays and their son, Oliver, 2. Collin and his wife, Cheryl Horton, and son Weston, 1, are also nearby. (Their second child is due this month.)
Though the grandchildren come over often to splash in her pool, ''I told my kids I'm not the unofficial baby-sitter,'' Cooper says. But unofficial adviser -- well, what's a mother for?
She says that Corbin, who has at times railed against and retreated from the media for perceived slights, ''needs to become more thick-skinned so he isn't wounded as quickly. This whole thing about being private -- if you're too private, you won't be in this business long.''
On the set, mother and son cope quite differently with the demands of celebrity. When Bernsen is asked for his autograph, he balks, complaining that if he grants one such request, he'll have to grant them all. Finally he relents and scribbles his name.
Meanwhile a fan cautiously approaches his mom. ''Hi, dear, how are you?'' Cooper responds warmly, signing the profferred slip of paper and giving the woman a hug. As more admirers step up, she chats with each one and even follows one man to his truck to call his father, a fervent Cooper fan.
When a publicist suggests she retreat to her trailer, Cooper shakes her head. Then, as she has for 18 years, she graciously turns her attention to her audience.
The first actress to kiss Elvis Presley on the screen and over six year, starred in films with Anthony Quinn, Robert Wagner, Jeff Chandler, and Montgomery Clift. She was the top-billing actress in MGM's highest grossing 1962 movie, "Where the Boys Are."
Today, Dolores Hart is Mother Dolores who lives at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in rural Connecticut, where she has been a cloistered nun for 37 years.
Dolores grew into a striking beauty and in 1957, at the age of 18, she signed a contract with famed movie producer Hal Wallis...
More than three years after the first of several visits to the convent, although engaged to be married Dolores did not become a wife, but dedicated herself to the Church and life at Regina Laudis. For California businessman Don Robinson, Dolores's fiancée the news was devastating. "I actually broke down and cried," he recalls. "I couldn't believe it."
Decades later, Robinson still lives in Los Angeles and has never married. He continues to visit the woman he now knows as Mother Dolores each year. He says their love has sustained itself — albeit in ways very different from what he'd imagined as a younger man. "We have grown together. Like we would have in our marriage," he says, "She's my life."
What Women Want
In the summer of 1995, I sought a way to make a name for myself. I decided to do a documentary on what women want and I interviewed over 50 attractive women, mainly actresses, on what they sought in a man. The project didn't go anywhere.
I thought in shul today that this would make a fascinating revisit. So I pulled out videotapes of some of my old interviews, and transcripts, and they read boring.
That's why I switched in the fall of 1995 to writing on the pornography industry.
Fred writes: "O.K. What do women want. My guess is stuff like "sense of humor", "attractive". My guess is they never say "rich"."
Chaim Amalek writes: "Why not write about life in your apartment?"
Fred replies: "This question is ambiguous. Are you suggesting that Luke write about what it's like for a person to live in his apartment, or do you think he should write about the various forms of life (molds, fungus, etc.) growing in his apartment? I think it would make for a good episode of Wild Kingdom, if they're still filming it."
Your Moral Leader says: Here are some of the highlights of my 1995 interviews. I've changed the names.
Sandy is secular and 27 years of age:
I was married for two years to the most wonderful man in the world and I ended up leaving him for another woman. But if I were to describe what I want in another man, it's be like Jeff - wise and witty. He's the one person I've met who's sexless. My magical Jeff supported my decision to be a lesbian. He felt no failure on his part.
Maureen, 24, Jewish:
I'll meet men who I'm not attracted to, then I'll find out that they are Jewish and I'll take a second look. The men I've fallen hardest for were physically repulsive at first sight, but over time I became totally wild about them because of their wit, power, talent, and intelligence.
My first boyfriend was my seventh grade English teacher with a big nose and very Jewish. A writer. He would wear polyester and forget to wash his hair and I was wild for him. I was wilf for him in seventh grade and then we got together a few years later.
I could never live with a Republican. I'm terribly bigoted about Republicans. Either they're sinister or stupid. To live with someone who I knew was cancelling my vote, yuck.
To be more successful with women, men should get:
* A bigger vocabulary
I've always attracted older men. One old guy really liked me, but I only wanted to be friends. So I ended up joining his Buddhist cult instead of sleeping with him.
Joan, 19, is a Protestant and a virgin. Her father accompanies her to the interview:
I do not want a jealous man. My last boyfriend limited who I could see. I couldn't even go out with my female friends. He'd manipulate me by saying, 'You don't want to spend time with me. You only want to hang out with them.' So I stayed with him to prevent him from getting mad. Consequently, during two years of high school, I lost most of my friends because I sepnt almost all my time with my boyfriend.
My ex-boyfriend said that he could never go out with an actor, so all the time that I was with him, I had to deny my bliss.
I won the role of princess in the Tournament of Roses and had to take take a lot of time off one month to give speeches, etc. Instead of sharing my joy, my ex-boyfriend was jealous of my success.
I dislike burping. Perhaps my preoccupation with manners comes from the age range of the men I date - 18-21. Hygiene is important to me. I want a man who showers regularly and wears nice clean clothes.
I wouldn't date a black man nor would I date a non-Christian.
I love a relationship that begins playfully where the two of you have turned into puppies: pinching and poking, touching the arm or the leg while you're talking. And that great pause before the first kiss. Fantastic. Even with guys that don't work out, the first kiss is always exciting. I like it when the man treats me like my body is an amazing gift. Marveling, look at these fingers, toes. Let me taste them.
The best line I've ever heard - 'Hi, my name is John Smith. How am I doing so far?'
I find the ocean romantic, as well as good restaurants, getting drunk and then having passionate sex.
I most seek good character. You can be tall, dark and handsome with an Australian accent, but unless you have character it doesn't mean anything.
I went to Disneyland once with my 40-year old boyfriend, and he was sneaking in for free. He could afford to pay, but for him it was a challenge to get in for free. We'd go to horse races and he'd tear his ticket so that it looked like a winner. These things show lack of character.
We women lie and tell every man that we've ever been with that he's a good lover. That's why there are so many bad lovers out there. I've never met a man who didn't think he wasn't the greatest lover.
Khunrum writes: What's needed is a N.Y.C Fireman's Hard Hat.
Goddess writes: uh, you *do* know that as a fireman, you'd have to help people (also called WORK) and expect *nothing*in return, right? it would be done out of the goodness of your heart--that's that organ most people have in their chest....
Passed Over Again
Yes, I was ignored again by the Nobel Prize Committee for Literature. This year it went to V.S. Naipaul.
As for the Oscars, could this be the year the Academy for Arts and Sciences finally recognizes the contributions to cinematic history by Ron Jeremy?
Khunrum writes: I read one of V.S Naipaul's books years ago. "Bend In The River" I believe it was called. What a snoozer. It was less interesting than the first six chapters of Luke's autobiography. In other words a solid zzzzzzzzzzz! Who was it who said he could forgive Nobel for inventing gun powder but never for starting the Nobel Prize?
David Moyes writes: I know you're Jewish but do you find it ironic that all your past problems with the synagogue are similar to another Jew: Christ, who spent more time hanging out with the sinners than the saints -- because they needed him more. I think a lot of folks appreciate you questioning moral truths -- even if they're unable to follow them.
Goddess writes: I DON"T get it. As often as I've read it, I STILL don't get it. WHY does YOUR THERAPIST cry when YOU screw up? is it cuz she knows she won't be getting rid of you any time soon? or is it because you're such an easy cash cow that she's crying out of sheer joy? "Look out new vacation home, here I come!!"
Luke says: You wouldn't understand. You're a Gentile.
Goddess replies: ahhhh, another one of those incidences where secular reductionist thinking is involved, huh?
The Answer To Terrorism - Normality
Helpful writes: Gentlemen. The currency of terrorism is fear. They want us to chase our tails in paranoid desperation or worse hopelessly hole ourselves up in our homes. Strike a blow against terrorism. Live your life as you normally would.
Chaim Amalek writes: Live my life as I normally would? But that means holled up in a tiny apartment for me.
Fred writes: What should I do if my life is normally shitty?
Khunrum says: Continue On...It is your patriotic duty to do so.
Chaim says: NO - sell (or rent out, if you are risk averse) the house, dump the law and engineering books into the bay and drive down to Luke's place. You to sorta balance each other out.
Khunrum says: Two Un-Happy guys...ONE Hovel??? But I have a bigger question. What about this Mark Green? He appears to be the lesser of all evils but will he be able to fill Rudy's shoes. Too calm the City. To neutralize the Anthrax.....I think not.BTW we have your X police Chief Lee Brown as Mayor here. The guy is such a dolt he has a difficult time speaking ebonics.
No More Sensitive Luke - Levi Becomes A NYC Fireman
I'm putting on hold my move to Israel to become a New York City fireman. Developing. Let's roll.
Anthrax Hits New York
Chaim Amalek reports: One person (so far) has Anthrax in NYC, an employee at NBC. This seems to be a form of infection by US mail. I suspect that my many of my fellow New Yorkers are REALLY going to be on edge over this one. (Note to all you dope dealers - if you REALLY want to make some easy bread, ditch the cocaine and start selling Cipro.) The "good" news seems to be that this group appears not to have mastered weaponizing anthrax for use as a tool of mass-murder in the name of Allah. If they had, the infections would be in the thousands or tens of thousands, and of the lethal pneumonic form. I suspect this to be a diversion, an attempt to spread terror and keep FBI busy on things other than the main attack. But what will THAT be? A ball park full of fans? An oil refinery?
Fred writes: I think that crashing a plane into Hoover Dam would have more real economic impact than the WTC, but nowhere near as many casualties. (However, the folks river rafting downstream from the Dam would certainly be in for a Disneyland E-ticket ride.)
The more I think about things, it was astonishingly bad judgment to not start getting serious about chasing Osama until now. Just think of the shit we let go by: The Cole bombing; The embassy bombings; The first WTC bombing.
The U.S. has had a first class shitty response to all of these things. If this anthrax really is a terrorist action, I think it would justify Dubya dusting off those old nukes, and lobbing a few Bin Laden's way. It may be a rather blunt instrument, but a) it does not require much precision, and b) it works. Fuck world public opinion.
Curious writes: You are on a commercial airline flight. You are seated next to Gene Ross, Quasarman, and Levi. A swarthy foreign national tries to take control of the plane with his box cutter. Which of your seat mates is most likely to cower under a copy of Jerusalem Today and which is more likely to say, "LET'S ROLL!"
Fred writes: Most likely scenario: Luke ducks into the rest room. Seconds later, out from the rest room darts a man dressed in blue with a red cape. His shirt has a big hebrew letter "shin" on it (the letter in the hebrew alphabet corresponding to the letter "s").
He runs into the airplane cockpit and shouts: "Get away from the controls, you miscreants!" The swarthy terrorists turn to him and say "no."
He then says, "Gene, could you come over here a minute?"
Curious adds: I envision Luke chomping on a lemon protein bar like Popeye. His muscles bulging he slips his yarmulke into his back pocket and boldly barges into the cockpit and boldly exclaims, "A Salam Alekim my brothers! Tell me more of the 70 virgins Allah will bestow upon us in heaven."
Rob Spallone Quote Of The Day
JimmyD writes: Thought you might enjoy this actual quote from Rob this morning: "Jimmy, I don't feel well. I think I got Amtrax... I feel like there's a freight train goin right through the middle of my fuckin head. And I got some of those flu like cinnamons too."
The Return Of Manly Men
Chaim Amalek writes: It behooves all of you to read this very interesting bit of social commentary by Peggy Noonan on the return of the Manly Man.
Then read it again. Very clearly, the age that could sustain the Luke Ford Moment has past. Change of Zeitgeist, folks. No more whiners wanted. Maybe things are different in the weirdly feminine world of Judeo-Hollywood, but I doubt it. Time for some personal reinvention.
Fred, you ought to use this to further consider a change of careers. But in truth I suspect that you will not, and that for fear of venturing forth into other realms, you are going to die, in place, toiling away as a dweeb patent engineer or lawyer. But if you moved down to LA and shared an apartment with Luke, things would change. YOU NEED THIS CHANGE. Listen to AMALEK.
Marc - forget the pop tune beat. It is not for manly men. You should start writing about such important things as border control, and how best to racially profile total strangers in the name of homeland defense. How about a scorecard of which third worlders hate us and how much? I suggest you begin with the Bengalis. An amazingly ugly race (really!), and muslim, yet we continue to let them pour into our world. Then do a bit on how feminism, divorced from reality as it is, led to the slaughter on 9/11. And lest you Canadians think that you are secure up there, remember this - in The Turner Diaries, Toronto was one of the cities that get Nuked..
Note to the useless slugs as the Museum of Tolerance: Are you dumbies STILL in favor of tribally insensitive immigration into the United States? Do you STILL oppose even such basic measures of self defense as profiling? You stupid jews are helping to dig a mass grave for us all.
And that French chick who writes about porn - time to get back to the real world and consider the destruction of your nation through immigration. Islam does not love your way of life, and will end it as soon as it has the numbers to do so.
Anthrax Not So Bad
Chaim Amalek writes: Killing people with Anthrax is not so bad. If they are good people, they get to go to heaven; if they are bad, they go to hell and deserved to die. Either way, justice is served, right?
Khunrum writes: Reminds me of the bumper sticker one sees at gun shows (yes, I do go to the occasional gun show)...................................... Kill Em' All And Let God Sort It Out.
Will from Halifax, Canada, writes: Hi Luke: I married a catholic girl. I got the toss from shul as well.
Intolerance and self-righteousness are not going to save this world or the people in it. The rabbi who would deny you access to your faith or your people because you wrote about porn (note the past tense) is not a man working on God's behalf. You should be welcome at shul - any shul - and you should be accepted for who you are. The simple fact of all of this is that you were not born into Judaism and now that they have found out who you were (again, note the past tense) they don't want you to be a member of their club.
I denounce and rebuke those who would bounce you from the synagogue Luke. If you accept God's teachings and deny Christ as the Messiah then you have every right to attend shul. God wants you there, it is just the people who have the problem.
James DiGiorgio writes: lukey, there's so much direct and indirect talk of porn on your new site, you might as well be back running lukeford.com. you say your still hoping to find your niche? when is it going to occur to you that you found it years ago? you just don't want to admit that what do best is stir shit in the sewer, i.e., scoop gossip in the porn industry. c'mon, lukey, be true to thy self. if luke ford, judaism, and pornography cannot peacefully coexist, get rid of the most intransigent of those element--judaism, of course. the lord will forgive you, luke. and the lord will still love you luke. as far as your jew cronies, they might not be so kind, but what the fuck, buddy, you'll always have your pornbudz.
Diary of a Misfit
I should've known something was wrong when I walked into my synagogue Friday morning, June 22, 2001, and a friend tapped me on the shoulder. I'd forgotten my yarmulke. I had to scrounge around amidst the children's toys cupboard to find one. It was painted with ghosts.
We proceeded through our daily page of Talmud without incident. We proceeded through the morning prayers without incident. Then, as I prepare to walk out the door, the rabbi looks at me and beckons me to wait. He asks if I have two minutes. I do. Barely. It is almost time for my precious therapy.
My heart races. I fear that the shoe is about to drop, that the rabbi has discovered LukeFord.com and I'm about to get tossed from my shul.
Then I notice another rabbi in the hallway, the one who teaches my Talmud class every morning. Why is he waiting too? This is unusual.
The head rabbi brings us into his office. We sit down. I know this is it. I put my tefillin bag on his desk. Three months ago, the rabbi gave me these beautiful and expensive tefillin as I couldn't afford to buy my own pair.
The rabbi says he received a call from another rabbi who'd discovered my secret life.
"You can imagine how humiliated we feel now," says my rabbi. "The shul is returning to you the money you donated ($600). "I bought you tefillin with my own money. I'd like that back."
I nod my head and leave my tefillin on the rabbi's desk.
"I brought you into my own house for Passover and introduced you to my family. Can you imagine how I feel to learn this about you?"
I wince. The rabbi says I should not come around the premises anymore. It's obvious to him that Judaism fits naturally with me (as he'd seen me daily at the shul for the past year) but it is also obvious that my work fits naturally with me too. At whatever time I choose to give up my other life, I will be welcomed back to the shul. The rabbi says I need to get help.
I shake hands with two the rabbis. I drive to therapy and tell what happened. My therapist cries.
I drive home and pass on the way another rabbi who threw me out of his orthodox shul more than three years ago for the same reason - my writing on the pornography industry.
Exclusion feels familiar. It's been a theme throughout my life and the life of my father. My dad had his ministerial credentials taken away by the Seventh Day Adventist Church in 1980 for heresy. I remember exclusion from the popular circle since I entered school in grade two, when I didn't get invited to Gavin Brown's birthday party. I knew I risked exclusion by devoting my journalistic talents, since 1995, to chronicling the porn industry. It's certainly creeped out many girls I've dated, not to mention Orthodox rabbis.
Returning from an emotional trip to Israel in July 2000, and struggling with a girlfriend not interested in me, I decided to risk another shul expulsion by returning to the Modern Orthodox synagogue Beth Torah (not the real name) for morning prayers (shacharit) and an hour of Talmud study every day.
I knew that if I was faced with a choice between my website on the porn industry, www.lukeford.com, and Beth Torah, I'd choose my site.
I didn't expect to fall so deeply in love with Beth Torah and my morning ritual. It gave me much needed discipline and ritual in my life and gradually entered me into the lives of people I admired - who balanced professional success with scrupulous observance of the Torah. I ended up spending 20 hours a week at Beth Torah praying and socializing. Outside of the shul and its community, I didn't really need any more social interaction.
Which is good because I can't dance and I can't sing. I don't like bars. I don't like feeling awkward. I don't like wasting my time. And I don't like fun, unless it is the byproduct of something worthy such as a mitzvah (divine commandment found in the Torah).
The second day of the Jewish holiday, Simchat Torah, began at Sunset. I walked into one shul and peered around. Nothing was happening. I didn't intend to stay. I just wanted to demonstrate that I felt comfortable there, could walk in because I belonged, and say hello to my friends. I don't say a word to anyone and walk out relieved to my main synagogue destination of the night. I dance with the Torah. I greet friends and acquaintances. I feel like President Bush forming an alliance to fight terrorism. My alliance is to fight for my place in Orthodox Jewish life.
This afternoon I ran into an acquaintance from shul. He's had me at his house for Sabbath meals about ten times over the past year. He wondered where I've been of late. I told him I'd been traveling. The truth is, I've been scared to step into this shul because somebody I know goes there who could make things awkward for me. And I don't want to add to my list of shuls in the hood where I'm persona non grata.
My acquaintance says he was pulled aside and warned about me - that I am a goy who's trying to get inside of Jewish life to write bad things on a website about Jews. What do I say to that? I spill out the tortured history of lukeford.com. I'm glad to be rid of it, though of course it will never go away.
I dance with the Torah. I greet friends and acquaintances. I form my alliance. The rabbi acknowledges me. It's the sweetest feeling of the night. If he's in my corner, then I'm going to be ok. If he decides against me, I'm sunk from another shul.
I see friends from Beth Torah. They ask why I haven't been around. They don't know. I lie. I say I decided to switch shuls. Earlier today I walked past other people I knew from Beth Torah. I waved. They stared. They didn't acknowledge me. I tried to maintain a cool calm friendly exterior. I shrank inside. I wrapped my arms across my chest and walked on.
I wanted to stay cool but in the face of their stares I found myself shrinking, feeling guilty, as though I'd betrayed them and was not worthy to walk on the same street as them. Enduring their stares, I genuinely felt unworthy to walk on the same street as them. I couldn't push myself to feel or act confident. I felt like a pariah and I could not overcome that feeling. I walked on, arms wrapped around my chest.
I dance with the Torah. I greet friends and acquaintances. I run into a wardrobe girl I met on the video set of Mother Goose in April. We laugh. I talk to girls. I return home at midnight. I sleep badly for the second night in a row.
It's the last Jewish holiday for six months, until Passover. I lug the heavy Ralph Patai book, "The Jewish Mind" to shul at 10AM and read it while other people pray (daven). I sit next to an acquaintance from Beth Torah. He wonders what's happened to me. I say I decided to switch shuls. He doesn't know the lukeford.com scandal.
My synagogue auctions off numerous honors. I make a joke. "Why are you Jews so obsessed with money?" It's not appreciated.
The main shul dances with the Torah scrolls around 10AM but my minyan doesn't get to that point until 3:30PM. Everyone gets an aliyah today (a call to the Torah) but I choose to walk around the block during this time. We finish the morning prayers around 5PM and eat lunch. We finish the morning prayers around 5PM and eat lunch. I see an acquaintance from Beth Torah. I try to keep things light but my heart feels heavy.
Levi: "What's new and exciting?"
Chaver: "Nothing's new and nothing's exciting. How about with you?"
Levi: "Ummm… I took some time off and drove up to Vancouver, Canada and back. We just finished with the morning prayers. We've been going all day."
Chaver: "I see that. I'll see you around."
He walks off. I tried to keep it light but I felt my face twitching, giving away the tension I felt. The tension reflecting my pain from my dismissal and my yearning that he not abandon me too, like so many have done. I wanted to keep it light and not appear desperate for his friendship but I couldn't pull it off. I walk home alone.
Goddess writes: hey, ford, what's with the repeat stuff at the beginning of your site?! gawd, it's bad enough we have to put up with that crap on tv.....