Luke's Star Meter Way Ahead Of David Poland's
I checked out the pro edition of imdb.com and checked out my own star meter. David Poland (Hot Button) ranks at 486,544 for his appearance in the 1999 film Suckers. By virtue of my appearance in E!'s True Hollywood Story and the NFB's documentary Give Me Your Soul, my star meter ranks at a lofty 37,471. Jeffrey Wells ranks at 400,757, Marilyn Chambers is at 1,871, Jenna Jameson 161, Dr. Susan Block is at 128, 417, Brandy Alexandre is at 32,100 and Bill Margold is at 51,254.
About the hottest Dennis Prager show I've ever heard - his second hour interview with former supermodel Janice Dickinson....
Janice: "Supermodels can't walk, talk and snort cocaine at the same time."
Tons of talk about sex, nudity, drugs, stars, pedophilia, incest, Studio 54.
Janice kept talking about how she wrote this titillating tell-all book to help the children. She recommends that nobody enter modeling until they've finished their education, at which time, most of them will be too old to model.
Janice has a 15-year old son and 8-year old daughter.
Janice: "My attitudes changed once I gave birth. I couldn't run around anymore. I was married. I chose to stay home with my son. I got upset after my divorce and I started hitting the bottle."
Janice was helped by AA.
Janice was intimidated about going on Dennis Prager's show because he's known as square and Mr. Morality. Prager decried this characterization of him and that he strikes fear into many people.
Janice: "Can we talk about strip clubs?"
Prager would not go in that direction.
From Publishers Weekly: Supermodel [Janice] Dickinson's sex- and booze-soaked autobiography brings readers on a roller-coaster ride through the world of modeling, the emptiness of superficial relationships and the perils of drug addiction. Admitting that "terror is a great motivator," Dickinson fought like a tigress to establish her career. Courageous and confident of her worth, she demanded $20,000 for a job when the going rate was $5,000. Bolstered by Andy Warhol's advice, "you make your own luck," Dickinson represented Hush Puppies, Max Factor and Virginia Slims and ignored Calvin Klein's comment, "models aren't supposed to think." As a result, Dickinson is more interesting than some might expect, immersing herself in details about modeling and refining her skills as a photographer. Friendships with then-struggling actor Bruce Willis and her sisters have surprising warmth. The obligatory sensationalism is here concerning affairs with Jack Nicholson, Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty, Liam Neeson and Sylvester Stallone along with accounts of her multiple marriages and a near-fatal car wreck. While denouncing her hedonistic existence, Dickinson is also honest enough to acknowledge the stimulating aspects of success and glamour, explaining why they lure insecure personalities and imprison them past the point of no return. The book is sometimes predictable and psychologically simplistic, but Dickinson comes across as a triumphant survivor. Her willingness to recognize her own flaws makes it easy to relate to her positive message and should inspire readers searching for solutions to career and personal conflicts. Color & b&w photos.
Globetrotter writes on Amazon.com: There is no doubt that Janice Dickinson, even in her late fourties, is a stunning beauty, with her exoticaly shaped features and almond eyes. But her intellectual level is an illustration of immaturity, naivete and most probably all the drugs she took over the years that quickly killed most of her brain cells. What was she thinking when she decided to write this book (considering it wasn't actually her that penned the words but some moron writer who decided to "capture in almost Janice's "spirit" by using words such as f** and s** in almost every sentence)? Did she desperately need money for a new house or something? And who is supposed to be the recipient of this trash? Middle aged women, aspiring models or horny men?
The only message Janice delivers clearly is that she is not a thinking woman. She slept around for decades, took endless supplies of every drug imaginable, has three failed marriages and two children out of wedlock behind her, oh and the disputable title of the first supermodel (I personally thought it was Naomi Campbell that holds the title). She blames all this shame on her abusive father. I say, get over it, old woman! The funniest parts are towards the end of the book where Janice makes a weak attempt to be philosophical about her wasted life. "I made my share of mistakes but I'm proud of who I am today". Well, who are you? What is your contribution to this society? If you're tempted to buy this book because of the nude pictures, buy it, scan it and return it proudly.
THIRD HOUR: The National Council of Churches (left-wing Protestant group) protested Jerry Falwell's 60 Minutes comment that the founder of Islam, Mohammed, was a terrorist. The NCC said the comment put Christian lives in danger. What a derogatory thing to say about Islam, that its members may murder innocent Christians because of the comments of a pastor in Virginia. That's already happened in India. The NCC has insulted Muslims more than Falwell did. The NCC adds legitimacy to Falwell's critique of Islam as a terroristic religion.
What about all the derogatory things said about Christianity and Judaism yet its inherents don't murder innocent people because of movies like The Last Temptation of Christ.
Dumping policy calls for quiet disposal
Patrick Goldstein writes in the LA Times: Every year, Hollywood studios quietly dump movies -- even ones with top stars -- that aren't worth the money to distribute in theaters. Call it Hollywood's dirty little secret. With marketing costs spiraling higher every year, studios increasingly have both economic and psychological incentives to cut their losses by keeping their stinkers in the closet.
Most of these movies never see the light of day for an all-too-obvious reason: They're awful. In its review of "D-Tox," which was released overseas earlier this year, Variety called the film "almost totally merit-free." One Internet review of a "Third Wheel" test screening called it "a laugh-free comedy," saying Wilson was "excruciating to watch" in the lead role. Even Weinstein admits that "The Third Wheel" would be better off as a video release. But since Affleck and Matt Damon, who have close ties with Miramax, produced the film, Weinstein says he'll let them make the final call.
Colin's Sex Talk Upsets Women
From imdb.com: Irish actor Colin Farrell has upset America's feminists by insisting he's sick of love and is now just out for a lifetime of casual sex. His comments in style magazine W have been met with controversy by women's groups who feel the Minority Report star should be setting a better example to his young male fans. Farrell says, "I've been in love three times and that's enough for a 26-year-old. It really is. So, literally, I come into town and bang whoever I can - but I'm not mean and egotistical about it."
Satyric writes: "Get over it feminists. Find something important to be upset about. Colin Farrell's attitude should be celebrated. We are living in a world where you can get blown up or shot at any time. You need to go for all the hedonistic pleasures you can get."
How Can There Were No Riots After The Angels Advanced To World Series?
The Anaheim Angels advanced to the World Series for the first time but there was no rioting. How come? Could it be that Orange County is a white Republican bastion and doesn't riot? Of course that's the reason.
Dennis Prager said to a policeman at the Angels' stadium, "A lot easier than if the Dodgers won?" The policeman said, "Boy, is that right."
"The orderliness was so touching to me it was a throwback to the 1950s," said Prager on today's radio show. "That's the world I like. That's the world of Orange County."
Gustavo writes: When was the last time you actually went to Orange County? Were you too busy during one of your endless attempts to be more Jewish than Moses to have heard that the 2000 Census findings showed Santa Ana (which is directly south of the stadium) to have the highest percentage of Spanish speakers in the country? Or that Anaheim itself is less than 50% “white” and so is the county?
As for your Republican assertion, Anaheim happens to be the hometown of Democrat Loretta Sanchez, congresswoman for the 47th District which lies in the heart of Orange County (covering most of Anaheim) and—due to the massive influx of Latino and Asian immigrants to Orange County over the past decade—will be a Democrat stronghold for decades.
You’re relying on stereotypes broadcast to the nation by Newsweek in the 1960s and perpetuated by every quasi-pundit too lazy to research their facts before spewing inane observations. Take into account that Anaheim has no true downtown (Downtown Disney doesn’t count) and you’ll conclude that even if Angels fans wanted to riot, there would be no place to start. Leave your racist insinuations to Chaim Amalek.
Taking all the points I made, Anaheim is still part of Orange County, which I would agree is the epitome of suburbia. I’ve lived my entire life in Anaheim, and I have noticed that we are more gentle here than, say, East Los Angeles (where many of my cousins live). Even our barrios reek of niceness compared to the big city.
Since Orange County is so spread out, we’re not going to be as antagonistic as someone living in a crowded city like Los Angeles, regardless of race. Dodgers fans (like Raiders fans) are hoodlums. When the Dodgers played the Angels earlier in the season at Anaheim, their fans started countless fights in the stands—Latinos, white, even a couple of Asians here and there. Something about loyalty to Los Angeles brings out the thug in fans. Just ask the Lakers.
Finally, most Angels fans are front-runners who aren’t too wedded to the team so won’t go as far as to take to the streets for them. Dodgers and Lakers fans wear their team jerseys all season. A month ago, 75% of the people in the stadium couldn’t name you the Angels’ starting five. These fans don’t give a damn about rioting; they’re brainless Orange Countians who just want to party. The immigrants, meanwhile, are too busy working to even notice. That’s my Anaheim analysis.
The Narcissist, Unmasked - Sound Like Anyone We Know?
From the LA Times: When psychiatrists diagnose the disorder [narcissistic personality disorder], however, they do so on the basis of several specific traits. These include a grandiose sense of self-importance, in which talents and personal achievements are vastly exaggerated; a desperate need for admiration; an almost absolute blindness to the needs and feelings of others; and continual fantasies of power, ideal love and success that far outstrip the ordinariness of many narcissists' lives.
Pompous one moment and solicitous the next, alternately contemptuous and then exuberantly affectionate, narcissists qualify as among the worst therapy candidates on Earth.
[B]rain imaging studies suggest that deficits in the emotional connection between small children and their mother (or primary caregiver) appear to affect the development of right-brain areas involved in empathy and compassion.
The Return Of LA Times Media Critic David Shaw
Luke writes: How come you rarely write about the media anymore?
David replies: "I'll be writing about the media more often than ever. For a variety of reasons, I decided several months ago that after 40 years as a reporter--the last 28 covering the media for the times--I wanted to change careers. Specifically, I decided to become a columnist--and the paper agreed. I then took some vacation and spent time getting ready for this new gig. My first column ran yesterday in Sunday Calendar. It will run there every Sunday. (I'm also going to be writing a weekly column on food and wine in our food section.)"
In Sunday's column, David tackles the demise of New Times LA:
"I'm sorry to see New Times disappear -- and I say that as someone who was, on several occasions, the target of Editor Rick Barrs' odious diatribes in his column The Finger. LA Weekly is bigger and more solid -- more journalistically responsible -- than New Times was. But the Los Angeles Times is big and solid and journalistically responsible. New Times was often an irreverent gadfly, needling City Hall, the LAPD, the Catholic Church, big land developers and -- yes -- The Times.
"New Times was flawed, as were the Mirror, the Examiner and the Herald Examiner when they went out of business. But The Times too is flawed, and Los Angeles has now been deprived of another distinctive alternative voice -- a voice we'll miss, even if it was often shrill and sometimes irresponsible."
So Whatever Happened To Lara Bazelon?
Luke writes: Now, this is embarrassing to admit but as I a humble servant of the truth, I have no choice. Within five minutes of meeting her, I developed a crush on her. So what you're reading is the confession of a spurned man. Feel my pain.
Eric replies: Luke Luke Luke.
Where do these colloquies you occasionally publish come from?
I have an Advisory Committee - a group of five friends, Chaim Amalek in NY, Marc W. in Toronto, Fred Nek in San Jose, Khunrum in Houston and Helpful aka Bob aka Curious...who I exchange email with all the time about the most intimate details of my life.
The Really Bad News
From an anonymous usenet post: Bali is the last bastian of Hinduism in Indonesia. Indonesia consisted of several thriving Hindu kingdoms centuries ago, before the take over by the muslims. The muslims of course started in a small number, and the Hindus, being peaceful people, let them thrive until the take over. After the Hindus lost the war, they all retreated to Bali, and lived there until these days.
What foreigners will not know is that all Indonesian students are taught that the Indonesian Hindu to Islam transition was a peaceful one, which is of course, laughable.
My opinion is that Islam is a subversive religion to any goverment except in Islamic nations. In Islam there is no separation of church and state. Any imam worth his salt will tell you that Islam is a perfect religion that includes not just God's commands for a way of life, but also God's commands on how to govern a nation. And of course, it is a muslims duty to implement God's command on earth, by any means necessary. Thus, Islam is subversive everywhere except in Islamic nations.
In Islam, muslims are taught to defend their fellas muslims. Notice how this translates to muslim nations around the world to defend a dictator like Saddam. Basically, in a conflict between a muslim and a kaffir, muslims are obligated to side with the muslim, regardless of which side is wrong.
If I was a muslim, I would be ashamed to the point of converting to another religion, except that all my muslims friends and family will then be obligated to kill me. This is actually written in Qur'An.In fact, the representatives in the Aceh region in Indonesia is debating the implementation of this very law.
In short, Islam is a hybrid of gangsterism and fascism. Let me explain if this is not clear yet:
The gangsterims part: You can join Islam, do harm and wrong to others, and your fella muslims will defend you. You can not leave once you join in.
The fascism part: The promise of paradise under the dictatorship of the religious ulamas who have the power to interpret the Qur'An.
Men Behaving Badly
Margaret Talbot whines in the NY Times Sunday Magazine: "Sexual-harassment law is well intentioned, but it's intellectually incoherent. Nothing illustrates this better than strange new cases involving men victimizing men."
I say it's time to scrap all discrimination and sexual harassment laws. If you feel you are harassed, then quit your job. Whatever happened to the concept of honor? I think people who file lawsuits about such things are wimps and whiners and losers. I despise them. They're like abused women who stay in their marriages. If you hang around after your man has hit you once, then it's your fault for staying in an abusive relationship. One punch and you should be gone.
Talbot writes: Consider what happened, back in the late 90's, at Burt Chevrolet in Denver, where two swaggering sales managers named Terry Franks and Jay Gaylord held sway for a time, and in unreconstructed style. It was apparently their habit, for example, to address salesmen as ''little girls'' or ''whores.'' They would upbraid a guy by asking if he used tampons or tease him by saying that he had ''to squat'' when he urinated. The managers publicly derided struggling salesmen as ''queers'' or ''steers'' -- because ''steers try; bulls get the job done.'' To motivate the troops during sales meetings, they showed raunchy video clips, including one depicting a bull stepping on the genitals of a rodeo cowboy. Gaylord signaled his boredom with what a subordinate was saying to him by simulating masturbation while the employee talked. He grabbed at male employees' genitals, sometimes making contact, sometimes not, but mainly (or so it seemed to the men who got used to jumping out of his way or even running when they saw him) hoping to make them flinch.
The reason we know about any of these antics is that 10 of the salesmen at Burt Chevrolet ultimately decided to register their objections. And to do so they chose what might seem to be an unusual means. With the help of the E.E.O.C., they filed a sexual-harassment lawsuit charging the car dealership with creating a hostile environment that discriminated against them as men. It was, in their case, an effective weapon: two years ago, the E.E.O.C. won a $500,000 settlement (and a promise to implement mandatory sexual-harassment training) from Burt Chevrolet, which had already fired the two managers in question.
Bitter Hollywood Tales From The Front Line
I've justed finished reading Art Linson's new book, What Just Happened? Bitter Hollywood Tales From The Front Line. It's a fun book but I'm wondering why most books about Hollywood are bitter? What is it about the industry that makes people cynical and crude?
An LA reader writes on Amazon.com: "After tale after tale of bitterness, one is left with this overwhelming question: Why'd you ever bother with it, Art?"
A New York reader writes Amazon.com: "I'm a Hollywood junkie, so I enjoyed this book. Art Linson isn't nearly the natural storyteller that William Goldman is, meaning the book isn't quite the joy Goldman's books were to read, but, on the other hand, Art is a PRODUCER and he sees films further through than Goldman and his stories are a deeper vision. The device used in the book, of the author talking to another has-been, is (as it was noted) very, VERY annoying and I suggest you just skip it by (it adds nothing). The book is a quick, one-sitting read, and it's as frivolous as a cookie wafer. Art certainly whines -- and I'm sure "Great Expectations" bombed because it was a bad movie, not because "Titanic" had the same scene in it (Art even implies the naked-drawing idea was stolen!) -- but if Art wasn't a whiny guy who took no responsibility...he wouldn't have written this book. So the trade-off is okay with me."
Publishers Weekly writes: "Although Linson's book lacks the polish of William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade or the all-around savvy of Peter Bart and Peter Guber's Shoot Out, it provides a decent bird's-eye view on what a producer actually does and the pressures it involves."
What? Shoot Out was a total bore. It added nothing. Linson's book is far superior.
So Whatever Happened To Lara Bazelon?
In September 2001, I got a phone call from a Lara Bazelon. She works at the Los Angeles Public Defenders office. She wanted to write an article on me for Legal Affairs magazine, which had yet to publish its first issue.
So we meet for lunch. She's tall, slender, brunette and beautiful. She laughs at my jokes. She's terrific conversation. I talk nonstop for three hours.
Lara's a lawyer writing her first piece of professional journalism. I believe that she's heard me in a deep way. I believe she wants to be fair.
This will be an article about things sensitive to me - my place in Jewish life. Normally articles concentrate on my work, where I have more than my share of critics. But this can't hurt me much. This Legal Affairs article, however, can really hurt me.
Anyway, I cooperate with her, even though she's a left-winger. I give her about 20 contact names to fill out her story. She goes to work.
Now, this is embarrassing to admit but as I a humble servant of the truth, I have no choice. Within five minutes of meeting her, I developed a crush on her. So what you're reading is the confession of a spurned man. Feel my pain.
So, we're going to attend some Jewish events together so she can get some color for her article. Am I fantasizing these are dates? She flakes every time. We're going to have lunch. I cancel that day. I'm depressed.
She wants to talk to my friends in Orthodox life. I give her several contacts. She calls them and asks them about my racism and anti-semitism (which none of my friends were aware of). I email her and ask for examples of my putative racism and anti-semitism. She says she will email them to me. She doesn't. I ask nicely about five more times. She doesn't respond. I email her to ask about the status of the article. She doesn't respond. I call her. She doesn't respond.
I love it when you deal with journalists who constantly ask you for things but don't respond themselves.
Over the past four years, about 300 journalists have called or email me. I've spoken to every one. I've answered pretty much every question.
But not many of the journalists at the LA Times. Folks like Rachel Abramowitz and Claudia Eller and company don't respond when the shoe is on the other foot. They rely on people answering their questions and returning their calls but when they're asked to comment, they refuse.
The one time I turned down an interview request was from Sheldon Teitelbaum of the Jerusalem Report and the Jewish Journal. I turned him down twice. Then I gave in and did the interview and lived to regret it. Not because he wasn't fair but because I was just too vulnerable. These were articles for Jewish publications and Jewish life is precious to me.
I don't mind conflict in my professional life. I hate it in my personal life.
Friday Night Live
I was walking up to Temple Sinai in Westwood for Friday Night Live, a huge Jewish singles service the second Friday night of every month.
And I was wondering why there were so many teenagers hanging around in jeans. People should not show up to synagogue on the Sabbath wearing jeans. It's disgusting. It's like chewing gum in shul during prayers or talking on a cell phone, which lots of people were doing.
Rabbi David Wolpe gave an eloquent address about the community he wants to build. And then at the end, he mentioend he was reading the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent about the TV show American Idol and its co-executive producer Brian Gadinsky, a member of Temple Sinai.
Rabbi Wolpe knows Brian but he's never heard of American Idol. The rabbi seemed proud of his lack of knowledge of pop culture.
Anyway, when it came time for the blessing over wine, the rabbi brought Brian up and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, and the kids swooned. There were close to 2000 people in the shul. Brian and Ryan and the rabbi and cantor sang Adon Olam and swayed back and forth arm in arm.
How come it takes the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent to write about the TV show American Idol and its co-executive producer Brian Gadinsky, a member of Temple Sinai? Where's the Jewish Journal? Out of it as usual.
friend: i've basically thrown in the towel on trying to be a sabbath observant jew friend: about three years of approaching it with that in mind--the ennui has set in
Scott Phillips Ready To War
Brisbane webmaster Scott Phillips writes: I'm in Bali at the moment overseeing my business interests here. What I assume is al qaida simultaneously detonated 5 bombs here last night. At least 80 dead so far, hundreds injured. Mostly Australians and Americans. I worked my way to the blast scene outside Sari club in Kuta (I was about 1.5 km away at the time), it looks to me to be a taxi bomb, very unsophisticated from the amount of damage. Single building blown out on the ground floor, top floor burn out. Neighbouring buildings bent like they were made of plastic. There were literally body parts and bodies everywhere. Fires burning out of control in the affected places are finally out now.
I got close enough to see bodies before some little javanese soldier started jabbing my chest with his assault rifle. The mightclub is one of those Aussie/US sailor oriented drink yourself stupid places with hookers waiting for you when you are drunk. There was another bomb about 5Km away outside the US embassy, no reports of injuries at this stage, and another at Sanur. Rumors are flying around here - one of which is that they blew up the 2000 year old uluwatu temple (next to where I have my home here) which is the most sacred hindu temple in Bali. Another is that there was another bomb in Ubud, which is the ancient royal capital in the mountains. I don't know if any of this is true.
To me, this can only be one of 3 groups. Laksar Jihad, Al Qaida, or free aceh. I can rule out free aceh, and say it has to be al qaida or laksar jihad, probably both. Bali is the only significant non-moslem part of Indonesia. The only part that has always been free of violence. The message is clear. They (terrorists) are trying to start a religious war in a peaceful place. The local banjars are PISSED, and local banjars have their own private militias in these parts of the world. I've personally been on the wrong end of a local banjar - and nearly got lynched for my trouble. The bali economy is 100% dependant on tourism, and it got crushed overnight. I would say 80% of the dead are Australians. Deliberately targeted. It's an Australian nightclub, no indos go there. Seems like a retaliation for our support of the US in Iraq. The fucking toweleheads misread our resolve as bad as they misread US resolve after 9/11.
If it gets to be a *real* war, I'm signing up. I love Bali, its a beautiful peaceful place, alive with art, culture, history, and contrasts. I can live a lifestyle better than most billionaires in the western world. These motherfuckers just fucked up the whole economy for years. The people to suffer here are the 3 million ordinary people who are dependent on tourist dollars for their livelihood. Osama and his cronies just expanded his war to not just against the US, but against anyone that isn't moslem. Read his press release last week urging us all to become moslem.
I just found out my favorite hooker is missing.
Chaim Amalek writes: "The important thing for all of us to keep in mind is that this is in NO WAY a reflection on the great Islamic faith. Islam is a religion of PEACE, right? Now convert before they have to shove a stick of dynamite up your worthless infidel asses."
Fred writes: "I read that some council of churches alleged that Falwell was "misinformed" regarding his views of Islam. Query: If Islam is so peaceful, and if Mohammed was such a big proponent of peace, why the hell did the Moslems conquer an empire stretching from Persia to the Atlantic? Why doesn't the National Council of Churches address this amazing anomoly. I wonder if they are busy choking on their political correctness?"
Luke: I spoke by phone with Scott PB (Phillips) 9/11/02.
He has me on speakerphone and about eight of his employees are in the room listening and applauding during our conversation.
Scott: "Say hit to Jeff Marrison. He's my business partner [for last three years]."
Luke: "Hi Jeff."
Scott: "He used to be Seth Warshavsky's head guy."
Luke: "How has the business changed in the past three years?"
Scott: "Last time you were in the industry, the biggest thing to make money was traffic. A couple of years before that, around 1997, all you needed to make money was bandwidth. Traffic took care of itself. For the last two years, you really needed to be spamming to make money or buy traffic off spammers because they were the only people who had the big traffic. Now the pendulum's swinging back the other way and the important thing to make money is having your own merchant accounts and managing your own merchant accounts.
"The programs that are using third party processors like IBill are basically fucking the webmasters. They get about 30% less signups overall than someone with their own merchant account. They scrub all the foreign cards [scrubbing means the processor refuses to process that particular credit card for fear of a chargeback]. They're scrubbing anyone who's ever signed up before. Then when the customers goes to cancel, it's child's play. So that cuts out a huge percentage of their revenue.
"So, those sorts of third-party billers are turning in the order of $55 US per join whereas those who are maintaining our own merchant accounts are getting about $75 US per join. It doesn't take a genius that whoever's earning [on average] $75 per signup can afford to pay a helluva lot more [to webmasters who send them traffic] than those who are earning $55 per signup."
Luke: "What are the keys to securing your own merchant account?"
Scott: "You need a lot of them for a start. Visa and Mastercard like to yank them off you for no reason at all at the most inopportune times."
Luke: "Your peers have gone out and gotten their own merchant accounts?"
Scott: "Everyone's tried it for a while. Over the next year, you're going to see the programs that are really big are not the ones that have been big on the net for the past two years because those people have burned their bridges.
"One of my good friends, who hates your guts so I won't name him, does about US $5.5 million a month in recurring billings. He's got three different merchant accounts so he can switch between banks around the world. He's in a situation now where when he takes his $5.5 million a month from one bank and puts it in another bank, Visa notices straight away. It pops up on their radar screen. He's too big to hide. He has a situation where his merchant accounts last about six days now. And it is a helluva lot of work keeping them up.
"The websites that have these huge 300,000 member databases, the MaxCashes, Intergals of the world, they are going to find it harder and harder to keep that up."
Luke: "Why do Visa and Mastercard yank merchant accounts so quickly on you guys."
Scott: "They hate the whole industry. A chargeback [where a customer disputes a charge on his credit card bill, protests to the credit card company which then investigates the matter with the merchant making the charge] costs them about US$50 in letter writing, admin costs, etc plus the intangible costs in damage to their reputation because people are getting ripped off on the net."
Luke: "How's the rate of growth in the industry? Gross revenues up, profits down?"
Scott: "I'd concur. Grabbing your own slice is harder than it has ever been."
Luke: "What value do you see in the webmaster boards for you and your peers?"
Scott: "Do you make these questions up yourself? It's the lamest shit I've ever heard. You can do better than that."
Luke: "Ron Levi was telling me in an interview a couple of years ago about the many steps he makes to prevent chargebacks. Are some of your peers more effective with preventing chargebacks?"
Scott: "There's a tradeoff between the amount of chargebacks you get and the amount of income you take. If you want not to send out confirmation emails when people join. If you want to pretend that it's free. If you want to charge higher amounts, particularly when you above $50 per transaction... If you want to make it hard for people to cancel... Those things increase chargebacks but dramatically increase income. Any smart person will walk a tightrope between the amount of money they earn and the amount of chargebacks they have. If Ron thinks he's cut chargebacks to an absolute minimum, he's cut income to the absolute minimum too. If you had a choice, you'd be fucking those surfers harder and faster than ever before."
Luke: "People seem to be more discrete than ever in what they post on the boards and say in interviews."
Scott: "I know the Australian tax office at the least reads the boards every day."
Luke: "It seems that people are spamming more than ever. Is there a significant penalty to be paid for spamming?"
Scott: "I've always spammed, mate. I've always liked spamming. There's no penalty as far as I can tell. It's easier than ever."
Luke: "I thought there were government agencies monitoring and prosecuting spammers?"
Scott: "F--- 'em if they can't take a joke."
Luke: "Are any of your peers paying a price for spamming?"
Scott: "I haven't heard of one person getting a fine. If someone wants to sue me in Australia, let them go to it. It's harder than shit to sue someone in Australia. You should know that."
Luke: "Has anyone tried to sue you in the past three years?"
Scott: "Xpics had a thorough go at it. After $250,000 in legal fees, we settled out of court for $60,000. I was guilty as shit. It was a defamation RICO suit. I'd sent out an email to 100,000 webmasters saying that Xpics shaved. It did."
Luke: "You posted... a list of various crimes you were accused of. When were you last in a physical fight with someone?"
Scott: "Last night at Hooter's strip club. I beat one of Jeff Fennick's pro boxers down. I opened up a can of whip ass on that motherf--ker."
Luke: "Isn't that an unusual attitude for a businessman?"
Scott: "No. I'll beat you in person."
Luke: "I'm not looking forward to it."
Scott: "I am. You posted all those fucking lies about me years ago. You didn't think I'd forget?"
Luke: "What do you most object to in what I wrote about you?"
Scott: "You categorizing me as a career criminal with links to the Mafia tops the list. I plan to stomp on your face when I meet you."
Luke: "Didn't you just post the same thing?"
Scott: "No. I might be a violent psychopath who's been charged with felonies numerous times but I'm not a criminal and I don't have any links to the Mafia. And you know damn well, being from Brisbane, Australia, that there is no such thing as the Mafia in Australia."
Luke: "The term 'Mafia' can also mean a clique. It doesn't necessarily mean a criminal enterprise."
Scott: "I'm not in a criminal enterprise or criminal clique, nor is there any such thing... Your attempts to categorize the Australian Mafia as some kind of criminal enterprise when in fact members of the Mafia run publicly listed companies down here and have never been charged with anything worse than parking tickets. You know the full truth. You've met Greg. You've spoken to me. You know all about the players down here. You know all about it intimately because this is your home town. Yet you still published on your board a bunch of stuff that you know to be lies. Now, from where I stand, that's a dishonorable act and in retaliation, when I meet you one day, I'm going to open up a can of whip ass on you, sir.
"What about the part where you quote some anonymous webmaster who says, 'These guys really scare me. You don't know what you are messing with, Luke.' If you take the color of the whole ten-page plus diatribe you write about us, the whole color of it is to portray us as criminals.
"I've shown your article to a number of persons and every one has said, 'I can't believe that someone would say that about you.' My propensity for violence and my love for doing violence on others is clearcut. There's enough shit that's real to publish about all of us without going into bullshit. You published a load of rubbish about my friend Greg [Lasrado] as well. In fact, in your own words, you "almost felt bad about all the things you published about him after you met him."
"You write for sensationalist reasons and you know it is not true. The definition of journalism is promoting the truth. You don't promote the truth. You promote your own intentions. Now, I'm happy to sponsor your website, because the attention you promote through your rampant self interest, benefits me. But I draw the line at someone publishing what they know to be rampant untruths about me.
"You claim journalistic integrity yet you haven't show any integrity at all. It will be an absolute pleasure to issue a beat down on you.
"You don't take any care with what you publish. You don't know how to act. You have no right to call yourself a journalist."
Luke: "I know you won't believe me but I've genuinely tried to write as accurately as I understood. Many of your peers in America are intimidated by you guys in Brisbane."
Scott: "I understand that. It's simple jealousy. We control a disproportionate percentage of the world's market."
Luke: "How did you guys in Brisbane come to be so successful?"
Scott: "Because we know how to act. We act with integrity with everything we do. We work together instead of against each other. We don't lie to each other. We're all friends down here. There's enough money in this business for everyone who knows how to act. Those people in Brisbane who get into this business and don't know how to act, who rip webmasters off, who fuck around and tell lies, they don't last much at all. There are no Brisbaners who don't know how to act. You will go broke down here unless you behave with honor and integrity. It would do us all so much damage if there were anyone from Australia going around ripping anyone off. I think you'd have to agree that Australian webmaster programs have the best record for paying on time."
Luke: "Are your peers prepared for different contingencies?"
Luke: "Things could happen and half the major players would be wiped out?"
Scott: "Yeah, wouldn't that rock?"
Luke: "Are you prepared for various contingencies?"
Scott: "Yeah. Obviously we'd lose millions of dollars. What do you need to start a business in this industry? You need the money to buy traffic. I'd be willing to bet that most of my competitors are spending the millions they make on cars, houses... My millions are sitting in the bank waiting to buy more traffic when the sh-- hits the fan. Cash is the only defense."
Luke: "How come you are able to maintain your own merchant accounts when others are not?"
Scott: "They've been operating at higher revenue levels so that they popped above Visa's radar screen. If I do the same, I'll get my ass shut down too."
Luke: "Are you intentionally trying to keep your business below a level that will grab the attention of Visa?"
Scott: "I'm toying with the idea. We're now on the limits of what's going to make a difference."
Luke: "Is it better to be loved by your peers or feared by your peers?"
Scott: "That's even lamer than the last question you asked. It doesn't make any difference. Do you care that much what people think about you?"
Luke: "Not in the industry."
Scott: "We think alike on that point."
Scott: "It's easier these days to not shave than to shave. It's easier to get market share when you don't shave. I pay webmasters $40-50 per signup and still make a huge profit. If you were running off IBill, that would be hard to maintain."
Luke: "Did you start with Dean Shannon?"
Scott: "No. Dean's first job on the internet was replacing me on my first job on the internet after I quit.
"We had 25,000 members before I met another webmaster. In 1996, you invented the s--- yourself. The first webmaster I met was Serge and we did a link trade in June 1996. He thoroughly f---ed me over on it. It was a case of you send me traffic and I'll send you smoke and mirrors back. But it was good. I learned fast."
Luke: "Did you carry a grudge?"
Scott: "No. We did business for years."
Luke: "Why would you do business with a man who ripped you off?"
Scott: "He didn't rip me off. He just got the better of me on a business deal. I can respect that."
Luke: "Who do you respect in the industry?"
Scott: "Ron Levi is a man I enormously respect and admire even though I personally disagree with him a lot. He's an arrogant egotistical buffoon sometimes. Aside from that, he's genuinely a great man. And if you publish that he's an egotistical buffoon out of context, I will smack you down 100 times as hard and I will search you down at your house, son."
Luke: "What would I need to do to remove myself from physical punishment at your hands?"
Scott: "Hurting you is a fond dream for me. It's something I'm looking forward to. I'm not chasing you. I'm not looking for you. I just know that one day you'll pop your head up at one of the webmaster meetings. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to it. You'd have to do something pretty nice. You'd have to make do on all the bad things you said and inferred about me."
Jeff: "The notoriety alone for smacking him would be right on."
Scott: "We'd have to get it on video and everything. It's giving me a hardon just thinking about it. Bullying people who can't fight back is always more satisfying."
Luke: "How many employees do you have?"
Scott: "Let me count the ones in front of me now. Eight. There are about ten down here."
Luke: "What questions should I ask you that I have't asked you?"
Scott: "You're the journalist, pal. It's even lamer than the last question. This guy calls himself a journalist. No wonder he's broke. You are two or three levels below the National Enquirer because they wouldn't even publish the sh-- you deal in. You get some anonymous email and publish it as fact. It's bullshit and it's wrong, but it's what you do for a living. No wonder you go broke, pal."
Luke: "Do I have the capability of doing people serious business damage?"
Scott: "You piss us off. I doubt you could do anything but achieve notoriety.
"You'll love this. Here's another reason why I want to beat your head in. I'm in jail January 22nd. I'm up before the court on an application for bail. The police prosecutor is making a long submission about why I should be denied bail and languish in jail for two years to wait for my latest trial to come up. And they read out a quote from your site about what an asshole I am."
Much laughter in the background.
Scott: "Would you be pissed if you heard some anonymous unattributed lie published as fact read out by a police prosecutor in a situation where you have no right of reply and where your fate for the next two years is up in the balance?"
Scott: "I'd want to stomp on the f---head who published those lies myself."
Luke: "How much time have you spent in jail?"
Scott: "Little bits here and there."
Luke: "The last time?"
Scott: "Torture, grievous bodily harm, armed robbery, kidnapping, extortion, and a few other things. I'm innocent as sh--. You can tell that by my phone manner."
Luke: "Why didn't they put you away?"
Scott: "You're from here. You know how the justice system works. It's been nearly a year and my committal hearing is only half heard. It will be two plus years from now before they get around to sending me to jail. Anything I did was absolutely categorically right and totally defensible. I did the right thing. I behaved the right way because I know how to act. The right way to act is to go through life honorably, honoring your word, doing right by those who do right by you..."
Luke: "Which one person has influenced you the most?"
Scott: "A stockbroker down here named Guy Jones.
"I like to drink and I like to f---."
Luke: "Have you ever killed anyone?"
Scott: "If I had, would I be admitting to it, bonehead?
"My dad's a Jew but my mom's not. Therefore I am not a Jew."
Luke: "Do you believe in God?"
Scott: "Vaguely. A god."
Luke: "Do you believe in karma?"
Scott: "Oh yeah. Karma pays 2:1. You're going to figure that out one day, son. You should look at your life. Why are you broke? This dumb --- ----- is broke and we even sponsor his lame-assed website."
Jeff: "No sh--."
Luke: "How have you changed in the past two years?"
Jeff: "I've become more tolerant of others. Two years ago, I was going to pull your eyes out and shove them down the back of your pants so you could watch me kicking your ass."
Scott: "How did you go broke?"
Luke: "I sold my old website over a year ago and I've been living off that for the past year while I've tried to make it in Hollywood."
Everyone bursts into hysterical mocking laughter.
Luke: "You are a well recognized player in what has to be one of the most profitable industries on earth. You know all the top people. How can you not turn a dollar out of it?"
Jeff: "He sold his own name."
Luke: "I have no abilities financially."
Jeff: "Why did you sell it? Were you scrounging for more coke money?"
Scott: "He must be a crackhead."
Luke: "For social reasons."
Jeff: "Maybe you should find a capitalist synagogue."
Scott: "God is about how you think and how you act and what happens to you when you die and answering the big questions, it's not about what you do here and now. Are you a traitor to your religion? I don't think you are.
"There's a big difference between those who have Jewish blood in their brains and those who don't. I identify strongly with Judaism and feel the s--- running through my veins like a river. I could be so fucking broke and I could make a million bucks in a heartbeat again."
Luke: "What advice would you give me to lead a better life?"
Scott: "Behave with integrity in your professional dealings and the money flows like water."
Luke: "What part of your job do you enjoy the most?"
Scott: "The collecting the money part. Which part would you enjoy the most? The part where you publish the lies or the part where you make no money from them?"
Luke: "Neither. I enjoy the most when I believe I have written something important and accurate."
Scott: "You add 'and accurate' as an afterthought. What you really crave is notoriety. The truth of what you publish comes a distant second to how much notoriety you are going to gain from publishing it. Your principles aren't principles like those with a man of integrity. Your principles are as bendable as the reeds because you don't care about anything except attention. The reason you haven't made any money is that you have been more interested in getting attention for yourself than in making money."
Luke: "A lot of people who know me would agree with you."
Scott: "Funny that. You're more of a slimeball than the worst slimeball tabloid journalists."
Cruise Drops Gay Lawsuit
From imdb.com studio briefing: Tom Cruise has quietly settled a lawsuit filed against a couple who he claimed defamed him in an article about his sexuality. The fiery movie star filed suit against Kristina Slater last year after she claimed the Minority Report star had a gay fling with her ex-husband Chad Slater (aka Kyle Bradford) and took her story to American tabloid National Enquirer. Angry Cruise stunned Slater with a $100 million lawsuit, but a judge threw out the movie star's suit - awarding Slater more than $27,000 in attorney's fees. Cruise, however, refused to back down and demanded an appeal. He has now given up his suit in what has been described by Slater's attorneys as "a mutual walkaway." Her lawyer Charles Fester says, "He finally saw that it might be in his best interest to leave my poor client alone. He agreed to go get a life and sue other people." Cruise has been dogged by rumors about his sexuality for years - even while he was married to ex-wives Nicole Kidman and Mimi Rogers. In her National Enquirer story, Slater admitted she had never caught Cruise having sex with her ex, a former porn star, but admitted her former husband had often bragged about his sex session with the movie hunk.
Nimoy Dropped by Jewish Group
From imdb.com studio briefing: Star Trek star Leonard Nimoy has been dropped from a Jewish fundraising event - after the actor used religious symbols in a photography book featuring nude women. The original Mr Spock was due to speak at the October 23 bash for The Jewish Federation Of Greater Seattle - a community group that raises around $10 million a year for charities. But Federation director Barry Goren withdrew the invitation this week after it was discovered the actor - who was born into an orthodox Jewish family - had used ritual objects in Shekhina, a recently published book of his nude photography. The cover for Shekhina shows a woman with her left arm wrapped in phylacteries, a prayer accessory men traditionally wear, and her right breast visible through a translucent garment. Goren to Associated Press, "I think it's pretty self-explanatory. If you were running a charity fund-raising dinner and there were going to be images of naked women or naked women with Jewish ritual objects draped on them, that might be offensive to some folks." But 71-year-old Nimoy - who played the pointy-eared Vulcan in Star Trek TV shows and movies for over 25 years - was stunned to be ousted by Goren. Insisting the federation knew about the photographs when he was invited to the event in July, Nimoy says, "It may be an anomaly. I hope it is. We have not had this kind of reaction anyplace else. It's a photographic essay on the subject of the Shekhina, which is the feminine presence of God, the feminine aspect of divinity. This is not some figure that is a foggy mist in a cloud somewhere. I have depicted her as being a flesh-and-blood woman."
An Issue That Can Try Body and Soul
Teresa Watanabe writes for the LA Times: For Los Angeles screenwriter Robert Avrech, it was a wrenching choice between two of his greatest loves: his Orthodox Jewish faith and the life of his only son.
His son, Ariel, is in critical need of a lung transplant. Avrech knew of a man who had just collapsed on a softball field and was in a coma. But Avrech, guided by his religious and moral compass, would not approach the family about a possible organ donation.
It seemed "ghoulish," he said. He saw a slippery slope that would turn the desire for healing and life into a morbid wish for death to harvest organs. Wouldn't that make him no better than a Nazi?
Even after the man eventually died, Avrech still declined to approach the family, for he says his Jewish values, particularly the need to show reverence to the body and respect for mourning, overrode even his own desperate desire to save his son's life.
"It's a difficult situation for me, because I want to save Ariel's life," Avrech said slowly, his voice weighted with emotion he does not try to hide. "But there are worse things than death, like leading an immoral life."
Why Liberal Hollywood Jews Who Have Thought it Through Cannot Support Israel
Chaim Amalek writes: I don't trust the security of these communications to state fully what I think. But re the next nuclear muslim power, it will still be a good thirty years before the numbers formally tip over to the side of the Saracens in France. Iran will be a nuclear power long before that, and Iraq might become one any month now. (No, I am not convinced that we will invade, nor am I convinced that if we invade, there will be a "regime change" that abjures the development of nuclear weapons.)
Regarding the hesitancy of Hollywood Jews to support Israel, is this not understandable? Fundamentally, the existence of a tribal/racial state like Israel - and that is what it is in its raison d'etre, if not its demography (here again, Muslim numbers are swelling) by virtue of its "law of return" - must be anathema to any try liberal who believes the party line that "diversity" is best. You cannot believe in multiculturalism and racial diversity as an end unto itself, as these liberal Hollywood Jews do, and support Zionism. The two simply are not compatible, and the Hollywood Jews who are smart enough to have given the matter any thought know it. Also, Jews fear Muslims just as they do not fear Christians. The latter can be insulted at will, the former are best ignored.
Fred writes: I disagree with your diagnosis. One can still be pro-multiculturalist without abandoning a belief in Israel. Israel is a historical reaction to centuries of invidious discrimination. The early Zionists viewed Israel as a necessity. In a world where everyone has civilized values, perhaps Israel would not have been necessary. That that's not the world we live in. We have lived in a world populated with Inquisitions, Crusades, Nazis, and Islamic Jihad, ku klux klan and Al Qaeda types.
If Europe in the nineteenth century were multicultural paradise, Herzl would not have bothered going to the trouble to found Zionism. Israel is a reaction to the fact that the world is not multicultural heaven, and in all likelihood, it never will be. Survival comes before utopian ideals.
By the way--you suggest that Israel is racist. In fact, it is no more racist than any other nation with a set of national borders. Is the border between the U.S. and Mexico racist? Should we tear it down? Why is that border any more racist than the borders between Israel and its neighbors? What is the difference? Aren't all immigration controls, at their heart, racist and anti-multiculturalist?
Chaim writes: Generally speaking, I do not like the word "racist" because it does not get to the heart of the matter, which is the tendency of humans towards tribalism. The tribe may be based on race, or it may be based on religion or a subset of either.
The difference is that Israel limits immigration to JEWS (and maybe to their spouses). There is no such immigration preferences written into U.S. law favoring white people (quite the opposite, in practice.) If you are a JEW, you have an inalienable "right of return" to settle in Israel. This right is given only to Jews, whose only connection to the land has been attenuated through the passage of thousands of years of time, history and possibly legend. Palestinians, on the other hand, who can document their connection to that land as recently as 1948, have no such right of return.
All intelligent immigration controls are racist or anti-multiculturalist or they are sensitive to population size issues. (In the case of Japan, the former two apply and clearly not the latter. Japan is shrinking against its wishes, but clearly would rather shrink than become multiracial.) The smart liberal jews of Hollywood know this. They would not tolerate such controls at our borders (to our disadvantage), and to be consistent should not tolerate them at Israel's borders, either. Therefore, they are being logical and consistent in failing to support Israel the Jewish State. Liberal notions of multiculturalism simply are not compatible with Zionism.
Liberalism OR support of Zion, you can choose only one. Hollywood Liberals know this, and have made their choice. That's why the natural allies of the Zionists are on the right - the far right - both here and in Europe.
PS Outside the world of Jews who are thinking about this issue, the culturally liberal euro-goyim media types one encounters would rather discuss "puppetry of the penis" than go anywhere near this topic. But remember - just as they serve us today, these very same people will gladly serve others tomorrow. Chaim Amalek, Upper West Side Jew
Luke Wimps Out
Chaim Amalek writes: Contrast and compare the following two sections of text. The first is a copy of what Luke put on his web site; the second is what I actually submitted to him. Luke normally posts everything he gets - essays, strings of random numbers, unsubstantiated accusations of beastial behavior, but here he decides to become an editor, mindful of the feelings of others. I cannot help but think that if this Emmanuel person were not so hot looking, it all would have gotten in.
Khunrum writes: Luke has been editing our copy for a very long time. From way back (has it been that long)?.The original dot com days. All I can add is a quote from Henry Miller "Editors are failed writers."
Bob writes: Ironic that he edits the crap out of his FREE copy and yet clutters his site with dozens of unfocused, poorly framed photos from miscellaneous events. Love the shot of the back of Asia Carrera's head at the buffet table! Physician heal thyself!!
Khunrum writes: I for one am happy to have Robert back in the fold. I imagined him holed up in a cave somewhere in So-Cal bent over his beloved collection babbling "She'll never get 'em, never"...... Robert, Welcome back, your takes are always essential......Luke you sly fox...you are so shifty you even checkmate the keen mind of Amalek.
Fred writes: Chaim, is Europe a continent in decline? Since 1942, the U.S. has been solely responsible for the defense of western civilization. Europe has been preserved in a cocoon by the U.S. Their militaries have atrophied to levels of near zero. The consequences of their foreign policy decisions don't exist.
Therefore, their common sense has atrophied as well. Their economies will continue to be sapped by socialism and an influx of immigrants who have no interest in assimilating, hate the west, and will one day outnumber them by virtue of immigration and a large birth rate. Those who oppose this change, e.g. Le Pen, are excoriated as racist. Here is my prediction: the second Islamic nuclear power will be France. What do you think?
I just read the stuff on lukeford.net re Hollywood's ignoring of the situation in Israel. I recall listening to a recording of a speech by Meir Kahane who observed that American Jews of the previous generation were traumatized with feelings of guilt concerning the holocaust. Were they silent when they should have spoken up? Did the fail to act when there were things they could have done? Jewish support for Israel is not mere tribalism.
The above-mentioned feelings go a long way toward explaining the tenacity of Jewish commitment to Israel. If the unthinkable happens, I wonder what will go through the mind of the Hollywood Jewish community? Will history repeat itself?
Ya know, one of my clients is a Jewish guy from Switzerland. He's trying to figure out whether he should become a U.S. citizen and retire in the U.S. or go back to Europe. He's leaning toward becoming a U.S. citizen. He agrees with you completely. Socialism is like heroin. Once it is in place, it stays there.
Consider socialized medicine. It is politically impossible to get rid of it. (It is politically impossible to get rid of social security.) Europe will never be able to shake itself loose from socialism. It will be a boat anchor that drags them down. I do not find that displeasing. After all, the Islamic loonies may be our enemies, but the Europeans are our economic competitors. Better a competitor who is hooked on heroin than a competitor who has all cylinders firing. Better a socialist competitor than a competent competitor.
Also consider the following. There are protest rallies in Italy, Germany and elsewhere about George W's policies vis-a-vis Iraq. Question: who cares? Answer: nobody. Europe is more than militarily weak. It is impotent and irrelevant. It simply doesn't even come close to mattering. Prior to 1942, who would believe that this would be the case in the year 2002? If you had suggested that this would be the case, the citizens of the great European powers and empires would think you've lost your mind. When you think about it, this change truly is striking. The level of European irrelevance is amazing.
Khunrum writes: One always meets characters on the road. Bill and I linked with three Israelis on the trip from T-land to Cambodia....(not the two orthos in the pic I sent) Anyway, this guy named Yossi emigrated from Israel to the Netherlands. He faked a motorcycle accident and was given permanent disability. The generous stipend he receives each month is more than enough to allow him a comfortable retirement in T-land. Multiply that by all the others doing more or less the same thing (plus the genuine cases and an aging workforce) and you have a system facing eventual bankruptcy. Sort of what we will experience here with Social Security...
The more I learn about author and screenwriter Michael Tolkin, the more convinced I am that he's a moral idiot. The latest example comes in today's Jewish Journal where he debates Dennis Prager about Israel.
The discussion began with the Rachel Abramowitz 9/25/02 article in the Los Angeles Times:
There's hardly a cause in the world that isn't attempting to harness Hollywood's star power to raise awareness and cash.
Yet the question of Israel and whether to wholeheartedly embrace its cause is posing a surprisingly provocative and uncomfortable dilemma for many in the industry, all the more notable because the movie business was founded by and is still well-populated by Jews. It's one issue on which few are speaking out, rare in a town where people spout off on almost every political concern from guns to whales.
"There's been a puzzling silence," says Dan Gordon, screenwriter of "The Hurricane" and a strong supporter of Israel. "We're in an industry that takes stands on everything. People can't shut us up! I'd love to see the indignation about homicide bombers that is reserved for smokers. You smoke in this town, and you're dead. Rob Reiner will come after you."
And though few in Hollywood are nervous about appearing pro-environment or anti-smoking, there is trepidation about the unwelcome typecasting that being unabashedly pro-Israel might bring.
Publicist Howard Bragman goes further: "It's easier to come out as a gay in Hollywood than as a Jew. I'm frankly shocked at how many people are in the closet about their Jewishness."
Israel's consul general in L.A., Yuval Rotem, says he's made dozens of phone calls trying to get a high-profile Hollywood figure to visit Israel and so far has failed. "Ever since March, when we lost 140 people in one month, which was the trigger for our incursion into the territories, I've asked this question over and over again: 'Where have they been?' " Rotem says.
Even today, with the exception of Holocaust-related films and documentaries, it's not uncommon for projects to be dismissed as "too Jewish." There have been few movies made about Israel...
"Liberals are on the side of the underdog," says writer-director Michael Tolkin, author of "The Player" and "Changing Lanes." "The people who've had their cities turned into rubble look like the underdog. There's embarrassment about being a Jew and a feeling of alienation from the Jewish community, a fear that it's been taken over by the right wing." At times, the left in Hollywood sounds as anguished as the left in Israel.
"One thing everybody shares is total depression and disappointment over the peace process' failing," says Marge Tabankin, who runs both Steven Spielberg's Righteous Persons Foundation, which is devoted to domestic Jewish causes, and the Streisand Foundation, which handles actress Barbra Streisand's diverse charitable donations. Speaking personally, she says, "I don't know where to put my heart and soul in my volunteer time as a person who cares both about human rights and the existence of the state of Israel."
Reiner, Katzenberg, Seinfeld, David Geffen, Harvey Weinstein and Adam Sandler all declined to comment for this article.
As Tolkin sees it: "Everybody in Hollywood is obsessed with story and used to thinking their way out of a plot. There's no obvious way out of this. I don't know anyone who can get three paragraphs through a discussion of the Middle East crisis without being struck mute."
On his radio show, DENNIS PRAGER said that Marge Tabankin must be really morally confused if she can't simultaneously support "human rights and the existence of the state of Israel."
When the great moral issue of terrorism rose, Hollywood was nowhere to be found. When a democracy was attacked by terrorism, Hollywood and its overwhelming Jewish component, was silent.
Barbra Streisand said Republican insiders industries had much to gain by a war on Iraq. DP said it was a scummy statement. To accuse President Bush, who said that we might need to die and kill to stop Iraq from building weapons of mass destruction, of being out for personal gain is scummy.
Caller: If Hollywood players endorsed Israel, it would be an endorsement of the Republican party, which has stood solidly behind Israel. Republicans stand for peace through strength.
Dennis Prager writes in the 10/11/02 Jewish Journal: "Is there an issues that some Hollywood star — director, producer, actor actress — has not publicly commented on? It’s hard to name one."
Why did the JJ leave in that grammatical error? "issues" To make Prager look stupid?
Prager then gives a reasoned essay about the lack of support for Israel among Hollywood Jews:
The Palestinian/Islamic/Arab war to destroy Israel is the moral test of our time. If you are silent on this issue, you are either morally confused, immoral or lack courage.
Many of us have long argued that leftists do not ask, "Who is right and who is wrong?" but rather, "Who is strong and who is weak?" in determining their positions on world and national issues. The substitution of power criteria for moral criteria is one of the reasons the left so often takes immoral positions. It is, therefore, helpful to hear such a candid acknowledgment of Hollywood liberals’ moral confusion. Not to mention ignorance — no Palestinian city has been "turned into rubble."
Most of Hollywood’s Jews have little or nothing to do with Jewish causes, Jewish communal life or Judaism. Their causes are those of the left, their community is largely like-minded Hollywood folks and their values come from liberalism, not Judaism. Moreover, the silence on Israel of Hollywood’s most prominent Jews enables the non-Jewish stars to remain silent. If the Jews don’t care about Israel, why should they?
Ever since I learned that Richard Wagner — whose music is among the greatest ever written — was a racist anti-Semite, I learned that I had to disassociate artists from their art. So, I never expected anything morally significant from artists, in Hollywood or anywhere else, and am therefore not surprised at Hollywood’s silence about Israel’s suffering. But it remains a moral failure.
[Prager] lies about the real subject of the Times article — that a group of Hollywood Jews are trying to find a way to reach the community, which can only happen in a language the community speaks. The problem for Prager is that artists speak a language he refuses to learn.
Prager declares himself intellectually dead by his own hand, since he reduces art to nothing more than diversion or decoration, and artists to nothing more than mindless children.
[LF: I think Prager understands these leftists all too well but like their counterparts in academia, they want to believe themselves on such a high level of communication that mere mortals like Prager can't understand their cant.]
But he has to do this, otherwise he would have to live with contradictions, a balance impossible for most conservatives who split the world into good and evil, and especially deny their own contribution to the evil one is fighting. Artists teach nothing if not connection, and connection breeds sympathy, and sympathy sometimes exceeds itself, chesed (lovingkindness) without gavurah (restriction).
But the impulse to unlimited compassion is better than the impulse toward unlimited judgment, else we would not pray every day for God’s mercy. The liberal fantasy is the dream of what might be, like the bounty of a Botticelli spring, and the conservative fantasy is kitsch, cowboy art, nostalgia for a world that never was, with punishment for those who tell the truth about that self-deception.
Prager’s politics may even be Jewish heresy. The Torah is brave enough to recognize our own role in the creation of Amalek while still calling for Amalek’s destruction, but the Torah is braver than Dennis Prager, who has yet to move to Israel with his family, so his children can ride the buses until they’re old enough to join the army, rather like the son of that terrible leftist Michael Lerner.
[LF: Tolkin is a moron. A couple of years ago, Prager condemned the Reform movement for cancelling their kids' trip to Israel due to the fighting. Prager encouraged his own son David to spend a year in Israel after high school (returning in the summer of 2002), delaying college a year, to study Torah in a yeshiva. Prager broadcast for a week from Israel in the middle of the terror and made a documentary about Israel's struggle.]
The right-wingers here who call for the harshest treatment of the Arabs, while keeping their children out of the Israel Defense Forces, are cousins of those rich leaders of Hamas who strap the bombs on the children of the poor, never on their own. Prager gets his courage by proxy, the courage that gives him the right to call me a coward.
Amalek18: Why do you publish such filth as "The Torah is brave enough to recognize our own role in the creation of Amalek while still calling for Amalek’s destruction"
They All Drive Vans
Kendra Jade writes: See, I told you so. They all drive vans.
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (Oct. 11) - Police searching for a sniper were investigating a deadly shooting at a Virginia gas station Friday morning and were pulling over white vans on a nearby interstate after witnesses saw a van leaving the scene of the shooting. It wasn't immediately clear if the shooting was linked to nine other attacks that have left seven people dead in the Washington area.
I orchestrate another threeway phone call with Kendra and Nice Jewish Girl.
Kendra: "I've read every serial killer book there is because that's my biggest fascination in life. And I can tell you what would make him a serial killer. You have all the signs Luke.
"The first thing is you drive a van. 98% of serial killers drive a van."
NJG: "It's got to be that kind of a van, an older model, trashy, with a gate in there to lock people in."
Kendra: "Second thing, his mother died. Most men who don't have their mother, they long for that bond. And they end up resenting their father because he can't give them the emotional nourishment of their mother. It's like adopted child syndrome. They usually end up resenting women.
"Third sign. They tend to use women. They just go through endless streams of women or stay with one woman and abuse her. Luke cannot stay with one woman. He couldn't make a commitment to a cat. He couldn't keep a houseplant alive.
"Fourth. Luke hates himself so much that he antagonizes people to the point where they want to kill him. Luke has a definite death wish. And if he doesn't have respect for his own life, why would he have respect for other people's?
"Five. This new obsession with his gun."
NJG: "Serial killers have bad haircuts like Luke does."
Kendra: "Six. Most serial killers can't hold down a job.
"Seven. Ego. Either they just have big huge egos and think that they are the coolest and just too smart and too cunning, that nobody would ever catch them. Or they would have no ego at all, no self esteem. Luke oscillates between the two ends of the spectrum. If Luke killed somebody, he'd think that he was too smart to get caught.
"Luke's inner child appears often. This pity me, love me, I miss my mommy thing. Luke, you're 33 years old. Deal with it. Name one serious relationship you've had, Luke?"
Luke: "This woman I lived with in Orlando. Lasted several months."
Kendra: "I'm only 22 and I was with a guy for four years. Luke does want to get married. Luke is in love with love. If somebody actually loved Luke and wanted to have the kind of relationship that he thinks he wants, Luke would fall apart. Luke wants you to believe he has a big ego, but his ego is the size of a flea. Luke hates himself. If Luke thought he was good enough to do other things, he would do them. Like his acting career."
NJG: "At 33, he is not going anywhere."
Kendra: "If Luke really thought he was all that, he would push himself harder and strive harder to be better than what he is. Luke is twenty times smarter than he lets on. He lets everybody in the world think he's a big idiot.
"No matter how much he lets everybody humiliate themselves and others on his site, it is still their name in print. That's the final outcome. Luke tries to hate ---- because it is against his religious beliefs but he can't hate me.
"Luke has ten personalities. Luke has no idea who he is and he doesn't really want to find out. Some really bad traumatic things happened to Luke and if he allowed himself to feel those feelings, he might crumble. It's like being raped. You don't allow yourself to feel or you would fall apart. It's his self protection instinct. Won't allow him to dig that deep into himself.
"Your first four years form who you are. I was molested from the time I was three years old. That's what I learned in life - that men wanted me for sexual purposes. It was in my family, and more than one person. And I think that so much of what you learn in that time period forms your instincts. I learned to protect myself through giving sex."
Emmanuelle.net writes: Everybody must be asking you, but... do you do tricks with your penis? Like the funny Aussie guys from "the puppetry of the penis"? They turn their genitals into hamburgers, animals etc. They say it's an ancient Australian art.
Fred writes: I hear that LF can juggle bowling balls, chain saws and lit propane torches with his penis. I have the polaroids to prove it for 50 cents each.
"Chaim Amalek" says: Why yes, I do, thank you. I use my penis to stir my drinks as well as the drinks I serve to others, but only if they are not around to see me do it (alas, it is not quite long enough to stir the pot). Great way to keep the little fellow clean, too. For exercise, I use it as a "third hand" when working on small machine parts whilst doing auto repair on my van. And of course, it comes in ever so handy when I am doing needlepoint.
Now here is a question for you, Emmanuel. Does it not bother you that muslim women in France and Canada are having about twice or three times as many children as Caucasian women like you? Can there be a France without women like you having children, even as the third world continues to flood into your land? Why do French and Canadian politicians allow continued Saudi penetration of your society by permitting the House of Saud to build Wahabeean-influenced institutions on Western soil, whereas the House of Saud refuses to permit even one church to exist on Saudi soil? Why do so few Frogs have the spine of say, an Oriana Falachi, who dares take on Islam (and the courts of France) even as she is battling cancer?
Luke Mixes With His Social Betters
Tenex is supposed to reduce narcissism but if my website is any indication, I'm not taking enough.
If I tripled my dose, I'd become meek and mild and think about others.
For the second time this week, I went to a cool party with people much richer, more successful and socially well adjusted than myself.
If I could only whip my memoir into shape, I could really belong to these movers and shakers.
I'm the most transparent and inept social climber.
Author Dennis McDougal (I want to be Dennis McDougal when I grow up) invited me to a swanky party 10/10/02 in Bel Air to celebrate the publication of his new book (written with Mary Murphy of TV Guide) on the Bonny Lee Bakley murder "Blood Cold: Fame, Sex, and Murder in Hollywood."
"Dennis such a great journalist," says a great journalist friend of mine. 'Why doesn't he do something worthy with his talents rather than writing these pornographic true-crime books that appeal to sickos?"
I left my hovel at 5:15PM and pack my neuroses in my van. I crawl up the 405 to where the rich people live. I'd glanced at Yahoo maps and had a rough idea of the location, but as is my bent, I did inadequate preparation and get lost, heading towards Woodland Hills on Mulholland Drive.
My self confidence is as shakey as my van. And my van is totally out of whack. It shakes, rattles and rolls. The alignment or something is so bad, I open the door at a traffic light and check my tires, thinking I have a flat. I don't. A couple of people honk me. I figure it's because I'm a bad journalist.
I'm feeling incredibly insecure. I worry my van will break down at any time. That I will make a fool of myself at the party. That I will never find it, or that when I do, all the cool people will have left. That nobody will talk to me.
I finally find my way to the party, arriving at 6:20PM. The room is filled with my social betters. The caterers are from this homeless shelter Midnight Feed in downtown LA.
I have two glasses of water, about ten pieces of watermelon and several pieces of pineapple.
This is a posh crowd. Dennis McDougal (no jacket, Hawaiian shirt) introduces me to former LA Times journalist Pat H. Broeske who introduces me to William Knoedelseder, a former LA Times business and entertainment writer who published an investigative look at MCA in 1993 who introduces me to ABC News Nightline correspondent Judy Muller, a live wire. Judy published her autobiography Now This: Radio, Television... and the Real World.
Booklist writes: "Muller, a correspondent with ABC News and a commentator for NPR's Morning Edition, recounts her career path through radio and television and as a single mother raising two girls following a divorce. Muller, from a family of storytellers, is engaging in this honest look at the impossibility of having it all, particularly in a business as competitive and consuming as electronic media. She recounts the challenges of juggling a grueling graveyard shift on the radio and childrearing duties, a brief custody battle before settling into a life of demanding career schedule with little sympathy for the demands of parenting. Muller conveys the pecking order of media that puts radio at the bottom of the prestige ladder and television at the heights. She recalls irascible television personalities and offers a behind-the-scenes look at newsgathering--the frantic digestion of the news before writing up-to-the-minute commentary on stories from the O. J. Simpson trial to the shooting at Columbine High School. This is an engaging look at the media and the real-life management of parenting and career."
I've been wondering about the big strapping black man who's all over this blonde woman in her seventies. Now that's truly kinky, I think. They're always holding hands. She lovingly bosses him around. He must be a kept man.
Judy points out it is Rodney King, who's gone sober and lost a lot of weight. He's an amiable chap. This woman must be his guardian. She proudly introduces him all around. The only other black people here are the help.
Judy is a smart quick-witted woman. She graciously talks to me. It is here I make my major foupe of the night.
Quotes reconstructed from my flawed memory.
Bill: "How are things at ABC News?"
Judy: "They're awful... I've been through so many regime changes.."
Luke: "How was it when it looked like Letterman was going to replace Nightline?"
I had to ask that because I couldn't give a hoot if Letterman replaced Nightline. In my mind, TV journalist is trash and inherently superficial, relying on captivating pictures.
Luke: "Do you view Nightline as a sacred trust?"
Luke: "It's one of the few places where you can still do substantive TV journalism."
Judy: "Yes, and 60 Minutes and CBS Sunday morning. I don't even count 20/20."
Luke: "I think part of the problem is that people on a high level don't watch TV."
Judy and her friend Mary look at me with horror.
Mary: "I think I'm on a high level and I watch a lot of TV."
There's no recovering from my foupe. I'm finished. Mary and Judy passionately disagree with me and launch into their own conversation. I fervently hope that they are the only two people I've alienated tonight.
It was at this home a few years ago that Jim Bellows threw a party for Judy's autobiography.
I wander around, eating bits of fruit and hoping for someone to talk to. When I was writing on my previous beat, I didn't think I was worthy of hanging out with real journalists. Now I'm meeting a ton of them. I will have lunch with Jill Stewart Friday, dinner with Rick Barrs Monday...
Charles Champlin, frail former of editor of the LA Times Calendar section is here. He saw to it that the Times did not investigate the 1978 David Begelman check-cashing scandal at Columbia finally reported in book-form (Indecent Exposure) by David McClintick. The LA Times was way behind the story in its own home town, exemplifying how out of touch the paper has been with showbiz coverage.
I can tell Pat H. Broeske is one tough woman. She doesn't take nonsense. She wrote many sharp pieces for Calendar, when it revived in the early '80s under Irv...
Pat Kingsley, the hated head of publicity firm PMK, told the LA Times Calendar editor Irv that any of his staff could interview Tom Cruise but Pat H. Broeske. Irv called Pat and assigned her the story. Pat didn't write celebrity profiles but Irv was damned if he'd let Kingsley push him around.
Pat showed up at Tom Cruise's hotel room at the appointed time. Tom almost had a fit. But he still did the interview.
Today's LA Times entertainment coverage is dictated by publicists to the paper. Back then, Irv had the attitude that "if we don't catch you on the way up, we'll catch you on the way down," and publicists can go to hell.
Pat and former LA Times business/Calendar journalist William Knoedelseder now works in TV. Bill is working on a three hour Bravo documentary on US presidents and their favorite movies. It sounded like a yawner to me but then Bill explained it and it sounded great. A technician at the White House from about 1945 -1986 kept track of the presidents' viewing habits.
Did you know that the one film that John and Bobby Kennedy saw together was The Manchurian Candidate (about the assassination of a president)?
The favorite film of presidents? High Noon. They must identify with the protagonist. They're all alone.
Part of me wonders how these high-level journalists can sell out to do TV. I thought there was a natural snobbery and hatred of TV among real writers. But not in LA, I guess.
Print journalists should stop fighting amongst themselves and get together to hate TV and film people.
I thought smart people didn't watch TV. Certainly anyone who gets his news from TV is a moron.
But I could be wrong. It's happened before.
I don't think I offend as many people with my opinions tonight as I did Tuesday night.
I have my eye all night on a tall slender brunette but I fear hitting on her at a classy place like this. She'll just see what a twerp I am and then I'll be outed.
I'm around smart successful people. I could learn from them. I should shut up and ease off with expressing my offensive stereotypes. But my psyche best knows only two moods - sheer frozen abject terror and loud preaching of my views.
I want to meet Dennis's wife Sharon. Pat finally introduces us. We schmooze. Sharon and Dennis have five kids. Sharon introduces me to three of them. And yes, one of them is the brunette (Andrea) I've been eyeing all evening. I spend the rest of the night talking to her.
Dennis's family call him "Mac." His friends call him "Dennis." I want to call him "Mr. McDougal." I don't think any of his kids are writers.
As I'm walking out, I ask a question of McDougal's co-author Mary Murphy, a smart-looking blonde. Mary and Dennis investigated the CNN Tailwind scandal and concluded that CNN had the essential story, but they didn't have it nailed down and ready to broadcast.
A man pulls Mary aside. Stuart (former TV Guide journalist who's starting a publication for millionaires in Palm Springs) then apologizes to me and he introduces me to Jim Bellows, author of "The Last Editor: How I Saved the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times from Dullness and Complacency." It's Jim's home that we're at.
I have an intense 15-minute conversation with Jim. I must read his book. He's registered the domain name LAObserver.com, like the New York Observer. He wants to give LA an interesting read.
I lament to him how the NY publications kick the ass of their LA counterparts. How New York Magazine is so superior to LA Magazine. It turns out Jim started New York Magazine.
Jim, like Matt Welch, Ken Layne and Richard Riordan, seeks wealthy investors to give LA a lively paper rather than the somnolent LA Times and LA Weekly, both improved. These guys should all get together and do something. Riordan has the contacts with the money, Jim has the newspaper experience, and Matt and Ken have their youthful impetuosity (but best of all, they have really hot looking wives, Emmanuelle and Laura).
I talk about Matt and Ken with Jim and emphasize that best of all, these two men have really hot looking wives. There's no more important a quality for somebody starting a newspaper or beginning any other endeavor.
I forget to tell Jim that the first time I met Matt, I asked him what he liked to think about when he masturbated. Our relationships has only improved since then.
Sheesh, if I could pull my memoirs together, I could snag a hot looking wife too.
Rodney King and his guardian are leaving. We introduce ourselves and shake hands.
Luke, worried: "Who's driving?"
Former real investigative journalist Bill wants to put Rodney King and Reginald Denny together. "Great television," he says.
I know. I can hear your screams from here. There's an appalling lack of Orthodox Judaism in my report. What would the Talmud say about a bunch of goyim getting together to eat trafe and celebrate a book on whore murder?
An Orthodox rabbi friend leaves me a message: "There's something charedi (religious) about you that you don't live in luxury, which is a big point of credibility with certain type of rabbis, compared to more modern rabbis. Even among the ultra-orthodox [many live in luxury]. You sleep on the ground. That's reminiscent of the dictum in Pirke Arvot - when you toil in Torah, you lie on the ground."
Jacqueline writes: "Luke, this is so entertaining. Matt is reading it too and laughing out loud. Matt and Ken met Jim Belows back in June I think, with Tim Blair. Jill Stewart AND Rick Barrs? Wow. Did you meet Jill at Tuesday's party? She's actually at every party, a good friend of Cathy and good pal of us. She even visited Prague when Matt has his paper Prognosis there. She's awesome. I hope she gets to do what she wants: a great talk show."