Cathy Seipp Denies She Leans That Way
Cathy Seipp writes: Roman may indeed be the best political cartoonist in Los Angeles but his last name is Genn not Gans...Not that he'll notice, as he doesn't know computers and he makes "the woman" (i.e.: his girlfriend) handle all computer stuff...
Also, Emmanuelle and I were scratching our heads today wondering which L.A. Examiner contributors are supposed to be gay as we couldn't think of even one, in the closet or out. And then I thought -- Do you suppose she thinks I'm gay (and in the closet) because I wrote a couple of pieces for the Advocate many yrs ago? Nutty!
Rick Barrs Denies Insurrection At Phoenix New Times
I heard the other day that former Los Angeles New Times editor Rick Barrs had an insurrection on his hands in Phoenix, where Barrs moved as editor after Michael Lacey shut down the LANT. The Phoenix staff, I heard, didn't like Barrs preoccupation with raunch, dirty talk and obscenities and they avoid him at public events. Rick has never had this happen to him before. He's always been liked by his reporters. He doesn't know what to do. He can't cure his dirty mind.
Rick Barrs replies: "come on luke, where do u get ur so-called information? inssurrection? well, that would be interesting. brang it! would i care if it were true? no. but it's simply not accurate. and over salacious material (there's always been a smattering of that in every new times paper. remember, we did a story on ur porn-purveying limey ass once upon a time. there goes *my* foul mouth again.). duh, couldn't u at least take a look at the phoenix new times web site to see if i've been a nasty boy in print? (fact is, i'm kicking myself for being so god-damn nice here -- so far.) oh, maybe ur referring to the story a staff writer did on phoenix's lesbian burlesque troupe, which wouldn't have raised an eyebrow in l.a. even here in the desert, nobody made a peep about it, except a couple of homophobic businesses in town that wanted our news racks removed. thing is, every new times staffer worth her or his paycheck swells with pride whenever we piss off tight-ass idiots (pun intended). around here, only a fool would go to the wall over such. see, whether we shock the public with investigative reporting on corrupt politicians etc., or do it by exposing a city's pop-cultural underbelly, this is a good thing for readers. also, this is the news *business*; our experience in l.a. aside, we tend to make money when people read the paper. (hey, i'm giving u a couple of *actual facts* to use in ur follow-up about how u've caused this stuck pig to really squeal). words to the obviously unwise: stop immitating the accuracy-challenged gnat drudge; he's an idiot savant, only without the savant part. best, rick"
Marnye Oppenheim writes: "Bite Me is a columnist who used to write for LA New Times. Bite Me now writes that same column in Phoenix, Arizona for the Phoenix New Times. Bite Me is also a back-up copy editor at the Phoenix New Times. She is in the office every day. She has been out in public with Rick Barrs, editor-in-chief of Phoenix New Times and former editor-in-chief and Finger scribe at LA New Times. Not only do the Phoenix New Times writers allow themselves to be seen in public with Rick Barrs but Bite Me can attest that she spent this past Friday night boozing it up with the art director and Rick Barrs in the privacy of her home. We stayed up til 4 a.m. Bite Me had to kick the art director out when she wanted to go to bed.
"These people at Phoenix NT are thrilled to have the extraordinary Rick Barrs at the helm of the paper. He's already made his mark here. Circulation is up 25,000 papers a week and return rates are almost nil. The covers are amazing. The ad people cheer when he walks through. They're selling more ads than ever. Two weeks ago they added 10 pages to the paper. He's the best thing that they've seen here in years. Michael Lacey, co-owner of the New Times chain wanted Rick to come here because of his stellar ability to make magic. He did it in L.A. He's doing it here in Phoenix. So Bite Me wants to tell you, Luke Ford, that whoever is telling you about an insurrection is full of shit. That couldn't be further from the truth. But then again, now that I've had the sincere displeasure of looking at your pathetic website, I see that you regularly write piles of smegma and pass them off as journalism. You are a loser not worthy of writing Rick's name. Bite Me (a.k.a. Marnye Oppenheim)"
Lively LA Press Club Gathering Discusses State Of Alternative Press
I arrived at 6:40PM, 3/11/03. About 30 people were already on hand. Crowd swelled to over 100 by the time of the panel discussion (from 7:30-9:30PM).
CA state assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, a left-wing lesbian bully, turned pale when she saw fiery redheaded reporter Jill Stewart in the legislature. Jackie hates Jill for her hard-hitting reportage.
Jill has a new website - www.jillstewart.net
I hear about Jackie molesting some woman on the floor of the state legislature, enveloping her in a huge lesbian hug. The woman struggled out of her chair, out of Jackie's enormous obese arms and ran.
I spoke to a lesbian tonight who said that Jackie's hugs felt like sexual harassment.
The LA Times outed Jackie Goldberg a few years ago. Goldberg had told the Stonewall Club, a group of homosexual lefties, that while she was not out of the closet about her orientation (two out of the closet homos were running against her for the LA City Council at the time and seemed more deserving of the Stonewaller's support), she would not lie if she were asked. So an LA Times reporter, when he heard this, reminded Goldberg of her commitment to not lie, and then point-blank asked her if she were a lesbian. With no way to crawl out of the question, she reluctantly came out of the closet.
What is it about journalism that seems to attract a disproportionate number of homosexuals and secular Jews?
Roman Genn, an illustrator, complains about the lack of hot chicks at the event. He points out his male writer friend from Playboy who sleeps with women and then writes about it for the magazine.
"Roman...is the single best political cartoonist in Los Angeles," says Jill Stewart.
Several LA Times public affairs officers came. I chat with a sweet blonde one named Lynne. When she learns I'm from Australia, she says her daughter would love to meet me. My mind spins.
Luke: "How old is your daughter?"
My mind stops spinning.
From the LA Press Club press release:
I sit next to Charles Rappleye from the LA Weekly but I'm too shy to introduce myself.
7:40PM. My girl walks in. She's by far the hottest looking chick in the room. And the youngest at age 28. And she sits right beside me. Thanks to Gary at the Associated Press who volunteered to move so I could be with my sweetie.
Riordan says many of his friends tell him that he's crazy to start a newspaper.
Karpel (aan.org) listed three main reasons why these are bad times economically for alternative newspapers.
* Circulation is down. Chicago Reader in the early seventies was the first paper to pioneer the model of giving itself away. Now all alternative papers are free circulation. Twenty years ago, that was easy to do. Now everyone is doing it. It's hard to persuade book stores and other places to stock your paper. Many cities are passing ordinances regulating newsracks.
* Loss of income from personal ads, which have switched to the internet.
* Independent businesses are replaced by big chains, which are more reluctant to advertise with alternative papers.
I have a low opinion of the LA Weekly. When I first came to LA, I picked it up all the time because I love newspapers, but I almost never found anything in it I wanted to read. Jill Stewart calls the paper "Stalinist" in its leftwing uniformity. Another reason I never pick it up is that I never see a cover story that interests me. By contrast, about one in thirty New Times LA cover stories interested me, and thus I picked up the paper occasionally. Tonight I was impressed by the editors of LA Weekly and OC (Orange County) Weekly. I might even give their papers a second chance because these guys, around 40 years of age, were smart and quick and interesting tonight on the panel.
Will, editor of OC Weekly: "I think the situation in LA is very different from the situation in Orange County. In Orange County, we have the Orange County Register. We used to have The Los Angeles Times, which was gobbled up by the Chicago Tribune. They decided to pull back. Ventura saw the same thing. This made a bad situation much worse. We don't have a lot of local coverage. Three million live [in Orange County].
"Contrary to popular belief, these people live lives, create art, they're in bands, they own major corporations. Sometimes they go to Blockbuster but at other times they're really alive."
It's pathetic to think that patronizing an efficent chain is not being alive.
Will: "Gannett is looking at [buying the Orange County Register]. We know what that means."
Chris, a tall strapping reporter for the USA Today sits in the back and asks a quick question late in the program.
Will: "We have a lot of community papers, typically owned by the Times or the Register. We have few independent voices. The community journalism is problematic. They are not in a position where they can afford to piss anybody off. One of the rare advantages of being in a major corporation [is financial resources]."
Nobody on the panel seems to know who really owns Voice Media, which owns LA Weekly, OC Weekly, Village Voice, etc...
Joe Shea yells out that it is owned by a Dutch holding company.
Will: "We have resources to fall back on and that allows us to report more aggressively than either the Times or the Register. When the Times pulled back, that marked the end of a 20-year war. The Register, having won, has responded the way the US did at the end of the Cold War. They declared victory. They fired a bunch of people. They're now selling themselves."
Will: "We're it. There's no television media down there to speak of. We have one small PBS station that does... a public affairs show that I am on... There's no local radio. You can probably go anywhere in Orange County and find people who know Mr. Riordan but don't know any members of their own city council and couldn't name a member of their board of supervisors, don't know who's on their school board."
I'm like that. The LA City Council etc is virtually unknown to me and I consider myself a pretty with-it guy. I didn't vote last week in the local elections because I didn't know anything. If I had voted, I would've voted against all the union candidates.
Will: "My friends in LA know a lot more about Iraq than the current city council. We become so awed by these fascinating [big] media stories that we miss stories about kids not being educated, police shooting people in the back...
"We have whores running Orange County. We have people with actual Mob ties. In Orange County, the DA gave a gun [as a present] to a guy who is in the Mafia. Is the DA out of office? No."
What's the story here? Who are the names? The LA Times covers the story 3/12/03 but never uses the word Mafia. Tony Rackauckas is the Orange County DA and his friend is Newport Beach businessman Patrick Di Carlo.
Will: "This should be national news. This is like the US sold weapons to Saddam in the eighties. The Dailies are asleep, the community papers are terrified... OC Weekly is like Voice of America, Radio Free Europe..."
Will: "The most curmudgeonly guy I can think of is Bruce Brugman who runs the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Whatever Bruce is pissed off about is in that paper. You will get more stories about the Public Utilities Commission than you'd ever hope to read in your life. He's an old sixties radical. He's as big as a bear. He's got a beard like ZZ Top."
Joe Donnelly: "When I was at the New Times [Los Angeles], it was all about The Los Angeles Times and what they were doing. I kept saying, 'It is not about the LA Times, it is about the LA Weekly.'
"Now, with the changes at the LA Times, it is apparent that they are competing with us and what they perceive as our ability to speak to younger hipper people."
Panelists laugh and support each other for two hours but when the audience gets involved, they repeatedly trash the panelists.
One thing I'm sick of: Why must the subject of a compliment always say that he has bribed the payee of the compliment. This is beyond trite but it happened a dozen times tonight. Just accept the damn compliment graciously folks and move on. The British are much more graceful about these things. Just watch how the British handle themselves at the Oscars compared to the uncouth Yanks.
Everyone on the panel is clean-shaven, even the chicks. Everyone on the panel stops himself from swearing. They dress professionally. How alternative are they? Shouldn't they look more like Ken Layne?
Sharon says her Ventura paper was used a cash cow by the owners who didn't pursue stories aggressively, which I guess is why she quit. "There was a real opportunity there to break a lot of stories and really make some money with an alternative paper, which doesn't happen much these days... Alternative chains are often now run by businessmen, in this case, by a printer (Southland Publishing). It's an interesting model - somebody who owns a printing press starts papers to print them. His money comes from printing. They can subsidize printing an LA paper by printing it on their own press while you guys [Riordan's LA Examiner] have to pay for that.
Dick Riordan: "I can speak freely because I know nothing about newspapers."
Dick kicks his shoes off and sits back and lets loose. "Jill [Stewart] still has to learn to give me the respect I deserve."
Dick: "There's no real good gossip in LA."
Jill: "Other than you."
Dick, a notorious gossip: "I may leak a few things about my private life.
"If you want to read the dirt about LA, you have to read the New York papers. We have dirt about everybody in this room."
Dick: "The LA Times has done a study that they will make the most money at a circulation of 750,000. [It was 1.2 million three years ago.] The cost of going above that is astronomical."
Joe Donnelly: "It's interesting to me how our demographics are skewing so old and so bourgeois these days in the alternative press."
Michael Collins lists off several newspapers coming to Los Angeles. "The LA Weekly used to bring in 224 pages... After 9/11, it went down to the 160s. This week it is 192. Are there enough ad dollars out there to sustain these different ventures? Dick's venture will appeal to different ad dollars. I think the money is there."
An LA Times public affairs officer, a tall black woman named Chris, rose and angrily lectured the panel on the need to cater to its readers.
Richard Karpel: "If you want to get young readers, you aren't going to get them by doing market research. Young people are going to read stuff by other young people. It's going to have nothing to do with other market research. If you want to be a good newspaper, you have to have a certain fearlessness about offending the people who read the paper."
Chris said "market research" meant people, and if you ignore market research, then you are ignoring people.
She said she didn't want to get into the LA Times' issues with urban readers. Urban is a code word for black.
Joe Donnelly said his peers were disappointed in both the LA Weekly and the New Times LA. "My market research told me that neither one reflected their interests."
Michael asks a long ponderous question that I've edited down: "With the high turnover in alternate papers, does it serve the community to have fresh blood or are we losing instutional memory through these turnovers? Certain stories the LA Weekly was following for a while stopped [after staff turnover]. Has this [turnover] helped or hurt?"
Joe: "Has what helped or hurt?"
Nobody has a clue at what Michael was driving at.
Chris demanded to know why Richard Riordan's LA Examiner paper billed itself as "blonde" in attitude. She clearly thought this was racist.
Riordan said he didn't have a clue what "blonde" in attitude meant.
Most of those who rose to purportedly ask questions instead gave angry speeches. Joe Shea took issue with the description of Jill Stewart as a conservative or neo-conservative. "She is a truth-teller." Joe gives a long-winded speech. Audience members yell at him to get to the question. Joe lumbers on undeterred.
"It's all relevant, believe me. The thing that has changed is the editing. When I was writing for alt, we had the right and the privilege of reaching our audience in our own voice. That's what made the newspaper so exciting. Today if you put something into the Weekly or the New Times, you have to go through a bevy of editors. What comes out...is not your voice. Mr Mayor, will you allow your reporters [freedom]?"
There's a question about the effect of the internet.
Will: "It gives us an opportunity to do a lot of things like run stuff at greater length. We have a page budget...that often gets in the way of what we can do."
Leonard Shapiro, a white-haired old man, gives a bizarre rant: "I don't understand why television wasn't mentioned once. I have 22-years experience covering news downtown. How come you people don't understand...that most people get their news from TV?"
Richard: "It's hard enough to do a newspaper, let alone radio and TV."
Will: "Television is a desert. We're not interested in competing with television. Our job is to be engaging as possible so people are seduced away from that kind of crap."
One LA Press Club board member, Karen Ocamb, wanted to know why there weren't more homosexuals and minorities writing for the alternative press.
Karen: "Not all gay people are liberals. But I don't see gay coverage in the Weekly. For a lot of people, the alternative press is just as white and straight as the mainstream. At least you see people of color on television. Why is it that there are only one or two people of color, why is there only two gay people in [Richard Riordan's] prototype, one of whom is in the closet? Why aren't there more alternative people in your alternative publications?"
I emailed Karen Ocamb for more specifics to back up her claims but she did not answer my email.
From LAPressClub.org: "firstname.lastname@example.org Karen Ocamb is an award-winning journalist with 27 years of experience. A veteran of CBS Network News, she has produced numerous video projects and events, and been editor and contributor to several gay and mainstream publications, including GayWired.com, where she pioneered multimedia news coverage online. She is a member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association."
Joe Donnelly: "The LA Weekly is very popular among the gay community."
Karen interrupts: "There's only one gay writer... Gays in the military is a serious issue."
Joe lists off a bunch of gay stories his paper has run in the past few months. It's not enough for Karen.
Joe: "Our editor in chief [Laurie Ochoa] is a woman of color. We have a columnist who is a woman of color. Our research editor is a woman of editor. We have two gay men, one is a woman, on staff."
An old white-haired lady who wrote a society column for the LA Times for many years told the panel "to get over it." She said they'd mentioned the LA Times 87 times. The panelists' insecurity was evident.
The LA Times is the 800-pound gorilla of Southern California print journalism.
Jill Stewart was a far quicker and terser moderator than Collins who was ponderous and wordy.
I spoke Tuesday evening with a reporter for the weekly tabloid The Globe, who told me: "Australia has a good competitive magazine market with New Idea, Women's Day. The same thing exists in London. But over here it's weak. You've got US and PEOPLE, which are flat. In Touch is puff. Outside of the tabloids, there's no fun. The LA Times is the most boring paper on the planet."
Cathy Seipp writes LAExaminer.com: "Thanks to whoever at the LAExaminer posted the David Shaw thing....I read it last night wondering if anyone else had the same "Geez, Grandpa, get with it" thought that I did, or if I'm just unusually cranky Sunday nights. And re those terribly worthy 7,000-wd GQ pieces: I've never been able to finish one. There, I said it. So sue me -- I'm a Philistine."
Anthony Pellicano To Be Jailed March 12?
XXX writes: Pellicano is expecting to be jailed March 12 and cleaned out his office in advance. Read new US District court application for detention in www.smokinggun.com, more intimidation and threats!!
Look up the FBI affidavit on smokinggun of the FBI description, by Special Agent Stanley E Ornellas, as to the danger of the "armed devices." The building attorney, Steve Doan, was supposed to check to see if anything really could have gone off. He apparently thought not. In order to protect the tennants another sweep was done by a bomb sniffing dog. Pellicano could have blown up himself and a star tennant roster including Toby Maquire and Drew Barrymore. get the address from the filing, check the roster.
A Letter To The LA Times
Dr. David C. Stolinsky writes:
Rude Jews Rage At Rosenberg's Reporters
I'm tickled that the prestigious bastion of good Los Angeles journalism, www.LaExaminer.com, saw fit to link to my sexist, lookist, racist, homophobic rant below about Sunday afternoon's panel discussion at the University of Judaism "The Media and the Middle East".
I also got a kindly link from conservative Christian talkshow host Hugh Hewitt. Welcome amigos! You are on friendly and holy ground at lukeford.net. I want to be Your Moral Leader!
AReporter writes to LaExaminer.com: "As a reporter who covered the Middle East briefly, the thing that struck me was the idea that ideologues want to hear stories from the newspapers which don't really exist. This is true of both sides. Most papers have pretty fair coverage of the middle east, because they are so hemmed in from one side, and often pretty liberal which often 'benefits' the other side. The bottom line is that you might not get the Jewish-only position, which is what some want. But you will get a pretty down-the-center picture, which is really nothing to complain about, given that on the internet you can go and find more extreme positions for both sides."
Angry Reporter rightly notes: "that was a totally worthless rant from ford. also I'm glad he sees fit to detail what the women were wearing and complained he couldn't see enough skin on the panel's sole female Muslim. the internet's full of moronic ramblings; need they be posted on LAX just because they relate to the L.A. media?"
Angry Reporter replies: "I won't dispute the ideals of providing information etc. -- if ford's piece did that. but it seemed more interested in complaining about the sound system and the cranky crowd. I gleaned precisely five useful facts from those 1,862 words: terrorist could be a loaded term, according to some writers/papers; reporters disagree on whether they should speak the language of the region they're covering; the Jenin massacre event was well covered; palestinian moderate voices have been silenced in the past three years; and a Times editor pushed Amy Wilentz to slant a story in 1998. Maybe my opinion is the minority, and if others post to that effect, so be it, but when I followed the link from LAX I thought I was going to get something useful about what interesting L.A. journalists have to say about an interesting journalism topic and instead ended up wasting my own time. if anyone else thinks I'm wrong, by all means, share."
The Raven writes LAExaminer.com: "Angry Reporter is right And wrong. Yes, Luke Ford's account of the event is not what you'd get if a traditional journalist had covered it; on the other hand, Luke certainly shared all his feelings about it, as Angry Reporter noted, from the personal appearance of the panelists to the behavior of the crowd. I'm not sure how interesting that is to anyone besides Luke, but hey -- it's his show. Luke has to do what's right for Luke. I'm grateful to LA Examiner for introducing me to some Los Angeles writers -- Luke among them -- that I wouldn't have encountered otherwise. And I'm grateful to Luke for covering an event that I wouldn't have even known about otherwise, even though Luke covered it in his rather unusual way."
Rishawn Biddle writes: "Perhaps angry reporter should just grab some Prozac and enjoy Ford's writing instead of ranting on and on about how useless Ford's work is. I can imagine mr. burnout has written some rather crappy pieces in his day. We all have."
Luke says: My journalism instructors, both on the job and in the classroom, repeatedly told me that I should write the story as if I were relaying it to a friend. Well, most of my friends care less about the issues and more about the quality of the physical appearance of the females present. Thus, I write my news with that in mind.
Cathy Seipp writes LAExaminer.com: "I thought Luke did an excellent job of covering this event and saved everyone who read it $15 to boot. But he gives himself away as a convert when he gets so unnerved by a room full of elderly angry Jews."
Angry Reporter writes: "wow, I don't know what to think. do you people really think Luke's ramblings (limited to this one piece on the U.Judaism panel) were good? He says the panelists did well at making their points but never gets into what those points were. He explains that none of the panelists are good public speakers -- golly, thanks for sharing. He tells us Rosenberg reads something from Haaretz, but doesn't say what it was he read. He says an angry man asks why 5 dead in Palestine make the front page of the Times while 5 dead in L.A. don't, and then doesn't tell us whether anyone answered or what they said. Maybe I'm being unfair -- the panel seems to have been rather worthless and perhaps there was just nothing for poor Luke to write about. After all, his more recent post on the Alternative press panel was much better (and should have been posted on LAX, but I know how busy y'all are). and as for that most recent post, I have of course written plenty of crap, yet it never got hyped on some media blog; rather it was ignored like it (and Ford's piece) should have been."
Luke says: Because the panelists were poor public speakers, they didn't project well enough for my taperecorder to pick them up clearly, hence my report relied on my notes and memories.
The Raven writes LAExaminer.com: "I think Angry Reporter likes Luke as much as I do, but just doesn't know it ... he says Luke's University of Judaism coverage had five useful facts, and then he listed them all -- which I don't think I could've done -- then he said Luke's coverage of the alternative press event was much better, so I read that, and it looked about the same to me -- Luke mentions some PR person suggesting he meet her teen-age daughter ... Luke being Luke. And I hope neither Cathy nor Luke believe that I said anything denigrating Luke's writing. I just meant to say that it was non-traditional and unusual. I'm all for that.
"From Anne Lamott's book, Bird by Bird: "There are a lot of us, some published, some not, who think the literary life is the loveliest one possible, this life of reading and writing and corresponding. We think this life is nearly ideal. it is spiritually invigorating ... It is intellectually quickening. One can find in writing a perfect focus for life. It offers challenge and delight and agony and commitment." Here's to Luke and all like him."
Tiffany Stone writes: "I was at the panel with Luke. He did an excellent and accurate job of reporting on it. There were only a few points to be gleaned from the discussion."Angry" should stop reading Lukeford.net if he dislikes Luke's POV so much. There are plenty of boring writers to read."
Cathy Seipp wrote me 2/26/03: "Luke, I thought you might be interested in this remarkably agenda-driven L.A. Press Club event. My question: Why is the University of Judaism co-operating with KPFK, which was overtaken by the anti-Semitic "Free Mumia" crowd last year? As an added bonus, I see that Amy Wilentz, known for her Useful Idiot op-ed commentary, will be speaking too. As Groucho Marx said when people complained about his pen-pal friendship with the notoriously anti-Semitic T.S. Eliot, "there's a lot of Jews I don't like either." But still, this is just ridiculous. And $15? Like people should really pay to hear this crap? Crazy!"
I attended this "remarkably agenda-driven event" Sunday afternoon, 3/9/03, at the University of Judaism. The crowd was riotious with anger at the news media in general for its coverage of Israel, and in particular at The Los Angeles Times and its reporter Tracy Wilkinson.
Howard Rosenberg moderated the panel discussion sponsored by the University of Judaism and the Los Angeles Press Club. Rosenberg is the veteran left-of-center secular Pulitzer-Prize-winning TV critic for The Los Angeles Times and a longtime host at UJ of gentle cerebral liberal dialogues. Liberals love to dialogue and believe that it is the solution to most conflicts.
Rosenberg began by introducing the panel: Rebecca Trounson, Los Angeles Times reporter, Amy Wilentz (married to editorial page editor of the LA Times), author, "Martyrs' Crossing", Don Bustany (Arab activist), KPFK radio host of "Middle East in Focus", Murray Fromson, former CBS foreign correspondent, Rob Eshman, editor of the Jewish Journal, and Edina Lekovic, the Arab-Muslim managing editor of the monthly Islamic magazine Minaret and a graduate student at Pepperdine in communications.
Pro-Arab Arab panelists: Edina, Don
All the women on the panel wore pants. I prefer it when women wear skirts and corsets. Women should be women and men should be men, and nether the twain should mix except as sanctioned by the Torah.
Rebecca was the best dressed and best looking of the bunch, attired in upper-class East Coast style. She had an aristocratic look that was so pleasing to my eye that it allowed my ears to better appreciate her points. Edina was covered in black. The only skin she showed was her face and her hands. I would've liked to have seen more of her. Bustany wore a suit and tie and behaved befitting his outfit. Amy and Murray dressed casually and behaved accordingly.
Amy Wilentz talked the most and had the least to say. She was an idiot. Edina spoke little. Near the end of the day, Edina said her heart was breaking, presumably because all the audience questions centered around why Israel wasn't getting a fair shake from the news media.
It felt at times like the crowd wanted to lynch the panelists and it kept my stomach in knots the whole afternoon. It was not a pleasant two hours. I was embarrassed by the way my co-religionists treated the panelists, even though I understood the crowd's rage.
I guess nobody will take us Jews seriously until we start rioting, looting and burning.
The crowd was overwhelmingly secular. Only three men wore kipot. One of them was Howard's Orthodox brother. The average age of the crowd was 50.
Howard looks just like his picture in the LA Times. He wears glasses on a cord around his neck. He's cerebral and mild with an understated sense of humor.
None of the panelists attacked each other. They occasionally disagreed without being disagreeable. Rob Eshman was a good articulator of the Jewish position. He said his paper had no problem calling terrorists terrorists (when people set out to murder innocents) while the other panelists, particularly journalists Becky, Edina, Don and Amy, said "terrorist" was a loaded term and they avoided it.
The panelists generally described each other as wonderful and they frequently rallied to each other's defense if an audience member ever questioned a panelist's wonderfulness. Professor Murray thought Traci Wilkinson and the LA Times coverage of the Middle East were just peachy.
Despite the hostile reactions from the audience, the panelists were remarkably non-defensive. They did a good job of making their points in an angry environment. The crowd was plainly not receptive to any perspective other than a pro-Israel one.
My opinion of news coverage of the Middle East: Not enough stress on the moral gulf between Israel and its enemies, just like there was not enough stress on the moral gulf between the United States and the former Soviet Union. I do not believe that the major media are anti-semitic.
I don't know why I came to this panel and shelled out $30 for the privilege because I have little interest in what any of the panelists have to say.
Howard: "I am very experienced in being criticized. The late Irv Rubin of the Jewish Defense League said a few years ago on the radio that I was such a self-loathing Jew that I didn't even deserve my circumsicion."
Subtext - those who criticize Howard are right-wing reactionary neanderthals. That's why he didn't want any of those bad people on his panel.
Howard: "I selected the panel and I didn't do it to achieve balance."
Instead, he chose his friends and friends of his friends, the type of right-thinking well-meaning people that Howard would enjoy having lunch with.
Howard: "What I didn't want was a screaming crossfire."
Which would happen if any of those nasty right-wingers were on the panel.
Howard: "I didn't want people on the panel screaming at each other because that never ever achieves anything. I chose the panel because I felt these people were very smart and very experienced and articulate, whether you agree or not.
"I want the balance to come from you and your questions. I hope we don't have any aggressive screaming.
"How many of you in this crowd (98% plus Jewish) believe there are two sides to this conflict?"
Almost all of the audience raise their hands.
Howard: "How many of you believe there is only one side?"
A handful of people raise their hands.
An aggressive man near me starts yelling: "What do you mean?"
Howard: "Two means twice as many as one.
"How many of you believe much of the media coverage has been pro-Palestinian?"
About 25% of the audience raises their hands.
A handful of people raise their hands.
Howard: "How many of you believe most of the media coverage has been down the middle and fair?"
A handful of people raise their hands. There's widespread laughter.
After introducing the panelists, Rosenberg, who recently spent 10-days in Israel, played an interminable 20-minute homoerotic video about two Israeli boys meeting, playing with, eating with and talking to Palestinians kids. The two Jewish filmmakers from the San Francisco Bay Area seemed particularly interested in showing footage of the boys taking off their shirts, and one of the boys washing up with his shirt off. The camera panned lovingly over his muscles and he in turn preened as he bathed himself, rubbed mouse into his hair and washed his face.
After Rosenberg asks his first question of the panel, the crowd erupts at the poor sound. They yell at the panelists about where they should place their microphones. One man complains that he can't hear anything because of a shutter going off on a still camera. These Jews are remarkably rude and my non-Jewish friend is appalled and uncomfortable. Several Jews around me are embarrassed.
Rosenberg asks lengthy questions that usually point toward the safe nonc-onfrontational answers he wants. Like the LA Times, Howard likes to sanitize and smooth over conflicts. He and Amy Wilentz let us know that the elites at the major news organizations know better than we do.
Amy and Rebecca, who suffers from laryngitis, covered the Middle East for years for The Los Angeles Times. Neither of them can speak Hebrew or Arabic. Amy thinks that's just peachy. Amy says that someone who speaks Arabic, by definition, is an Arab and therefore biased. Someone who speaks Hebrew is most likely an Israeli and therefore biased. Therefore, it is better to speak neither language than to speak one of them and then be biased.
Murray and Becky and Amy agree that because of the way American newspapers operate, it's highly unlikely that they will use reporters who speak the native language of the country they cover. And that's fine because their newspapers provide terrific interpreters.
Howard points out that a reporter at NPR named Linda speaks both Hebrew and Arabic and that it is likely that most of the audience despise her.
Murray and the panelists agree that the The Los Angeles Times did a superb job covering the made-up Israeli massacre in Jenin story. The audience doesn't agree. Some of them canceled their subscriptions to the paper in protest.
None of the panelists are good public speakers and none of them project well. When a UJ techie walks on stage to make an announcement, he is heard loud and clear. Unfortunately, what he says infuriates much of the elderly audience who've been kvetching about the poor sound quality.
He says, "For those of you who are hearing impaired, there are headsets available right outside that door."
Becky and Murray say that the voices of Palestinian moderates have been stilled since the September 2000 Palestinian uprising at the Dome of the Rock. The Palestinian moderates are afraid for their lives if they speak out of turn. The audience demands to know why this isn't mentioned in articles. Becky, Amy and Murray say it is.
Amy Wilentz tells the audience that the reason for their anger is that the panelists and the news organizations they represent do not give the audience the slanted news they want. "We're telling you stories you don't want to hear."
Howard reads aloud from the most left-wing of the Israeli newspapers - Haaretz.
Rosenberg says he asked LA Times editor Jon Carroll to come on the panel and he was out of town. Foreign Affairs editor Marjorie Miller declined, as is her custom. Why would anyone want to put up with such rude treatment as the panelists received today?
An angry man who was constantly shouting out of turn got up and asked a good question: How come when five people die in LA, like they did this weekend, they don't make the front page, but when five Palestinians die, that does make the front page of the LA Times?
There's a question about the LA Times pulling reporters from foreign countries because they've become biased. Becky says that has never happened to her knowledge.
An old man calls Traci Wilkinson a Nazi. Rosenberg responds with an audio soundbite of the Israeli Press Office head Danny Seaman who says Traci is a professional and responsible reporter. Murray says he's known Traci for 20 years and she's a wonderful journalist.
Amy Wilentz says there are reporters who are obviously biased. She names Robert Fisk and describes him as anti-Israel.
There's a question to the reporters: Have editors ever told them which way to slant a story. Becky says no. Amy says yes. In 1998, she was writing an article about the new Palestinian state for the LA Times and her editor had many problems with it. He wanted to know if she liked or disliked the proposed Palestinian state. She said she was strictly down the middle, just the facts. At the end of the discussion, as the editor was leaving the room, he told Amy, "This is a joke. But just remember to ask yourself: Is this good for the Jews?"
We simple dumb biased Jews in the audience were so lucky to have Amy Wilentz on stage to let us know how uninformed and biased we were.
Khunrum writes: "Gentlemen...Do you realize that since David Koresh is gone Luke is all we have left for moral guidance."
Christian writes: “It is unreasonable in the extreme to join a religious group, attend their functions, eat at their Shabbat tables with their children, sleep with their daughters, and then start two web sites, one dealing strictly with bad gossip, the other dealing with ----, filled with four letter words and graphic language, leaving graphic images a mere mouse-click away from any adventurous rabbi's son. And then expect to remain in good standing? Oy. Self destruction is your modus operandi. Taking others down with you is apparently just the fun part.”
What Kind Of Lives Do Rock Stars Lead?
From rocktragedy.com: The club-goers entered the bar looking for drinks, rock-and-roll and a good time, not suspecting that it would be their final night on earth. In seconds, revelry and abandon became terror and death.
As they gasped for breath and the flames and darkness increased, they no doubt prayed to God. Everyone facing death prays for help. But were their prayers heard? God alone knows.
Even though nightclubs and rock shows are notoriously wicked places, those who died will be eulogized as being 'good' people who did not deserve to die. But that's not true.
The Bible says that because of our sins, we all deserve to die. What's even more disconcerting is the fact that many who will read this article will go to a place that will for all eternity be exactly like that flaming club - full of darkness and eternal smoke and torment.
There is a definite link between sin and death which can be traced all the way back to the Bible, for the Bible says that the wages of sin IS death. Many have written to us and have tried to paint the goings-on at the Station nightclub as people just 'having a good time.' But that is not really what rock and roll is about, is it?
Consider the life of Jack Russell, lead singer of Great White. He boasts of the fact that he is "the most arrested person in the music business, with an astounding 53 arrests."
These quotes detailing his sordid history of 'sex, drugs and rock and roll' are from Mr. Russell's own press materials. He considers these exploits as badges of honor.
"Russell was first arrested at age 14 for having sex on the roof of his high school; at 18, he went to jail for 18 months for mistakenly shooting his drug dealer's maid. A fast-lane life of sex, drugs and rock & roll led to arrests on airplanes, hotel rooms, and tour buses. To make matters worse, he returned from tour three years ago to find his wife of ten years having an affair with a close family friend. She got pregnant by the guy, who died from a heart attack three months before the baby was due. Russell was held legally responsible for the care of the baby, as he was not legally separated from his wife. Another rampage with drugs and porn stars soon followed."
In August 2000, Russell went into rehab for drug abuse, which he described on his Web site as his worst personal moment. Drugs, jail, violence, loose-living and law-breaking....is it any wonder that this man's life has turned out this way?
There was a time in this country when people could have seen that Mr. Russell was living a life destined for trouble. But Americans have gouged out their own eyes because they cannot see it today.
Jack Russell has lived very far from God, but he is still alive and he can still repent and be saved from his sins. That cannot be said for the thousands and tens of thousands who have chased rock and roll to an early grave.
Elie Wiesel, Richard John Neuhaus, Cynthia Ozick and Ruth R. Wisse are quote whores. They wrote blurbs for a dull new book The Prophets by Norman Podhoretz, the former editor of Commentary magazine. Podhoretz brings no expertise to his subject. He has no insights. All he does is summarize Biblical stories and the work of Bible scholars. I've read Podhoretz for 20 years and almost never to my benefit. He suckered me again, just because I'm so desperate for reading material to get me through the dreary hours of davening on a Sabbath morning. Norm's latest book reminds me of a similarly uninspired effort by Milton Viorst, which I had the misfortune of lugging to shul one Friday night to get me through services. By contrast, My Sister, the Jew by Ahuvah Gray is the best book I have ever read about an African-American woman converting to Orthodox Judaism in her fifties and moving to Jerusalem.
Luke Gets Mail
Cathy Seipp writes: Amy, Emmanuelle and I have never felt the need to ask Luke to stop coming to the parties we do for the L.A. Press Club, and he behaved perfectly appropriately at the bloggers panel I organized for the American Cinema Foundation. So that's two "responsible organizations" that haven't asked him to leave -- in fact, we're happy to have him. And it's not as if I don't get irritated easily. Also, if synagogues (and churches) banned "butt-pains" from attending they'd be pretty empty places.
Khunrum writes: Come now my Dear Luke...Didn't you just pay Ms. Tiffany 100 American dollars for an interview about a person and subject that no one cares to read about? When was the last time you paid, or even did a favor, for say...Chaim Amalek. He of much copy to your column.
Robert writes: That "piece" was a total blow job for Alexi! What did he want? It was absolutely smothering! *sheesh* Those LA postmen sure are snooty.
I think Tiffany deserves a raise. Now Alexi Murdoch joins with other Hollywood greats like Anthony Pelicano, Si Litvinoff, and Helen Reddy's ex-husband in their disdain for Luke Ford. Well done, young lady.
Chaim writes: Who the heck is Alexi Murdoch?
Robert answers: A thin skinned coffe house crooner.
Chaim writes: Jesus, just what is the threshold for being a celebrity, anyway? I know there are A lists and B lists, but aren't we now talking W and X lists here? I wish the formerly young Marc W. would clarify things for us.
Let's Talk About Luke Ford
Christian writes: Look for his first book to be published by the same irresponsible publishers that brought you, "Hard to Find Facts for the Amateur Mail Bomber" and "The Idiot's Guide to Being a Successful Hitman".
There is not a single responsible organization that I am aware of that has not finally had to ask him to stop attending their functions. That list approaches double digits in the LA area alone.
He converted to a religion that he has since leached off of for weekly meals, preyed sexually on their women, regularly disrupted discussion groups, and behaved in social situations so inappropriately that he is on "Black Lists" in his chosen Jewish neighborhood.
Can you imagine joining a religious group, only to (actively) become their most continually inappropriate and biggest butt-pain? Why yes, he did so with regards to DP's friendship as a matter of fact. Was respectful for years, actively restrained and friendly, seeking DP out by going to Temple where DP did, only to become Hyde (now) once he had gained DP's friendship. The first person that DP has EVER, in 49 years, had to sue. Fancy that. See a trend here?
Anyone else you can name that is so widely viewed as a pariah on a personal AND a professional level? A "religious" Jew that makes a living running... a gossip web site, both overwhelmingly contrary to the Jewish Laws he freely took an oath to follow.
Luke Ford is not deemed appropriate nor responsible by a single reputable source that knows him well to my knowledge.
He is, on the other hand, banned from *several* conservative religious social/singles groups that he has infiltrated and whose hosts and female members he has repeatedly abused over the years.
Interestingly, his behavior came up at Shabbat dinner this week- quite by accident.
My host, a very fine, religious man who regularly has unknown guests to their home for Shabbat dinner in the spirit of outreach was re-telling a "Shabbat Disasters of the Past" story.
It was a tale of the most inappropriate, obnoxious behavior by a GUEST you can imagine. Overtly sexual and homosexual innuendo and dialogue the entire night. The host was so shocked and upset, he ended up going into his kitchen to do dishes to get away from this "guest".
No other guests that were at his home that night have since returned. You can imagine why.
My host was not using anything in his description that would ordinarily be deemed identifiable about the subject. It was just a story. Yet that fact that he was describing Luke Ford was not only *obvious* to me, it was painfully so.
JMT writes: If they can't take a few fag jokes with the gefilte fish, f--- 'em.
The Agonizing Toll of Sexual Addiction
I heard a lot of people chatting about this article on Sabbath. Many said it was sensationalistic. Others said it was courageous and important. I found it dull, plodding and pious. Every red-blooded right-thinking patriotic American male I know is a sex addict. It's what God and nature intended to keep us dependent on our wives, so they could exercise their political views in the bedroom and not the boardroom and legislature and newspaper.
One Friday night 33 years ago, when Yisroel Richtberg was 12 years old, an older boy sneaked into his dorm room at his Chasidic yeshiva in Israel, pulled off Richtberg’s pajama pants and raped him. The same thing happened the next Shabbat.
The boy told Richtberg (not his real name) that if he ever told anyone, the two would be blacklisted at all the yeshivas, and the attacker said he would kill himself.
Richtberg didn’t tell.
Instead, he sank into a cycle of depression, shame and isolation, one that would lead to a 20-year addiction to prostitutes, pornography and drugs, fronted by a double-life as an upstanding Chasidic rabbi, businessman and father of 12.
Today, Richtberg is alive to tell his story because he got help from therapists and 12-step programs. He has made it his life’s mission to help others conquer an addiction so coated with shame that it resides at the very bottom of the hierarchies of addiction.
Amy Sohn In Playboy
Marc writes: In the latest Playboy she writes a fairly useless article about hanging around L.A. looking for men to have sex with (she didn't visit the hovel) ... the pictures of her are quite dolled up though, her semitic looks softened for the sake of the masturbators on mililtary bases who read it.
Chaim writes: She is soooooo 1996-ish. She's too secular to speak to the experiences of the orthodox jewish women who are the future of judaism, and way too semitic looking and acting to speak for her WASP/Catholic sisters.
Hikudeki Nostradamus writes Luke:
traveling from the east
original "G" West grows rich,
by Goddess (email@example.com)
Click link above for the pictures and unexpurgated version of this article
For many years now, two questions have plagued medical experts everywhere: is PMS real or is it merely a mental imbalance, and is Luke Ford real or is he merely mentally unbalanced? Who better to help answer these questions than Gillian Ford, founder of The Center for Hormonal Health and Luke's mommy.
Although I've read Luke Ford's site and heard him talk about his family often, I must confess that I never paid much attention to all that brouhaha. Except for the time he was going to Australia and they wanted him to see a bunch of shrinks. Then I couldn't help but read…and snicker. What kind of thirtysomething would let himself be dragged off to the psych's office like a wuss? More importantly, what kind of family would drag their kid to the psych's office for testing? At that point, I thought his family was bunch of uptight people, who couldn't muster a sense of humor amongst them.
But the day Luke posted an email from Gillian, his mother, asking what a bukkake was…well, that grabbed my attention big time. I mean, after all that fussing, why was she even reading his site? The nosiness-I mean, the journalist in me was rather curious about this woman, so I asked Luke if I could interview her. After getting his immediate and overwhelming approval-- "You'd have to promise to be really good and not ask her anything that will make her cry...no gross or sexual questions..."--I approached Gillian. (By the way, in my defense, I haven't made an interview subject cry once. Give me time, damn it, I'm new to all this.) Gillian was very gracious and I was nice to her, Luke Ford!
I'm glad Gillian agreed to do this interview, because I know that if I had a skewed view of Luke's family from the email postings, other people did, too. And once and for all, we can finally find out how much money that family has spent on psychiatrist's bills. Welcome to the other side of the Ford family…
Goddess asks in a whiney, pre-menstrual way: Why did you feel the need to start the Center for Hormonal Health?
"I had been a hormone counselor for women for 15 years independently. Then I went to work in Texas for about 14 months in a hospital clinic. Then I came back to California and opened up The Center for Hormonal Health with a physician from the Bay Area. The reason? There are just lots of people with hormonal problems who need help."
Do you believe that there is a mind/body connection to illness?
"Absolutely. I think just about everyone thinks you cannot separate the brain and the body. The brain IS physical. They are closely connected. The brain, the way you think, affects the way your body works. It's also true that the way your body functions can affect the way you think. For instance, a diabetic with a sudden sugar hypo can act quite irrationally until he or she eats."
You said you believed in the mind/body connection to illness. Do you believe that if a person harbors negative, destructive emotions that they can manifest as physical illness?
"Yes, I think that is commonly believed. And I think it's true but I don't think it's everything. I had a father who was very paranoid and a very negative person. Yet, he had wonderful physical health till he was aged 80, then died of dementia at age 84. At one time, the explanation for postpartum psychosis was that the mother didn't really want the baby. A hard time at menopause was because of the empty nest syndrome (all your children leaving home). But the mind is physical, and all hormones target the brain. Physical changes, even the onset of cancer (before it's known), can cause depression. You can't separate brain and body and both affect health. But if you think positively it cannot help but boost your health."
I was listening to a preacher the other day and he said the only way to "get right with God" was to stop blaming others for our problems and look within. Do you think that is some advice Luke needs to follow?
"I think you ultimately have to take responsibility for your own life and behavior. But I don't think there's much light inside the human heart to "look within" for wisdom."
What do you say to people who think PMS is not a medical condition? And to those who think it doesn't exist?
"I am not a hard sell type of person and don't talk about hormonal issues much to people unless they ask directly. It's not a topic of interest to everyone. I also realize it's only a certain proportion of women who get it. Many women are as much in the dark as men about PMS as they don't have it. I mainly speak to people who believe in it because they've got it! I have also met a lot of women who didn't have PMS and therefore didn't believe in it. Then later down the line, they had a tubal sterilization, for example, and started getting PMS. Then they began believing in it. Feminists are often worried that women will be judged adversely in the marketplace if they admit to PMS. But trying to insist that it doesn't exist when it clearly does is denial. Best to bring it out in the open and deal with it."
Who taught Luke how to dress himself?
"Do you mean as a child? I'd say it was a group effort. I wasn't around till Luke was over 3 and then only occasionally babysitting. Luke was four and a half when I married his father. His real mother looked after him till he was aged about 10 months. At that point, she was given two weeks to live, but actually lived on till he was about 3 and a half. Because of his mother's cancer, there were a number of live-in housekeepers and a number of homes that Luke lived in (who also looked after his mother). The men in Luke's family could hardly be called color coordinated. Clothing is not of major importance in their lives. Luke's sister Elenne probably helped dress him and still occasionally helps him in that regard. She's the one with good taste and dress sense." The Ford men are "hardly color coordinated.""
What do you and your husband think about this whole conversion to Judaism thing?
"Quite relaxed actually. God gives us all freedom. We pass this option on. It's a lot better than atheistic Marxism, which was Luke's previous interest. Luke is a bit of a mystery to us, and I think to himself. We don't understand his ambivalence. He seems torn in two directions, one high and one low. Luke has given us a new appreciation and understanding of Judaism which I did not have as a Christian."
What was the relationship between Luke and his father like when Luke was a practicing atheist?
"It seemed an OK relationship. As I mentioned, Luke was always polite. But Luke can be a hard read--who knows what he really thinks. He was always a different person outside the home. A conformer at home. He has a timidity in that area. It's a common stage to be an atheist in your teens and to do the prodigal son bit and come back. Luke's dad is a great believer in personal freedom. Des is a very devout, conservative Christian and takes very seriously the Old Testament statement by Job (which Luke as a believing Jew should theoretically also take seriously): "I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl." His dad would never do what Luke does and is not happy about it, not only because it affects Luke adversely and others through his influence, but also because it reflects on Des' own ministry.
"Luke has contacted many of our friends in the past and this has been a source of embarrassment to us. We hear some years ago that he verbally attacked a Jews for Jesus adherent in a park in L.A.--somehow that got back to us. Part of Luke's psyche is rebellion against his dad and Jesus and Christianity in general. It's part of his fury against the universe for what life did to him, I think. I don't really know that for sure. Luke was baptized at age 17 as a Christian which was late. We left it up to him. I told him it was "unto death," meaning you took it seriously. Don't do it unless you believe in it. He wasn't pushed except as having a well-known father (in our small world) pushes you psychologically. Many things don't have to be said. We don't like it, but we don't agonize about it, and we don't hide it. We think something happened to Luke after that accident. We may be quite wrong. I find Luke quite complex and I am only hazarding guesses."
Luke, do you think you get along well with your father? "I get along with my father."
I wrote to a website and voiced a legitimate complaint. The guy who owned the site, said I was "whiney and pre-menstrual." How would you respond? I'd seriously like you to answer this question because women face this all the time. The instant their opinion doesn't mirror the man's opinion, or the instant they become emotional, so many man drag out this "what's the problem? are you having your period?" garbage. It's demeaning and unfair.
"Yes, I agree with you. It's ill-mannered, but I don't know as you can change men saying this when it's a good weapon in the war between the sexes and it gets women even angrier. I tell groups of women that men have hormonal problems as well because of too much testosterone--the porn industry is one result, and increased aggression, higher rates of murder are others. Only they have problems all the time and not just once a month."
How would you describe your relationship with Luke?
"We were very close when he was young or at least I thought we were. He still keeps in touch regularly. I know he does not want to lose contact with his family. That does not mean I like what he is doing, and I am not backward in saying so. I could have a very good relationship with Luke if I approved of what he did all the time. Luke doesn't like my telling him what I think of what he's doing. It hurts his feelings. I probably give him too much advice. He's the youngest, and that tends to happen because the siblings pipe in their two cents worth too. But it's OK, folks, don't worry--he's very good at resisting all that good advice we give him."
Phew! Good news, people…we do NOT have to get a life! I repeat, we do not have to get a life! Luke, what is your opinion of your relationship with Gillian? How would you describe it?
"I have a good and pretty open relationship with my mother. I regard Gillian as my mother and always refer to her as my mom."
I can't believe I forgot to ask you what you thought about Luke getting the boot from Temple! So what did you think? Did you think they were justified in kicking him to the curb or did you think it wasn't their place to judge him?
"Luke told me before it happened that he tried to keep out of the way of the rabbi each Sabbath. He knew they wouldn't stand for his behavior outside synagogue, so it was no real surprise to him. As I understand it, he got references from two of the rabbis there, and they were embarrassed when they found out what he was doing outside shul. Made them look and feel pretty dumb. But I thought they were very kind to him. Told him to he needed to get help and he was welcome back when he gave up his other life. It's the light and darkness thing. They see what he is doing as evil. You can't mix the two. Therefore they might see his religious affectation as a pretence and him as a hypocrite. You know that joke about you can't have your cake and Edith too."
Do you believe in hormone replacement therapy? If so, do you believe in using all natural products, such as wild yam cream?
"I believe in HRT if a woman needs it. I believe in using products that match those the body produces. Wild yam creams vary. Some have little hormonal effect. Others are quite active. I recommend them in certain instances."
Every time something goes wrong in his life, Luke blames Mom and Dad. Do you feel in any way responsible for his problems, or would you just like to shake him and tell him to grow up, for Pete's sake?
"Luke has never said he blames us directly. And I would not have thought it true. Luke, is it true? No, I don't feel responsible for his problems. I don't look on my parents as responsible for my behavior. They tried harder than their parents. I tried harder than mine. We all do our best. At every level, Luke was a deeply loved and privileged child. Life threw him some curve balls, however, which were out of our control. He has shown a lot of courage. The criticism you mention is implied in his autobiography. And at times when I have written Luke, he has put my letters on his web site and then had people write in and call me the wicked stepmother, etc. Then Luke doesn't defend me in the text. I resent being pilloried in public (that's how it feels), when his readers know next to nothing about us or his background. I think all of us function on different levels in family and society. We can appear to be happy and underneath be a seething mass of anger. Different children in the same family see their upbringing differently.
"Luke had a hard start with his mother's sickness, and he was a very smart child. He seemed to be happy most of the time. Who knows what he was fuming about underneath. Also Luke was maybe the most focused child I have ever met and had his whole life mapped out in his teens. His car accident (www.lukeford.com lukeford section, chapter three of his autobiography) and subsequent chronic fatigue (from which he has never really recovered) shattered his dreams. There has been a personality shift. The Luke we knew before was different, and the one you know today is somewhat of a stranger to his family. That makes me feel tremendously sad. His father and I were left alone to make our own decisions from childhood. I think often when you become "religious" and have children, you forget the freedom you had and try to guide your children over much."
Luke: "I resented that question about me always blaming my parents... Could you please produce one example of where I've blamed my parents for anything? You put a nasty thought into my mom's head... I've never blamed my parents to you privately nor on my site... I sent this to my mom after reading the interview: 'Thanks mom, beautifully put. No I don't blame my parents for anything, I am just a brooder and expressive of different thoughts and feelings, and people want to interpret them and spin them.')
First of all I guess when I asked you about Luke "blaming you" it's because when I read his writings about what has gone wrong in his life, he immediately starts going back to childhood and stuff what happened there, and it sounds like an excuse to me, like he's blaming his past for his present, if you know what I mean. I'm sure if I've gotten that impression, others have too, and that's the reason I'm glad you decided to do this interview, so that we could hear your side of things.
"I think others have gotten the same impression you did. A couple of stories. When Luke was in England, about age 5, he came up to me one day and said, "I'm a lucky boy. I've had lots of mothers. Most kids only have one. But I don't want any more." Meaning, you will do. When Luke first went to school in Australia (age 7), he came home one day and asked me, "What sort of mother are you?" I said, "What do you mean what sort of mother am I?" He said, "Well are you a foster mother or a stepmother or what?" I said, "I'm your stepmother." He said, "Are you?" (really surprised). "Well, you're a nice one"."
Luke, do you think you need a lot of attention? "Yes."
Do you feel that your PMS in any way affected your relationship with Luke?
"If you are into the Enneagram (personality testing), Luke is #5, the Observer. They do not feel comfortable around people who swing emotionally. The Fords are fairly level people and they hadn't met anyone quite like me and my PMS. It was a real problem when I was aged 26 to 29. Yep, I was quite a trial. But it wasn't something I chose, I did everything I could to get help. I kept out of their way when I was bad. I did ultimately get help. I always apologized. There was another side of me (most of the time) who went many extra miles for Luke. I would think there is not another child who was read to like Luke was. Luke loved reading, and he adored being read to. He learned at 7, (we believed in sparing his eyes because we knew once he began he'd read 5 hours a day like his father, and he did). He read all the time, but I kept on reading to him. In his TEENS I read to him. When he was in his 20s and had chronic fatigue and was laid on his back for 8 years, I read to him. This wouldn't mean much to most of you, but you'd have to know Luke."
Luke, do you think you were spoiled as a child? "No."
How old is Luke's father? "Age 72."
Do you think Luke will ever marry and settle down?
"Luke would LOVE to marry and have a family. He's introduced me to some women I'd have loved to have for daughter-in-laws. Will he marry? I don't know. Could the sort of women he wants handle the other half of his life?"
You mentioned liking some of the girls Luke brought home, enough to want them as daughter-in-laws. What type of woman do you think would make Luke a good wife?
"A hard question. I don't think I have a clue as to the answer to that one."
If you could change one thing about Luke, what would it be? "That car accident."
You mentioned Luke being different after the accident, in what ways? "Luke has an encyclopedic intelligence and has a mature side which is why many Jews have thought he should be a rabbi. (GODDESS: This is true. Check out the look of determination as Luke attempts to bring these two wayward souls back into the fold. INSERT PIC #8 HERE) That hasn't changed. On the other hand, he's done some strange things at times. I think if I gave examples, you'd say, yep, pretty strange. He seemed to lose his boundaries of what was appropriate in some respects.(INSERT PIC #9 HERE) Maybe the industry is an area where everyone's boundaries have broken down, so your readers won't think this too strange. But it was a change for Luke. In his teens, he didn't seem unhappy, seemed to be self-motivated. Came and went like a door on the hinge. No major problems that I could see. He was into journalism and got in people's faces. I mean, the school football team put him in the rubbish bin one time because he was such a pain. Luke was always a bit in your face. After the accident, he was more so I think.
"From the family's perspective--when Luke first went back to Australia to visit his brother Paul, he was maybe in his late teens (about age 18). Paul thought he was a normal, happy teenager. I think Luke was a happy atheist then. Luke came home to U.S.A, and had the car accident shortly afterwards in his early 20s (I think). Then he went back later to Australia and stayed with Paul again. The family (aunt, brother, sister) thought Luke had problems with a personality disorder back then and contacted us about it. They saw a big difference in Luke between those two visits. Luke came back to the States and went to UCLA and then lived with us for 3 years after that. I have letters from Luke to us from the first visit to Australia--cheerful, happy, clearly happy with us. Having just moved, I don't know where they are right now. I read one of them when I was packing up in December and sat down and wept. It's hard to mesh those letters and the way Luke was in the home with the person who wrote the autobiography.
"Remember Luke has been living away from home maybe 7 or 8 years. I haven't been around him much in that time. If Luke came home, we'd give each other a big hug. You can get mad at your kids and not like what they are doing and even stop speaking to them for a while. But after a while, you realize you never stop loving them. That never changes."
You also said he had his life all mapped out before the incident, did any of it involve the adult industry? Just kidding....seriously what did he have planned for his life?
"I don't know when Luke decided on the adult industry. At age 12, he worked out every subject he was going to do each year all through high school. And where he wanted to do his postgraduate studies and doctorate. He wanted to be an economist-journalist. After he had the accident, he seemed to become compulsive in his work and study doing abnormal hours. That seemed to lead to getting mononucleosis and then gradually his immune system went down, down, down. And he ended up with chronic fatigue. He attempted UCLA and was there I think for one year, maybe longer. That's when he got interested in Judaism. But he couldn't study much so he ended up coming home. He had this mysterious illness which flared up at night, intense sweats, glazed eyes, etc. He asked me one night if I thought he was dying. It was hard for someone so intensely motivated to be stopped in his tracks and have to give up his life plans."
Do you think it's fair that he prints emails from the family on his site?
"We understand that Luke is a journalist. (INSERT PIC # 10 HERE) Some of the family, for instance his brother Paul, wouldn't mind at all, except Paul doesn't write e-mails! As far as I am concerned, it depends on the e-mail. Luke actually doesn't publish mine very often because he knows I prefer he would not. I pretty much know which ones he is likely to want to publish. I mind less and less. I told him specifically he could publish this if you didn't mind."
Do you ever read Luke's site?
"Used to more than I have the last 18 months. The counselor in Australia he visited recommended the family not do it. If I think he's likely to publish something about me, I will occasionally look. I have looked maybe three or four times in the last eighteen months."
Can you recommend a good book for your son so that he can become more tolerant of women and their struggles with PMS?
"He could always read my book, "Listening To Your Hormones." Katharina Dalton, M.D. has written the classic books describing PMS-"Once a Month: Understanding and Treating PMS", and there are a number of other very good ones. Women's Health America of Madison, Wisconsin offers many of the best books on the subject. They also have a physician referral list. Women's International Pharmacy, also in Madison, Wisconsin (and Arizona) have a newsletter. I mention this, not for Luke, but for any reader seeking help."
Do you think Luke considers your feelings?
"To a certain extent, I think Luke considers my feelings. Luke is always polite to me."
Finally, Luke has cautioned me about fifty times now about being "nice" to you. have I been nice to you? I need to get him off my back.....
"You have been very nice to me. I this answers your previous question. He wants you to be nice to me. That's considering my feelings, isn't it?"
All pictures stolen from-I mean, "courtesy of" Luke Ford.
An Interview with Gillian Ford by Goddess ©2001 Don't forget to check out my site, www.theworldofgoddess. com. Send all questions, comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Won't The Losers At Moviepoopshoot.com Link To Other Sites?
Why is that not right? It's their site, and they can choose not to link to little subpar sites like mine.
Tiffany Stone blazes new trails on www.moviepoopshoot.com. The week after she did "Day in the Life of a Script Reader," Pete Dewolfe did the same thing on the site from a Screenwriter's perspective. Then Tiffany did a "Gone Hollywood" list and the next day Patrick Storck's "Gone Indie" list was posted. To add insult to injury, the editor posted reader's emails praising these copy-cats.
The Price For Secular Jewish Hubris
Linda writes: Don't you think it is a little unfair to talk about people getting "doped up and drugged up and have kids outside of wedlock" when, in context, you're still talking about Volokh and Kaus and you don't have any evidence that they've done these things. Maybe it would be better to say that non-believers are more likely to do these things you don't like than religious people, but they are certainly not 100% likely to do these things. Also you didn't really address how getting "doped up and drugged up" hurts others. Maybe you should check out some Libertarian web sites like Reason Magazine.
Here's another point: "I think it is arrogant for people to believe they can just make up their own moral code..."
Why not? The religious that people follow now were made up in the past by somebody. What's wrong with people making up their own religions or moral codes now? Codes made up today would at least be tailored to life in 2003 not 0003.
Lunch With Cathy Seipp, Debbie Gendel
Thursday. 12:25PM. Cathy Seipp turns off Beverly Blvd at 8250 and finds her way blocked by a big rusting grey van. Traffic snarls. Eventually the van parks in a ponderous fashion and guess who gets out - Luke.
Cathy, wearing green, and I, wearing my trusty black suit and a green shirt, walk to the Italian restaurant Pane e Vino, 8265 Beverly Blvd and find, sitting in the back, our date Debbie Gendel, a convert to Judaism, freelance writer and mother of three daughters (aged 30, 20, and 14).
By virtue of paying for lunch, I compel Cathy and Debbie to sing for their supper.
Cathy thought RiShawn Biddle was exceedingly patient and good humored with me during our interview last week when I suggested improper things about the very proper Tim Ferguson, former Los Angeles bureau chief for Forbes.
Cathy's daughter Cecile is disappointed I don't update my site more often.
I ask Debbie about meeting Cathy for the first time in 1980 at the Los Angeles Daily News.
Debbie: "We'd just been bought by the Chicago Tribune [who now own The Los Angeles Times]... There was real benevolence. We used to get two-weeks pay for our Christmas bonuses."
Cathy: "I remembered when I was hired [to write on fashion for Debbie Gendel at the Daily News], I was making $200 a week [writing for a trade fashion rag]. [An exec at the Daily News said,] 'I think we can do better than that.' And it was doubled."
Luke to Debbie: "Was Cathy a real fashion plate then?"
Cathy laughs. Debbie: "Oh God, no. None of us were."
Cathy: "Debbie looked good. It was just a job."
Debbie: "People don't understand that about journalism. You only pretend to be a fashion plate. You're just a reporter. I remember when I was assigned to cover fashion at the Daily Breeze because I was the only one who could match my shoes to my outfit."
Cathy: "It's easy to be the most attractive and fashionable woman in a newspaper office. They would pick the prettiest one [to cover fashion]. If you've ever been in [a newspaper office] and looked around, it's sad."
Debbie: "It's not true today."
Cathy: "She says tactfully."
Luke: "Who are the best dressed female journalists in Los Angeles today?"
Long awkward pause.
Cathy: "Huh. Do we even see any? Emmanuelle is always nicely dressed but she's French and she doesn't count because she isn't a fulltime employee of some newspaper. The freelancers often look good. Hillary Johnson, Nancy Rommelman always look good."
Somebody overhearing the conversation challenges whether Hillary and Nancy are journalists. XXX says they are writers.
Cathy: "Amy Alkon always dresses fashionably."
Luke: "How come there aren't more fashionably dressed journalists? You'd think they'd get better stories."
Cathy: "The men don't look so great either."
Luke: "But no one cares what men look like."
Debbie: "In defense of the dozens of women I've worked with, I think they are all well-groomed, and look businesslike. That's all you need to get a good story. As long as you are clean, I think the way you look should be secondary to the mind you bring."
Cathy: "I've seen people dressed inappropriately. I go twice a year to the TV critics meetings. I look across the room and they are all fulltime newspaper people and I see some of them just dress inappropriately."
Luke: "Like wearing sweats and sunglasses [Maureen Dowd of The New York Times]?"
Debbie: "Could we break new ground here?"
Cathy: "I'm annoyed at her for that because she's attractive and makes a lot of money and cares about clothes, so she could dress better."
Luke to Debbie: "How is Cathy the same and how is she different?"
Cathy: "We are not going to have another Cathy-fest."
Debbie: "She's a lot older. I think she's exactly the same."
Cathy: "Just fatter."
Debbie: "She was always the funniest person I've ever met."
Cathy: "Ray Richmond was at the Daily News also."
Debbie: "He was funny."
Cathy and Debbie go into hysterics remembering Morgan (Debbie's husband) imitation of a retarded man.
Debbie: "Unlike most women, Cathy really doesn't care what anybody thinks."
Luke: "Debbie, how come nobody at the LA Times would give me a quote about Cathy Seipp?"
Debbie: "I think there were a lot of residual hard feelings about that Buzz column. Or, it could just be that they had nothing to say."
Cathy: "Some just don't know me."
Debbie: "There were people who thought she was being malicious."
Cathy: "Now, we know that's not true. Can't people have a little bit of fun?"
Luke: "But why did you have to write about people's private sex lives?"
Cathy astounded: "When did I do that?"
Debbie: "That's you."
Luke: "You called that editor [Noel Greenwood] to ask if he had been having an affair with [Carol Stogsdill] at The Times."
Cathy: "One time. I had to. People were telling me that the reason Carol Stogsdill got the job was because she was having an affair with Noel Greenwood.... But it's not like my big interest. It was not a picture I wanted to have in my mind.
"Let's talk about Jerry."
Debbie: "I said he was virile. I don't know what made me say that."
Cathy: "You were being nice."
Debbie: "I was putting myself in the past, in the time machine..."
Cathy giggles: "When you overwhelmed by his virility."
Luke to Debbie: "Do you feel guilty about introducing Cathy to Jerry?"
Cathy and Debbie say in unison: "Noooooooooooooooooo!"
Cathy giggles: "Why should she feel guilty? It's the only marriage I've ever had. And look at my daughter. Sometimes she'll make these expressions and she will look exactly like Jerry. She'll say these things, words that I would never use."
Debbie to Luke: "How did you come to meet Cathy?"
Luke: "From reading Buzz magazine. I always thought media criticism had to be boring."
Cathy: "Now, don't go saying anything mean about Tim Rutten. That can not be said."
Luke: "Why? Because he praised your writing in his review of the LA Examiner prototype?"
Debbie: "She had a change of heart."
Cathy: "That's very perceptive."
Debbie: "Tom Rosenstiel, David Shaw, and these horrible journalism professorey types."
Conversation twists and turns.
Debbie: "I have a hard time picturing you riding a bike."
Cathy: "Cecile still doesn't know how to ride a bike."
Luke: "Why is the LA Times so dull?"
One observer says: "Not enough Jews. Too many Gentiles. It misses that competitive combative Jewish element."
YYY: "Did you see that stupid column by Mary McNamara: L.A. Centric, about the power of one. One lonely woman at the federal building protesting the war."
XXX: "The LA Times publishes all these first-person piece wherein the writer pretends he's on the side of the angels."
Cathy: "I don't think I write about how wonderful I am."
Debbie: "Turn that off!"
Later, Cathy quotes herself.
Cathy: "You know you're getting old when you quote yourself.
"Hey Debbie, I've never done this and I had a really good time. I went to a bar on Friday night with some friends and I had a drink. It was the Red Lion on Glendale. It's a German sausage and beer place. You've met Brian Doherty? He's an editor at Reason. He had a book contract to do a book on the Burning Man Festival. He said, 'I'm going to be there from 8-11Pm and I will buy you a drink to celebrate my book contract.'
"We went and ohmigod. It was filled with young people. I had a good time. It felt like being in New York. There was a whole scene of people going out and having a good time. It's cubby and it's not like a sleazy singles bar. God, I'm sleeping better at night. I don't need to take naps during the day anymore."
Debbie: "Cathy is the greatest guest. She appreciates anything you make for her."
Cathy: "You have people come in your house who are not appreciative?"
Debbie: "Yeah, if they want to be vegans or Seventh Day Adventists or Orthodox Jews."
Cathy: "The up part of being sick is getting gifts."
Marc writes: Cathy sounds like the hottest woman alive