Advice To Single Women
Sloppy Joe writes: Dear Luke Ford: I just found your web site and I really love it. But I see that there are lots of unmarried type females in your circle. I hope this helps them some. The following advice holds true for the 99% of the female population that is heterosexual.
1. To be happy and content in life, recognize that you need a man and the children that only a man can provide.
2. Do not own a cat until you are married. Cats soak up social energies that would more profitably be used to find a man.
3. Do not bother with personal ads to find said man. Instead, hang out in smoke-free bars, do volunteer work, date unmarried people at the office, and go to church. (Don't know about temples, but I assume they are the same.)
4. When preparing to go out on a date, attend to every aspect of your hygeine! That means you should floss and brush your teeth every day and again before your date, use mouthwash, and watch what you eat so that your breath is sure to be minty-fresh. Nothing turns a guy off faster than toilet breath, and it is readily preventable.
5. Get your body into the best shape your genes permit. That means you eat right, do not smoke, pump iron, fix your teeth, wear feminine clothes.
6. Force a positive outlook on your life. We men hate depressed, whiny women.
7. Have something good to say on your date with a man. Compliment him, say something nice about close family members.
8. Cook a nice home made meal.
9. Show a little bit of flesh - not too much, though - early on.
10. Spend less time watching television, and more time reading the Los Angeles Times or the Washington Post.
Hollywood Couple J.Lo and Ben Affleck To Remake Casablanca?
From a UK paper: Hollywood couple J.Lo and Ben Affleck have secured a deal to remake the classic movie Casablanca, according to reports. The pair are said to be delighted with the multi-million pound deal and are now in talks wirth American producers. The original film was a hit in 1942 starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Affleck will take the romantic lead as Rick, the Daily Star reports. Lopez will play the former lover who had jilted him but comes back into his later life - married to a French resistance leader. Actor Ben is reportedly a big fan of old movies and the project will give him a chance to indulge his passion. It will not be the first time the two have appeared on screen together - they recently starred in the hit romance Jersey Girl. A friend said: "They are overjoyed at the propspect of being in Casablanca together. "It is the chance for them to show how much they love each other through their on-screen chemistry."
A Bible Scholar Deconstructs Luke And Luke's Father:
Your father "knows" too much for me to tell him anything. Including about you. It will never happen.
...Knowing too much, summarizing too fast, summing up too quickly, is a weakness he has. It's a way that you and he are terrifically alike.
...By the way, you enjoy controversy and driving people nuts way too much. Both of you. What is the blessing in "Blessed are the peacemakers." (Jesus knew at least as much about Judaism as you do....) Part of what makes you ill at ease in the self/world dichotomy is this approach toward the outside world as the enemy to be debunked.
Hiding behind "journalism" as the reason for this cynicism just won't do. I ain't convinced! There are lots of "journalists" who do have the same problem with their approach, but there are lots that don't. It's not endemic to journalism to have to drive people nuts, to be cynical, and to print what MAY be someone's screwup and assume it's true until proven otherwise. The theory of the law, "Innocent until proven guilty" would help in your approach to your journalism. But of course you became this sort of journalist as a result of an already existing cynicism, not the reverse. You have charm and intelligence and good looks, and I can see that it is dangerously easy for you to mislead people about yourself--even when you know you're doing it. Careful, this can make for a hollow feeling and dis-ease.
...Now, what your father [two Ph.Ds in Christianity] was exposed to was "readings" in the British style. Not the original materials, but readings of not-very-good European writers, whose writings couldn't even be taken seriously (since they're relatively ignorant of the details) in American Biblical Studies. Out of this study of generally poor secondary sources your father got the impression he was something of an expert in theology. From this weak background, with most of his questions unanswered, he launched into doing what only someone who didn't know what he didn't know would do: he tried to write a commentary on Daniel [biblical book]. It was a terrible mishmash of preterism, historicism, and futurism without any understanding of how these systems complement and clash. There was no understanding of their history, of the sameness and difference involved in them.. And much of the book was unedited quotes from other sources strung together in ways that didn't fit at all. It became apparent to me after only a few minutes that your father didn't have the foggiest notion of the Book of Daniel, and shouldn't even be teaching an academy class on the subject, much less writing a book about it. That an Adventist publishing house published this mess, virtually unedited, and with even the Hebrew title screwed up, showed the blind leading the blind.
You write very much in the style of your father. Like him, you tie together long quotes, with rather poor segues and transitions. This is so evident in your website that I marvel that I didn't get it sooner. And you've gotten the same kind of accurate and strong criticism your father got for what passes for writing. And the same kind of "this guy really didn't take the time to know what he was talking about before he became a legend in his own mind" criticism.
Luke Parties With Elmore Leonard?
I hope to party later this month with author Elmore Leonard. Organizer Amy Alkon dates Leonard's researcher. The guy from the Slaves of Hollywood mockumentary wants to come and Asparagirl's (this Jewish blogger girl from NY, who was profiled in The Los Angeles Times) boyfriend, who is a very young, very funny screenwriter guy wants to come too. Asparagirl is moving to L.A. at the end of the summer, after their wedding.
Edgar J. Scherick Profile
Eric Feldman writes from Long Beach, New York: Luke, I've read your interview with Edgar Scherick on your website, and I have to thank you for putting together so much information on him. Actually, the thanks should probably go to Edgar who opened up to you, something I doubt he has done to the same extent with anyone else.
I'm a cousin of Edgar's. He was a legend in my family. Some people respected him, some did not care for him. No one in the extended family knew him anywhere near to the degree you documented.
I last saw Edgar in September, and got a chance to speak with him on his Birthday in October. It was a sad day when I got a phone call from Steve Abronson in his office telling me of his passing. I knew that this signaled the passing of an era, both in the industry, and in my family.
Many times I wanted to ask him some of the questions you did, but for whatever reason, did not. For your interviews and posting of the transcripts, I will always be grateful.
LA Orthodox High School Struggles With Drug Scandal
A girl on a recent Shalhevet trip ate marijuana-laced chocolate brownies. She panicked and was hospitalized. She was fine. Afterwards, she refused to reveal who baked the brownies. Shalhevet, the most left-wing of Orthodox day schools in Los Angeles with an identical co-ed curriculum, has a zero tolerance drug policy, meaning anyone caught with drugs is expelled.
Bernie Weinraub Screw-ups
Much of the New York Times negative slanted and inaccurate reporting from Iraq comes from its Hollywood correspondent Bernard Weinraub.
From AndrewSullivan.com: A jaw-dropping correction in the New York Times today:
One simple question: why are the reporters who used that critical quote to exaggerate the difficulties of the allies still working for the NYT? The reporters in question are Bernard Weinraub, formerly of the Hollywood beat, and Thom Shanker.
Or Because It Sucks?
Meg Ryan's latest movie has been pulled over fears of the effect the war in Iraq will have on its popularity. Paramount Pictures has delayed the release of Against the Ropes, based on the true story of a woman boxing manager, indefinitely. (BBC News online) Or because it sucks?
Matt Welch Superstar
I went to the Ansell Adams and John Sargeant exhibits at LACMA today and I can report that they are fully kosher for Orthodox Jews.
I'm preparing a story on "slaves of hollywood", those celebrity assistants, personal assistants, mailroom employees etc who choose to slave -I know, they're choose it, so you can really call them slaves, let's say: servants- hard in Hollywood in the hope to climb up. I'm meeting David Rensin tomorrow before your lunch because there will be a side bar interview with him
I was wondering if you knew any young ambitious person doing this kind of job right now and would agree to tell me a about it, on or off the record. I'm doing interviews but with mostly former assistants and I'm still looking for people doing a job now.
Matt Welch is going tomorrow to this casting for a reality Show for Ben Affleck's look-a-like (he got contacted by this casting agent because of his blog). He stands no chance and I don't think he would be very interested if he really looked like Ben Affleck but this is all very funny!
Whatever Happened To Peter Bond?
Peter Bond is a sleazy tabloid reporter, responsible among other stories, for setting up talkshow host Jerry Springer with porn star Kendra Jade in Chicago's Plaza Hotel in May of 1998.
Bond had a tabloid organization he titled "Headlines News," which fooled many people into thinking he was affiliated with CNN. He wasn't. He was forced to change his company's name to Headline LA.
Six weeks ago, Bond fled the country. He's rumored to be holed up in Ireland. Bond got wind that police were going to look into images on his computer of girls under the age of consent.
Before he left, Bond downloaded all his celebrity photos on to a CD Rom and gave it to an employee who misunderstood what he said. The woman thought the CD was of child porn and she threw it away.
RiShawn Biddle quit Forbes Friday to take a job with the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Pentagon Spokeswoman Victoria Clarke - Guilty Of Fashion War Crimes?
Amy Finnerty writes in the WSJ.com: Like a hothouse flower growing in a bed of moss, Victoria Clarke, the Pentagon spokeswoman with a penchant for nonregulation attire, has been attracting admirers and puritanical detractors. It's hard to believe, but the Defense Department reportedly has had to waste time fielding comments about the assistant undersecretary's jackets. The impressive Ms. Clarke delivers her crisp war briefings while seeming oblivious to the fact that she's wearing chirpy violet, preppie pink-and-green, or Mondrian color blocks from the neck down.
Women in public life are more likely than men to be judged by their appearance.
Sherry Maysonave, a "communications image consultant" and the author of "Casual Power: How to Power Up Your Nonverbal Communication and Dress for Success" (note that "power" appears twice in the title), admires Ms. Clarke mightily, and is sympathetic to the plight of scrutinized women. But even she thinks that the attractive, humane face of the Pentagon has way too much going on from the neck down.
"She needs to avoid color blocking, which is disempowering for women because it confuses the eye and distracts from the message. People will be trying to make sense of the design and get distracted from what she's saying." Sadly, this is thought to hold true even if what she's delivering is grave or vital news about American troops.
Fortunately, for those of us able to filter out the visual noise of fuchsia juxtaposed with purple, Ms. Clarke is an intellectual and aesthetic Balenciaga from the neck up. "She has tasteful makeup, tailored jewelry, an excellent haircut, and she's a good communicator," Ms. Maysonave says. "She's fashionable but professional."
Spanno writes: Am I the only one that thinks something is wrong with this woman's dress sense? First time I saw her on TV she was wearing some kind of half one colour half another thing today she has some violent pink and black number on, is she for real ? How does she expect people to take seriouslly talking about Iraqi brutality, deaths of soldiers etc when she's standing there looking like a clown?
MrPopup writes: Hmmm....look at her wardrobe.... Does she own stock in a terrycloth company? You should lobby for a pay raise for this bird so she can afford some new duds. Women and their "power suits".....sheesh.
Livedose writes: MILF or dyke? Can't decide...
Jake writes: Victoria Clarke is on Cnn again, I think she's sober. For those that missed it, was , i dont know even how to describe it..Was a like she had her seamstress sew two random blazers from her closet together, right down the middle.Was something outa a bad 1980's dream. If there gona represent us (us) and the pentagon, shouldn't they have some dress code? Maybe trying to kill suddam with laughter when he see's it.
Perfection Girls writes: It looked like an open box of neopolitan ice cream. I called all my family on the phone and had them laughing with me. LOL
Oliver writes: And she is such a ball buster! Did you see her busting the chops of one of those reporters? What the hell was she thinking when she got up this morning? "Hmmm I'm going to be on National TV today so what should I wear?"
King writes: Hahaha, I saw that one too, and thought there was something wrong with my color-settings on my TV. The only thing missing from that picture is a big-ass hairdo and some pastel ear-rings.
Lauren writes: Someone from the Fashion Police needs to talk to Victoria Clarke about her *Shag - a - Deli* blazer!!! She's worn it several times and it's horrible!!!! I was just watching CNN and she wore it again!!!!
Fred Barnes writes for the Weekly Standard: Thomas M. DeFrank, the Washington bureau chief of the New York Daily News, would seem to be perfectly qualified to be the chief spokesman for the Defense Department. He is a Texan who's known President Bush for years. He has 22 years of military experience, including two as an Army second lieutenant working in the Pentagon office of public affairs. He's also served in the Army public affairs shop. DeFrank knows defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld well. In 1975, he spent two weeks of active duty on Rumsfeld's staff during Rumsfeld's earlier stint as defense secretary. And that was at Rumsfeld's specific request. He knows the military culture that dominates the Pentagon. And he frequently writes about military affairs.
Yet DeFrank, strongly favored by some at the Pentagon for the spokesman's job, was passed over. Instead, the White House announced last week that Victoria Clarke, a Washington public relations executive with no experience in military affairs, was the nominee for the post. Clarke was selected to comply with the White House's insistence on women or minorities in high positions. Among her champions was Karen Hughes, President Bush's communications director and the person in charge of picking spokesmen, or spokeswomen, for cabinet agencies.
There's more to it than a successful power play by Hughes. Clarke is part of a phalanx of women who have gained top positions in the Bush administration. Clay Johnson, the White House personnel director and a longtime friend of Bush, says no quotas or even rough goals come into play in choosing appointees. "Even if you were inclined to set a goal, I don't know what the goal would be," Johnson says. Still, there's been talk inside and outside the administration about having no more than half the 484 political positions in the cabinet and agencies go to white males and at least 30 percent to women. As luck would have it, about 30 percent of the president's picks so far have been women and about 50 percent white males.
Many of Bush's female nominees are both experienced and talented. Victoria Clarke was press secretary to Senator John McCain, worked with Matalin in the 1992 reelection campaign of the first President Bush, ran PR for the National Cable Television Association, and more recently has headed the Washington office of Hill and Knowlton, the respected public relations firm. No doubt she's qualified to be spokeswoman for many federal agencies. The problem is the Defense Department may not be one of them.
Is pink inappropriate in time of war?
By ROBIN GIVHAN, The Washington Post
It is hard not to notice Victoria Clarke's clothes whenever the assistant secretary of defense for public affairs fields questions from reporters during televised briefings. Clarke is often flanked by Army Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, vice director of operations, and the contrast between a civilian in business attire and the chest-forward posture of a soldier in a medal-bedecked uniform is impossible to miss.
But Clarke also stands out because she wears bold jackets in raspberry, tangerine and fire engine red, as well as in delicate pastel combinations such as peach and sky blue. She is a spark of conspicuous color in a room filled with dark suits and sobering news.
Clarke's preference for colorful jackets is not a symbolic display of rose-colored optimism to balance the somber war news that she now has to deliver. She has always been more apt to wear geranium pink than charcoal gray. Quite simply, Clarke has decided not to change her professional attire in deference to the war in Iraq.
There are those, however, who think she should. The Defense Department's Office of Public Affairs acknowledges hearing complaints, mostly from men who find pink inappropriate during a time of war.
Through a spokesman, Clarke "politely declined to comment on her wardrobe." It is a personal choice, she said, and she would prefer to keep her personal and her professional lives separate.
Although one can understand the desire, the reality is that personal decisions and professional duties collide each time Clarke stands before the cameras to discuss developments in Iraq. It is understandable that some feel uneasy seeing condolences delivered by someone dressed in a pink plaid jacket suitable for Easter Sunday services. But if one were tempted to deride her penchant for pink or to mock the Mondrian jacket she wore last weekend, one should first know that a senior defense official said Clarke is "colorblind. She couldn't tell you the exact color of what she was wearing."
Colorblindness could certainly explain Clarke's affection for jarring color combinations or the tendency for her wardrobe to look like a collection of prepackaged separates rather than suits assembled based on mood or whims. Colorblindness may account for poorly calibrated hues of red and orange...
Victoria "Torie" Clarke - 42 years of age, mother of three young children, Chief Spokeswoman for the Pentagon.
"Clarke's husband, Brian Graham, an executive at Fannie Mae, takes on a lot of responsibility, and Clarke came home one night to find him asleep on their bed, surrounded by camp forms, photo orders -- the debris of daily life. But if motherhood makes her job harder, it also provides motivation. 'It makes you appreciate how important it is to make the world a safer place,' Clarke says. 'That gets driven home to me every night when I go home to see my kids, and every morning when I leave in the dark and kiss them goodbye.'"
(USA Today's USA Weekend April 12-14 Cover story titled "The White House Message Machine," reported by Cokie Roberts and Steven V. Roberts.)
Christ's Bride Ministries says: "Victoria Clarke, the chief spokeswoman for the Pentagon, is the ideal choice to serve as the spokesperson for the modern U.S. military, the feminist military, the sodomite military, the politically correct military, the military which is ignorant of the true Constitution of the United States, and thus of their constitutional duties, the pluralist military, the pagan military, the heathen military, the infidel military, the technology-trusting military, the doomed military."
Kim Hume writes for the Weekly Standard: VICTORIA CLARKE, the veteran political public relations diva, had no idea where the roller coaster was taking her when she signed on to be the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Relations under Rumsfeld.
September 11 changed her world and she was suddenly thrust on the stage with the U.S. military response in Afghanistan. Things did not go so well between the media and the military and the bureau chiefs really did have something to complain about. But out of that experience Clarke did what she knew best--she went on a campaign.
Her goal was to bridge the old gap between the generals and the journalists. She held forums at think tanks, she had bi-monthly meetings with the bureau chiefs, she yessed us to death. Yes, we would have dialogue. Yes, we would consult. Yes, we would get access.
Right, we all said skeptically. We knew the game; the military would never let us in. And even if it did, we wouldn't be allowed near the fighting and would either be censored or not allowed to file stories until it was over.
We were wrong. Clarke's brilliant idea was to have the embedding project sanctioned from the top down. Get Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Richard Myers on board.
"They are very involved in making sure that everybody on our side of the fence understands the intent, understands what the mission is," Clarke said in January, "and that's been a distinct difference from the past."
The idea was to push the policy decision down the ranks and not to let concerns about operational security hang it up. The military used to claim that the media couldn't be trusted; that they would broadcast operational details and men and women in uniform would die.
Clarke's answer: If the journalists' lives are on the line too, they'll keep their mouths shut when they're supposed to.
What is she wearing?
Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke has attracted more comment on her dress sense than her style of delivery. There could be a good reason for that, says Gary Younge
Wednesday April 2, 2003 The Guardian
The US defence department's press office has been receiving complaints following its daily briefings. Given the abrasive style and evasive nature of defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld's delivery and the splits emerging between the politicians and the military, you would think it was about time.
But the complaints are not from peace protesters demanding more information on innocent civilians, or retired generals worried about supply lines, but men who believe that pink is an inappropriate colour to be worn from the Pentagon podium at a time of war. The focus of their concern is the assistant secretary of defence for public affairs, Victoria Clarke. Or, more specifically, her wardrobe.
The fact that at times such as these, not least in an era where women comprise 16 per cent of the US armed forces, men might still find time to fret about the shade of Clarke's plaid jackets rather than the tone and content of her delivery is worrying. None the less, when you see the first woman to hold the job standing six feet tall in fire-engine red and pastel plaids in a room full of medalled-military blazers it is difficult not to notice.
Even the Washington Post, not renowned for its frippery or flippancy, has been pushed to comment that Clarke's dress sense can at times detract from or even confuse the message.
Americans will have to get accustomed to her idiosyncratic style. While she may never get the casting vote on the style council, Torie Clarke is going to become ever more familiar to viewers.
For a Republican party fighting a war far less popular with women than men, Clarke's on-screen presence has a particular currency. You will find her on the party's website, marketed as one of "thousands of women across the country who are providing the local leadership needed to deliver President Bush's compassionate conservative message."
Yet while her delivery at the podium is a relief after Rumsfeld's scowl, her manner, let alone her message, is none the less abrupt. She says she has abandoned the "smart blankety-blank" style that characterised her role as a PR woman in the corporate world when dealing with the press at the Pentagon. Her role, is "just too important". In most jobs "you think, well it isn't a matter of life or death. Here it is life or death matters," she told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Raised as the youngest of five daughters in a middle-class family in Pennsylvania, her name alone presaged a fearsome if not fighting character. The way her father tells it she was named after Queen Victoria. According to her mother, "her heart valve didn't work so they baptised her right away, and when she made it through, they named her Victoria because she was victorious over death."
A lifelong Republican, she was press secretary for the Bush-Quayle presidential campaign in 1992. When Bush lost she moved into the private sector where she remained until she got a call from Bush junior's administration two years ago. Referring to herself as the president of the Friends Don't Let Friends Go Back into Government Committee, she was a reluctant recruit.
She had been in her present job just six months when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into her workplace on September 11 2001. Later that day, she told the world the Pentagon was still open for business. Since then, with America declaring an endless war, Clarke has acquired an almost permanent presence.
And if her outfits raise eyebrows then it is a response with which she is familiar. As a child, her mother said: "She used to insist on walking around the house in a cowboy hat and leather pants. I think she actually had a holster and a gun." An instinct of which her current employers would no doubt approve.
Tim writes: Is she the one that was wearing a pinstripe suit top with white pinstripe sleeves back rolled all the way up her arm on CNBC? I almost gagged.
Fritz writes: I mean come on, did she lose her ability to see what color she is wearing? She looks like an 80's hard rock band backup singer. Am I the only person who has noticed this?
Connie writes: I agree totally (how 80s is that?). She was wearing a suit the other day where the left half was pink and the right half was gray (or the other way around) with a lt. blue turtleneck. Horrendous!
Bud writes: It was worse than pink and gray, it was pink and brown. We laughed like Hell when we saw that. Her earrings are the worst part of her wardrobe. They look like the ones my grandma quit wearing about 30 years ago.
Barry writes: The first time I saw the half-pink, half-tan blazer, I just figured she'd lost a bet or something. But it seems to show up with alarming frequency now... Maybe somebody should tell her that New York fashion show stuff isn't actually meant to be worn by actual people.
Marilyn Welch writes: Here's what Camellia Paglia said about the US administration hawks: "There was a shiftiness, a sleight of hand, a kind of blustery bravado and smugness: "Well, we know, but we just can't tell you, because it would compromise national security." Give me a break -- we're about to go to war and kill or maim thousands of innocent people. Americans will die too. And they couldn't lay all their cards on the table? "
It sure applies to Victoria Clarke. She never confirms her rumours, oh no can't tell you the source of that one. When questioned about other rumours, she never denies them. Asked about the battery being used to torture prisoners, she goes into a spiel on the cruelty of Saddam Hussein. This morning she corrected a reporter, "inevitable outcome? it is not a feeling it is a reality." She repeated this 3 times. How can something in the future be stated to be unequivocal 'reality.' She really is coming off as a testy witch.
Myname writes 3/29: OK, today it's not that bad. Bright pink jacket with black sleeves and a black turtleneck. It's not as bad as the Necco wafer inspired outfit, but it looks as though whoever made it ran out of pink material and decided to finish it with black. Someone get her over to alt.fashion...asap!
Ron writes: I'm not a fashionista or anything. But she has to have the absolute worst taste I've ever seen. The neon multi-color suits in particular would make Joan Rivers have a heart attack.
Sara writes: They're rather inappropriate for announcements regarding a war. I guess she just decided a big old war wasn't going to stop her from having *fun* with fashion. Why be a gloomy gus?
Cliff writes: I think she's sending secret signals to the troop commanders with these outfits: there's no other plausible explanation.
Podkayne writes: Does anyone know if she's related to the late Captain Kangaroo? It looks as if she inherited his wardrobe.
Keeper writes: Has anyone noticed that the DoD spokesperson Toria Clarke has spooky eyes? Eyes that may remind you of a Linda Blair or worse, Rumsfeld?
Kori Lawrence writes: It reminded me of a scene last May (I remember the month because I'd just given birth, not because I'm a rabid briefings watcher) when VC wore this outfit that my Mom and I agreed could cause seizures in some people. It was so horrible I can't even bring myself to describe it. Suffice to say, it was composed of about 3-4 prints and a mulititude of clashing colors--even worse than this collage. I appreciate that as a spokesWOMAN she probably has a lot of pressure to have a bunch of outfits instead of just rotating ties like Ari Fleischer, but there can't be that much of a shortage of good clothes in DC.
Lavoix writes: The reason she was so badly dressed is that she has no gay friends.
Myn writes: It was unprofessional if you ask me, especially if you consider the gravity of the situation that is happening. There are expectations of what's acceptable in terms of clothing depending on the level of your position. For her to have such a high profile job that represents the Pentagon she should be wearing business professional outfits. The outfit she had on would have been acceptable at a ladies luncheon or something social, but certainly not to inform the press of such grave matters with regard to the war in Iraq. It was a poor choice on her part and if she doesn't care what other people thing she needs to find another job. Not to mention that it was just plain fugly.
Mack writes: If there are rumblings in the earth today in southern California, it won't be earthquakes, it'll be all the deceased movie fashion designers, like Edith Head, Jean Louis, Adrian, and others turning over in their graves. This outfit's vendors are still laughing that they were actually able to SELL this little number. They had better designs for clothing in LOGAN'S RUN.
Career Move For Me
Chaim Amalek writes: "Why don't you announce that it is your intention to represent California in the United States Senate?"
Luke says: I will have to pray about it first. I only want to run for office if I think it is God's will for my life.
I am not the issue here. I have never used Lukeford.net as a forum for talking about myself. I seek only to be a conduit for goodness. I seek only to shine a light on the great moral issues of the day. I ask how I can be of most service to my fellow man.
Sgil46: "Amalek will live as long as there are those who wish us to live above our nature, for amalek is in a permanent state of war with God simply for not being able to build on a Godly scale. He cannot build, so he will destroy. Envy has apparently always been the overwhelming single human characteristic of amalek, over and above cowardice."
People, if I am going to make this run for the US Senate serious, I'm going to need your help to gather signatures.
Fred writes: It might be more practical to try to work for somebody's election campaign--not an envelope stuffer but something a bit higher up. Probably a good way to meet chicks. BTW, Chaim is right about one thing--the U.S. should avoid being the world's policeman. It's expensive, dangerous and thankless. Let the French do it. Also BTW, I think women tend to be further to the left than men. Part of their feminine motherly (and impractical) nature.
Dennis Prager Announces He's Not Running For US Senate
Dennis Prager said on his nationally syndicated radio show that he is not running for US Senate. He said that he believed he could've raised the requisite amount of money and that he could've won, in part because he has such good relations with minorities.
I noticed no groundswell for Prager to run. I found not a single post on an internet newsgroup about Prager running.
I think most non-fans of Prager's will have found his trial balloon attention-seeking and emotionally manipulative.
DP: "I met with important people in Washington about this. I was given tremendous support within the Republican party. Articles were written encouraging me.
"One important person in Washington D.C. told me that I already had more influence than two-thirds of senators.
"I know there was at least one candidate who was delaying his decision until I announced.
"The arguments for my not running were not so much the problems of campaigning. Campaigning has some allure to me. I love people. I like to meet people who live lives different from my own. I feel comfortable with people who are different from me, racially, religiously..."
The reasons Prager listed for not running were all positive ones - that his life is so wonderful and imbued with meaning.
DP: "A decisive element was being with my youngest child as he enters his teen years (he would be 12-18 years old if Prager served from 2004-2010). Unless you are a senator or congressman from a state close to Washington DC, you can not live a normal family life. My family is my treasure.
"The other reason is the gift of what I can do with this [nationally syndicated] radio show."
Prager played a call from yesterday's show from 16-year old Mike who told Dennis that he was his "home school professor."
Prager couldn't think of anyone who left talk radio to run for public office while many people left public office for talk radio.
DP: "I want my ideas out. I want to changes hearts and minds. Thousands of you volunteered to work for me if I ran for Senate. Would you work for me if I want to change America outside of politics? I've undergone a major metamorphosis."
If Prager wants to change America, he might start by making his website dennisprager.com more user friendly.
Prager's eldest son David is working as an intern for a [state?] senator.
Dennis says the California Democratic party is a particularly dirty one. "I have about as skeleton-free past as is possible to have," says DP. "No one running would have the paper trail like I do. I have thousands of articles, thousands of radio shows, four books, thousands of lectures. You don't think you can isolate segments that would make me look evil. That was a factor. If you have a good person who loses credibility by [undergoing such scrutiny], that's a net loss."
Comrade Chaim Amalek, Friend To The Working Man
Today "Chaim Amalek" is a quiet New Yorker in good standing living in middle class obscurity on Manhattan's famed Upper West Side. Neither his manner of dress, appearance, nor his mien indicate that he is anything other than a typical Upper West Sider. He buys his bagels at H&H Bagels, his pastrami at Zabars, and his books at Barnes and Noble. He occasionally attends lectures at Columbia or the New School, and looks forward to the day when Hilary Clinton is his president, people of color are no longer oppressed, and abortion is free for those who need it. Yet in the early 1980's, Chaim (working under a professional name that I have promised not to reveal) achieved a brief but intense level of fame among the elite of Hollywood for his artistic vision and skill, and on both sides of the camera.
Chaim was a victim of his own success. So effective was his work with the starlets of the day, that each film was thought to be the zenith of what could be achieved with her, a standard that could never be equaled, let alone surpassed. Consequently, every woman he chose to work with felt no point in continuing in the field and retired. Very quickly, Chaim began depleting the pool of desirable actresses and suppressing demand, as his few films were sufficient for the libraries of all but the most jaded and dissolute of viewers. This state of affairs was very troubling to the forces then (and now) in control of Hollywood, who made it very clear that he could either retire to obscurity or to the bottom of the East River. Chaim chose the former.
Today, he is an occasional contributor to the Luke Ford website, offering Luke his spiritual guidance on issues that every Jew must contend with in life.
Chaim Amalek writes:
Luke says: I think Hitler was right that there were secular Jews operating "white slavery" rackets in late Hapsburg Vienna. I am sure that Hitler was probably right on other points as well, but as far as launching World War II and slaughtering millions of innocent people, he was wrong.
Nice Jewish Girl (NJG) phones: "I've been reading a book about your shadow. Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. Luke, have you thought how much like Hitler you are?"
NJG: "I think you were my inspiration for reading Hitler actually. I was thinking how could a really brilliant person be so f---ed up in the head. So I was in the library and there was Mein Kampf, and I thought, ok, I should try to figure this out. I'm like reading this, ok, and let me tell you, he is no slouch. He is not stupid. He's really brilliant.
"He's a failed artist, hello?
"His mother died when he was young. Hello?
"And he's obsessed with Marxism and Jews. You know how on your site you're talking about Jews from out of the blue. You had this question, are there too many Jews in porn? That's how it was to him too. He's going along telling you all about his pathetic life, and then Jews. Jews. But he's so different from you. He's like starving and he says, I think it made me STRONGER! Oh, what a different idea from Luke, who is, oh, I'm pathetic."
Luke: "I give that off, that I'm pathetic?"
NJG: "Yes. Hitler was the opposite. I went through hardships and I am a stronger person. And he was also in the construction trade. You've gone quiet, Lukey. Why are you so obsessed with Jews? That's like Hitler."
Luke: "But I don't want to put them in gas chambers. I want them to do the Torah."
NJG: "Ok. But that's just the other side of the coin, the shadow. One is gas chambers and the other is Torah. Both are rigorous, some weird thing. Let's see. What are your other qualities? Megalomania, total righteousness, self obsession. Has the worst relationships with women. Rumors that he's gay."
Luke: "I am not gay!"
NJG: "You asked me the other day if I thought you were gay. And you called yourself a 23-year old gay twink. You are the worst driver on the planet. You scared me so bad. I wanted to jump out of the car."
Nowhere In Africa - A Beautiful Film
I saw it Sunday night and loved it. Noralee echoes my sentiments on Imdb.com: "Nowhere in Africa (Nirgendwo in Afrika)" is a magnificent accomplishment on many fronts.
It is a clear-eyed view of a marriage mostly from their child's viewpoint and yet the parents are full-fledged three-dimensional people with complete emotions and mixed motives.
It is a Holocaust survival story without visual horrors; instead we see the psychological impact on secular German Jews who were convinced they were comfortably embedded in the cultured land of sophisticated literature and cuisine -- with only a few clear-eyed Cassandras.
It is an unusual view of colonial British Africa from the viewpoint of other strangers in a strange land caught unawares between racial, class, and geopolitical boundaries pre-during-and post-WWII.
The African characters are also fully realized people, and even the National Geographic anthropology lessons are within the context of character explication, such that one of the most moving scenes contrasts how each culture deals with dying and death. So we care deeply about every complicated character in this very well-acted film as they literally grow and change in front of our eyes.
The cinematography is beautiful and the variegated Kenyan scenery should be seen on a big screen. This almost stranger than fiction tale was directed and adapted by Caroline Link from an autobiographically inspired novel by Stefanie Zweig that is invariably described as "popular" and "acclaimed" yet is not yet out in English; I look forward to reading it.
Islam On Judaism
Chaim Amalek writes: Luke, you are an insider/outsider to Judaism. What do you make of the following critique of your former faith? (And please don't tell me that you remain an orthodox Jew - you have all but renounced torah judaism in your post recent postings.)
Returning To Tradition
Sally Berkovic writes: So [in the 1970s in Jerusalem] a small team of highly charismatic rabbis positioned themselves at the Western Wall, the central bus station, and other popular tourist spots. They approached young men with backpacks who looked aimless and in need of a good meal. They challenged them: "You haven't seen the real Israel until you have had a Friday-night dinner or gone to a Torah class." Innocent recruits were offered a place to sleep for the night and a chance to attend some thought-provoking lectures about the wisdom of the Torah. Many young men found a spiritual home and cashed in their tickets to India.
The rabbis quickly realized that these wandering Jews craved the structure and discipline that religion could provide. It seemed that many of their emotional and psychological needs were chronically unmet by their families, and the hand-picked models of Orthodox homes allowed the young men to acknowledge these emotional gaps in their lives. An unspoken contractual obligation developed: we, members of the Orthodox community, will look after you, teach you, nurture your soul and provide the mystical dimension to life that you are looking for. In return, you will agree to live by the Orthodox laws of Judaism. You will study the ancient texts regularly, only eat kosher food, and observe the Sabbath.
[LF: This is exactly how and why I entered and and was ejected from various forms of charedi Orthodox outreach. The Modern Orthodox make only feeble efforts at proselytizing. It was painful to me that these warm loving pious Orthodox homes I encountered only cared about me to the extent that I would become Orthodox. These beautiful loving recruiting pious Jews had no interest in non-Orthodox Jews (except for proselytizing) and non-Jews. They were just like many Christians I have known who saw others as fodder for Christ.]
The young men were sent to various families to experience an "authentic" Shabbat, and slowly encouraged to adopt the clothing of the Orthodox. Somber suits started to replace their jeans, and as Bobby became Benzion, Paul became Pinchas and Michael become Moshe, their external features began to make them indistinguishable from the next Orthodox Jew.
But there was a missing ingredient to this new Jewish world order: the women. Only marriage would finally secure these newly-Orthodox men in the community. Tremendous social status is attached to being married, so this would help boost their egos and self-esteem. But where would these men find suitable partners? Very quickly the men discovered the painful reality that few of the ultra-Orthodox families would sacrifice their daughters to these men. Their daughters would have to marry people of their own kind. The BT [Baal Teshuva, returnee to Orthodox Judaism] is held accountable for the sins of his parents. A divorce in the family or a conversion without the proper authority was enough to sully him - not to speak of past affairs with non-Jewish women. Ultimately, a religious family wants its daughters to marry virgins, and there was no guarantee that these young men, no matter how much they repented the past, had not tasted the pleasures of the flesh.
While being a good person is an important ethical imperative in herent in the Jewish religion, for the BT women, this translates into expecting women to adopt a demure and deferential role. [BT yeshivot produced] a stream of women with the values necessary to forge generations of submissive Jewish women, ready to take out the rubbish bins and whistle while they worked.
I knew one person who was too enmeshed in the Orthodox world to make a quick clean break. He had also inherited the mannerisms and demeanor of a yeshivah bocher (student): the spotless whit ehands, gaunt body, social awkwardness, downcast eyes, general ill-defined twitching, yeshivish speech - an English sprinkled with Yiddish words and rabbinic aphorisms which sounded like a coded langugage.
The average kid just gets shunted through the [BT] system and few people bother to notice she's there. The "naughty" kids, those that refuse to become frum and refuse to take on the religious expectations, receive lot sof strategic attention from rabbis who begin to take a personal interest in them, making them feel extremely wanted and reassured. Those who become very frum (religious) and models of pious return to their Jewish heritage, are rewarded with adulation from the staff and reverence from the other girls for their commitment. They might even get offered a husband which is the supreme accolade.
...[M]any women put on large amounts of weight as they become religious. In their new, fairly guarded community, some women will fill themselves with food precisely because they cannot get physical comfort.
The most insidious teachers are the pretty ones, tilting their heads seductively with their gorgeous wigs firmly in place, their lilting voices bringing in lots of references to the Christian church to demonstrate their worldliness. The teachers with a university degree were at pains to make sure we knew they had a degree, and a couple of professors from Ivy League universities were regularly trotted out to show how you can be Orthodox, intellectual and really part of the modern world.
I am particularly annoyed when these same people profess that they don't value the secular world, but it is the secular world which gave them their titles which they use to gain credibility. I recently heard one Orthodox woman psychologist with a PhD give a lecture, and, in response to a question about women rabbis, she said that women who want the title of "rabbi" are being petty and seeking status. Let';s have a bit of honesty here: she was introduced as Dr X. It's clear how she likes to be known.
...[T]he couple with professional degrees and interesting jobs are paraded around for the benefit of the career women in the student population. These students often fear that becoming religious will force them out of their careers, so the schools find dual-professional families that prove the religious lifestyle does not impinge upon the woman's self-fulfillment.
I observed a manipulative streak in the forging of relationships between the students and the large families. If you are "special" enough to be selected to visit one of the rabbis' families, there is an extra price to pay. Rabbis who work at a school for young women recognize the potential to recruit able helpers for their wives. The rabbis seduce the students, not with kisses or God forbid, any hint of sex, but rather with words of gratitude, and offers of becoming a valued member of their extended family.
I have heard of instances...where girls were sent to the rabbis' homes to help their wives clean the house for Passover. This basically involves purging the home of any crumb of bread, and any other trace of leavened goods. It is dressed up as "good works," or "learning first-hand what a Jewish home is all about," but essentially it is cheap domestic labour.
[About the National Jewish Outreach Program run by Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald:] These shock tactics are cheap and, once again, I found it disturbing tha tthe BT movement relies on the infantilization of the returnee. It creates a dependency on people in authority, who will always know more than the returnee and will use this knowledge to undermine any attempt at an individualistic expression of Jewish belief.
...[M]ost of the organizers had an air of moral superiority. They almost felt sorry for people who were not religious.
The world was divided into "us" - safe, reliable, trustworthy, and "them" - uneducated, vulnerable and ripe for the picking. People were either religious, or "not yet" religious. Relationships were not genuine or equal, rather they were fostered with this ulterior motive.
One woman confessed that her husband was not so keen on her coming [to Sally Berkovic's book club], "You are always so aggressive in bed when you come home from that book club."
Jewish Women - Cleaning Is A Mitzvah!
From a house mother an Orthodox seminary for girls: "You have to think of cleaning the floor as a mitzvah [divine commandment] - as you get ready for Shabbat on a Friday afternoon - don't think of it as a chore - think about what a holy task you are doing to welcome the Sabbath Queen.
"Girls, when you marry, do not distract your husband from the saintly task of learning - take out the rubbish bins yourself - for him, it is bittel zman [time taken from study of Torah]."
I had a girlfriend in 1993 who would do the cleaning and other chores for me so I could concentrate on learning Torah and writing my autobiography.
Orthodox Chicks Waiting To Be Dominated
Sally Berkovic writes: "While I lived in New York, I witnessed the thousands of yuppie Orthodox men and women who over-populate the streets of the Upper West Side of Manhattan after synagogue services on the Sabbath morning. The synagogue is the hottest dating scene, where the only rule is "remember the girl's phone number," as you cannot write on the Sabbath. The women look seductive - the collars of their shirts are lacy and demure, the soothing pink or coral lipstick is designed to lasso the man's interest, and as they nod their tilted heads at appropriate ten-second intervals, they can make that man feel special and desired. Many women dress in clothes designed to infantilize them - bright colors, short skirts and garish make-up. Some say it is the New York look, but I think it is about acting in a childish mode, dressing in ways that will emphasize their willingness to be dominated and treated like a child."
Orthodoxy Is Psychologically Compelling
There is a level at which being Orthodox in the modern world is psychologically compelling becaues it sets up almost impossible contradictions. I enjoy being on the margin and this feeling of straddling two worlds and being forced to reconcile 'real life' with a tradition that has endured for three thousand years is very challenging. (Sally Berkovic)
Could I Become The Bertha Pappenheim Of The 21st Century?
Sitting in shul shabbos morning, I read Sally Berkovic's provocative book Straight Talk: My Dilemma as a Modern Orthodox Jewish Woman. Nobody looks at me funny for reading a book in shul.
Shul is not like church. It's longer and more informal. On shabbos mornings, shul goes three hours. On festivals, it can go five hours.
From the inside back flap of the book: "Sally Berkovic grew up in Melbourne and has lived in Jerusalem and New York. She is currently back in Australia, with her husband - an Orthodox rabbi - and two daughters. She is a journalist and social worker... She almost always wears a hat."
I found out about Bertha Pappenheim, an Orthodox woman from the turn of the century. Sally writes:
...Pappenheim...dedicated her later life to the abolishment of white slavery and the rampant Jewish prostitution which was such a dominant social problem for world Jewry in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Bertha Pappenheim was deeply disturbed by the news that Jews were active in the white slave traffic. Young girls were being sent abroad, often unwittingly by their parents who believed their daughters would face a better future away from the poverty and pogroms that gripped Eastern Europe. They arrived clueless in countries such as Turkey, Greece and South America where well-organised gangs of pimps preyed on vulnerable women who eventually submitted to prostitution.
In 1907, Pappenheim founded Isenburg, a home which became the first place on the continent where "endangered and morally sick" Jewish girls and unmarried mothers with illegitimate children could find acceptance and care.
[Bertha's]...best known work is Sisyphus Arbeit (Sisyphus Work), published under real name, which documents the extent of Jewish prostitution she uncovered in her travels during 1911 and 1912. Amongst other diary entries, she notes a visit to a hospital for venereal disease in Budapest where all the patients were prostitutes and one third of them were Jewish. In Alexandria, Greek and Jewish prostitutes dominated the market, while in one Rumanian port four of the seven brothels were owned by Jews. In Constantinople, she recorded almost all of the traffickers, and approximately ninety per cent of the prostitutes were Jewish. One rabbi in Constantinople admitted that there was a synagogue where the prostitutes donated money so that their pimps could receive the honor of saying a blessing on the Torah.
The JFB was hampered by many rabbinical leaders who refused to acknowledge the extent of the problem (although some were actively sympathetic), and the Jewish press who were reluctant to cover the issue extensively for fear of aggravating the growing anti-Semitism in Germany.
[Pappeneheim]...considered prostitution partly as a result of the low status of women in the Jewish religion. It was not enough, they argued, to be revered as mothers and wives, Jewish women must be appreciated as individuals... The JFB [suggested] that the sexist bias of Jewish divorce laws contributed to the white slavery problem.
Bertha Pappenheim's psychoanalytic biographers have explained her interest in prostitution as a great act of sublimation. Little is known of any romantic or sexual relationships and it has been argued that her conflicts as a young woman arose from a wish to possess her father or become a prostitute, or both.
Nothing Jewish About The Pianist
I saw Roman Polanski's film The Pianist Sunday night. It's a good film. But there's nothing Jewish about it. Just because the protagonist and most of the characters are ethnically Jewish doesn't make the film Jewish. The characters do nothing Jewish. They don't observe any of the Jewish traditions.
Most Jewish films about Jews have nothing Jewish in them. The pointless though much praised Jewish films of Barry Levinson (Liberty Heights, et al) are an example of this. There aren't any Jews in these who seriously struggle with Judaism.
So why are Hollywood's Jewish films devoid of Jewish content? Because the lives of almost all Hollywood Jews are devoid of Jewish content. There's nothing Jewish about most of Hollywood's Jews except that their mothers are Jewish.
One more complaint about The Pianist. It seemed pointless. Yes, the protagonist survived but he didn't change or grow. He survived like Tom Hanks in Castaway. You'd have thought that the Hanks character, alone on an island for years, or the protagonist of The Pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman, might've thought about God or reevaluated their central values. But no, the characters don't grow. The movies don't develop an idea. They tell a story but their thought content is insignificant.
Rodger Jacobs writes: Luke: Your complaint about Roman Polanski's film "The Pianist" seems to center around a central argument that the movie does not reflect the protagonist's inner core beliefs. Once again you illustrate -- and I say this kindly, my old friend -- your utter lack of discipline in the arts. There is, and always has been, a vast difference between the linguistic and visual mediums. Take a seat in the back of the classroom and listen up. You may learn something here.
First of all, in fictional prose, we have two powerful dichotomous forms: naturalism and realism. Naturalistic writers -- such as Jack London, Stephen Crane, Frank Norris – approach their subjects without moral judgement. Naturalism differs from realism in its embrace of scientific determinism (Darwinism, if you will), leading the naturalistic writers to emphasize the accidental, physiological nature of their characters rather than their moral or rational qualities. Much naturalistic literature, one could argue reasonably or otherwise, reflects the limitations of stories presented in a visual medium because the reader (or viewer in the case of film) makes judgements of the characters based purely on their actions and speech, and from the impact of their environment on their psyche, not from a description of what those characters think and feel.
What I am getting at (and what you’re missing) is this: The internal machinations of individual minds, individual cognition is not the domain of the visual medium. A “serious struggle with Judaism” is the stuff of literature, naturalistic or realistic, and if one approaches a film expecting explorations as deep as those you feel are missing from Polanski’s motion picture then perhaps film-making is an artistic medium you should either avoid or condition your responses to expect less from the experience.
Gregory writes: You know who makes movies about Jews struggling with Judaism? David Mamet. Particularly Homicide with Joe Mantegna.
Luke says: I guess. I can't stand David Mamet. He's too brutal. His movie Homicide was inauthentic to Jews and Judaism. It was bizarre.