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Is America Becoming More Racist?

From an interview with Japanese-American Asia Carrera:

* How much stock do you put in intelligence?

A lot. After all, looks only last so long, and then what do you have left to work with, but your intelligence?

* Do you believe in what the book THE BELL CURVE asserted?

I believe that yes, intelligence is hereditary, but raw intelligence alone doesn't mean much. It's what you do with it that counts. I have no respect for people who waste their intelligence, but I have all the respect in the world for people who use their minds to achieve success in whatever field they choose..

* Do you think different races tend to have different levels of intelligence?

Yes. It's a proven fact that Japanese have the highest IQs. They also have an amazing work ethic. Whether those two go hand-in-hand, I don't know, but it does seem to work that way, doesn't it?


Hymen Xavier Buttman of Brooklyn, who is not racist, writes:

Maybe it's just my age talking, but I remember a time when people were quite vocal in asserting that there are no differences among the various races of man in terms of innate ability. Of course, back then, America was an overwhelmingly white land, and most white people had little interaction with people from other lands and cultures. Our notions were formed by mass media, not direct personal experience.

These days, the core assertion of racism, that people really do differ by intelligence (and other characteristics) according to innate ethnicity/racial grouping is so widely held that seldom do people bother arguing the point, especially among people who live in areas with diverse inhabitants. Of course, I am speaking of what people say to their friends, not the things we say in public. At some point, this change in beliefs is going to spill over into the public realm. I predict that Asian-Americans will be the ones to do it. I know that I am generalizing here, and that generalizations are dangerous, but I have never met an (east) Asian who did not take it for granted that black people were an intellectually inferior race of mankind. This is where our long experiment in racial preferences and double standards has gotten us.

Fred writes:

1. I agree that there is a big difference between what people think and what they'll say in public.

2. It is "against the rules" to publicly allege that there is any difference between intelligence among the races.

3. I don't think that will change. I agree with Rum--I don't think the Asians will try to change that rule. Anyone could see that publicly blathering about this would be profoundly insulting to blacks and damaging to whatever racial harmony we might have achieved. It is also "bad for business."

4. At what point in time do you think most white Americans believed that all races had the same innate abilities?

Khunrum writes: It is my experience that the Asians and I include the Indians and Pakis but especially the Asians from Nam, China whatever don't make political waves. They come over here and immediately use the system to gather wealth. Twenty or so years ago Houston took in the so called "boat people." At that time the only Asian presence were a few Chinese restaurants scattered her and there...NOW, two huge Chinatowns with banks, shopping malls, apartment complexes, you name it. They love America. It may sound corny but this is the last country in the world a person can get ahead. Everywhere else seems to be stuck in the class (caste) system. You are born a peasant and die one. The color of your skin will keep you back in many countries. The darker people are considered the farmers and working class in T-land. Beauty and success is measured in light skin. Same~same India...many countries. The big seller in cosmetics is skin lightening creams. No I don't think you are going to see political changes coming from the Asians. They like it just the way it is. Give them a working VISA and stand aside. I have to laugh when I hear these Hollywood stars putting America down. They've never been on the street. Everywhere I go the "street" wants to come to the good o'l USA (for Marc, choice number two is Canada...nothing wrong with you guys, it is just too cold for them)

Eliciting Anger

Jimmy D writes: Luke Ford has a talent for pissing people off...

I first met Luke when he began... tattling on the net. Back then his site was read by about seven people. But his Matt Drudge inspired brand of yellow...journalism soon made him read by thousands. And if there’s one thing that’s been a constant in Luke’s internet scribbling, it’s been his talent for really pissing people off.

Ford has recently landed in the crosshairs of two people-- some Hollywood journalist named Dave Robb, and ...director Jim Holliday.

It's nice to know Luke's talent for bringing the wrath of others down on himself isn't limited...

And according to a recent article... Jim Holli had an intermediary tell Luke, “… if you print one thing about him (Holli), you're going to get the beating of your life.”

Of course, Luke doesn't scare easily, and so he immediately wrote exactly what he wanted to write about Holli. So now, once again, we have a couple of people who sure want to give Luke a beating!

In fact, not since ------- ---- ---- seemed obsessed with bringing a world of pain into Luke's life have we seen this kind of Ford-bashing. But then, historically, there’s really nothing all that unusual about any of this.

XXX writes: You did the right thing by backing off Robb. Sometimes, it takes a bigger man to walk away from a fight than into one. I think you should put the exchange on top of the homepage under Ford vs. Robb and link the sh-- out of it. It's prime stuff.

Khunrum writes: Let's tell it like it is. Who the hell ever heard of Anita Busch and David Robb until Luke made them famous? I read Luke Ford.net regularly and still don't know who they are, or what they do, except that they hate Luke. Is this gratitude? Dave, Anita, relax and enjoy your moment in the sun because after Luke drops your names you will slink back into obscurity where you belong.

Luke, Dave Robb, Back Away From A Fight

Eric writes: "Why? HBO didn't call? So after threatening you, and then after some time repeating the threat, this guy Robb emails to "apologize". Such a nice letter; such a convincing apology. You know Luke, if you are going to be occasionally immersed in a netherworld of sleaze and looming violence, you may as well return to covering smut -- at least you might get some sex out of it."

Luke writes Dave at 7:22PM, 6/2: "No, I'm not going to fight you. No I am not going to stop writing about you or Anita Busch or anyone. If you have any corrections you'd like made vis a vis you or Anita or anyone, I'm happy to make corrections. Or if you want equal space and play for your own perspective on me or whatever, I'm happy to extend that to you. The use of "coward," which I have since removed, referred to your unwillingness to have civil discourse."

Dave Robb writes at 1:52AM, 6/3: "I apologize for threatening to beat you up. It was childish and unprofessional. But if you hate yourself half as much as I hate you -- and I have a hunch that you really do despise yourself -- you understand how I feel. I just wanted to shut your lying mouth -- something that you are obviously unable to do yourself. Surely you realize that you are one of the most evil people in town -- which is saying a lot for this town. Fortunately, you will never amount to anything more than what you are now -- a sociopathic liar and a pornographer. So fortunately you won't be able to do too much damage -- not that that will stop you from trying. But just a word of advice: Lying is not journalism. Pornography is not journalism. You are not a journalist. You are just a creepy little punk. But rest assured. If I ever see you in public, I will not punch you in the face -- as much as I'd like to. But I won't shake your hand, either. Oh, and just one last piece of advice: If you are ever considering suicide, and someone tries to talk you out of it -- don't listen to them. Dave Robb -- your enemy for life."

Luke replies: "I understand. I am happy to remove any inaccuracy from my site if you cared to point it out. I actually have great respect for your journalism. I will edit what I wrote on you..."

Dave Robb replies: "You say that you will remove any inaccuracy from your site. If this is not just another one of your lies, here's one for starters: Anita Busch is not a "rageaholic," as you claim in your latest uninformed column. You don't know her at all, and yet you feel free to spew out your venomous and libelous hate-speech. I have known her and worked with her for more than 10 years, and -- unlike me -- she is one of the nicest and calmest people in town. But you don't care about that. I am sure that you -- like all sociopaths -- have no conscience; no sense of guilt when you have wronged another person, and no sense of decency. This is what makes you so evil."

I reply to Robb with citations of other articles about Anita that note her rage and an anecdote from a co-worker about Anita screaming obscenities and throwing things. I ask Robb to not forward the email to Anita as it would cause suffering for the co-worker. Robb forwarded the email to Anita anyway. Robb did not bother to reply to me.

Thesp writes Luke: "I know dave robb and anita bush and have talked to them both about your website. I called to tell them both that you were writing about them. there is no doubt that you have printed falsehoods on your site. dave robb has done numerous legal and labor stories and is considered an expert. if you knew anything about his stories you would know this. he has always fought the good fight. the thing about anita thinking window washers were spies for variety and her being an israeli operative. i mean, think about it. putting stuff up like that is just gullible and stupid. yet, you put it up as fact. You know these things about these people are not true, yet you post them to spread these things."

Luke says: "I know Dave Robb is an expert. I've always written that he is a respected journalist. I think Anita is often a good journalist too. As for her thinking the window washers were spies for Variety, I got that from someone who worked with Anita at the time."

Dave Robb On The Warpath

Dave Robb writes at 3:01PM, 6/2/03: "I am waiting for your answer. Yes or no? If the answer is yes, name the time. If the answer is no, then take down every reference you have ever made in your libelous little column about me and Anita Busch today -- and refrain from writing about her or me in the future. If you do not do this today, I am going to come looking for you. And when I find you, I am going to put you in the hospital for a long time. I am going to beat you up so bad you will wish you were dead. You have lied about and insulted my friend, and you have called me a "coward." You are not going to get away with this any longer. And if you think I'm kidding, just put some more smart ass responses on your web site. That will be my answer. Dave Robb"

Luke says: It's interesting the affect Anita Busch has on people. Dave Robb and Jeff Wald threaten my life over her. Other people plead with me to remove negative quotes about her because they don't need some rageaholic threatening them. I'd like to think that none of my friends would ever threaten physical violence and death to someone who insulted or libeled me.

Dave Robb writes at 5:41PM: "You were warned."

Khunrum writes: "Not to worry Luke. I doubt if this man will attack you after announcing his intentions in advance to your many loyal readers. Sounds like a criminal offense to me. However, should he do so I believe you still have a fighting chance. Mr. Robb is in his fifties is he not? He is old and slow. You will easily be able to block his punches with your head until he tires. Then kick him in the gonads. Competition over. Good luck."

Rob writes: Not so fast, Rum! Remember Luke's CFS? To be fair Mr. Robb should allow Luke 15 minute rest periods between gonad kicks.

Sarettah writes: "Luke running his mouth without engaging his brain first it looks like to me. Well, Lukey, time to learn about playing with the big boys."

Big Bad Scary Scary Dave

JMT writes: So what are you going to do?

Report him to the cops for making terrorist threats (Penal Code §422), and/or get a restraining order against him (which might bar him from being at the Press Club when you're there, which would be kind of funny)?

If the guy is stupid enough to have used his office e-mail, make his employer aware that its facilities are being used in a manner that would subject it to civil and/or criminal liability?

Ask Rob to go over to his house with a baseball bat and reason with him?

Or just continue to milk the whole thing for comedic value?

Are you sure that these e-mails are actually coming from this idiot? It would be pretty funny if it turned out that that Cecile kid was sending them.

Forms and instructions are here:

Choose the "Civil Harassment" set.

Read the CH-150 instruction form. So intent are these bastards in putting lawyers out of work that they have now set up these forms so that they can be filled out on-line and printed out. Disgraceful.

Well, it limits you in the sense that you won't be able to say that you handled the situation like a manly man, I guess . . .

Dave Robb Issues A Challenge

Journalist Dave Robb writes Luke: "You are a liar. As you well know, after our brief encounter at the Writers Guild Theater, when I hurt your feelings by refusing to shake your slimy little hand, I stood there in the aisle talking to Ross Johnson and watched you slink off to lick your wounds. There is a park in Beverly Hills called Roxbury Park. It's on Olympic Blvd. near Century City. You name the time and I will meet you there at the north/west corner and I will beat the shit out of you. Dave Robb"

Luke says: Baloney. You backed off after Ross introduced me. Ross then wanted to get rid of me so he could finish his conversation with you. So, out of courtesy to you and Ross, I left quickly and you resumed talking to Ross.

Gentle reader: Is it nobler for me to meet Dave Robb on a field of battle and vanquish him or should I plead Orthodox Judaism and take the spiritual way out? What would be more attractive to the fairer sex?

Cathy Seipp writes: "Oh honestly! A park? In Beverly Hills? How about a duel at dawn in the Hillcrest parking lot? OK, I'd say, the best thing is to challenge Dave Robb to a thumb war at Canter's. Now THAT'd be sexy."

Cecile du Bois writes: "There is such a thing called "Rising above it," as my mother told me. Roxbury Park is such a hideous park. Why not do the idiot a favor and let him steam in his own ----. Or, if he won't quit emailing you, block him and move on. No woman cares unless this Mr. Robb threatens to hit her also. Make blog, not war."

JMT writes:

You apparently already have this cadre of LA blogger dopes conned into thinking of you as a "hard working journalist," solely on the basis of your ability to transcribe tape recordings. Imagine how they will swoon and idolize you if you now take advantage of this opportunity to administer a beat-down on an elderly man in a public place.

If you really want to screw with this guy, don't bother with his "meet me at the park at the intersection of . . . " bullshit. Go over to his office, right now, and call him out in front of everybody. He'll probably hide in his cubicle and have security escort you out of the building.

Khunrum writes: Luke, You are a man of many talents but pugilism is not one of them. Send an e if you must (silence would be better) telling this man you are not interested in assaulting a senior citizen. Hopefully the matter will be forgotten. This should teach you a lesson about taunting people in general and the wrong people specifically.

Advice columnist Amy Alkon suggests: "Decline the fight and challenge him to work his way up from knuckle-dragger conflict resolution to warring with the power of speech. Don't be too optimistic. Evolution is an extremely slow process."

Matt Welch writes: Dear Luke, As I see it, you have six options.

1) Show up on time, and kick his ass.

2) Show up on time, and get your ass kicked.

3) Show up on time, and engage in some awkward wrestling scuffle that proves utterly inconclusive, before bystanders (or the cops) break it up. This is the most likely outcome, should you meet on his terms.

4) Find out what car he drives, draft two co-conspirators with digital cameras (preferably ones with video capabilities) to come out an hour before he shows up, and discreetly film his every move. Make sure one of 'em's a hot girl, preferably Moxie, and have her walk up to him at the appointed minute and start asking him totally surrealist & confusing questions ("Are you David Robb? I saw you on television, talking about your penis! I've always admired your work, especially for the Dodgers. Will sign your autograph for my cat?" etc.). Make sure she has a tape recorder in her pocket, and that co-conspirator number two is filming every second. Then you show up in a bathrobe, lace-up boots, boxing gloves, a T-shirt that says "I heart the Torah," and a clown nose. Start yelling confident-sounding, incomprehensible taunts, ripped entirely from the pages of 1930s detective books. Dance around. Just as he gets set to attack you, have two dwarves come out with banana cream pies, and throw them at his face, laughing and clapping maniacally. Get it all on tape, then immediately sell it online for $4.95, under the title "Dave Robb is a Jackass!"

5) Alert the cops ahead of time, show up, and let him beat you silly without fighting back. He will be arrested for aggravated, premeditated assault, and go to jail. Unless he just cusses you out, in which case you'll probably feel like a real ass, though your pretty face will thank you.

6) Tell him you're a lover, not a fighter, and decline the invitation.

Helpful writes: Be sure to wear your yarmulke, prayer shawl and pink triangle t-shirt so we can get the jury to buy it as a hate crime.

Rob suggests: Luke's got connections with the bruthas. Get Mr. Marcus, Lexington Steele, Brian Pumper and Country on the phone. Luke's posse is gonna roll!

Khunrum writes: You'll want to be in some kind of shape for this match Luke. May I suggest jogging to and from shul for your morning prayers.

Dave Deutsch writes: Morally speaking, of course, you should try and mend fences. Did you lie about the guy? If so, that would, of course, be wrong, and necessitate an apology.

If that's not what you're going for, however, then avoid the fight, and make fun of the guy. Here's your situation: Here's a guy clearly upset by what you write--so if you don't want him to be upset, then, as noted above, apologize and offer to buy him a beer--you'll feel better come Yom Kippur. If you want him to be upset, then fighting him gets you nothing. If he wins, you give him satisfaction, and if you win, it won't bother him any more than if you keep writing about him (I had a situation like this in basic training--guy wanted to kick my ass, so I just made fun of him for 13 weeks because I knew he couldn't do anything about it). Here's a rule to live by: 98% of the time, when somebody tells you they're going to kick your ass, you have absolutely nothing to worry about, because those who does it won't tell you beforehand. On the other hand, be aware that for the other 2% of the time, you're in for the ass-kicking of your life.

Personally, I'd go with making peace (I'm older and frummer than I was back in boot camp).

Try this: "You know, I really have to give you credit. When I wrote ______, I thought you'd be angry. But now, you write telling me that not only aren't you angry, but you actually want eat the shit out of me. I appreciate the offer to toss my salad, and, quite frankly, your magnanimity shames me. What else can I do but apologize for ______________, and if you still want to eat the shit out of me, I'll buy you a drink and we can see where it goes from there."

If that's not a brilliant apology, I don't know what is.

On the other hand, that apology may drive him into a homicidal rage. You might want to try sincerity, feigned or otherwise.

And you know what would be a good olive branch? Why don't you see if he wants to get together draft a blogger's code to prevent these sorts of things from happening in the future. A Road Map of Principles to Guide Bloggers in their Online Treatment of One Another, or ARMOPTGBITOTOOA, as an easy to remember acronym.

I just read the offending piece. If, in fact, you did lie about the encounter, then I suppose you owe him. If you didn't then you owe him nothing.

Here's a lesson from basic training--this guy kept wanting to take me "to the woodline" (beyond the barracks--in BT mythos, a place where the rules don't apply) to kick my ass. I would tell him that if he wants to do it, then he should just do it where we were, in the barracks--I'll tell the drills sergeants, and he'll get busted--otherwise, he should shut up.

This went on for almost the entire 13 weeks, and he never learned to stop impotently threatening me. So while I, older and wiser, advocate peace, if you really didn't wrong the guy, simply find out where he's going to be, some function or another, and place yourself near him. Greet him, be civil, cordial, downright friendly. He will, in all likelihood, do absolutely nothing, and from that point on, any threats he levels at you can be met with "Hey, don't pull that tough guy act with me--you had your shot at the Rabinowitz bar mitzva, and you didn't take it when you had the chance." If he does slug you, then girls will be all over you, because you'll appear like this David Niven-like bon vivant who was willing to patch things up before this brute assaulted you.

And what the hell kind of lightweight brags about how he'll lose control of himself after "two beers?" If he'd be so out of control that he'd assault you after two, would he sexually assault you after four?

I appreciate the way you strung all my emails together to make it seem like I'm considerably more coherent and consistent than I am. I've often wondered as to how much the reputations of people like Oscar Wilde (reputation as a wit, not the other thing) owed simply to having people around who did a careful editing of what he said and then repeated it.

Sure, there's the famous episode at customs:

Customs Agent: Do you have anything to declare?

Wilde: Only my wit.

But how many other episodes were there like this?

Customs Agent: Do you have anything to declare?

Wilde: Only that you stink like a monkey's butt [turns to entourage] Huh? Huh?

Uncomfortable silence follows.

Luke's Life is a Michael Jackson Song - Just Beat it

Chaim Amalek writes: What I want to know is this:

1. Where do you stand on the issue raised by animal rights activists in the UK?

[LF says: I think Jews should be able to slaughter animals according to kosher laws. Religion trumps animal rights.]

2. Is your hand really slimy? What were you doing immediately before you last attempted to shake his hand?

[LF: I'd parked far away as my van did not fit in the Writers Guild parking structure. So I'd just run about a mile and I was sweaty and slimy.]

3. Who is David Robb and why does he dislike you?

[LF: Dave Robb is a great journalist, a friend of Anita Busch, and an upholder of journalistic standards. He's also prickly and difficult. He thinks I'm a lousy sloppy journalist who has hurt his friends like Anita Busch.]

4. Can he really beat you up?

[LF: Very likely.]

5. Are you going to let this pass? I mean, it is one thing to knuckle under to an Italo-American, but is this David Robb of the same calibre?

Luke, if you let this young buck get the better of you without even taking the field against him, word will get out and none of the young does (what is the plural for doe, a deer, a female deer?) will give you the time of day. You must be a man here or surrender your testicles to this Liebeskind-like Jew. Where's your sense of Aussie manhood, or did they cut that off when they circumcised you?

PS I don't know about that park, though. I would counter that the two of you meet somewhere in East LA where there are negroes and mexicans about.

PPS I know that the disputes amongst rappers can sometimes get out of hand - that "east coast" vs. "west coast" thing. Do bloggers have similar battles? Could this be the start of something big? Should the LA Gang Crimes Unit be tipped off to this rumble?

PPPS If all else fails, think like a Jew! If this guy beats you up, thereby reducing you to whimpering girlydom, is he at least rich so that you can hire a jewish lawyer and sue the pants off of him?

Khunrum writes: In every Hollywood movie that features a grudge encounter of this sort, both participants have seconds. Luke you need a second. A good friend who can step in and stop the match if you are taking a sound thrashing.

Rob writes: Don't go. I smell a set up. Steven Segal, Helen Reddy's husband and Si Litivinov might be hiding in the bushes.

Fred writes: L, you could tell this guy that you plan to meet him at a park at midnight in Compton, or some other crime-ridden horrible place, have him go there, and see what condition he comes back in.

If you really want to make it interesting, and you know the phone number of some gang-bangers in the neighborhood, tell them that some white supremacist will be on their turf at the park at midnight.

Three Daves - Which is Which?

Chaim Amalek writes: You've got a Dave Poland, a Dave Robb, and a Dave Deutsch in your column right now. Who are these three Daves? Which are Friend and which are Foe? I looked briefly at one bio and saw something about Anita Busch, but honestly, outside of your column, I have never heard of her either. Who is she? Please clue in those of us on the east coast or fly-over land who are not familiar with all these west coast types you hang out with these days.

Luke says: David Poland is a friend a father figure. Dave Deutsch is someone I met once. We now trade email. Dave Robb hates my guts and hence is my foe. Anita Busch hates my guts for the things I wrote about her. Poland, Robb and Busch are good journalists, and Deutsch, according to Heeb magazine, is the world's worst Jewish comedian. And there's another David on lukeford.net - famed author David Rensin. All four of these Daves are Jews.

Animal Value, Animal Slaughter

A friend of mine, Felecia, lost her dog. She offered a $1000 reward for it. Other people piled on to raise the number over $2000 and several websites wrote about it.

I remember working at two radio stations where I read and reported the news. We'd get calls all the time about missing pets. We never ran any stories about them.

Why the hysteria over Felicia's dog that received coverage on many sites? Because many secular people tend to lead lives empty of real meaning and hence are particularly susceptible to getting swept up in hysteria over things that have little ultimate meaning, like pets.

You will notice that a ton of hot looking women are animal rights activists. Most animal rights activists are single women with no kids. They get hysterical about certain animals, particularly cute animals. There's nothing moral about this as the hysteria is over cute animals, not all animals. And there's nothing that gives inherent value to dogs and cats and animals. Their only value is that they serve the human being.

Monkey writes: Does this mean i can blow out all 2500 candles and take down the 400 pictures of your dog shrine and call off the 14 hours of straight prayer hoping for the dog's safe return?

Robert writes on lukeford.com: Yay! I am so happy for you, a dog is a part of the family.

Luke says: A dog is a part of the family only for someone who doesn't know what real family is. Would you truly grieve the loss of your dog as much as the loss of your spouse or parent or brother?

Felecia writes: First, again, all my thanks for the community for your support. My dog is safe at home and I got him checked and microchipped yesterday by a veterinarian.

I'll admit, not everyone in this world is an animal lover, but compassion for the animal kingdom and compassion for human beings are most definitely linked. It has been shown many times that serial killers, in childhood, are fond of torturing animals -- then these same people go on to brutalize humans in later life.

A respect for life should be exactly that...a respect for all life. The love that a person feels for a lover, or for a husband or wife, is not the same as the love that person feels for their mother or father. Both feelings are very strong, but very different, yet it is all labelled "love". In exactly the same way, the love a person feels for an animal is even more different, yet it is still "love" and those same feelings can be every bit as strong as those felt toward family members.

Compassion. Sensitivity. Love. For people and animals. Emotions and attitudes that might be seen to be too often lacking in both the world of adult films, and the world in general.

Chaim Amalek writes Luke: You are heartless. You need to address the right of animals in the UK to be stunned before being slaughtered for insertion into jewish bellies.

The topic is animal rights. Apparently, the rabbinate insists that an animal be fully conscious at the moment its throat is slit for its meat to be kosher. British animal rights activists propose not that the remainder of the process of kosher slaughter be changed, only that the animals first be stunned unconscious by a bolt of electricity (a technique that of course was unknown to the rabbis of old). And yet this simple change has all of British Judaism, or what's left of it, in a tizzy.

Luke, as a vegan who by birth is Christian (and therefor not bound by the fossil-faith restrictions of rabbinical judaism), where do you stand on this issue? Do you think that there exists a God who will be mad at the Jews if they eat the meat of animals who were first stunned unconscious before being killed? How many jews, if they were fully apprised of this issue, do you suppose would side with the rabbinate? And what of you, not-so-young-anymore Marc, where do you stand? I want the two of you to further canvass all of your blogger friends now obsessing about their lack of a spouse for their opinions as well. With a bit of luck, we can get the ball rolling for this here in the United States via Canada.

(By the way, note the interesting statistics: Muslims outnumber Jews in the UK by about 6 to 1. No matter what happens in the middle east, the Jews of western europe are totally screwed.)

Stupid Newbie writes: when I was young my grandfather died. i remember the funeral somewhat - mostly that it was silent. No one cried, no one laughed, no one made a noise. It was like waiting in line at the DMV or at someone's shotgun wedding where she's 6 months and showing - everyone just prayed for the thing to be over because no one liked the man.

Later that year my guinee pig Gilbert died, my immediate family and parts of my extended family showed up to a little funeral - and suprisingly most of us cried and spoke of his life. there isnt really a point to the story, but that's what happened. come to think of it - the guinee pig wasn't an alcoholic child abuser, that might of had something to do with it.

Mutt writes: There's some truth to your observations about some people's emotional attachment to pets. But you don't have to be Freud to figure out why many humans form strong attachments to pets.

Humans abuse each other, mentally, physically, we aren't exactly the bee's knees as a species. If at our core as humans all we want to do is receive and give love - what's really the difference if the heart resides in a dog or a cat?

Would you truly grieve the loss of your dog as much as the loss of your spouse or parent or brother? Sure, if my dog showed more loyalty and love than my spouse, parent or brother? I do think humans are more important than pets but ya know what - I can't give you a good reason why. Can you?

Luke says: Humans have a moral conscience and can choose between good and evil. Humans can advance over generations. Humans can create civilization and culture. Animals can do none of these things. Human beings were created in the image of God. Animals were not.

Chaim writes: Luke the Christian Son of the Southern Cross would have thought this through on his own, and written a response beginning "I think animals should suffer as the rabbinate wants them to [or not] because . . ." Is Levi ben Israel now too afraid of his own thoughts to do his own thinking?

Should We Say Hello To Goyim As We Torah Jews Walk Down The Street?

I fear it may lead to promiscuity and inter-marriage.

Dave Deutsch, the world's worst Jewish comedian, writes: Although in the past it was said that the righteous among the sages (no, says Rav Papa, it is the sage among the righteous) would not speak to the goyim for fear that it would be an inspiration to the amei haaretz [ignorant] to fornicate with them, today, when Israel lives in fear from Edom, it is a matter of pikuach nefesh [saving lives] to greet the goyim, and, indeed, fornicate with them, lest by failing to do so we give offense, thereby bringing the hand of the angel of death down upon the neck of the lambs of Israel.

Winning Well

David "Hot Button" Poland writes Luke: If you feel that someone who has threatened you in the past has shown himself a coward, why would you behave/write like a 9-year-old who won a playground fight instead of a man who has the courage of his convictions?

Does it strike you as odd that no one has bothered to respond to your childishly inflammatory "Worst Newspaper On The Planet" jab on the Jewish Journal board?

You are capable of better. But you keep pulling yourself back into the "petulant web moron" category with this kind of stuff.

Betty writes Luke: Now whoever in the world thought you were predictable? They surely don't know you well! However, I'm not surprised that you are lauded as the hardest working journalist. That is your style. When you lay your finger to the plough, so to speak, you do not look to the right or left but give it all your energy and attention.

The Worst Newspaper in the History of the Planet

I write in the Jewish Journal forum:

I must credit the Jewish Journal for good cover art. I always want to pick the thing up. It is the most comprehensive Jewish newspaper in Los Angeles. It is responsible. It doesn't peddle scandal. It has lots of useful items about coming events.

But the writing (with the exception of Theresa Strasser) is just so plodding and dull. Have the writers of JJ ever heard of using point of view, scene by scene construction, status details and realistic dialogue?

I opened this week's paper on the "Rabbi Revolution." I'm acquainted with almost all the rabbis mentioned. Some of them are colorful characters. But you'd never know it from the life-denying plodding prose of the story.

My complaint is not with the author of this particular story because 99% of the editorial content of the paper is this dull.

Here's an excerpt from the top story about ten rabbis on west side:

With the retirement this year of several prominent senior rabbis, youthful faces have come to occupy the majority of Westside pulpits and others throughout the city, a confluence of vitality that has the potential to herald the beginning of a new era for the wider Los Angeles Jewish community.

Along with the try-anything spirit of youth, these rabbis bring a refreshingly unladen approach to working with each other and a determination to quicken the momentum of outreach and spirituality that characterized the last decade. In many cases, however, this freshman class lacks a local track record to back up its innovations and represents a loss of communal memory and an attenuated commitment to that which the previous generation held dear.

All the young rabbis expressed admiration for the older generation of rabbis who built the community, and now they have set out on a path that falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum between evolution and revolution.

Anon writes: You call the JJ "the worst newspaper in the history of the Planet." Come on...bland and dull is not a mortal sin. Or would you prefer a paper like Der Sturmer, which is written to inflame and galvanize people into action--Yet this was the house organ of the Nazis during the Hitler era. Never a dull moment with Der Sturmer. Even the New York Times is primarily dull and bland--that is the nature of the business. Highly opinionated newspapers make lots of enemies and lose advertising revenue. If the newspapers want to stay in business, they learn to just report the facts and keep their opinions to the editorial pages.

Meeting Dave Robb At Writers Guild

Dave Robb, 54 years of age, is a pompous self-righteous cranky entertainment reporter. He's widely-disliked by his peers and widely-respected for his tenacious journalism. He specializes in legal and union matters. Ideologically, he's still stuck in a 1950s anti-McCarthy time warp where he only sees enemies on the right.

Robb writes Luke 10/30/02: "Sir: You are a liar and an incompetent reporter. You should be ashamed of yourself. You obviously don't know anything about Anita Busch, whom you continue to libel and insult with your stupid little column. You should hope you never run into me at a party after I've had two beers."

I arrive at the Writers Guild building on Doheny Drive, just south of Wilshire Blvd, in Beverly Hills at 7:22PM.

At 7:25, I spot journalist Ross Johnson, who works at the Writers Guild, and walk over to say hello. He's talking to an unassuming old man dressed like a Vietnamese refugee.

Khunrum writes: "What does a Vietnamese refugee dress like? All Vietnamese I've met are dressed well. Even the refugees."

Luke says: "Vietnamese refugees who've just floated thousands of miles on boats made of milk cartons. Refugees tend to dress like journalists - wearing old clothes that look like hand-me-downs. Robb was dressed to weed the garden. The thrift-story look."

Ross Johnson booms: "Luke Ford!"

He shakes my hand. I turn and face Johnson's friend and extend my hand to him. His face curls up with disdain.

Ross: "You know Luke?"

The man waves off my hand: "I don't care for him."

The old man won't even address a word to me. He just backs away.

I realize I've just met Dave Robb. I've never seen a picture of him.

JMT writes: Once again, you have learned nothing from your contacts with Spallone and that Australian guy who occasionally threatens to beat you to death.

As soon as the guy skulked away, you should have sent a waiter over to him with two beers and a note reading "come see me after you've finished these, sunshine," or a similar, vaguely menacing but non-indictable message.

Sure, there would be a very slight chance that he might come over and slug you, but you have to accept a certain degree of risk if you want to be the Alpha Male.

Dave Robb writes Luke: "You are a liar. As you well know, after our brief encounter at the Writers Guild Theater, when I hurt your feelings by refusing to shake your slimy little hand, I stood there in the aisle talking to Ross Johnson and watched you slink off to lick your wounds. There is a park in Beverly Hills called Roxbury Park. It's on Olympic Blvd. near Century City. You name the time and I will meet you there at the north/west corner and I will beat the shit out of you. Dave Robb"

Robert Scheer Wins Writers Guild Debate On Style, Wit

The crowd at the Writers Guild is about 90% white with a handful of black people.

To set the scene: Lawrence O'Donnell, creator of the Mr. Sterling TV show, told the TV show Reliable Sources 5/25/03: "You'll never, ever get the Republican TV show. The Writers Guild of America, my union, is at a minimum, 99 percent leftist liberal and, like me, socialist. And we don't know how to write it. We don't."

Most of the people on the Writers Guild panel were worse than useless - Nicaraguan Sandinista communist writer Giocanda Belli waxed lyrical about Communism taking over her country with her help, Mike Farrell, actor and leftist activist, Frank Pierson - a blowhard and sour old fool, and there's no fool like an old fool, Ramona Ripston, executive director of ACLU in Southern California since 1972.

Screenwriter Craig Titley spoke little. He didn't want to be introduced as a Republican, which he is.

The evening was dominated by two shining debaters (rightist David Horowitz and leftist Robert Scheer) and one sassy moderator (Jill Stewart).

I learn that before the debate, Robert Scheer refused initially to come out when he learned David Horowitz was on the panel. And Horowitz initially refused to come out when he learned that someone who'd insulted him in the past [Franklin Pierson?] was on the panel. Moderator Jill Stewart eventually soothed everyone.

The evening showed how politically and analytically useless Hollywood people are. There's something about being an artist that predisposes them to political and moral stupidity.

The biggest surprise of the evening was not the large number of heckling interruptions when Horowitz spoke or how rude the crowd was to him and less frequently Titley. No, for me it was the charm and humor of Robert Scheer. He was hilarious.

I am a conservative Republican. I came prepared to hate Scheer. I'd read Cathy Seipp tear Bob to pieces. I'd read him cut up on LaExaminer.com and Instapundit.

Scheer is a man of genuine wit. His performance reminded me of when Al Gore spoke in the University of Judaism speaker series three months ago. I hate Al Gore but I was charmed and amused by him.

Unlike Gore, who must've practiced and rehearsed all his joke, Scheer just comes up with zingers naturally.

7:50PM. Program begins. All panelists are seated.

Jill Stewart asks Frank a long question about Tim Robbins which I've shorted to: "Is he just whining? Why are people on Left and Right being intolerant?"

Frank, who wears jeans: "It's a matter of ideology and religion. The issue of abortion...is a religious one... There probably shouldn't be any laws about abortion because it violates the separation of church and state."

I heard many stupid statements tonight but that was the first one. And about 40% of the audience clapped over it.

Only Robert Scheer wears a suit and tie. He doesn't get to speak until about 30-minutes into the program.

Jill repeats her question for Craig Titley, who wears a baseball cap.

Craig: "If you decide to politicize yourself [you will reap the consequences]. If you speak at a graduation and politicize things, you can expect people to walk out on you."

Frank: "The fact is that Tim Robbins was not walked out on or booed, he was not going to the ceremony [at the baseball Hall of Fame] because of his political views."

Craig: "There are political artists like Michael Moore and there are popular artists like movie stars. When you decide to politicize yourself, you narrow [your audience]."

Mike Farrell, who looks little different from his days on the TV show MASH says we are misstating the issue. It's not about Tim Robbins whining. It's about the suppression of dissent in President Bush's America. Actors have as much right to express their political opinions. If they express liberal ones, that does not make them liberal activists. "They are not politicized because they express political opinions. The tone of the country [towards dissenters] is extraordinarily harsh."

Mike says those who spoke out against the Iraq War were leapt on by right-wing apparatchiks. That this administration "wants to stifle dissent." That the Right wanted to set an example with Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. Mike says there was not an adequate national debate before the war on Iraq.

Mike is applauded by 90% of the audience. Hence, it is pretty clear that 90% of the audience tends to the left.

The Writers Guild has long been a hotbed for communists.

David Horowitz: "Those last statements were delusion. Outside of American universities, Hollywood has the most repressive political culture."

Audience boos him and yells at him.

David: "At a time when our country has been attacked..."

Crowd heckles him. When was America attacked? If you mean 9/11, that was more than two years ago.

David: "People's emotions are high and volatile. At a time of war, when 75% of Americans support the war, you are going to get a reaction [if you publicly oppose it]. So what?"

Audience yells at David. One man: "You grow up."

David: "The program is about free speech and you [can't even let the man speak]. I didn't say anything against Mike Farrell personally. I said his ideas were delusional. There were two votes in Congress [about the war of Iraq]. There was a big debate."

Ramona: "I don't agree with a word you have to say David but I defend your right to say it.

"Tim Robbins had a right to say what he said and the Hall of Fame did not have the right to disinvite him."

By what strange logic? When did baseball's Hall of Fame lose the right to select their speakers?

It's a stupid point by Ramona but 80% of the audience applauds vigorously. I can only conclude that morally, socially and politically, over 80% of the people around me are morons. I bet most of that group is secular left-wing Jews.

Commie Gioconda Belli says the Sandinistas wanted to have freedom of speech but because of the US-backed contra rebels fighting them, they could not afford that, which is sad.

About 60% of the crowd claps her.

Jill asks David if there are subjects that can't be made into films. David says he doesn't know except for one area is particularly difficult - war and overt patriotism.

Craig had a WWII story recently and nobody wanted to hear about it. He couldn't even pitch it. Craig says the entertainment industry doesn't like war stories.

The audience boos and yells at him.

Mike Farrell says a producer named Ed German was fired recently and that there was atmosphere of fear in the country, largely created or perpetuated by the Bush administration.

Robert Scheer is the last panelist to speak. He says the government is lying to us. About 25% of the crowd applauds his remark.

He soon has the audience in stitches.

Robert: "I think it is encouraging to hear that Hollywood is controlled by leftists.

"I don't fear the right-wing. It's true they've captured the White House and the Congress... I don't think the public is far to the right.

"I don't have tenure at USC but most of my colleagues do. I hear that they are leftists but they don't say anything. They're not taking out ads. They're not protesting... We have urged people all over the world to speak out, yet in this free society we're very [quiescent]. What are we scared of? Of David Horowitz? Of [Weekly Standard editor] Bill Kristol? What I'm scared of is what is happening at the top level [Bush administration]."

Jill Stewart: "You've got one minute."

Robert: "This is a more dangerous America than under McCarthy for only one reason. Under McCarthy, you had a president who came to his senses. You had an adult running the store.

"George Bush [plays childish games] with France and Germany. We had two democratic allies who disagreed... We have a lot to learn from France and Germany [about the dangers of imperialism].

It's hard to hear my tape of the debate because the audience laughs so loudly and applauds so vigorously to Scheer's remarks. He knows his crowd.

Jill Stewart is booed when she cuts Scheer off after he had the floor for about five minutes.

David Horowitz: "One of the problem with an oppressive culture where you always talk to yourself...you feel hysteria when you encounter people, like the Bush administration or myself, who disagree with you."

David lists off patriotic war movies - We Were Soldiers, Black Hawk Down, Saving Private Ryan.

David: "As a conservative, I have attacked Bill Bennett and Bill Kristol on the issue of censorship. I was hugely in favor of South Park, the movie and the TV show. I helped the Writers Guild on copyright issues. I've worked with people from the American Way against the V-chip."

When Ramona says she wants to talk about the FCC, she gets applause.

Ramona: "The president and congress are of one mind. I think it is incumbent on artists to present a different point of view.

"The Patriot Act is going to affect everyone's lives. It enables the government to look at books you take out of the library, to keep track of what you're reading. Tomorrow [Friday] I am going to go to a "Freedom to Read" press conference in which a member of Congress is introducing a bill to get rid of that part of the Patriot Act.

"You can't go to a library...and booksellers as well, if the government is going to be watching what you're reading. The US Patriot Act makes it possible for the government to round up people and hold them and not let their families know."

The US Patriot Act makes it possible for the government to do the most horrible things short of setting up concentration camps and gassing people.

Ramona: "People from South East Asia, Middle East and Europe are being rounded up and some of them have been in detention since 9/11. The government holds people without charges for long periods of time saying they are material witnesses.

"They do all this in the guise of looking for terrorists."

But really there must be something perfidious going on.

Ramona: "Prior to the internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII, they had to register. That's how the repression began - we'll just register people. And that's what's happening to Arabs and Muslims. We'll just register them today but...

"People are afraid to talk. It's happening at UCLA and USC. Too many people remember what happened in the McCarthy era - people who were fired from jobs. People in Hollywood were jailed..."

Most of the audience applauds.

Franklin: "We are actually not at war."


Franklin: "If you said what you really thought about Bush, what do you think would happen now?"

Jill: "I'm sorry, you need to get on the Internet."

Ramona: "There is certainly a chill in the atmosphere about criticizing this administration. Our government is lying to us."


Ramona: "Bob [Scheer] wrote about it today - the talking story of this war [the rescue of Private Lynch]."

Robert: "To wage war on the basis that there are weapons of mass destruction and that you have bulletproof evidence that [Iraq] is behind Al Qaeda... At least there was a battle with the Gulf of Tonkin resolution [in 1964 which allow the US president to escalate US involvement in the battle against the communists in Vietnam]. Shots were fired.

"To go to war on bases that turn out to be total lies...and there's no outrage in the Hollywood and university community, clearly the leftists are not in charge."

Laughter and applause.

Jill Stewart turns to David Horowitz and solicits his views on the Patriot Act.

David: "If the Patriot Act had been in place, there would not have been a 9/11."

Crowd goes nuts. People starts screaming things at Horowitz. Booing.

David talks about a hijacker's (Zecharias Massoui) computer...

There's tall attractive blonde behind me with big bushy hair who keeps screaming things at Horowitz and booing him. This time she yells out, "What's on your computer?"

As a public service, I really should take this physically attractive, but ideologically and behaviorally loathsome chick outside and take her around the block a few times. Women tend to be much more amenable to rational political dialogue after they've been suitably exhausted.

David: "I can do many things but I can't argue with 70 people at once."

Blonde: "Try! Try!"

I had a girlfriend once who would get squirly every so often and quite emotional and there was nothing to do but to exhaust her, after which she was calm, quiet and submissive, the way a woman should be.

David: "For most of the 20th Century, the executive branch could order up a wiretap on anybody [through the FBI, CIA, etc]. In 1978, as a result over the hysteria over Watergate and the Vietnam War, there was an FISEL Act which interposes layers of bureaucracy and judges between intelligence services... The FBI was not allowed to communicate with the intelligence service...

"This idea that this idiot George Bush just wants to put everybody in jail and John Ashcroft..."

Crowd overwhelmingly agrees with this.

David: "Of course. You are all very prejudiced people.

"I [fight] with the Christian Right about their intolerance of homosexuals. I know what they are like. But you are hysterical about people like John Ashcroft because of who they are, not because of what they are doing."

Crowd goes nuts, boos, yells at David.

Franklin screams at Horowitz, "Don't lie!" Insists on busting into David's talk and goes on a rant until Stewart shuts him up and returns the floor to David to finish his point.

Franklin finds it impossible to stop interrupting and yelling at Horowitz. Franklin finds it impossible to stop acting like a fool.

Scheer complains about the administration refusing to make public a key report on 9/11. "A key preoccupation of the [FBI and CIA] before 9/11 was China and [scientist] Wen Ho Li. They were following this guy around the clock.

"When President Clinton attacked the Al Qaeda camp, he was accused of trying to distract from the all-important topic of Monica Lewinski."

Scheer says Sandy Berger told the Bush administration about Al Qaeda but Bush and co were preoccupied with other things, like China. They had little interest in tracking terrorism and those in Florida flight schools who are learning how to fly planes but not how to land them.

"This administration dropped the ball about terrorism.

"We will find that this war on Iraq was a great distraction taking us away from [learning] why September 11 happened."

Jill asks screenwriter Craig Titley if he's concerned about the Patriot Act:

Craig says no. He's written and produced a TV series for Fox on conspiracy theories. Hence he's been buying a lot of books that one might think would attract the attention of federal agents. Craig says he'll worry about things the day agents burst down his door and demand to look at his books.

Todd writes: As I recall it, he said that he was surprised -- and worried -- that Federal agents hadn't followed up on his purchases. If they'd asked why he was buying literature on how to build a bomb, escape prison, etc., he'd be able to offer a non-subversive explanation, but other people who buy those same books might not be so innocent.

It says something about someone that, of all the screenwriters on Hollywood, the one conservative they could persuade to join the panel was the guy whose best-known script seems to have been that for "Scooby-Doo." That said, I found him to have been insightful and witty, and (like you) wish he'd spoken at greater length.

You write as a conservative; I've always thought of myself as being for the most part liberal, but those yelling yahoos should have been embarrassing to the left. Those, too, who (despite Jill Stewart's admonition and occasional attempts to steer) turned the question period into a series of speeches. But what do you expect, I guess, from a room full of writers?

Horowitz says we are less free and less safe today because of Islamic extremists.

David: "The Left has never had a stronger presence in the media."

Boos and catcalls and laughter.

David: "We have Bill O'Riley who gets two million viewers. Peter Jennings gets 30 million. Every major metropolitan newspaper in America is on the Left."

Hysterical mocking laughter sweeps the crowd drowning out Horowitz.

David: "The Clinton administration has a much worse record of respecting human rights than the Bush administration."

Crowd goes wild with anger.

David: "Janet Reno incinerated 75 men, women and children [at Waco]."

Crowd furious with David and tries to shout him down.

Horowitz is basically a piñata, absorbing the hatred of the rude audience.

Old man two rows from me turns to his friends and says, "Horowitz is a schmuck."

Scheer usually looks at the ceiling while Horowitz speaks.

Belli talks about the Christian Right's dream of all Jews converting to Christianity.

"Not this one!" yelled a man from the audience.

About a dozen times, Ari Fleischer's remark, "People should watch what they say," is berated, repeated and used as evidence that we live in a repressive country.

Why are left-wing chicks so hot? There are a lot of them here tonight. Their politics appall me but their bodies attract me. What should I do?

David replies: "Answer, in the form of a question: Why do Jewish men love Shiksas? Advice: Sleep with the enemy. You'll enjoy it."

Jill Stewart bollixes up one question - has there been a reverse black list in Hollywood. Twice she says the list that one source told her about, applies to people who opposed the war on Iraq. Twice she says the list applies to people in Hollywood who supported the war on Iraq.

As Hollywood was overwhelmingly against the war, Jill can only mean that those few persons in Hollywood who supported the war are frequently treated badly by their lefty peers.

Frank Pierson: "We are going to have to grow up in this country and accept that there's going to be collateral damage [and terrorism]. There are going to be bombs going off. There are going to be assassinations. And we can never stop them. We should not try to stop them if the cost is what America represents... That's what disturbs me most of all."

Most of the crowd applauds.

Franklin: "When's the last time you met a Palestinian journalist?"

I think I met some at USC last month.

Franklin goes off on the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie True Lies. "That's a movie where tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of Arabs, are killed. If you look back at the history of Hollywood, we have not created an atmosphere where there is a favorable attitude towards Muslims and Arabs.

"I think the biggest battle in Hollywood is...grappling with a complex world. You have a man who is untutored who is in charge...who traffics in simplistic jingoistic slogans."

Crowd applauds vigorously.

Craig says there are concerns in town by pro-war screenwriters that you have to keep that hidden. That you have to hide your conservative political views.

Crowd reacts loudly and derisively.

Horowitz is tired of the crowd shouting him down.

Man yells from audience: "You're still talking though."

Woman: "We don't have freedom of speech?"

Question time. People line up.

First man, a member of the Writers Guild, to the mike is loud and clear: "I am ashamed of the Writers Guild and I am ashamed of this crowd. People were derisive...and doing the very thing that we in our righteousness say we don't want to do to other people."

Loud applause.

Man to Jill: "I've got a negative word for you. I don't think you controlled this debate as well as you should."

Crowd screams at man.

Big blonde behind me: "Oh brother! Oh brother!"

Second man to speak, Jerry, who wears a "No War" T-shirt: "I think it is a great panel and a great debate. Nobody is trying to ruin anyone's career here or get someone fired."

Jerry wants to know how we can prevent the reelection of George Bush and protect our rights.

Jerry shows up to all the Santa Monica City Council meetings and such around town. Scheer congratulates him.

Robert: "If you are afraid to speak up, that is your fault."

The Right-wing won't lynch you for it.

9:40PM: Half the crowd has left. I spend my time chatting with the lawyer on my right.

I think that I'm more thoughtful than half the people on the panel. I should be on it.

10PM: Debate ends.

Stewart is blamed by some members of the audience for not taking better control of the crowd. What was she to do? Threaten to shoot them?

It's clear that Michael Medved's aphorism - that liberals most venerate self expression and conservatives self-control, stands taller than ever.


My evening begins at 6PM with a mediabistro.com party on the rooftop of the Wyndham Bel Age. I notice this homeless-looking man in a Hawaiian shirt wandering around muttering to himself while sipping on a beer.

We're ten stories high and things could get perilous. Time for an intervention, I think, before anyone gets hurt.

I approach the man and asked him if he could help me advance my career. The answer is no.

His name is Peter Emshwiller and he published two novels through Bantam - The Host (1992) and Short Blade (1993). He looks like a homosexual Orthodox Jewish friend of mine but Peter is resolutely a shaygetz and he claims he's straight.

After our auspicious beginning, Peter and I chat amiably about which Jewish term for the male member most closely resembles his last name. We're rescued by the arrival of Peter's wife and a guy Rick who suggests "schlong," which wins the day.

Then I wonder which Jewish term for the male member most closely resembles Rick's last name. At that point, the three of them left me for hard liquor.


Cathy Seipp writes: "Luke Ford is becoming a rather Christlike figure...in L.A. media circles. He goes to hear Robert Scheer speak so we don't have to. I have to say, though, that the charm and wit of Scheer didn't come through in Luke's report. But I saw David Horowitz today at the Wednesday Morning Club lunch for Tammy Bruce, and he agreed that Scheer was in fine form, so I guess it's confirmed. Hard to imagine, because on KCRW-FM's radio show "Left, Right & Center" Scheer always comes across as a dull and terminally aggravated haranguer."

Luke says: "I wasn't able to pick out Scheer's voice on my tape recording as clearly as some of the other panelists.

"I say unto you: Love your enemies. Do good to them that despitefully use you. Write not tawdry gossip.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

Matt Welch writes: L.A.’s Hardest-Working Media Reporter, on the Scheer-Horowitz Debate: There are some people, I guess, who think Luke Ford is a disgrace to journalism or something. But I’ll tell you this -- he’s the only man in town going to nearly every journalist confab in town, and typing up his observations ASAP. And, though his perceptions are, ah, different than the average reporter’s, he is also more genuinely honest than most. While I’m sleeping tonight, Luke will be finishing up his report on the Bob Scheer-David Horowitz debate at the Writer’s Guild.

This rings true from my 15-plus years of knowing (and being fond of) Bob. The man’s quite funny, and a better extemporaneous speaker, in my view, than a columnist. Kudos to Luke for refusing to be predictable.

Ken Layne writes on Matt Welch: Why is Luke Ford a great journalist? Because he tells you all the reasons why he's going to be against something or other, and then is totally honest when something or other wins him over. And yeah, Bob Scheer is a funny weirdo. I wish his national columns showed some of that humor and such.

Bob writes Matt Welch: I watched one of those pre-war debates with Scheer and Hitchens(on c-span). Bob's(not me but the person mentioned in the article) was that Iraq needs to make its own history. I thought that was the most intellectually lazy thought I heard in a long while. Isn't that the whole point, Bob, Saddam has made plenty of history! This fucker, Saddam, has done plenty to fill many of books. There was another debate after the war with Hitch and others, Bob was rather unimpressive once again. Dare I say, there was nothing there.

Luke replies: I'm not saying Scheer was particularly moral or prescient. I'm saying he was funny and charming and winning on a human level.

Matt Welch replies to Bob: Bob -- I attended one of those debates, at the Wiltern in L.A., and I was struck by how Bob totally won the room (and Hitch totally lost it; there were two other guys there, but they didn't generate any electricity), but that I was sure if I read the transcript or even watched it on teevee the situation would be exactly reversed. Bob knows how to play to the home crowd, and he's got one hell of a home crowd in L.A. But I think there's actually something to that point you object to, as a general principle. Revolutions imposed from the outside have far less staying power than those generated from within, I'd guess.

Liberal novelist Roger Simon writes Matt Welch: I was at the Wiltern Theatre too that night and found Scheer a disgraceful panderer, playing to the audience with the banal litany "It's about oil!" (Well, yes, and a lot of other things too.) And as for the "argument" that Iraq should make it's "own history," well, I don't want to dignify it with a response, but there's a one word answer -- Auschwitz...

Sgil46: Funny that you should run into Ripston last night after my aside yesterday "How is it that Justice Stephen Reinhardt never recuses himself from an ACLU lawsuit because his wife is the ACLU president?"

Lloyd writes on Moxie.nu: "Luke is just too much. I love that guy! Refreshing in the extreme. Now if he would only organize his site. Still can't figure out where he keeps his stuff."

Eric writes MattWelch.com: "While Robert Scheer might have won the debate on style and wit, after reading Luke Ford's report in its entirety, I honestly think David Horowitz won the debate on extraordinary courage and conviction. It is far easier to please a crowd than it is to be shouted down by hundreds of angry leftists at once. And it was very telling to read about Horowitz incurring the wrath of religious conservatives for speaking up against anti-gay bigotry. I am sure that Scheer is a nice guy (and no doubt a highly amusing extemporaneous speaker), but I vote for Horowitz as the winner, and after reading the linked piece I admire him more than ever."

Why Do You Read Lukeford.net?

Luke emails author David Rensin, who reads lukeford.net regularly: "Do you read lf.net primarily for the spiritual enlightenment or for the hot neuroses vs reality action?"

David replies: "Uh oh, a quiz. I read it to encounter people I never encounter. I read it for conflict as a way of life; a counterpoint to my easygoing existence. I read it because I root for you."

Female Rabbis

I'm opposed to ordaining women as well as homosexuals on theological, sociological and Jewish Law grounds. Still, all my opposition to ordaining women disappears when they are as cute as this.

There is no degree of cuteness that will dissipate my opposition to ordaining homosexuals or allowing them to marry.

I think I should serve on a committee screening women who want to be ordained. And I will only let them through if they promise to retire by age 35 so we never have to look at their aging flesh on the bima [pulpit].

In the Jewish religion, women should get their spiritual highs cooking us men kugel (sarcastic remark by Dennis Prager).

Leroi writes Marc W.: Damn straight - if women want to be rabbis, then they had better not look like hags.

SMH.com.au: Swaziland's absolute monarch has singled out women wearing trousers as the cause of the world's ills in a radio sermon that also called human rights an "abomination before God".

A Saturday Night Conversation With Ex-Girlfriend Diana

Princess: Hey there.
Princess: How have you been?
Princess: Whatcha doing nowadays
Luzdedos1: good, and you?
Luzdedos1: lukeford.net
Princess: You still in LA
Princess: Are you still writing about porn stars?
Princess: Howard Stern would have a field day with you.
Princess: Why don't you design your website a bit? Make it more compelling
Luzdedos1: you know I am not writing about porn stars - i sold lukeford.com two years ago Princess: Then who are all those people listed on your page
Princess: You SOLD it?
Princess: Who bought it?
Princess: It looks like you write about...Writers in H'wood
Luzdedos1: I dunno who owns it now
Princess: Stop being so weird. Just tell me how you make a living these days
Luzdedos1: sheeesh, by writing, stop being so pushy...
Princess: Forget it. Your cryptic nonsense has grown tiresome..I just wanted to chat and see how you were...Nevermind. Take care.

Luke Gets Mail

Dear Diary: My secret plan to meet all the hot female bloggers in LA is going gangbusters. Just yesterday, I celebrated my 37th birthday with lunch with a woman who naturally measures 30F.

J.D. Considine writes: "Luke -- You're 37. Don't you think that makes you old enough to look things up when you're not sure how to spell them, and to double-check proper names? It's "Sistine" Chapel, not Cistine..."

Khunrum writes: You are an inspiration (seriously) You plug ahead when things look bleak. People (including myself unfortunately) tell you that you are on the wrong track and you wisely don't listen. You follow your inner voice and keep at it. I think you will have a big year. You deserve it.

Cathy Seipp writes: First, Emmanuelle is exactly right about men turning into Tex Avery wolves when they see Amy and her Jessica Rabbit proportions. And ever since I wrote about her amazing (but entirely natural) measurements on my blog they've been inundating me with hamana-hamana-hamana comments. But as anyone knows who reads her stuff -- especially her wonderul first-person saga in the LA Times mag on how she tracked down and harassed the thief who stole her vintage pink Rambler, and also her rant in New Times L.A. about her anti-SUV campaign -- she is only a bimbo from the neck down.

I would add, though, that actually women can be more frightened of Amy in all her glory than men. Because sometimes women -- especially, I am sorry to say, women who work on newspapers -- have an unfortunate tendency to resent other women as improbably attractive and stylish as Amy. She herself is generous with everyone and completely devoid of female competitiveness...even rather innocent and naive, sort of like Marilyn Monroe. One example: That piece she wrote about finding the car thief for the LA Times mag got the most letters-to-the-editor of any mag feature there...but it was her first and last assignment for them. A male editor had assigned her the piece, but a group of female editors there apparently thought she got too much attention for it, and said -- I kid you not -- "We just think our readers deserve a little break from Amy." Right. God forbid a newspaper should actually engage its readers.

Anyway, Amy's always the first to compliment another writer -- that's how we met, in fact; she liked my old NY Press column and emailed me to say so -- and, by the way, she is not exactly the tough child-hating nut she likes to pretend to be. She has always been extremely nice to my daughter...who was once, in fact, driving me so crazy at some press luncheon that I made her sit next to Amy instead of me. They had a very nice conversation.

Also, Amy is the queen of pithy aphorisms. My favorite: "Revenge is the best revenge."


A Missive From Reverend Lord Peter Luther Christian, O.B.E.

Your interview with Amy Alkon was below par. You failed to ask any of the question concerning miscegenation, immigration, the importance of diversity in the newsroom, Mexicans, and Muslims that one of your correspondants provided. Just the stock stuff concerning your eating habits and your usual gratuitous jabs at the customs of the orthodox Jews who consistently (and wisely) reject you at every turn. Honestly, I'm not even convince that you actually met her (there is more than a little bit of the Jayson Blair in you). Also, I (and there must be others) tire of reading accolades for internet diarists from other internet diarists ("bloggers"). Yes, I am sure that they are all wonderful, terrific people, especially the women, but if they are all so great, why are so few of them married with children? I sense a great emptiness in the wombs of these women, an emptiness that their wonderful friends will never fill. Their infecundity is but another posthumous victory for the German Socialist leader, Adolf Hitler.

You are now 37 years old. By the time He reached your age, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ preached salvation, was murdered at the behest of certain Jews, rose from the dead, ascended to heaven, and still had a few years left over. What have you done, besides attack the appearance and habits of others? What have you done for others (like your good friend ****** who, like a second father, raised you from the pools of semen in which he found you)?

It is never too late to find Christ in your life - until it is too late, and you enter the lakes of fire that are the final home of all non-believers in Christ. I urge you to do today what you may not be able to do tomorrow. The love of Christ Jesus is in your heart. Find it and be found.

Yours in Christian Piety and Love,
Reverend Lord Peter Luther Christian, OBE

Chaim Amalek writes: What are you doing for Bob Hope's 100th birthday?

Who are the three most important people you interviewed for your producers book?

When does it come out?

How many hours do you spend in a typical week whoring with the denizens of your demimonde?

Will you ever buy a new car/truck?

Will you ever upgrade your housing?

Will you ever eat salmon?

Will WMD ever be found in Iraq, and should anyone care?

Is there any utility to Tom Ridge issuing "Orange Alerts"?

Why can't jewish women dress as modestly as Muslimas?

What are you doing to advance the cause of tznious [modesty]?

But what does [Profile] say? Reads like latin to me. By the way, you need to ask these Italians why their women have only about 1.1 kids each. How can they endure as a nation, as a people, with such low fecundity?

Seriously, tell 'em I am your emmisary and that they should provide me with hotel and other accomodations on my "next" trip to Italy. I've never been and want to go, but not on my dime (since I only have 2 of them to my name at this point.) They can set me up either with that Italian woman in "Matrix Reloaded" or with that Asia Argento woman. Either one will do.

Amy Alkon Interview

I meet advice columnist Amy Alkon for lunch on May 28, my 37th birthday, in Venice.

I walk down the street looking for the restaurant. Amy emerges out of a coffee house and greets me. I follow her and watch her gather her stuff, which is sprawled over a table and chairs. She has a laptop computer and stacks of paperwork and clothing.

She wears black pants with bright oriental designs, a purple shirt, a black top, a black sweater and a black leather jacket.

I've known Amy for 18-months through the LA Press Club parties she throws with Cathy Seipp and she's always dressed perfectly.

Among the first emails I received from Cathy and Amy was one written by Alkon describing Cathy as her "partner." Having seen the homo-friendly film American Beauty, I was hip to homosexuals calling their love interest their "partner." So I concluded Amy and Cathy were lesbian lovers, which disappointed me as I had a crush on Cathy (though I'd neither met her or seen a picture).

About a year down the road I realized Cathy and Amy were not lesbians. Amy's into her men while Cathy's into her responsibilities, like her 14-year old daughter. Alkon has no children and doesn't believe in God, marriage or Jewish chosenness.

Despite her unbelief, her denigration of all that is sacred, her post-Jewishness, I decided to grant Adolf Hitler post-humous victories and give Amy a closer examination.

Cognizant that I was turning my back on the 4000-year tradition of my people, I agree to have lunch with Amy at a goyisha restaurant. I wear neither my yarmulke nor my tzitzit and I desecrate the mitzvah of shomer negilla (not touching opposite sex) by not only shaking Amy's hand but kissing her cheek as well. Not only upon greeting, but also upon parting. Good thing Rabbi Adlerstein can't see how low I've fallen.

Amy and I take a table at this fancy restaurant. We sip our drinks. Amy mentions she was "the most dumped woman in Los Angeles."

This sends me diving for my tape recorder.

I remember a lot of snarky comments on www.laexaminer.com, the typical back-biting stuff you hear from people who don't know the Lord. I got the idea that Amy had been around the LA and NY media blocks and she'd dipped in the pool once or twice.

Amy laughs. "Talk to Emmanuelle [Richard]. Most of them [Amy's dating partners] did something creative. Thinking for a living. And that they cared about making a difference in the world. If you were an entertainment lawyer, I wouldn't date you. There were exceptions. I know a lawyer in New York...who's ethical...but if you're job is deceiving people out of their money, you are not for me."

I've been waiting for a couple of minutes to dive into my potato-leek soup with radish.

Luke: "Is it ok if I dive into this?"

Amy: "Sure."

I take a spoonful. It's good. I then take some of the radish part and it's yucky. I finish 80% of the bowl. I usually clean my plate unless the food is gross. For a fleeting second, I thought of doing a David Poland and sending it back but my Protestant upbringing prevents me (Jesus suffered so we must too).

Amy: "I did date someone who was well known and will remain nameless... There were a series of people who dumped me in quick succession. Many were writers. I feel like I have a lot in common with writers. Someone who doesn't just take the world as it is but analyzes it and wonders how it could be different."

Amy has never communicated with an alien and she does not believe Elvis is still alive. She's agnostic about God. "I believe I don't know and I think it is really arrogant of people to say that they do know. It's stupid and arrogant of people who think that God is Charleton Heston sitting up in a winged chair holding the Ten Commandments."

I find that phrase infuriating because of never met anyone who thinks of God like that, or who thinks of God as an old man in the sky. This is one of those cheapshots non-believers use to dismiss those who do believe without wrestling with the powerful, and I think overwhelming, arguments for God's existence.

Luke: "Have you met anyone who believes that?"

Amy: "I write for papers across the country and yeah, I talk to people everywhere... Yeah, people believe..."

Luke, infuriated and bearing down: "You've met someone who believes that God is Charleton Heston sitting on a chair in the sky?"

Amy: "I didn't actually interrogate them to that degree but I think that all the pictures in the Sistine Chapel of a white bearded guy... They think somebody up there is...maybe not the Charleton Heston image out of my head, but they believe..."

Luke: "He's an old man in the sky."

Amy: "Yeah, an old man in the sky. Exactly. Like he actually cares about your life."

Yeah, it is so much more rational to believe in either a Creator who makes a world and then doesn't care about it, or that this universe came about by fluke.

Amy: "Luke Ford is crossing across the street. I'm going to trip him. I just find it ludicrous.

"I do believe, and I don't want to sound all Californian, an energy... You light a match and a fire starts."

Luke: "You believe in karma."

Amy: "Karma makes sense. I don't believe in the whoooh California type of karma."

Luke: "You believe in a more sophisticated New York-version of karma."

Amy: "I'm from the midwest. I don't identify with being a member of anything."

Alkon grew up in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills.

Luke: "You're Jewish, right?"

Amy: "I was a small persecuted Jewish child."

Luke: "You lived in a goyisha neighborhood?"

Amy: "I don't like the term goy, which means 'stranger.'"

The denotative meaning of goy is nation and it has no negative connotations. As used in Jewish life, goy means 'the other,' the stranger, and frequently has negative connotations.

Amy: "I like to be global and look at people as people and not divide based on Jewish or not-Jewish.

"The foundation for my column is Albert Ellis and Jewish values. I can relate. I don't like the idea of goy and Jewish."

Khunrum writes: Charlton Heston is not God Gaddamnit!, he is Moses, Ben Hur, Jean Lafitte and El Cid. Jesus was originally Jeffrey Hunter but morphed into Willem Dafoe. George Burns is God.....so where's the rest of the interview?

Tiffany Stone writes: "I've always wanted to converse with Amy, but she's difficult to catch. Is she a Leo? Amy has this intense, passionate presence. Every time I have seen her she's been dressed and coifed immaculately. I don't know anyone else who possesses this quality besides movie stars. Amy-- what's your secret?"

Luke writes Cathy: "Dear Cathy, I just did a long interview with Amy and I'm really annoyed because with one exception (her dissing of marriage), she didn't say anything stupid. Why do you two turn into (fill in the blank) when you get together? I understand now how much you two have in common. I didn't see it before. Who's the famous black guy she dated for six months?"

Cathy Seipp replies: "We're just too smart for the likes of you! But what is it we turn into I wonder? I know who the famous black guy is but my lips are sealed. However, I will think of something intelligent to comment about Amy and send to you..."

Matt Welch writes: Dear Mr. Ford, Happy birthday, you lout! Glad to see you got some kissin' in to celebrate....

I know very little about Amy Alkon's sex life, regrettably, though she *does* travel to France suspiciously often. Which is strange, because she's taller than every Frenchman I've ever met.

Amy is a force of nature, as you know. She's also very generous & helpful; I forget the details, but once I e-mailed her with a very trivial question about something or other, and she called me from her cell-phone, in the middle of doing something that sounded quite strenuous, and gave me 20 minutes of very detailed help and advice. She has offered to help the newspaper project in dozens of different ways, and it has already reaped dividends, though she may be unaware of it. She has some strange kink for evolutionary psychology, or fiduciary biology, or something like that. She is also righteously allergic to unearned journalistic arrogance. And girlfriend knows how to throw a party ... even if she has a vicious bias against the eastside.....

Emmanuelle Richard writes: Hey Luke, Sorry I screwed up with La Mox: I was under water with work and I should have commented about how feminine and... necessary she is. A world without Moxie wouldn't be as good. A blogosphere without her would be sad. Even when shit happens to her, she manages to smile and ask questions to people. It's rare in this town. I was only once angry at her when I prepared a souffle for her and Marc and they arrived so late the souffle had collapsed into a terrible pile of goo. But as soon as she went inside and said hi, the souffle outrage was completely forgotten. She is such a delight. Hope she can bump into a good, exciting guy one day.

About Amy, if she didn't tell you about her black movie star lover, I can't reveal anything. He's really hot. But Amy is dynamite, hot pepper, a bursting passion fruit... When she's around, guys turn into those wolf characters in cartoon, you know, with their eyes popping out and their tongue out. The first few times I met her, I was a bit taken aback: she started telling me about making out with a guy on the beach in France (to make a point about how cultural differences, in tongue kissing and other things around the world) and I had a hard time to follow: she speaks really fast and I sometimes have a hard time catching all the great stuff she says. I'm getting better at it and it's delightful.

Amy nurtures and loves her friends, she's a wonderful person. She can talk people into anything with her charm. I wish her column was published more in Southern California, but I guess that with her new website, we will be able to read her advice column on a more regular basis. Did you meet her boyfriend, Gregg? They seem very happy together, the way it should be.

PS: no wonder she scares guys. She pulls out her anti-SUV cards and laugh at bully driver's private parts. I loved this campaign. She gave me a lot of anti SUV cards I put on every SUV at Trader Joe's.

Ken Layne writes: Dear Luke, Oh, she *says* she hasn't communicated with an alien. The truth is, she has the home numbers for the aliens. That whole SUV thing is just to distract people from knowing about the UFOs she rides all over town. And beyond.

Anyway, Amy is the best. She is a smart, weird, hilarious nut and she's also a red-hot babe. Matt mentioned the Helping Buddy part of Amy. I can vouch for that. While experimenting with the idea of a self-syndicated column, I shot a few questions over to her. She gave me the equivalent of a four-year degree in the newspaper syndication business. Obviously, I adore her. Yes, I know the name of the "famous black guy," too, but like the Go Gos my lips are sealed.

One of the most amusing nights I've had in recent memory was leaving the AAN convention in San Francisco in a couple of cabs with Eric Almendral, Tim DeRoche, Matt Welch and Amy Alkon. We headed to North Beach and some friendly random stranger led us to a perfectly fine fancy Chinese bistro and we had great food & wine & conversation, then ended up in my hotel room with the addition of David Wallis (in smiley-face pajamas) and all sorts of wine.