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Kevin Roderick Finds Charges Of Feminist Media Laughable

Kevin Roderick places at the top of his site, LA Observed (one of my favorite sites on the web), this commendation of KCAL TV's coverage as the best by Ron Fineman: "I got no sense of bias from them, and they covered all the angles, including a story by KCAL's Joel Connable in which the rape expert said that only two percent of rape charges are false."

Luke says:

Notice what Fineman finds so objective? A so-called rape expert proclaiming that two percent of rape charges are false. This is based on the 1975 work of a rabid feminist, Susan Brownmiller. An exhaustive academic survey found the rate closer to 50%.

What feminist media, eh Kevin? To Roderick, Fineman and company at the institutional media, that which is feminist is objective. To be conservative is to be rabid and evil.

Kevin replies: "Luke, if one comment in one report on one TV station is proof to you of a "feminist media," more power to you."

Luke replies:

Kevin, it obviously meant enough to you that you chose to quote that 2% number. You didn't just blindly select a paragraph from Fineman to highlight. You selected something that fit in with your worldview.

I linked to a long discussion by Wendy McElroy on this topic to back up my claims.

So Kevin, you seriously doubt that the news media is feminist? Then please list all the pro-life reporters you know. When LA Times media reporter David Shaw went to write an article on this topic, he could not find one at the LA Times. Not one among a thousand. To the overwhelming majority of reporters, it is axiomatic that women have the right to abortion.

It's also axiomatic to most reporters that mens-only clubs are discriminatory and immoral. Look what the NY Times tried to do to Augusta golf club.

How come the news media almost never covers studies that show working mothers are not good for their kids and always highlight studies that show it does not harm kids to have working mothers?

Kevin Roderick writes on LA Observed: "Feminist news media, yeah that's the problem here.... It bears repeating -- the accuser has done nothing except file a police report ands talk to the DA. She has made no public statements, done no dragging through any mud. As for standing behind her allegation, that happens in court. These claims to some high-minded principle behind publishing her contact info and ripping into her are worse than ludicrous."

Luke writes LA Observed: Oh, so why the double standard then? Name the accused but not the accuser, who is almost always female? News organizations usually know the name of the accuser but they never name her.

Kevin: "It bears repeating -- the accuser has done nothing except file a police report ands talk to the DA. She has made no public statements, done no dragging through any mud."

Luke: "Well, she's certainly had tons of leaks from her side into the news media."

Kevin: "These claims to some high-minded principle behind publishing her contact info and ripping into her are worse than ludicrous."

Luke: "She chose to make herself a public figure by filing a charge against a star. If she wanted to avoid publicity, she should not have filed a criminal charge and simply learned from the experience - that you do not go to a man's hotel room alone unless you're up to having sex with him. Her past gives plenty of reasons for people to question and criticize her. It was her choice to try to commit suicide two months, and to try to get on American Idol. That indicates a person desperate for attention and possibly in need of psychiatric help."

David "Hot Button" Poland replies to my post on LA Observed:

Now, if this woman was raped - and I have no reason to believe of disbelieve her at this point - that is a horrible, immoral, sexist, hateful comment. Actually, it is all those things even if she is lying. It is a tacit endorsement of everything that is wrong with the criminal system.

Not believing in shield laws does not make you a bad guy. But you wave the anti-feminist flag around in a way that makes you every bit as bad as the most extreme feminists.

You have effectively branded yourself as the insensitive, empowered, white, financially secure, male that arch-feminists would accuse you of being. Forget about blaming the victim... in your world, she is guilty even if what she is saying is true.

If you flip your logic, Kobe should not of allowed her in his room unless he was "up to" being accused of rape, falsely or not.

It seems that moral outrage only extends as far as the tip on your penis, Luke.

Also - Judgment is not inherently wrong. I am, obviously, judging you right now. But you turn the classic trick... you use the example of self-preservation while using this as an excuse for judging people who really have no effect on your life. People who have decided their "truth" about this matter at this point are idiots. The media is behaving like idiots. The prosecutor is behaving like an idiot. They are all rushing to judgment - no Cochran reference intended - on either side. The problem is that these are human beings... not statistics, not billboard photos, not newspaper stories. And it is far too easy to start treating them like icon symbols on a socio-political Monopoly board instead of human beings. Shome on us all for that.

Kevin writes: "Luke, pick a date or an era when you and Prager think "the media" became "feminist." This so-called double standard of not naming victims of sex crimes will have existed before that."

Luke says:

The media became feminist when feminism swept academia and popular culture - the 1970s. Prior to that, there were all sorts of double standards in society, including the one of not naming accusers of sex crimes. Since feminism, there's been a concerted effort to remove all discrimination based on sex. So why not in this instance?

I don't mind maintaining this double standard in a more chivalrous age where it is understood that men and women are different. Today when men's clubs are forced to open themselves to women, and women are to have as many sporting opportunities in college as men, who need sports more, then let's get rid of this double standard.

I challenge people to name reasons for keeping the names of alleged rape victims private? Kevin, there have been a ton of cases when persons not party to sexual cases have had their private info thrown all over the web. See that article from a couple of weeks ago in the LA Times or NY Times about a critic of Washington State police posting their home addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers on his website.

So give me specific arguments about what is decent in naming the accused by not the accuser in sex crimes only?

The media is already parked outside her home, so I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes to her to have the address on the web.

Howard Kurtz, media journalist for the Washington Post, writes 7/23/03: "Everyone in the small Colorado town knows who she is. So at some point is it unfair for her to hide behind the shield of anonymity while sending out her friends to trash Kobe? Just a thought."

If you want to claim that women deserve special protection and anonymity in certain criminal cases like sex crimes, then you can't also argue that they deserve full access and equal treatment elsewhere.

Chaim Amalek writes:

I remember the Central Park jogger case of the late 80's and the William Kennedy Smith rape case. In the former case, the NY Times guarded the victims's id; in the latter they not only published it, but they investigated her personal history AND her entire family tree. It was hugely controversial naming the rape victim, particularly with the feminists at the Times. The editor of the paper got in big trouble with his staff.

Also, the rationale that the NY times gave for going public with Kennedy's accuser was that one of the weekly tabloids based in Florida had beaten them to it. Yet, when the identity of the Central Park Jogger was made public by the local negro paper - arguable more serious, since it was, after all, local, the NY Time STILL protected the id of the jogger.

Kevin Roderick writes: "Luke, I'd like to believe that your passion here is because you're a purist about equal treatment of men and women, but I'm sorry I don't."

Luke replies:

Kevin, I am not here to try to get you to change your mind either about me or the issue. I know that's impossible.

I am not a purist on male-female equality. I am only seizing on this equality thing because it is what liberals and feminists have pushed down our throats in the past 30 years vis-a-vis men and women (forcing open mens clubs to women, etc).

I'm simply calling liberals out on their own putative values. That's why you get so upset. I politely inquire if there is any rationality behind your strong feelings and I find there is not. It is all just a cry for women as victims.

Liberalism is felt through, not thought through. Feminism is feeling. You guys are not primarily concerned that men and women, white and black, are treated equally. You just want to cry for women and minorities and put your feelings into law.

I subscribe to Orthodox Judaism where women and men are treated differently. I believe men and women are inherently different. In general, I believe they should be treated equally in secular law.

Amy Alkon writes: "A woman has a responsibility to act intelligently as far as her safety goes. If you go to the William Kennedy Smith compound late at night with one of the boys, what do you think is on the agenda, checkers in the library? Come on. Again, I'm not saying anybody should be raped, or that it's not horrible when someone is. Just that women need to fight the infantilism of the feminists and expect to look after their own safety by being reasonable and sensible about where they go and with whom."

Cathy Seipp Won't Become Orthodox 'Cause She Wants To Wash Her Dishes On Shabbos In Hot Water

Cathy writes: "It is ILLOGICAL not using hot-water for washing dishes when washing dishes is FAR more work than the "work" of using hot water!"

Luke says: Judaism is counter-intuitive, Cathy. The Torah commands you can't light a fire on the Sabbath and electricity is fire, so you can't initiate electricity on the Sabbath.

I was listening to a woman Sunday night complaining about how the mehitza (for separation of sexes) distracts from her enjoyment of the service. Enjoyment is not the point of our tradition.

If a religion is serious, it asks primarily that you serve it, not that primarily you seek for it to serve you. Not a popular notion in modern times.

The Passion - The Return Of David Poland

Cathy Seipp writes on her blog:

Now that Cecile is 14, she's normally pretty good at detecting irony. What a difference from when she was 9, for instance, and burst into tears at the breakfast table after reading David Letterman's Top 10 list in the L.A. Times. The list was something like Top 10 Fundamentalist Rules for TV Characters, and the waterworks-causer was "Sabrina the Teenage Witch is Going to Hell."

"No, David Letterman is going to hell!" Cecile yelled, between sobs at the thought of Sabrina's cruel fate.

Now, of course, she's far too sophisticated to even watch that show.

Still, she got upset at something on Luke Ford's site yesterday and sent him a rather cold email signed, "Cecile DuBois, CityBeat Intern," with all the icy, sex-ads-counting hauteur that lofty position implies.

Then my father came home and said his friend is upset because he thinks Luke and I are getting married. So Luke got exasperated (I don't blame him) and wrote [about the new age and IQ checks on this site].

Maybe it's time for David Poland to reappear on Luke's site so people can start worrying they'll get married.

Mel Gibson's The Passion

Matt Drudge on The Passion: "This may be the last movie Mel Gibson makes, Pat Buchanan. This is the ultimate film. It's magical. Best picture I have seen in quite some time, and even people like Jack Valenti were in the audience in tears at this screening. There was about 30 of us. It depicts a clash between Jesus and those who crucified him, and speaking as a Jew, I thought it was a magical film that showed the perils of life on earth."

Owen Tew writes: What's your opinion on the Anti-Defamation League's objections to Mel Gibson's upcoming film "The Passion"? Some of their objections sound reasonable (I've pasted them below). However, they seem to have a belief that people who currently hate Jews will suddenly like them if they see them portrayed repeatedly in a positive light. I have sad news for the ADL: Bigots do not become enlightened by seeing positive portrayals of the people they hate. In fact, they just get more angry at seeing this obvious attempt to manipulate their thinking. Having grown up in a place with no black people (and having had plenty of racist relatives) I can tell you that when black programs saturated television in the '70s, the racists just bemoaned trying to be told that they had to "like" black people.

The objections:

*Will the final version of The Passion continue to portray Jews as blood-thirsty, sadistic and money-hungry enemies of Jesus?

*Will it correct the unambiguous depiction of Jews as the ones responsible for the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus? Will it show the power of the rule of imperial Rome-including its frequent use of crucifixion-in first-century Palestine?

*Will the film reject exploiting New Testament passages selectively to weave a narrative that does injustice to the gospels, that oversimplifies history, and that is hostile to Jews and Judaism?

*Will it live up to its promise "to tell the truth?" To do so, the final product must rid itself of fictitious non-scriptural elements (e.g. the high priest's control of Pontius Pilate, the cross built in the Temple at the direction of Jewish religious officials, excessive violence, Jews physically abusing Jesus before the crucifixion, Jews paying "blood money" for the crucifixion), all of which form an inescapably negative picture of Jewish society and leadership.

*Will it portray Jews and the Temple as the locus of evil?

Luke says: I loathe the ADL. There's nothing I've seen or read about Mel Gibson's forthcoming film that gives me the slightest pause. Mel has built up a large moral bank account for being a good man, a good father and a responsible observant Catholic.

The Jews who dominate Hollywood have no connection to Judaism and instinctively fear that anyone serious about his religion is going to cause pogroms, to quote Gentile TV producer Rob Long.

The ADL went after Joe Lieberman for saying that religion is indispensable to creating a good society. The ALD is a secular leftist organization that just happens, at times, to do good work on bigotry.

Naming Kobe's Accuser

Kevin Roderick writes on LA Observed: "Kobe's home address, phone & email aren't on the Web[.] But his accuser's are now, and so is her name, her photo and where she goes to college. Some L.A. bloggers, including Luke Ford, are linking to the site that is circulating the personal info. Also local talk jock Tom Leykis chose to broadcast her info nationwide today, reports SoCalLawBlog. The moral: don't dare file a police report against an NBA star."

AlexanderThePoet thinks: "Rule #1 of the world wide web is that anything you post, can be copied and pasted elsewhere. Or at the least, that's how people should look at it. If info regarding the victim of Kobe Bryant was posted on a site, it becomes public domain. In which case, you can't blame Luke Ford or anyone else for linking to that site. The info was out there people! It's not like they opened up Pandora's Box."

EH writes: "Luke publishes a lot of stuff he probably shouldn't. And just because it's already on the net is no excuse. Like my mother (and probably everyone else's, too) used to say: Two wrongs don't make a right."

Luke replies: As soon as I heard about binaryreport.com report on Kobe's accuser, I wanted to visit the site. I did visit the site. I bet Kevin Roderick visited binaryreport.com, if just to see what the fuss was about. Yeah right. If it was ok for Kevin and the institutional media to visit the site, why was it not ok for them to link to it? Ok, I understand there are powerful reasons against linking to it because the great unwashed are dangerous.

My philosophy on such stuff is - if I want to visit the site, I'm going to feel free to link to it so my readers can visit the site too. If I would've wanted to see Diana's crash pictures (I didn't), I would've linked to them. My site reflects me and my interests.

The moral has nothing to do with filing a police report against an NBA star. I couldn't care less about Kobe the basketball player. I'm not a Laker fan. I don't look up to athletes generally.

Here's the moral: It's wrong to name the accused in a sex crimes case and not the accuser. You may say that naming the accuser causes her great shame and causes those who love and try to protect her great shame. Well, accusing someone of rape causes the man great shame and those who love him great shame.

Not naming the women (and victims of sex crimes are usually women) is blatant sexism. I thought the moood in this modern era was to make things equal. I'm echoing the thoughts of talkshow host Dennis Prager.

Kevin makes an excellent point that Kobe's personal information (address, email, etc) aren't being distributed like the accuser's. True. But it was Kobe who was named and his reputation dragged through the mud while the conventional news media, as always, gave the accuser a free pass. That's not right. I don't like it that the accuser's personal info is now all over the web (helped in small part by my link).

I don't think it's right to give out her home address but it is the understandable reaction to a feminist news media and justice system that treats men and women differently. Just because there is something on a link I find morally objectionable does not automatically mean I will not link to that page. I will weigh the good with the bad. I think it is good that this woman, and anyone who files charges of rape, be named. I think people should be held responsible for their behavior (i.e., filing charges). If they want to avoid the publicity of charging a star with rape, they should not file a charge, and they should see if there's anything they can learn from the experience, such as do not go to a man's room alone unless you want to have sex.

Also, if privacy is vitally important to you, there are lots of things you can do to protect your information. Take responsibility for your lives, folks.

I hope that if this woman is found to have brought a false accusation, that she's sentenced to the same prison term Kobe faced if guilty. All false accusers should suffer this, as the Torah prescribes. Secular law however does not use this.

Dennis Prager points out that Kobe has developed a strong moral bank account. He's led a responsible life. He got married. He has no tattoos. He seems like a decent fellow. The number of characters in the NBA with good character and good family life (he married before having kids) is so small, I pray Kobe is innocent. It's important that inner-city black kids have a good black role model for a bourgeois life.

When Mike Tyson was charged, I tended to believe the accusations.

A juror is not supposed to take the past into account, only the event. In life, we act differently.

Feminism has warped jurisprudence. According to Ms Magazine, rape is any sex a woman regrets. When I was a kid and I heard a woman was raped, I shuddered because it was so horrible. But feminists have raped the word of meaning.

Just like the civil rights establishment has raped the word racist. Now it can one who opposes affirmative action. Rape and racist have become meaningless terms.

The New York Post writes: "THE Kobe Bryant case brings to mind the young Chuck Berry. The rock 'n' roll pioneer, like Kobe, was good-looking, famous, wealthy - and black. Berry, who toured all over America just like an NBA player, was always afraid he'd be charged with rape after having sex with willing women who flocked to his dressing room - not to say that Kobe's accuser is in this category. But Berry protected himself with a Polaroid camera. Before he'd have sex with a fan, he'd insist she strip and pose for a photo with him, smiling with their arms around each other. If Kobe had a Polaroid shot like that, he might have a much stronger defense."

Uno writes: There is a good chance he can lose 20 million dollars annually because of potentially false accusations. I'm not saying they ARE false. I'm also not saying he did or didn't do it. The accusations are potentially way more life shattering for Kobe than for the accuser. He'll be famous for a long time to come and things like this have a tendency to haunt. She'll have her 15 minutes and thats it. Anyone committing such crimes against her ("This girl is going to have psychos calling her house, harrassing her at work and on the streets, putting bricks through her windows, etc.") SHOULD and will be prosecuted.

Cecile du Bois writes: "About Kobe Bryant, I think he reflects Clinton in some light or another. It is truly wrong to commit adultery, and he could have controlled himself. The receptionist, or accuser just, (according to Time) walked into his hotel room and they had sex--simple as that. He portrays the male race as unable to resist their desires. He was such a role model to kids and adults alike that fathers are taking away merchandise with his face on it in case if he did commit more than adultery."

Wendy McElroy writes on Foxnews.com:

In his forthcoming biography Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News (search), Crossfire co-host Tucker Carlson (search) discusses another motive that underlies some false accusations. In 2001, a woman he had never met alleged he had raped her in Louisville, a city he had never visited. After $14,000 in defensive legal bills, Carlson discovered that the woman had a chronic mental disorder. He decided not to sue for redress since it would further link his name with the word "rape."

Carlson even hesitated to speak out in his tell-all book because "the stigma of being accused of that kind of crime is so strong." Fortunately, he thought it taught a valuable lesson: "I always assumed, like every other journalist does, that all sex scandals are rooted in the truth, period. You may not have done precisely what you're accused of, but you did something." From bitter experience, he now knows differently.

Even charges that are later revealed to be false can devastate the accused. Consider journalist John Fund (search), who was arrested on charges of domestic violence and publicly excoriated for sexual misconduct. The charges were later dropped.

How prevalent is the false reporting of sexual assault? Estimates vary widely.

According to a study conducted by Eugene Kanin (search) of Purdue University, the correct figure may rise to the 40 percent range. Kanin examined 109 rape complaints registered in a Midwestern city from 1978 to 1987. Of these, 45 were ultimately classified by the police as "false." Also based on police records, Kanin determined that 50 percent of the rapes reported at two major universities were "false."

How come men need kinky alternatives for sexual intercourse with women?

Cecile du Bois, Cathy Seipp's 14 year old daughter, works an intern at City Beat, the free weekly. Part of her work is filing the paper's sex ads.

Cecile writes (and she's sure to be pressured by her Mom to pull this entry so read it here): "I filed more ads and waded through the ball and chain ones also. Philosophical question: How come men need kinky alternatives for sexual intercourse with women? My Anwer: Because they're all hornier than us women. Your answer?"

Khunrum writes: How intuitive. This kid is a genius. She'll go far in life.

AlexanderThePoet answers: While I may not be an expert on this matter, being a 28 yr old virgin and all, I would compare having sex with a woman, to eating chicken. Men tend to lose interest after a while if they eat chicken the same style it was cooked over and over again. That's why men need to spice things up. I mean, think about it. There are as many ways of cooking chicken as there are Kama Sutra positions! But when it's all said and done, it's really the same good ole' chicken! My point you ask? Men love the women they're with, but they just want to eat them a different way once in a while.

The White Man does not belong on the Dark Continent

George Pataki, Gov. of NY State and Friend to Daniel Liebeskind says:

I sure do hope we stay the hell out of Liberia. If the liberals want to send troops there, send battalions of feminists, liberals, lawyers and the like. The White Man does not belong on the Dark Continent Not in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, not in South Africa, not in Liberia.

If I were emperor of Africa, I would not let any black man leave Africa, nor would I let any white man set foot on African soil. The only white man I'd let in would be those willing to be the Black Man's servant.

What with the centerpiece for Liebeskind's design for the new World Trade Center being a minaret, I sure do hope they don't blow it up again.

LukeFord.net Now Officially Kosher

I got the Orthodox Union to approve my site as kosher. In exchange, I've had to institute some changes.

There are now age checks to visit this site. No white kids under 16 or anyone over 84 years of age is allowed on Lukeford.net without my special permission.

Nobody who believes that Luke is going to marry Cathy Seipp is allowed to visit this site. Can not a man and woman share a platonic life of the mind, a common religious practice, a timeshare in Santa Barbara, regular workouts at Sports Club LA, intimate dinners at fancy restaurants, regular vacations to Aspen and Cabo San Luco, a similar commitment to good television and traditional journalistic principles, without being the subject of tawdry gossip and innuendo?

There are now IQ checks. Nobody registering under 115 points is allowed here. Scram!

I've added colored fonts to indicate what emotional attitude the reader should have towards the text. Plain text means plain emotions. Red hues mean the author is angry and is simply venting. Yellow polka dots means the author is being funny. Pink means the author is feeling homosexual. Green means the text is parody, yellow means sarcasm, purple means irony.

If you can not see these special fonts, it means there's a problem with your computer, and you need to take it in to be checked.

Chaim writes Luke:

I feel uncomfortable with the notion of children reading your web site. It puts one in the spot of arguing with an innocent 14 year old kid. Makes one pull punches. Gimme a 30 year old feminist any day. Or a messianic yeshiva student. I don't like the idea of an innocent 14 year old girl reading this stuff. Her mom should block the site.

That's no dig at Cecile. I think she's great. But still, your site works best as a place for adults to shoot the crap. Tell Cathy that AMALEK does not approve of white girls going to lukeford.net. Moreover, I don't approve of girls being on the internet at all, maybe with the exception of certain safe sites. Nothing good can come of it.

Has The Mechitza (Separation) Experience Finally Turned Cathy Seipp Deferential Towards Men?

I brought secular Jew Cathy Seipp and her 14-year old raised in captivity daughter Cecile to my shul Friday night. It was their first time in an Orthodox (i.e. Godly) place and it made a profound imprint on their otherwise meaningless lives.

Cecile, City Beat intern, writes:

Dear Mr. Ford, I must formally thank you for bringing my mother and me to your lovely temple and your kindly friend's house nearby and teaching us more about Mod. Orthodox Judaism, which we were fairly ignorant beforehand.

But I must question one phrase on your weblog. Yes, you did impress us, but I wish to know how our lives are "meaningless" in your opinion. If our lives are meaningless, does that mean we would be better off committing suicide? Does that mean we are not enlightened unless we change our lifestyles to Orthodox Judaism? Please elaborate on the subject.

I respect your opinions and writings, which are highly superior to a great deal of writers on the Los Angeles Times and other publications. Mother--Is her life meaningless? As a writer, she shares her opinion on her "meaningless" life.

My life. I am a student. Studying in my opinion is meaningful. Are you frustrated that everybody is not like you? Everybody is frustrated that the world is not like them, but that does not make everybody else's life "meaningless."

Luke replies: "I like to provoke. I like to imitate some of the attitudes of religious people I know and pretend to be so much more religious and judgmental than I am. It amuses me."

Cathy Seipp wrote on her blog about sitting in the women's section: "You become infected with the feeling that the men are therefore Very Important People, privy to all sorts of Important Information, and should be treated with respect. This is an entirely unfamiliar notion for me."

Luke emails Monday: "Cathy, I was curious if the beneficial effects of the holy mehitza have flowed into your secular week, so that you now relate to men in a more deferential manner?"

Cathy replies:

Well let's see...I've been at the TV press critics tour, so there hasn't been really an opportunity to relate to anyone, deferentially or not. It's a fairly alienating experience. Who have I talked to these past few days? There was Morgan, Debbie's husband, and I think I did give him an argument about the genetic history of dogs (I was right of course, although he was not convinced of this.) But I always FEEL I'm being at least a LITTLE deferential to Morgan, although he would probably argue. So, I'm afraid the answer is, no, not really. Sorry!

On the other hand, maybe it's like goslings and Konrad Lorenz and since you're the one I saw doing the holy what's-it, I am now programmed to be deferential only to YOU! Wouldn't that be a gas?

Dennis Prager Loves Women's Breasts

Dennis Prager says: The line that is used most to support a woman's right to abortion - that a woman can do what she wants with her own body - is an entirely false argument. An abortion destroys something that is in her body. It's not her body. The most right-wing kook is not against women getting taboos, shaving their hair, etc... The moral argument against abortion is protecting the unborn.

But what about breast implants? Silicone breast implants were banned for all women except those who'd had masectomies. But if silicone implants were dangerous, why were they allowed for those with masectomies?

NOW, the National Organization for Women has come out against silicone breast implants. This proves they don't care about women's rights to do what they want with their own body. NOW should say - tell women what the dangers are with breast implants, and then let them make their own choice.

NOW doesn't like women making themselves attractive for men.

Millions of American women have had breast enlargement in the past decade.

DP: I am for anything that science can do to make people, particularly women, more attractive. Looks are the powerful way that women attract men.

I don't like breast implants. They don't look or feel good. Too hard.

All the female callers who got implants were happy with their decision.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Too little is known about the long-term health risks of silicone breast implants for U.S. regulators to consider allowing them back on the market, health and consumer groups said on Monday.

The United States banned silicone implants for most women in 1992 amid a controversy over whether they caused chronic diseases, but at least one company has applied to sell them again.

The National Organization for Women, consumer group Public Citizen and others want the Food and Drug Administration to delay its review of any applications until longer studies are completed.

Arguing that many problems do not appear for years after implantation, the groups want the FDA to require clinical trials following women for at least seven to 10 years, NOW President Kim Gandy said in an interview. The agency currently is reviewing about two years' worth of data, she said.

``Two years of data is not going to give you any valid information so that women will know what's going into their bodies,'' Gandy said.

In the early 1990s, many women alleged silicone implants led to serious health problems. But a 1999 Institute of Medicine study found silicone implants did not cause cancer, lupus or other chronic disorders, although they can rupture and present other problems.

Since 1992, silicone implants have been available only through clinical trials. Saline-filled implants remained on the market, but are not as popular. More than 300,000 U.S. women got breast implants last year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Chaim Amalek: Setting the Record Straight (albeit in a non-Euclidian sort of way)

Chaim Amalek writes:

I started reading the Granta piece [on Envy], when the tedium of it reminded me of a basic truth in life: outside of issues concerning sex and raising babies, women just don't have much to say to men. So I closed the page, and am writing to you instead.

WHITE WOMEN OF THE WEB (for which rhetorical purposes, asians are honorary whites, so that I can say "and is there any other kind?"), put aside your computers and pick up the clothes that your man has cast upon the ground before you! You do not belong here.

Cecile du Bois replies:

Does that mean bloggers? Emmanuelle Richard is white. Havrilesky is white. Mother is white. And a lot more white female smart bloggers apply. Whether or not if we have men, we belong here just as men do. No offense, if some of us sing either, Mr. Ford.

Mr. Luke Ford --I was thinking of Captain Jack Sparrow because Ford seems intimidatingly roguish but eccentric, but is very very beaucoup charming and interesting to converse with. Mom was thinking of a name like "Lou-Lou". The bird Loon, as in Doctorow's Loon Lake , but Ford is the opposite of loco. He is too serious studying T'Fillah and blogging to go nuts. Unrelated to birds, I thought of the name Lester...but for now, I'll call the men Mr. Welch and Mr. Ford and Emmanuelle Emmanuelle because it means "With God"...I'm crazy...

Chaim Amalek writes:

So Luke, now you're trying to make me look like some total tool, eh? For the record:

1. Mr. Ford has spent a considerable block of time living in New York. Do not ask him about it.

2. Cathy Seipp has more than fulfilled her duty to the human genome through her amazing work in creating (with some help, of course) and raising her daughter, from whom great things will be heard in the decades to come. Those for whom the fundamental duty to humanity has been met (e.g. Cathy Seipp) or for whom it properly lays in the future may have blogs.

3. The thing to keep in mind is that some of what Mr. Ford writes is intended as satire. But he is not a very good satirist.

4. The confusion many feel - that Mr. Amalek parrots Mr. Ford - could just as easily be due to Mr. Ford parroting Mr. Amalek. The latter might be the mouthpiece of the former. Or not. Personally, I don't think he exists, but if he did not, he would have to be invented for the purposes of this website, so that the other could spout off.

(As for you Luke, using a 14 year old kid to provide you with material for your web site - does her mom approve of this? I know that Hostile Dave does not, and that Jeff Wald WOULD not.)

Cathy Seipp replies: "Oh! Well, my worries about this have been laid to rest now. Thanks!"

Cecile du Bois writes:

Is Chaim Amalek Luke Ford ? My mother and I have been discussing who this Chaim Amalek really is. Can he be Mr. Ford? He lives in New York, and Mr. Ford doesn't, but his writing seems to echo Ford's. But on the other hand, Ford can just google facts about New York and read about it to portray a New Yorker convincingly like I did with Frances Hardy until her website went bazookas. The comment from below was not separated with a blockquote from Amalek's quote unlike most commenters on Ford's site. So readers, if you do some research and observing, the clues may lead you closer to the real Chaim Amalek. And if Mr. Chaim Amalek is reading this, please stand up! (Did you hear that Mr. Captain Jack Sparrow, Mr. Ford?)

JustMrT writes Cecile:

Do you really think that someone as self-centered as Luke is could bear to pretend to be someone else? Manipulating others into believing that he is clever enough to pull something like that off, conversely, would feed right into his egocentrism.

Furthermore, if Luke=Amalek, then who was the individual who, a few years back during Luke's brief brush with international fame as the co-host of an Internet radio show, was usually logged into the chatroom affiliated with the show making Amalek-like comments under various pseudonyms? Couldn't have been Luke; he was too busy talking, and dealing with the show's laughably primitive technological aspects.

Chabad messianist Ariel Sokolovsky writes:

Shalom Levi. The first chapter of your supposed bio makes you out to be first Jewish suicide bomber. Add more Torah links quotes links to active pages with daily classes Rebbe once had a visitor an editor of Jewish newspaper and he asked him exactly this same thing to add more Torah in it. Levi you are a Jew. Many of your visitors are too. Those who are not are Noahides and would benefit from links to noahide sites. DO an easy MITZVAH NOW! Hasten the revelation of the Rebbe King Moshiach. Perhaps in this merit your wishes and needs physical and spiritual will be fullfilled for what can be greater then causing hundreds of people to learn Torah and Chassidus? And it's so easy just add few quotes and links few times a week. For example since now is three weeks before Tishu B'Av, add link to laws of building of the Temple.

He Went To Hear David Broza Sing About Love

He showered. He combed his hair. He put on a blue shirt his sister made him buy in Australia three years ago, and slacks and a tie and black dress shoes.

He drives to the University of Judaism singles event 7/20. He sees old friends, now married. He sees old friends unmarried. He meets a girl from Israel. He eats Israeli salad and humus in a pocket pita.

He sees a date from last week. She's wrapped in a conversation with a guy in shorts.

He sits in the auditorium with a male acquaintance headed to La Jolla for a six-day vacation.

He sits behind Sam and Marcia Glaser.

His date stands up and yells his name. He turns and waves. She sits down beside the guy in shorts.

David Broza sings in many languages - Hebrew, Spanish, English - about love.

He feels the salad and humus and pita turn over in his stomach.

He went to hear David Broza sing about love.

Kobe Bryant's Accuser Tried To Commit Suicide Two Months Ago After Cheating On Her Boyfriend

Picture of Kobe's accuser? - she's on the left Name of Kobe's accuser

From the Orange County Register:

EAGLE, COLO – Everyone here knew her as the popular Eagle Valley Senior High School cheerleader springing with vibrant spirit and sweet smiles, as the beautiful singer always ready to perform in school musicals with the clearest voice and the strongest heart.

But her close friends have been doggedly protecting a secret in the unnerving days since the 19-year-old woman accused Los Angeles Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant of forcing her to have sex with him - a secret that Bryant's attorneys could use to undermine her credibility, legal experts say.

Two months before the woman went to the Eagle County Sheriff's Department on July 1 alleging that Bryant had sexually assaulted her, the woman suffered under such mental anguish that she overdosed on pills and was rushed to a hospital, her friends told The Orange County Register.

"I think it was just a cry for help," said Lindsey McKinney, 18, who lived at the woman's house in May, when the woman took the pills.

McKinney was visiting other friends when, about 2 a.m. one day, she learned from the woman's ex-boyfriend that the woman had "overdosed." McKinney rushed to the woman's Eagle home and found the woman incoherent, lethargic and seemingly drunk. "I was scared. She wasn't really talking at all," McKinney said. "I was like, ' you need to open your eyes.' "

Moments later, the woman's parents awoke and called 911. An ambulance responded and took the woman to a hospital, McKinney said. Some friends said they thought the overdose was an accident. Not McKinney.


DENNIS PRAGER SAYS 7/21/03: The rape of a name is as bad as a rape without violence. So why name the accused but not the accuser? As the victims of rape are 99% women, this is as blatant example of sexism as there is. I thought we were all about equality now.

You could argue that you don't name the accuser to protect her feelings and those of the men around her. But the feelings of those who are accused of rape, and those around him, are just as real and deep? Kobe's wife feels just as badly about this situation as Kobe's accuser.


Gutterboy writes: When it comes down to he said/she said, one party being a crackpot seals it by diminshing their credibility. No way should he be convicted on her word alone.

You can thank the "rape is never the victims fault" feminist bullshit for this one. If you get drunk with a guy and agree to go back to his hotel room alone, you should be prepared to f---. If you don't want it, don't put yourself in that situation.

In a perfect world this bitch would be slapped upside the head, levied a stupidity fine, and the case would be closed.

Eric Hilf writes:

"In a perfect world", or at least here in the imperfect USA, we usually wait for the trial and presentation of evidence before deciding who is guilty and who is not. Also, "in a perfect world", a woman is not called a "bitch".

I wasn't there, so I don't know what happened.

As for Saint Kobe, this guy is something. Maybe it's just me, but I found his statement self-serving at best, sickening at worst: "I love my wife with all my heart...You're a piece of my heart, you're the air I breathe." And yet just a few days earlier he was seemingly more than willing to commit 1) rape or 2) adultery (take your pick), in either case an act he must have known would, if discovered, hurt his wife terribly. At least "Gutterboy" chose his moniker well.

Chaim Amalek writes:

Of course, it goes without saying that under strict Talmudic standards of evidence, there is no possibility that Kobe could be convicted of rape. Certainly not on the strength of a woman's testimony. The safe course of action for a woman (and consonant with the doctrine of tznious) is never to be alone with a man in his hotel room, unless sex is contemplated and mutually desired or clearly unthinkable. Hot women in particular should not be working in hotels in jobs where they might have to violate this rule.

Two interesting tidbits about the Kobe Bryant matter in today's NY Post:

1. Kobe was named after a choice cut of Japanese beef; and

2. The man who so named Kobe did not approve of his marriage to a white woman on racial grounds.

I wonder, do Jews give their kids names like "Briskit" or "Gefilte"? "Gefilte Ford" - think about it!

Shabbos Dinner With Cathy Seipp, Cecile du Bois

For weeks, I've anticipated this night - some of my best Jewish friends from the writing world gathered around a sacred table to observe the Sabbath. I looked forward to this so much that I was sure I'd get sick. I didn't.

I cleaned up my hovel Friday afternoon. I took a nap. I tried to work but I couldn't concentrate.

At 5:45PM, I go outside and sit in my van and wait for Cathy Seipp and Cecile. They arrive shortly before 6PM and park behind me.

They get out carrying bags and wraps. I check them out to see if they are modest enough to bring to my Orthodox world. Cecile is. Cathy's chest and collar bone are sticking way out and need some serious covering up. Lucky she has a wrap, which she is eager to put on in the sweltering heat.

I tell Cecile she can't bring her camera. It's forbidden by Jewish Law to take pictures on the Sabbath.

This will be Cathy and Cecile's first time in an Orthodox synagogue and their first time at an Orthodox meal.

I show Cathy and Cecile my hovel. They don't pass out from horror. The extensive tour takes one minute.

We then turn and begin the walk to synagogue, past the home of the only Orthodox reporter at The Los Angeles Times. I'm so nervous, I've forgotten to bring a book, which is how I usually get through the long sessions of Jewish prayer. Luckily, on Friday nights, prayer only lasts an hour. And there's lots of singing.

We're among the first people to arrive at shul. Cathy covers up at the last minute. I lead her to the back seat in the women's section next to the mechitza (partition). I take my usual back seat in the men's section next to the mechitza. We don't talk once the prayer begins. I turn my back on the women, the source of temptation, and thump my way through the prayer book. I wish I could keep a tune.

I wish I was reproducing.

Then we walk to the home of an Australian friend. Six American friends join us. We race through the welcoming of the angels song, the blessing over the woman of the house, over the kids, over the washing of hands, over the bread and tore into the many-course dinner. I sit next to Cathy and Cecile and try to explain what is going on. I talk more about Judaism at the table than anyone else, even though I am among those who know the least.

I kindly point out to Cathy and Cecile that they can't be held accountable for their many sins because they were raised in captivity (raised in non-Orthodox homes), and therefore don't know God's Law. Due to the deft sensitivity I display, this goes down easy.

While I'm trying to be as incendiary as possible (Cathy is hard to freak out), other holier members of the table try to raise the spiritual level of the conversation.

The host tells a sad story about a pregnant unmarried Muslim woman in Turkey who was stoned. She did not die as intended and lingered for months before finally kicking the bucket. I say there are few things more frustrating than going to a stoning and finding the woman doesn't die right away. While I'm having a Monty Python-like moment, Cecile breaks out in loud wailing, verging on hysterics, about the fate of this poor woman, and the thousands like her in Muslim countries. Cecile determines she must work hard to prevent such suffering.

I'm chastened. I realize I've grown harden to human suffering and I'm touched that Cecile is able to cry over people she does not know. I was like that too when I was young.

The hostess points out all the things Cecile could do for suffering Jewish kids in Israel who've had limbs blown off by Palestinian terrorists. This elicited nods rather than sobs from Cecile.

Khunrum writes: "I am reminded of this unbelievable but true story. Some years ago a female friend of mine took a contract job in Saudi Arabia as a nurse. The position paid an excellent wage or she would never have considered going to such a repressive country. She told me this story of an execution she witnessed. The condemned were buried in holes in the ground up to their necks near the village square. Then a dump truck filled with rocks was backed up and emptied over their craniums. No walking wounded among this crew, they were rendered errrrrr! stone cold dead."

Fred writes: "And that was for a parking violation. You shoulda seen what they woulda done if they were speeding or something."

We leave after 11PM and walk home.

Cathy Seipp writes on her blog:

Cecile and I went with Luke Ford to Friday night services at his Orthodox shul and then to dinner at the home of his friends, a kindly Australian shrink and his wife and their four daughters. Luke and his friend the shrink like to watch cricket together on the computer.

This was not only my first time among the Orthodox but also my first time seeing Luke outside of his usual media junkie circles.

Odd observation number one: Luke looks like an Armani menswear ad even though he lives out of a serial killer van and an apartment no bigger than my kitchen. How does he manage this? Is it that the force is with him?

Odd observation number two: I knew we'd have to sit in the women's section, but I didn't know the strange thoughts this would inspire. You might think that the men and women are divided in the middle, but no; the men sit in the center section, and the women sit partitioned off to the left or the right, separated by lattice work. So this means that the men -- and only the men -- have an unobstructed view of the rabbi, and the women have to peer at the action (and the men) through the lattice.

You become infected with the feeling that the men are therefore Very Important People, privy to all sorts of Important Information, and should be treated with respect. This is an entirely unfamiliar notion for me.

I glanced at Luke through the lattice, davening like a pro -- and he really does know all the Hebrew too -- and suddenly he no longer seemed like regular old Luke (OK, "regular" may be a stretch) but Luke Ford, International Man of Mystery. Say, maybe I ought to volunteer to have those 12 children he wants! Throw in a few sets of twins and I should be done with the whole project by the time I'm eligible for Medicare.

Luke said later, as we walked to his friends' home for dinner, that the sound of a woman's voice raised in song is like fingernails on a blackboard to him. I pointed out that the women in this particular shul were singing.

"I don't hold with that!" he said firmly, adding that women should be home cooking and taking care of babies and leave the spiritual and intellectual activites to men. You'd have to imagine a booming Australian accent to get the full effect here.

But then what if people like Jill Stewart and me and Anita Busch did nothing but stayed home and cooked and had babies? That would put rather a crimp in his Hall of Fame for Female Journos wouldn't it?

I suppose this is why the word dichotomy was invented.

Anyway, the shabbas dinner was lovely, and when you see the cozy family feeling it evokes you begin to understand the point. The host seemed amazingly kindly and relaxed even though he'd had what must have been a rather rough day: he'd had to help subdue, with seven other men, a crazed PCP patient who'd without warning punched a poor male nurse right in the face. Blood spattered everywhere.

But the washing of the Sabbath dishes in cold water after dinner would be the dealbreaker for me. Cold-water dishwashing. I don't hold with that!

I reply: My friend G--- is raising five kids and she works for AP in the LA bureau. But Orthodox women are very tough, much stronger than their fragile secular counterparts. I think it's 'cause they're not draining their blood every month because they're constantly pregnant. See the meritorious influence of the partition?

Cathy replies: "Oh, I do! Totally! It's really surprisingly effective. But this "not draining blood" each month....Hey, YOU trying being pregnant and then you tell me that THAT'S not the most tiring thing you've ever experienced. Having a period each month? Not a problem. It's FAB!"

Rabbi Ibbar of Anshe Crazy Feminist Hags on the Upper West Side writes: "I'm exchanging email messages with a good friend, female, who believe George Bush is another Adolf Hitler. Women are impervious to reason. It is hard to think clearly about weighty political matters such as concern us men when you are bleeding all the time. I mean, if I were bleeding, I wouldn't be thinking about politics.

"I would amend the Constitution of the United States to forbid women who are "on the rag" from voting. We would employ the same people we now use for airport security to make the check. And we would not discrimiate in that employment on the basis of gender, either. This would go far to resolving certain problems within the Democratic party, which seems to be intent on feminizing itself out of existence."

Cecile du Bois writes on her Israel blog:

Mr. Ford was on the aisle seat of the Orthodox synagogue right next next to Mum but separated by a wall with holes so they could privately whisper and giggle together. Or so Mum could try to show Mr. Ford her magic Zion sign with her fingers. (Separating your hand by grouping your ring finger and pinky together and pushing that group away from your middle finger and your index finger). Mr. Ford was staring intently, humming at his prayer book trying not to flinch as his worst nightmare was happening in front of him. All the women ahead of us were singing, and in my opinion they sounded like old birds. Mr. Ford thinks that they should just shut up and make babies. Of course, he was not completely serious when he said that.

We went to his friend's house for dinner afterwards. His friend's wife was a lovely but tired woman with four kids to look after and her husband, as well. (Some common domestic bickering over whose turn it was to hold the baby took place during dinner. Very amusing, to see a traditional Jewish household for the first time. Very lovely as well.)

Ford was supposed to have three dates this week, but the third date cancelled, so I guess Ford was disheartened but his second date had chemistry, he said. You may call him a Don Juan, but he is just a normal Jewish guy looking for a possible good wife to carry his ideal twelve children.

He has a modest home, with a computer in once corner, a microwave, in another and a refrigerator with bananas in the third, and a small bookshelf filled with Jewish Literary books and I suppose Dennis Prager books in the middle. A sleeping bag rests adjacent to the refrigerator, so a midnight snack is not terribly hard, and a lamp or two--plus a bathroom, of course. But he doesn't cook, as he is a man about town--professionally and socially. To get the news for his blog and ideas for a future book in mind.

During dinner, some conversation shifted to some 35 year old woman in Turkey who was stoned to death because she was pregnant out of wedlock. Her own father had to do the honor killing. The nurses who cared for her in her last days at the hospital would not allow any of her sordid family to carry the coffin. I dissolved, perhaps due to my womanly woes.

Saturday morning, I put on my tzitzit, black suit, stiff white shirt, black tie, black shoes and trudged through the heat, carrying two Jewish books, to shul. I stood outside in the sun with a friend and the lovely policewoman/security guard. Then I walked in, sat next to my South African friend, and sweltered for two-and-a-half hours. It was so stuffy I had a hard time concentrating on my book.

Then downstairs for kiddish. I sit next to three learned Orthodox rabbis and figuratively sit at their feet for 90-minutes. One says that American Talmudists are more analytical than Israeli, who study more pages of text, but not as intensively. I make the claim that the best claims for Orthodox Judaism in the modern world are made by writers in the diaspora, such as the Chief Rabbi of England, Johnathan Sacks.

I walk a mile to a friend's home for lunch. Nobody is home. I sit in the sun. A woman comes. We sit in the sun. She says I look 22 years old.

The clan comes. We go into the air conditioning. The children play in the pool. We begin lunch at 3:45. I rush away from desert at 5:30PM to attend a class. Sixty people are jammed in a living room. I grab the last seat. It's stuffy. I can't sit still. I can't stay awake. At 7PM, I walk home.

Dennis Prager On Santa Monica Farmers Market Killings

An 86-year old man, Russell Weller, drove into the outdoor farmers market in Santa Monica 7/16/03, killing at least nine people.

Dennis Prager, still shaking with fury: It's not right that this old man got to go home and sleep in his bed after killing so many people. I understand the people who wanted to beat him up after pulling him his car, even though that would've been wrong.

``Mr. Weller and his family want to express their deepest sympathies to the victims and their families of the tragic accident earlier today,'' Weller family attorney Jim Bianco said in a statement Wednesday. ``This was an unintentional and unfortunate accident.''

Why did his family have their lawyer make a statement regretting what happened? Why didn't anyone from the family face the music?

This wasn't an accident. An accident implies no one is at fault. The man didn't have a heart attack. This was negligence on the man's part. Negligence means not doing what normal prudent people would do.

Killings are a big deal, even if they are negligent rather than intentional. You shouldn't be able to kill nine people and then nothing happen to you. It's not right that people are killed and then society goes on as if nothing happened.

Prager linked his arguments into the Torah's teachings on non-intentional killings.

Dennis says he got into an argument with his wife Fran over this. She says Dennis is being harsh. We don't know enough.

DP: It's not about blaming this man. It's about taking killing of the innocent seriously. When innocent people are killed, do we do nothing to the person who killed them?

We should be careful about making it difficult for the elderly to drive. No car is the equivalent of house imprisonment.

Woman calls. "If my 16-year old son had done that, they would've beat him up. This is politically correct. Because it's old, we're not supposed to get mad at them."

Alexander the Poet writes: Sadly, I think American society will always be fascinated with those that do evil/tragic deeds. Criminals become famous cult stars. But I guess, we as a society are at fault because we let the media know this by reading/watching programs where such tragic events are sensationalized, in effect encouraging for more of the same type of news delivery. Last October 2002, the nation was glued to CNN watching the whole DC Sniper tragedy unfold. It got to a point where some people I'd imagine were waiting to hear of another shooting take place cause CNN presented it in such a theatrical fashion. But America is a nation that has more than its share of weirdos, sickos, and freaks. And until the day comes when we let the media know that we don't wish to treat criminals as movie stars, then only then, will we start caring about the victims involved. It's pretty sad to know that this 86 yr old man that did this horrible deed will probably be given tv/movie/book offers and make money off of it. And to top it all off, we will eat it all up because we are fascinated with such people.

Hear F--- Word For First Time In Orthodox Shul

I was at a Sephardic synagogue tonight listening to some elementary and over-hyped lectures on relationships. One thing I love about Sephardim is that you see ultra-orthodox Jews, with long beards and sidelocks, mixing with secular Jews, talking, eating, drinking. You don't see that in Ashkenazi Jewish life.

On the down side, you see behavior in a Sephardic shul you'd rarely see in an Ashkenazic shul. Such deviators would be thrown out.

Cell phones were going off constantly during the lectures tonight. The guy sitting next to me had his cell phone beep on three separate occasions. The first time, someone hissed, "Come on."

The Sephardi responded, "Shut up."

After the third time his phone beeped, he was told, "Turn it off."

And he replied, "F--- off."

Right in the middle of the rabbi's lecture, he said in a strong audible voice, "F--- off."

I have never heard that in an Orthodox synagogue before, certainly not right in front of a rabbi lecturing.

Los Angeles Times Managing Editor Dean Baquet Ended My Journalism Career

Brian Robin writes: Luke: I read your postings about St. Dean Baquet on Romenesko's site and was heartened to see someone else out there feels the same way about the man as I do.

Of course, I have a reason for this. The man is largely responsible for ending my journalistic career.

You probably heard the story last summer: bored sportswriter at Times community edition writes his congressman on company e-mail, weasely press secretary sends copy of e-mail to grand poobahs downtown, sportswriter gets suspended "pending an investigation" then fired. If not, a cursory google search of my name and LA Weekly should refresh your memory.

Let me tell you about Mr. Baquet's role in all this. Keep in mind Dean Baquet didn't know Brian Robin from Christopher Robin. Didn't know about the three SPJ plaques, the glowing employee evaluation from the last review, the fact I could write circles around three fourths of the space-occupying people on Spring Street.

No. Write congressman angry letter on company e-mail, you need to go. Now.

Word from very credible sources said that Baquet wanted me fired on the spot. Despite the lengths my old boss went through to save my job -- lengths that eventually involved asking HER boss (the head of the community editions) to pull the trigger -- she wasn't successful.

If that wasn't enough, Baquet told my former staffmates that "if you ever expect to be taken seriously as journalists, you'll get rid of this person immediately..."

To make a long story short, after 10 months of beating my head up against a wall, I finally caught on at a sports PR firm in the Valley.

Of course, Baquet is mentioned as a combination of William Allen White and Ben Bradlee, with a touch of Gene Roberts and Robert Maynard thrown in.


J.R. Taylor writes: "Luke: I can't believe you let Brian Robin make a fool out of himself without joining in the fun. That little bitch was covering high-school sports in the Valley (on a part-time level, if I remember correctly), and now he wants us to believe he was unjustly fired despite "the fact [he] could write circles around three fourths of the space-occupying people on Spring Street"? Not likely. Robin was a sad little douchebag whose note to a Congressman was worthy of some 8th-grader trying to impersonate Michael Moore. He was certainly an embarrassment to the L.A. Times."

Conservative Rabbis

Jenn writes: "Rabbi's kid. You probably haven't heard of it unless you know a rabbi or his/her family. I'm an "RK" as we call it.

"I don't understand your comment about conservative rabbis not necessarily being more deeply devout than their congregants... I don't know why anyone would assume they would be more religious, observant or devout. They are basically teachers and therefore should be and probably are more well educated in certain areas than their congregants (or students), but there's no prerequisite of being more religious. I'm not conservative, but have just spoken to a few conservative acquaintances regarding your comment."

Luke replies: There's are two old saws about Conservative Jews. One, that here are no Conservative Jews, only Conservative rabbis. And another old saw - there are no Conservative Jews. Their rabbis are basically Orthodox and the congregants are basically Reform.

There's a huge gulf in religious practice between Conservative rabbis and Conservatives congregants, far bigger gulf than in the Orthodox and Reform movements. Conservative rabbis all keep shabbos and kashrut while fewer than 20% of Conservative congregants do.

Chaim Amalek writes Luke: "It would help your cause a lot if you went to Israel, located a brothel in which Christian Russian girls were being held against their will to service the base desires of swarthy semites, and burst in, guns blazing, saving them all from such degeneracy and did so in the name of all that is good in the Torah. Than you can talk Rumdar into doing likewise in Thailand. Just think what it did for Travis Bickle."

Khunrum writes: Guns blazing. Are you joking? I might shoot some of my good friends by mistake.

Luke Seeks Street Cred

Chaim Amalek writes: You know, you really are bi, in that there are two sides to you. Around desirable young women, you are a heterosexual man. But whenever you are around a jewess, or should I say, a jewess of a certain age, you become a fag-hag, gossiping and whatnot, chattering away the day over lunch (which you never fail to describe).

JMT writes: The term "fag hag" refers to a heterosexual woman who prefers to associate socially with homosexual men, rather than with other heterosexual women or hetersexual men. Publish this quickly, before "L-patin-in-the Making" Deutsch sends you five pages on the subject.

Dave Deutsch writes: I have no idea what a "L-patin" is, but if I'm a "L-patin-in-the-making," I have to presume it has something to do with being balding, overweight, and unfulfilled. I have no objection to "fag-hag." Like "wigger," it is a term which has moved beyond the implications of its original derogatory nature. I put it in the same category as "shylock" for a loan shark. While the term may have originally had an antisemitic overtone to it, it is now simply a term for a loan shark. Similarly, "fag-hag" is simply descriptive, not derogatory, and, like "wigger," is really the only word to succinctly explain the phenomenon being described.

Kobe Bryant Now Has Street Cred?

C. Jemal Horton writes on Indystar.com: So now Kobe Bryant finally is supposed to be accepted by inner-city black kids?

So now the middle class-bred Bryant is supposed to have -- I hate this term -- street credibility?

All because the Los Angeles Lakers star recently was arrested in Colorado on a felony count of sexual assault?

Flip through enough television channels and you'll hear this conclusion more than once from the high-brow experts: Kobe's got "street cred" now. Inner-city black kids, who loathed him before, can identify with him now. His Nikes will sell like crazy.

All's Well That Ends Well

I've been studying Shakespeare's play, All's Well That Ends Well. Its message (stand by your man) is insufficiently honored in our day.

I need an attractive female date for the new movie Swimming Pool.

Izzy Kabibil writes Marc W.: "Sunshine" is a great film, but "Swimming Pool" is lots more fun. It is also a great date movie, because it shows women what men REALLY want, which most media advice mavens (usually female) seem not to want to confront for fear of offending their female readers.

Women fake sex numbers

From The Times' Mark Henderson in London July 15, 2003

WOMEN are more likely than men to lie about their sex lives.

They are so concerned about society's dim view of female promiscuity that they routinely claim to have slept with fewer partners than they actually have.

Men are more honest, accurately reporting their true number of partners, despite social pressure to look like a Don Juan.

The findings of a US study offer the best explanation yet for a paradox that has baffled psychologists since sex surveys began in the 1960s.

Heterosexual men routinely report they have slept with more partners than do women. These figures, however, are statistically impossible - the average for both genders should be about the same.

Women are serial liars when it comes to sex. Not only do they "forget" about certain partners, but they also add years to the age at which they lost their virginity, and refuse to tell the truth about masturbating or using pornography.

The results, published in the Journal of Sex Research, suggest the sexual proclivities of men and women are much closer than traditional research has indicated. "Women are so sensitive about being labelled 'sluts' or 'whores' that they are very reluctant to be honest about their sexual behaviour, even in supposedly anonymous surveys," said Terri Fisher, who led the study at Ohio State University. "You would assume that when a heterosexual man has sex, a woman is having sex at the same time, but the statistics always suggest otherwise. That can't be true. We thought males would be over-inflating their experience while females under-report it, but that's not what we found."

In the study, Dr Fisher and Michele Alexander, of the University of Maine, asked 96 men and 105 women, all of whom were heterosexual students between the ages of 18 and 25, to answer questions about their sex lives under three different conditions. Members of one group were left alone in a room, and told their answers would be completely anonymous.

A second group filled in the same questionnaire, but respondents were told a researcher was watching the survey and could match their face to their form. With the final group, the scientists attached electrodes to the volunteers' necks, forearms and hands, and told them they were being wired to a lie detector test.

Those women who thought they were being watched reported an average of 2.6 sex partners, compared with 3.4 in the anonymous group. Those who thought they were attached to a lie detector were still more forthcoming, giving an average of 4.4 partners.

There was no such spread among the men. Those on the dummy polygraph claimed four partners, compared with 3.7 for the other groups - a difference that is not statistically significant.

A Chat With Edgar J. Scherick's Cousin

On 3/30/03 Eric J. Feldman, cousin of Edgar J. Scherick, writes me:

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.

Eric phones me Friday afternoon, 7/11/03.

Eric: "Edgar was a very private guy. I hadn't seen him in about ten years. I had a week-long business trip to LA last year so I made arrangements to see him. For the past decade, I wasn't coming out West and he wasn't coming to New York as much.

"I'm the only one in the family, outside of his immediate family, to see him in ten years. I don't know why Edgar never kept in touch with anyone from his family. At Edgar's Century City apartment, I met his son Brad, an extended cousin of mine, who didn't know that I existed, or that his father had an extended family. I explained to him how I was related and he said, 'That's just like my father.'

"Edgar's mother and my grandmother were sisters. He's my mother's first cousin.

"In your profile of Edgar, you talk about growing up in Long Beach [Long Island]. I still live there. I'm a third generation Long Beach person.

""Edgar's parents moved to Long Beach. My grandparents moved to Long Beach. There was a third sister, Edna Roth, who Edgar mentioned in his interview. I was named for Edna (the "E" in Eric).

"Edgar is about one year older than my mother and a few years older than my uncle. There were seven first cousins in that generation - my mother and uncle, Edgar, his sister Shirley, cousin Stanley (Edna's son), and Barbara and Roy, children of Manny, Edgar's uncle (brother of his mother and my grandmother).

"I remember Edgar as a child. I believed he moved to California when I was a teenager. I'm not sure if he cut off all contact with his family, or if he kept to himself while in New York. I don't remember him ever coming by my house while I was growing up. My mother always characterized him as an "intellectual snob," in other words, someone who was very bright who would not be afraid to remind you of that fact. He always liked my mother. He and my uncle did not get along. I don't think he got along with many people in the family.

"There was a mystique about Edgar. I was too young when he was with ABC to be aware of his accomplishments there. I do remember when I was a kid, he had put out his first film - For the Love of Ivy. There was this big buzz about it. Everyone in the family was talking about him.

"Everyone in the family referred to him as Eddie. No one called him Edgar except me, and that was after I got to know him. Our cousin Stanley (who also lived in Long Beach) used to come to my house all the time. He was the one who kept in touch with Edgar during those years (1970's). He always relayed the news that Edgar had a movie coming out in the theaters or on television. Edgar was quite prolific during those years. And I think that is what built this mystique in the family about him. He was certainly the most "famous" in the extended family. While the majority of the family became successful in their fields, no one in our family had anything remotely related to his kind of success.

"In the late '60s, early '70s, Edgar had a house on Point Lookout a small beach front community near Long Beach. I remember my grandfather taking me over there. Edgar had four kids, all within a few years of my age. I think I saw them once while growing up. He was married to Carol, his first wife. He drove a Volkswagen bus to carry his clan around. There was nothing flashy or ostentatious about him. His family would never mingle. I didn't know any of his kids. He kept to himself. He stayed in touch with those in the family he wanted to - his cousin Stanley, his sister Shirley, and occasionally my mother. His sister Shirley and my mother were best of friends until Shirley passed away.

"I remember Edgar and his sister Shirley at my Bar Mitzvah. I remember that he gave me a generous gift. Shirley is responsible for my first drink. I remember her exclaiming "There's the Bar Mitzvah boy" and dragging me off to the bar. Edgar gave me a generous gift, more than anybody else gave.

"I went to college to study film and communications, just because I was interested in it. It had nothing to do with Edgar. There was this film theory course I took and the professor assigns us to watch a movie on TV one evening, and write a paper on the underlying mores and values. The film was Edgar's "The Stepford Wives."

"I finish college (at Adelphi University on Long Island, about 1981) and I'm looking for my first job in the business. My mother says to call Edgar. He'd moved out to California. I was reluctant to call. My mother gets a hold of someone to call in Edgar's office. I think it was Susan Pollock. I call her and she sets up an appointment with me for Edgar for Saturday morning at 8:30 at his apartment in New York City. So what do I do? I show up in a three-piece suit. I go in there thinking, 'I'm going to impress this guy. He's going to want to help me.' He shot me down so bad. I thought I'd impress him with my knowledge of the industry by talking about one company in particular. He says, 'Don't tell me about this company. I know everything there is to know about this company. I'm friends with the president of the company.'

"I learned something then. You don't talk to Edgar. You answer his questions. He throws questions at you left and right. Like, 'What are you doing? What do you want to do?' And, at that time, I couldn't answer him. I didn't know what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted a job. That's not what he was asking me. I thought he blew me away. Later, I realized that's just his style.

"A couple of years later, I was working at MTV. I was also a member of the International Radio and Television Society. There were these monthly luncheons at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. I go to the biggest one of the year with the theme - ask the three network executives. They had the heads of programming at all three broadcast networks on the dais. I'm there with my boss. They're introducing everyone on the dais, like Brandon Tartikoff. 'And then the host says ‘this guy here used to have the job of one of these three, and now he's a movie executive, Edgar Scherick.'

"I'm sitting in the balcony at the back of the Waldorf. When it was over, I run up to the dais to see Edgar. He sees me and says, 'What the hell are you doing here?' I say I come to these luncheons all the time. He asks, 'What are you doing?' Right away he starts with the questions. 'Are you working?' He goes, 'Here's my number in the City. Call me. I want to talk to you.'

"I called him the next day. He starts in with the questions. 'Who got you that job?' Nobody. I got it on my own. He liked that. He made a time for me to come by his apartment, which was two blocks from my work. I go over there and he throws questions at me about my work and about the family.. And that's when my relationship with him really started.

"I went out to LA a few times on vacation. I'd stop in and see Edgar at his house. When he'd come to New York, we'd get together. He was always interested in what I was doing. I would try to get information from him. I'd ask him about a film. He'd give me a three-word sentence and change the subject. He never talked about any of his work.

"Once, I met him for breakfast for the Dorsett Hotel on 54th Street. This was apparently, a hangout for ABC executives. He knows everyone there from twenty years earlier when he was at ABC. A sea of people come by to say hello to Edgar. I read the trades and I recognize these people. It's the head of this network, the head of that company. He had that aura about him. People wanted to talk to him. People wanted to do business with him.

"I remember once talking to one of the top three guys at NBC that I met at an International Radio and Television Society event. I asked him if he knew Edgar. He said, 'Sure. I know him well.' But the way he said it was, 'Yeah, I know him but I don't like him. I respect him.' I got that impression from a lot of people with Edgar. Everyone knew him and respected him but not everyone liked him. They would never talk bad about him but they would never praise him either.

"Your piece put a lot of things together in my head. I realize now that he brought them product they needed for broadcast.

"So we're having breakfast. He says, 'Are you finished yet?' I say yeah. He says, 'My friend Howard is here. Let's go over and say hello.' We get up and go a couple of tables over and it's Howard Cosell. At the time, Cosell's hands were shaking. He died a few years later. We hung out with the guy for 40-minutes. I walked back to my office and the receptionist said, 'You look like you are in a good mood.' I said, 'I just had breakfast with Howard Cosell.'

"Outside of that first day when I went to Edgar in my goofy three-piece suit, I never asked him for anything. I treated him as a relative and a friend, not as somebody who could do something for me. I think he appreciated that.

"When I lost my job at MTV in the late eighties, I tried to get another one. Edgar knew about it. He insisted I send him my resume. A few weeks later, I got an envelope in the mail from Edgar's office. It was a copy of a letter he wrote to a guy named Michael Fuchs, who at the time was chairman and CEO of HBO. I still have this letter. In it, it says, 'I have a cousin who's looking for a job. He's interested in such and such. I understand you have this position open. I'd consider it a personal favor if you would see him.' I couldn't believe it.

"I get a call a couple of days later from HBO. They want to talk to me. I have a whole series of interviews there but I never got the job. It broke my heart. I thought, 'If I can't get in the door with an intro to the chairman, I'm never getting a job in this business.' That's when I changed careers and went into computers and never looked back.

"The last time I think anyone in the family saw Edgar was 1991 when my oldest brother got married and Edgar went to the wedding. He sat [with his second wife Marge] a couple of tables over from me with the older people. I remember him and Marge getting up to go outside to get some air. He sees me and he gestures for me to come with him. I walk out with him. And you should've seen the looks of all the relatives as I went for a walk with Edgar. I think shock best describes it as no one knew I had a relationship with him. I don't think many people spoke with Edgar that night. Maybe it was because they were afraid or intimidated, or just did not know what to say to him. He could be an intimidating guy.

"From that time, until last year, I don't recall seeing Edgar once. I spoke to him many times. I was the only one to call him to tell him that this relative is happy, this one's sad, this one's dead.

"I called him in 1999 to tell him my grandmother (Edgar's Aunt) had passed away. He'd already had the stroke and he was already bedridden. I'd heard he was ill but I didn't know the extent of it. I made a major faux pas. I didn't know [Marge had divorced him].

"When Edgar called me back, I could tell his voice was different. It was husky and his speech was slurred. I told him that his aunt (his mother's sister) had passed away. I asked him how Marge was. I had no idea what happened between them. He replied, 'She's fine.' We were only on the phone a few minutes when he said, 'I can't talk now. I'm tired.'

"I didn't talk to him much for a few years. I figure he's ill. I'm busy.

"Last September, I went to LA to work at a trade show. I call Edgar's office and spoke to Stephen Abranson. Nobody in his office knew me. Stephen goes to Edgar and says, 'There's a cousin by the name of Eric Feldman who's coming to LA and wants to visit you.' And Edgar said, 'Oh yeah, he's a nice guy. I want to see him.' Stephen and Lynette [Edgar's Filipino nurse] were stunned as they had never heard of me.

"I go to see Edgar at his Century City apartment. He looks happy to see me. I say, 'Edgar, how are you?" And he says, 'I'm an invalid.' He looked vastly different. He'd gained a lot of weight. He had an eye patch.

"We talked for a while. He had a massage therapist out. It was just like the old days. Edgar was firing questions at me. His first question was, 'So, how many relatives do I have alive?' He asked many questions about the family. He asked me if I was married. I said no. He said, 'Why not?' I try to say something funny like, 'No girl asked me yet.' He ignores me and goes to the next question. We played that game for a bit but this was different.

"I told him that I'm real proud of him. With a puzzling look on his face, he asks why? I told him about watching the movie The Path To War on HBO in April. As the movie unfolds, I say to myself, this looks like something Edgar would do (I was not aware that the film was his). The movie ends and there are the credits, and it is his film. I told him, I knew you were ill. Millions of people never make a movie in their life and you made it from here [the sick bed]. His eyes lit up. He was so happy. And he started telling me about the film. He told me more about his work in that little time together than my whole life with him.

"I come back Sunday. Lynette says, 'I don't know how long Edgar's got. We were up all night. We were at the hospital at 4AM.' I stayed with Edgar for a couple of hours. He was watching the football game and drifting in and out of sleep. Lynette kept saying ‘Edgar, wake up, Eric is sitting there' to wake him up. Edgar responded, ‘so let him sit. It will do him good to sit there.' Interestingly, I noticed many family resemblances. He had the same eyes and facial expressions as my grandmother. I even saw a touch of my Uncle in him.

"I asked him if he had anything in the works. He said he was working on a film called 'D.C. 9/11.' He told me what it was about. I asked who was going to play the president. He said they didn't have anyone yet. The script wasn't done. It was the only time he told me about a project in the works. That's why when I read your piece, I thought, 'Here's everything I've ever wanted to ask this guy. You had it. He opened up to you. Edgar probably knew it was close to the end and he had so much to share that he had never shared with anybody.'

"When I was on my way out the door, and we were saying good-bye, he says, 'If there's anything I can do for you, let me know.' I made him a happy man when I said, 'Edgar, I've got everything I want.' He had the biggest grin on his face because he knew that I came to see him to see him. Not to ask for a favor. I think in retrospect that reason was why I was one of the few in the family he ever bothered with. For example, I know of one of his first cousins his age that tried to call him and Edgar wouldn't return the calls.

"Then I got a call a couple of months after my visit. Edgar had died. That was a Thursday. The memorial service was Saturday. There was no way I could get there. I also realized that if I went, I would not know a soul in the place. None of his kids know me. As much as I wanted to attend, I was concerned about giving the impression that I was there with an agenda since no one would know me.

"In all the years of knowing Edgar, there was only one thing I wanted to ask him for - a simple little thing that he would've laughed at and probably not done - I wanted a bit part in a movie. One page of dialogue. If you ever saw the movie The King of Comedy. He has a bit part in it. Similar to that type of role. The only reason I wanted it was to say I did it. When I was at MTV, I got the chance to be on a couple of TV commercials. But I never asked him for this because I never wanted him to think I wanted a relationship with him to get something from him.

"I got the impression that many people who went to see Edgar wanted something from him. He taught me a valuable lesson. If you want something from somebody, you have to ask yourself what value are you bringing them?

"I now live several blocks from where Edgar grew up. His mother passed away when I was four years old. Edgar's sister Shirley loved me. She didn't have any children.

"A few days after Edgar died, Rhone Arledge passed away. Then I read in Newsday about five ABC television executives who passed away within a few weeks of each other. One of them was Jake Keever, who was an old friend of Edgar's. He was head of sales at ABC for many years. He died two weeks before Edgar."