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Nikki Finke's Case Against Disney Upheld

From Nikki Finke's law firm O'Donnell & Shaeffer LLP:

LOS ANGELES -- The California Court of Appeal has rejected an attempt by the Walt Disney Co. to dismiss all claims filed by veteran entertainment business journalist Nikki Finke arising out of her firing by the New York Post because of Disney's complaints over two articles she wrote about the high-profile Winnie-the-Pooh merchandising litigation, Slesinger v. Disney.

The ruling was handed down on Monday, July 28, 2003. In a unanimous 37-page published opinion, the three appellate judges ruled Finke had shown a probability of prevailing on her causes of action against Disney for libel, intentional and negligent interference with contract, intentional interference with prospective business advantage, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

The Court's decision also clarified that news reporters are not public figures merely because they are read by the public, have bylines and/or cover public issues. Accordingly, Finke does not have to prove malice in order to prevail on her libel claim.

"This is a banner day for all journalists," Finke's lead counsel Pierce O'Donnell said Tuesday about the Court of Appeal's ruling in Finke's favor. "Influential companies like Disney cannot manipulate the legal system to squash legitimate claims challenging heavy-handed conduct in defaming conscientious reporters and getting them fired for doing their job."

Finke commented: "Reporters should not be punished for writing truthful and accurate articles even about the powerful. I look forward to complete vindication by a Los Angeles jury."

On April 12, 2002, Finke filed a lawsuit against Disney for defaming her and successfully getting her terminated from the New York Post because she had authored two articles about the on-going Pooh litigation that displeased Disney. In her articles, Finke accurately reported that the trial court had sanctioned Disney $90,000 for destroying documents and that Disney could potentially take a huge hit to its bottom line if its license to exploit Winnie-the-Pooh and the related characters were cancelled.

In response, Disney filed an anti-SLAPP motion, pursuant to California Civil Procedure Code Section 425.16, claiming Finke sought to chill Disney's free speech rights and attacking all of Finke's causes of action against Disney.

In July of 2002, Judge Gregory Alarcon of the Los Angeles Superior Court rejected Disney's anti-SLAPP motion, ruling that the anti-SLAPP law did not apply and that Finke's lawsuit should go forward. Disney immediately appealed that ruling. The Court of Appeal held that Finke's lawsuit should proceed.

Although the Court of Appeal reversed the Superior Court's ruling that the anti-SLAPP law did not apply to Finke's causes of action, the Court of Appeal went on to find that Finke -- even though she has not had the opportunity to conduct any discovery -- had established a "reasonable probability" of success on the merits of her case as to her causes of action for tortious interference, libel, and infliction of emotional distress.

From more info, go here:

Joe Shea writes LA Observed: This decision is a substantial one as to defamation, libel and slander issues, especially with respect to whether or not journalists are public figures. Under the same reasoning that was applied to Nikki's status, I probably would be deemed a public figure. That means people can make false statements about me with relative impunity. You can't make them about Nikki, though... and, generally, you can't make them about most reporters, thank God, because, as the court says, they don't have access to the media they write in to rebut such false or defamatory statements. Publishers and editors do. I think the journalists among us ought to read this decision with special care.

Write Out The Tension

Dennis Prager says: When you have tension with somebody, write to them. It's more effective than talking it out. People write in a more understated way than they speak. If you handwrite it, it's hard to edit and hard to send. The ideal is to email.

DP: I have engaged in this in personal and business life. It is an unbelievable discovery. When you confront someone verbally, everyone gets tense and defensive and then aggressive. But if it is written, you can take your time.

Typically in an argument, one person will say, "I never said that." And you won't know. With writing, you know.

Luke: I like these suggestions and have used them for over a decade. The problem is - most women I've used them on have not appreciated the technique. They say I write things I wouldn't say in person. That's probably true. I don't like confrontation in personal life and tend to go along to get along. When I write however, I can express what I really feel.

A male caller to Prager replicated my experience. He left a list of problems in a letter to his wife and went off to work. She called him in tears, thinking they were headed for divorce. His friends had similar experiences.

Prager responded: You're a typical male. You think because she's crying that she's really upset.

Caller: She said we were headed for divorce.

Prager: She was emoting.

Natalie: Email caused two unpleasant experiences for me. One ended a friendship with a female. A daughter in law had a huge meltdown over it.

Prager: Most men loathe confrontation and some women do not either. Writing enables you to confront over things you won't do otherwise.

Natalie: Women tend to overreact.

DP: Women teach us to be more in touch with our feelings. We have to teach women how to talk more rationally when upset.

Natalie: These two issues were gnawing at me. I had to confront and I'm glad.

Male caller: If I were with my wife, I couldn't say many of the things I'd say if I wrote a letter.

DP: Maybe you need to say those things. Many men are afraid to confront their wives. They need to confront and this is the way.

Susan Brownmiller Was Wrong

Amy Alkon writes: Dear Luke, There's actually a whole book filled with data showing that rape is motivated by sex, not violence. It's "A Natural History Of Rape, The Biological Bases Of Sexual Coercion" by biology professor Randy Thornhill and anthropology instructor Craig T. Palmer (MIT Press, 2000). "The main reason for the denial that rapists are sexually motivated," they write on p. 149, "almost certainly stems from political ideology." After looking at mountains of data, they view rape as biologically based but not inevitable. Like me, they suggest that the victims can sometimes prevent rape by acting prudently and reasonably. Of course, this kind of thinking does run contrary to feminism's persistent infantilism of women. --Amy

PS Cecile's bits on your blog are extremely entertaining! The girl just needs a platform and she's two parts star (and one part star/loose cannon). Luckily, I'm just a friend and a fan, not a parent!

None Of You Are Perverts, Eh?

Cathy Seipp's tempestuous 14 year old daughter "Cecile" writes on her blog:

Mom is so ironic and such a hypocrite. She... just loves to boss me around, and says for me to think of some pathetic ugly non de plume.. And she says that when I turn 18, I should use my real name. So I will, because on Luke Ford you can see "Same for a black man" section in which mom talks about me. I think it's about time to reveal myself. My name is..... I am fourteen years old and I live in Los Angeles. That you all know. But in case if any of you fantasize about ripping off my clothes or raping me, I will never tell you where I live or what school I go to for my own damn safety. After all, none of you are pervets, 'eh'?

Cathy Seipp writes on Cecile's blog: "YOU don't need to talk about clothes-ripping etc so please change the above and calm down before you get in big trouble. With me."

I wonder if someone is about to lose her blogging privileges?

Writing is a mirror to the mind, as Dennis Prager says. It's not Cecile's blog that's to blame for her unhappiness. Her writing simply reveals the floods of emotion and contradictory feelings that regularly overwhelm her. My blog too is a photo of my psyche.

On second thought, Cecile, you're probably suffering because of the way the patriarchy in the Western world oppresses women. You're a victim of white male capitalism.

Why I Am A Liberal And You Should Be Too

A group of parents said they will fight a possible decision to allow a white teacher to lead classes in black history at Oberlin High School.

NewsChannel5 reported that a scheduling conflict could cause the district to reassign the black teacher who has taught the course for seven years.

Using a white teacher at Oberlin High School would send the wrong message to black students, said A.G. Miller, an associate professor of American and African religious history at Oberlin College.

Distinguished social commentator Chaim Amalek agreed: "This isn't quite the world the liberals promised me, but it will do. Of COURSE a white man shouldn't be teaching the Black man's history to his children. That's why I'm a liberal and you should be to."

Los Angeles signing for New Novel, Slatewiper

Author Lewis Purdue writes:

I'm doing a signing/reading/promotional event for my new novel, "Slatewiper," at 2 p.m. Sunday, August 17 at Dutton's Brentwood Books, 11975 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049 (310) 476-6263.

I'll also be talking about the "Daughter of God"/"Da Vinci Code" controversy.

"Slatewiper" is a thriller, based on scientific facts, of how gene therapies could be turned into devastating bioweapons. In Slatewiper, entrepreneur Lara Blackwood finds that her gene-engineering company has been acquired by a Japanese pharmacuetical company which wants her technology to build a series of weapons that can target specific ethnic groups.

The reviews of Slatewiper have been very good:

- BOOKLIST (American Library Association) "Perdue unflinchingly treads on Crichton's turf but emerges with a novel that feels fresh and original. A must for medical-thriller devotees."

- PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY "A no-holds-barred biogenetic thriller. In the light of current medical epidemics, this is a timely offering."

- JAMES GRADY (Author of of Six Days of the Condor) "A cunning blend of historical and ultra-modern fact fashioned into a stunningly unique plot to turn our own chromosomes into lethal weapons."

There is more about Slatewiper at http//www.slatewiper.com

I'll will also be talking about "Daughter of God," how it was plagiarized by "The Da Vinci Code" and the progress of legal action. The novel's site, http//www.daughter-of-god.com has links to the Newsweek and other press coverage of the Da Vinci Code plagarism controversy.

10.4 percent of all black men ages 25 to 29 Are In Jail

From sfgate.com:

At the end of 2002, there were 2,166,260 Americans in local jails, state and federal prisons and juvenile detention facilities, the report found. California had the largest number of inmates with 162,317, followed closely by Texas with 162,003.

Another important finding in the report was that 10.4 percent of all black men ages 25 to 29, or 442,300 people, were in prison last year. By comparison, 2.4 percent of Hispanic men and 1.2 percent of white men in the same age group were in prison.

Robo says: Sad.

Jolly says: I'm not sad at all. See where "bein' hard niggaz" gets you? Stop committing crimes and the issue would go away. Why should anyone be exempt?

Sassy writes: I'm glad that I took the educated white male route. Though the Hard Niggaz route looked fun.

Giverespect writes: I think its more along the lines of a conservative culture afraid of their own shadow due to the media blowing things out of proportion.

Jolly writes: Yeah, just wait till your girlfriend calls you frantically crying at 3 in the afternoon when she comes home from work on her lunch break and catches a 7 foot darky in her house with a hammer in his hand....I ran quite a few red lights on the way over there...

Funny, she's about 5'0" & screamed at the piece of s--- until he ran out...I still don't understand this one, maybe the burglars that strike in the daytime are more timid because they don't expect anyone to be home.

Giverespect writes: So you have to bring to that level huh? Just cause you were robbed by some black guy doesent mean you have to bad mouth.

Wolf writes: That's just the story she told you. Instead of screamed she probably creamed on the darky.

Rich writes: It's not the black criminal's fault he's in jail, it's the white man's fault. Hell that guy shouldn't have been driving a Benz through his neibourhood anyway. And it's also the white man who makes him smoke crack.

Brad writes: Problem that is not going to get any better. Breakdown of the family unit, and lack of decent young black males who speak good english and are intelligent. Send more idiots to jail, or bring back slavery, own a prisoner of any race. I could use some boats cleaned, and yard work done.

Gutterboy contributes this picture and this racist song (which will turn your stomach if you have any decency):

I don't understand why that white genes thing disturbs people. Most Jews I know are quite used to thinking of their genes as being superior to those of the goyim, so the concept of racial supremicism should feel heimische (friendly).

'I'd Do The Same For A Black Man'

Growing up in Australia, I heard this phrase, "I'd do the same for a black man."

It would be used after you had done a favor for someone. After he'd thanked you, you'd reply, in a ritual of politeness similar to saying "It was nothing," "I'd do the same for a black man."

I feel guilty remembering this phrase. I have nightmares that I will be at some ritzy social occasion, and I'll open the door for Cathy Seipp, and when she says, "Thank you," I'll reply by habit, "Don't worry. I'd do the same thing for a black man."

I can just imagine the horror spreading across Cathy's face. She'd reprimand me, "That's not American."

I need to watch the film Rabbit Proof Fence ten times in penitence for my homeland's shameful history of dehumanizating a group of people based solely on race.

Cathy Seipp writes:

Re that awful and archaic "I'd do the same for a black man"....I wonder if you need to be deAustralianized. And isn't it about time considering how long you've been here? I mean, no one in my family says "eh?" anymore. My mother says it's the first thing Canadians drop because Americans really stare when you say it.

I always wear a respectable one-piece bathing suit of course. As does Sandra. Too many bad experiences with the bra parts falling off in the ocean. Cecile has a dignified tankini.

Cecile said yesterday: "Who do you think needs 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy' more...Luke or .......?' I said her ....., because you do dress and behave well, but if you want to marry anyone -- pretend virgin or not - you'd better get that apartment in order. I think, for instance, a bed, rather than a sleeping bag on the floor, would help with the general presentation, not to mention the itching.

So here's a suggestion: One of my oldest and best friends is a designer even more eccentric than you, he lives just a few blocks away, why not have him over and listen to what he says? He's an expert in making small spaces liveable.

Khunrum writes: Reminds me of a phrase I never heard, but read about. I think it was from the 20s, 30s, 40s, "Mighty White of Ya!...This is how it was used. Chaim Amalek would be chatting with Luke. At the end of their conversation Luke might invite Chaim to stay at The Hovel next time he is in LA. Chaim might respond with "Thanks Luke, that's mighty white of ya!"

Gutterboy writes: I miss "Go fix me a mint julep, boy!"

Spunky writes: I was held down by the man.

Money says: Sometimes I go the other way and say, "I'll be black, yo." But I really mean, "I'll be back."

Homo High

Israel Seinfeld writes: Nypost.com front page. The jewish school chancellor has chosen a jewish principal to head a high school named for a slain jewish homosexual that will cater to homosexuals and the transgendered. Is this good for the Jews?

One writes: *Rolls eyes continues to clean guns for the apocalypse*

Detoxed writes: Haha, setup a high school for straight kids and get sued. Setup a high school for gays and everyone wants to go.

Labret writes: Imagine the school dances.

Playa writes: I wonder if they gonna have a football team?

Mutt writes: This be a funny movie. damn - i could write this in a week - but nobody would produce it. can u imagine the scene on a crisp autumn day where the grizzled old football coach transferred from some other high school Wilfred Brimley or maybe Craig T. Nelson has to assemble the Homo High football team for the first time. Every kid they try out for quarterback throws like a girl, every time he puts his hands under the center's crotch it turns into a makeout session. Then there's the band class scene where every kid want to play the flute.

Labret writes: All the guys in Home Ec and all the lesbians in metal shop.

Its gonna be like any other highschool. The hot model type gay guys will loathe the leather pigs, the dykes will hate the lipstick lesbians. The Cuban and Black drag queens will hate everyone. The bisexual kids will be too busy trying to f--- everything in sight. They should start a reality show around it.

Live writes: I hear catholic priests will be teaching there so everyone will be happy...

Cassie writes: can you believe that crap? segregation was abolished and now they want to bring it back! i guess they should next make a public school that seperates the bullies from the geeks. what happen to developing social skills and character based the experiences you learn from school? whether you're gay, white, black, without one arm, with nine fingers or there is nothing wrong with you, as a kid you will still get picked on. it happens to every kid and if these people dont think there wont be even more severe backlash from this, they are strongly mistaken.

Link writes: A high proportion of teenage suicides are of gay, bisexual, and plain sexually confused kids who get hassled. Good to hear of news of a place where they can feel accepted and can sort out their issues.

Sly writes: Dude, high school sucks for everyone. Most people just learn to deal with it. Everyone is a target in high school. Kids are brutal. If you can't live through high school, what business do you have living in the real world? I have friends that dropped out of school because they "couldn't handle it". What do they do now? Stock shelves at the grocery store and live with mommy.

Gutterboy writes: Sounds good to me. The school orchestra & chorus will probably be better than the NY Phil, and easier to get tickets to.

Sly writes: Ok, I'm all for gay schools. Just don't go bitching in 10 years when gays are worse off than they are now in society. I'm donating some tu-tu's to the school's physical education program right now, anyone want the donation link?

More Sordid Details On Kobe Case

Mike writes: Sunday night Matt Drudge reported on his nationally syndicated radio show (heard at 7:15 p.m. Pacific time on KFI-AM in Los Angeles) the most provocative "dirty sex details" of the Kobe Bryant sexual assualt case so far. Excerpt: "I've decided to reveal some of the dirty sex details of the case. I have been told it's anal sex.

"That's why it's going to be controversial when it goes to trial. It's what is causing people a lot of uncomfortable feelings.

"Some of the details (of the case) are explosive. Dateline (NBC) had some of this information and decided not to air it. This speculation is quite solid from where I sit."

Chaim writes: Can "buyer's remorse" ever transform a consensual sexual act into rape?

I Go To Bed Alone

I spent Sunday transcribing my telephone interview with Heather MacDonald. Tired from my labors, I slipped in my mouth guard (I grind my teeth at night) and went to bed at 9:30PM and listened to a tape of Dr. Phil. When it finished, I listened to a collection of classic love stories. I felt sweaty and itchy and I tossed and turned.

An Orthodox friend phoned. He rejoiced in my newfound chastity. The nine days running up to TishuB'Av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, start Tuesday night. No wearing fresh clothes. No bathing in warm water. No premarital sex. It's not easy to be a Jew.

Dear God, grant me chastity...

Are people as promiscuous outside of New York and LA? I find something creepy about women who've had as many partners as they've spent years on the planet. I know this is hypocritical of me but I want to marry a virgin. I think most men do. Or at least a woman who makes you feel like you are the only man she's ever known and does not make invidious comparisons of size, technique and endurance. I've never been the tallest or strongest tree in the forest.

Khunrum writes: "Could you take this a bit further Luke. Explain please. I can understand not stealing, not boffing your neighbor's wife, not killing people....but what the hell does not bathing have to do with religion? You mean Jews with foul underarm odor and bad breath are going to heaven and us goys who shower regularly are not? GETOUTOFHERE!!!!!!!!"

Luke replies: "You are allowed to bathe, just not in warm water. If you truly loved the Jewish people, and hurt because of its sufferings over the millenia, including the destruction of the two temples, you two would prefer to go through these nine days in a state of mourning.

"The Jewish religion regulates all of life, not just the strictly ethical. And if you do want to ethically improve people, a head-on approach doesn't work. You have to get people living with a sense of a higher authority, that their behavior is regulated from above. Rituals train people to be ethical. As for going to heaven, Judaism holds any righteous person goes to the world to come, be he Jew or Gentile."

Rabbi Yoshi of Yeshiva Brisket Writes Luke: "The unfortunate olfactory consequences of this custom were observed early in the 20th century by one Austrian writer, who noted that the Jews of Vienna were strangers to bath water. Perhaps he had occasion to make this observation during the nine days leading up to this day on the Jewish calender. Who knows what conclusions he might otherwise have reached concerning jews had the jews upwind from him always bathed on a regular basis. There might not have been a holocaust, which of course means that there would not have been any Israel coming into existence in 1948. Thus may an orthodox jew conclude that in not bathing, he is advancing the cause of Zionism. Discuss amongst yourselves."

Hasidic Faker

I'm convinced that the famous Hasidic Rebel (profiled in the Village Voice) is not Hasidic. Ive read the blog many times and never learned anything about Hasidim that did already know.

When Do You Buy A Woman Flowers?

I've found that buying flowers for a woman is tricky. I sent flowers (at a cost of $90, with a card saying 'I love you') to a woman I adored after two months of dating her and other things. She replied, 'Thanks, but I think it is too soon to talk about love. We don't know each other.'

We went out for another few months, but I never bought her flowers again.

Women despise weakness. Women despise you when you're too needy for them and when you shower them with gifts and affection out of that neediness.

Sending flowers can exacerbate a woman's concerns about intimacy or if she is worthy of love.

So next time, I'll just give her a couple of flowers and see if she appreciates them. If she does, I'll send more next time.

Khunrum writes: I've never known of myself or anyone else getting any nooks from a dozen roses. They do nothing to advance the cause. Women know if they are going to give it up the first five minutes they meet us. And you are right, greenery can be seen as a sign of neediness and weakness. Better to keep the flower money in your pocket.

Judge writes: When is the best time to buy flowers to girl that you have feelings for? This girl works at a hair salon as an esthitician & we have been talking for a while now but I never asked her out but my hairdresser told me she is interested in me. I sent her some flowers this past friday. I went by yesterday & bought something from the salon & I saw her & she said thank-you that was so sweet Blah Blah Blah I asked her if she brought the flowers home, she said no. The flowers are in my room & she showed them to me. When we were alone she told me, their is one thing that bothers me about this, I said what? Now everybody in the salon is talking about this & I am a discreet woman & I don't like people to know about my personnal things? Any guys been in this situation before? As for all the woman out there, what does it mean when you get flowers, I am not talking about getting flowers in a club where you meet the guy for the first time.

Hybrid writes: Sending flowers to someone you have'nt even taken out on a date is not only creepy, it's weak. Rethink your approach, man.

TurboAngel writes: I think is kinda strange she didn't take them home.

Luke says: I don't think she likes you that much or she would've taken the flowers home and not been embarrassed about the gossip.

Gornyhuy writes: The best way to improve the situation is to park the van you live in out in front of her house for a few days and look at her through binoculars. If she confronts you, just say you are bird watching.

Matt writes: My folk's own a Florist, and they tell me any time is good to send flowers. The problem here is that she works in a Salon, which is the most gossipin' place on the planet. All those women do all day is talk about other people's business. So keep sending her stuff at work.

Judge writes: Why would it be creepy? I am not a total stranger, we talked allot together on when we were alone. We talked about private things & she even wants to go to my family's cottage with me for a week or two. We even talked on opening a business together& allot of other stuff. Now why I did not asked her out? I have always asked her what she is doing tonight when I saw her but never asked her for a date. I know I will need to rethink my strategie & give it some time. I am not a cheap guy, I would give allot to this woman. I will keep sending her stuff... I don't care what other people think, they are just jealous because they are not getting it... This is the first time its happening to me since me & my ex left each other 7 years ago.

Undutchable writes: Don't set yourself up to be played - for any woman, it's better to get her affection yourself and not buy it with flowers and the like. Do not give it too much time, advance on her and casually ask her out. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Women respect that in general.

Women who read this: What do you do when a guy is constantly sending you stuff, always around you but never asks you on a date......? Exactly. I've seen this enough to know it's the wrong way to go.

Zorgman writes: Maybe to her your more of a "FRIEND" then someone she wants to date. The first girl I gave flowers to send them back to me with a note. "Give them to someone that feels something back to you!" I kind of got the picture at that point.

Cherrylula writes: Now all her co-workers think she's a ho for sure... kidding but that is usually why a girl receives flowers at work. Means she is giving up the .... and somebody wants some more. So don't give flowers unless you are ....ing, because it might creep a girl out.

Smith writes: Q: What's better than roses on your piano?

A: Tulips on your organ.

Wedding Ceremony

Four young novice nuns were about to take their vows. Dressed in their white gowns, they came into the chapel with the Mother Superior and were about to undergo the ceremony to marry them to Jesus, making them "Brides of Christ." Just as the ceremony was about to begin, four Hasidic Jews with yarmulkes, long payess, and long beards, came in and sat in the front row. The Mother Superior said to them, "I am honored that you would want to share this experience with us, but do you mind if I ask you why you came?" One of the Jews replied, "We're from the groom's family."

Cathy Seipp Unhurt In Car Accident

Her daughter Cecile du Bois writes:

Mom got in a minor car accident. No one was hurt, and the cars are fine, but the lady in the--you guessed it--minivan according to a friendly witness made a mistake by turning right from a left lane but at the same time, Mom turned right during a red light and they bumped each other lightly which delayed our car for fifteen minutes while Mom was waiting for Mimi's husband to catch up.

One sudden thought: My parents are eccentric when it comes to parenting. Mom has little patience towards children and seems to be in her own media world 56 % % of the time. And Dad is a nervous Jewish Mom 80 % of the time. Not their fault, its their personality and they can't help that and I love both of them. Dad pays too much attention to me, and Mom loves to nag, question and remind me what to do. I guess that's what parents are for. The graphic designer from work pointed out that overall, they don't seem to trust me. (He read my blog.) Mom randomly questions me, and Dad sent me an email for the guidelines of my being online. He attempted to have me permit him to read all my emails and monitor my acts online. But he finally consented to just not allow me to go to porno rooms or chat with creeps. Oh, what fun I am missing! Damn, I love that porn! I could just howl at the moon and beat my chest thinking of naked men's genitals! Yada Yada Yada...Do you really think I am interested in such nonsense yet? And if I were, would I be so desperate as to go online and gawk at such content?

Pessimistic About Conservative Judaism

I sat behind a Conservative rabbi in my Orthodox shul Saturday. He now feels more comfortable in an Orthodox shul. This rabbi has his own congregation with over 300 member families but he believes that Conservative Judaism has no future. The laity do not observe the Torah and ignore their rabbis.

My Trouble With Physical Description

I've always had a hard time writing physical description beyond "she's hot looking." I learned in synagogue today, while reading In Search Of American Jewish Culture by Stephen J. Whitfield that this might be a Jewish thing.

Literary scholar Eric Auerbach writes that the Homeric poems "delight in physical existence [which] is everthing to them, and their highest aim to make that delight perceptible to us." Contrast that to the Hebrew Bible, where the characters move across an undescribed landscape and encounters take place in setting that are very difficult to visualize. Bible characters move, according to British polymath Jonathan Miller, "through a purely acoustic universe, propelled by audible dictates from God. No scenery described."

What amazes a soldier in Oscar Wilde's Salome is that the Jews "only believe in things that you cannot see."

"I can't write description," Jewish novelist Joseph Heller has said.

Historian Ruth Gay grew up in Queens not knowing "the names in English of common flowers, trees, or birds, or even of the spices in everyday use in our house."

I grew up in Australia, where many of my friends were naturalists and they knew all these things. I rarely bothered to learn them. My brother Paul operates a plant nursery.

I've long thought that my strength as a writer is my ability to read people. This psychological approach is Jewish. Take Phillip Roth's novel American Pastoral "typical in calibrating the wrenching tensions within a family rather than in giving its characters the option of lighting out for open spaces."

Why Isn't the Torah's Fatwah Against AMALEK Discussed in the Museum of Tolerance?

Tommy Torqemada writes:

Nowhere in the torah does it say that the Fatwah against AMALEK is suspended in the case of those who accept the Noahide laws, nor could it. After all, the order to genocidally exterminate Amalek explicitly applies to CHILDREN, for whom any inquiry into their belief systems is meaningless. Assertions to the contrary by jews who clearly are discomfitted by their most sacred of books presenting genocide as a mitzvah are just so much self-serving modern orthodox dishonesty. (As you know from your deep work in the jewish community Luke, Modern Orthodoxy, like Conservative Judaism before it, is on its way out.) Face it, if genocide ALWAYS is evil then so too are some of the teachings of the Torah.

Dave Deutsch replies:

According to Jewish tradition, God gave two torahs, one oral, one written, both binding. A survey of the Torah must lead one to conclude that, if this is supposed to be God's binding Law, there must be more to it, because the written torah is incomplete. For example, it says you must wear fringes, but doesn't explain what those fringes should be made up of. It says you must have courts, but doesn't give standards of evidence and procedure. There are lots of places where the Talmud rather radically explains the laws of the Torah. In the Torah it says "an eye for an eye.." in the Talmud it explains that as metaphoric. Everything in the Torah is expanded and expounded on in the Oral Law, so it would be strange if the mitzvah of wiping out Amalek weren't modified. This is completely in keeping with the strictest observation; this is hardly "modern." It is actually the basis of normative Jewish law for at least the last 1500 years, with strains going back over another half a millenium at least.

As far as children go, you are allowed to convert children, under the premise that you are doing them a favor. That conversion is binding until they reach their majority, at which point they must choose for themselves.