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Chaim Amalek Blacked Out

Chaim writes: I've got a really great blackout story, but it will have to wait for later. Let's just say it began whilst walking along the edge of the Great Lawn of Central Park at around 9PM looking for stars. Prudence prevailed.

Otherwise, other than finding out that my landlord didn't bother providing emergency electrical lighting for the stairwells in his crummy building, and not having any running water (including for the toilet!), things were tolerable. I was lucky - my power went out at 415 PM, but came on after 6AM (cable/internet just came on line). Some people are still without power.

Out For Love...Be Back Shortly

Wednesday night marked the festival of love in the Jewish calendar - TuB'Av. Being a pious Jew, I showered, put on some nice dacks and made my way to Temple Sinai in Westwood.

A large crowd was already gathered at 7PM as I lined up to buy my ticket. The staff were running out single dollar bills. The attractive lady taking my money was someone I've dated in the past year and could date again one day.

I find ten singles in my wallet and I keep digging. Finally, 13 singles and a $5 bill. I push the money towards her. I'm closing my wallet when a Trojan condom falls out on the table.

Lady: "Oh my. Well, I'm afraid we can't take that."

Blushing, I grab my rubber and stick it in my pocket, seeking a rationale for what just happened. It is the festival of love, after all, and one should be prepared. Stranger things have happened after Rabbi Wolpe has given one of his eloquent sermons about expressing ourselves Jewishly.

Perhaps I'll start a cultural trend. Soon men will indicate their interest in a woman by discretely dropping an extra-large ribbed condom in front of her.

My older Israeli friend Eitan grabs me and pats my stomach. "You're getting fat," he says. "Soon you'll look like the rest of us."

I find a seat far from the rest of the crowd (which will grow to 300) and read my book on literary feuds.

Restless after a few minutes, I have to walk out past the new assistant rabbi.

Luke: "Are we allowed out? Wait, you're a Conservative rabbi. You believe in the spirit of the law vs the letter of the law. If you were Orthodox, no way out.

"I've got to do a mitzvah, rabbi."

He lets me out.

I return five minutes later.

Luke: "I just had a drink of water."

Rabbi: "Did you say a blessing?"

He starts me with the Hebrew phrase and I finish it.

Rabbi Wolpe introduces Dan Katzir's film - Out For Love...Be Back Shortly, which garners this deserved review on imdb.com:

Dan Katzir has produced a wonderful film that takes us on a roller-coaster ride through a real romance set in the troubles surrounding modern Israel. For anyone who's ever been in love, the film brings back the uncertainties, the insecurities and heartache that make love so bitter-sweet.

The atmosphere of fear and isolation that came with the difficult times in Israel at that time just serve to intensify the feeling. Instantly, you are drawn in to Dan's plight, and you can't fail to be deeply moved.

You can't write drama and passion like this - the contrast between the realities of Dan's desperate, snatched relationship with Iris, and the realities of a state in turmoil make this eminently watchable. If you have an ounce of passion, and have ever been in love, see this film.

During question time, we find out that publicity over the film drove the couple starring in it apart. Iris appears a lovely sweet feminine beautiful girl who becomes an officer in the Israeli army. She has since married and divorced. Dan has yet to marry.

The cell phone of the woman next to me goes off during the discussion. To my horror, she answers it and starts talking. I shoot her a homicidal glance along with a dozen other people.

"Turn it off," I hiss. I find this appalling manners, and I have very few of those.

She hangs up on her call and turns off her phone. On Friday night in shul, she started taking notes on the rabbi's sermon. I wanted to grab her pen and stab her with it.

"You can't write on Shabbos," I hissed.

Woman: "But otherwise I'll forget what he's saying."

She keeps writing.

It is against Jewish Law to write on the Sabbath. This does not bother me so much in the abstract when Jews do it. It freaks me out when it happens in a traditional synagogue on the Sabbath right next to me. There's a big difference in Judaism between sinning privately and sinning publicly. When you sin publicly, you challenge the moral foundations of the community and drive out the divine presence.

To comfort myself from all this wickedness Wednesday night, I make for the desert table and scarf down several pastries and pieces of fruit. I grab a napkin and wipe my hands and face.

Two girls next to me: "We're going to have to start charging you for those."

Women, they're always taunting and teasing me. Won't they learn to respect the man, even when I drop my rubbers in front of them?

Why Are There Fewer Marriages?

Wendy McElroy writes on Foxnews.com:

Non-marriage is a particularly difficult issue to address because, as a recent paper from Rutgers University entitled "Why Men Won't Commit" explains, official sources are scarce. "The federal government issues thousands of reports on nearly every dimension of American life. ... But it provides no annual index or report on the state of marriage." Much of the discussion of the motives surrounding non-marriage must be anecdotal, therefore, relying on statistics to provide framework and perspective.

In examining reasons for the current decline of marriage, one question usually receives short shrift. Why are men reluctant to marry?

The Rutgers report, admittedly based on a small sample, found ten prevalent reasons. The first three:

 They can get sex without marriage;

 They can enjoy "a wife" through cohabitation; and,

 They want to avoid divorce and its financial risks.

As a critic of anti-male bias in the family courts (search), the reasons I hear most frequently from non-marrying men are fear of financial devastation in divorce and of losing meaningful contact with children afterward. (Such feedback is anecdotal evidence but, when you hear the same response over a period of years from several hundred different sources, it becomes prudent to listen.)

In a similar vein, the Rutgers report finds: "Many men also fear the financial consequences of divorce. They say that their financial assets are better protected if they cohabit rather than marry. They fear that an ex-wife will 'take you for all you've got' and that 'men have more to lose financially than women' from a divorce."

Increasingly, men are stating their reasons for not marrying on the Internet. In an article entitled "The Marriage Strike," Matthew Weeks expresses a sentiment common to such sites, "If we accept the old feminist argument that marriage is slavery for women, then it is undeniable that, given the current state of the nation's family courts, divorce is slavery for men."

Weeks provides the math. One in two marriages will fail with the wife being twice as likely to initiate the proceedings on grounds of "general discontent" the minimum requirement of no-fault divorce. The odds of the woman receiving custody of children are overwhelming, with many fathers effectively being denied visitation. The wife usually keeps the "family" assets and, perhaps, receives alimony as well as child support. Many men confront continuing poverty to pay for the former marriage.

Weeks concludes: "Over five million divorced men in America are currently experiencing the situation I just outlined. Without a doubt, their stories and experiences are heard by unmarried men. Can anyone truly blame the men for having apprehension?"

He uses what has become a new term at least in the mouths of men: "the marriage strike." Most of the men who go "on strike" undoubtedly do so quietly but others are making a loud political statement. For example, the Joint Parenting Association declares, "An international 'marriage strike' by men is set to continue indefinitely until Family Law is reformed to recognize that fathers love their children too."

Da Vinci Code Controversy

I'm going to this signing by my friend Lewis Purdue Sunday in Brentwood. Lewis 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 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.

Yay For Youth Sports

This photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger, a 10-year-old girl, and something in the Terminator's slacks was taken July 23, 1994, during the Los Angeles Inner-City Games at the University of Southern California. We are including it here to celebrate the gubernatorial candidate's support for youth sports.

Hat writes: I am very disappointed that this site is going back to its gay roots...and after such a nice comeback with the bo----- and all...

Cecile writes: But in bad taste, I must say, the picture that Luke Ford linked to on his site was lewd. Lucianne Goldberg emailed us the picture I edited for a laugh, and as usual, since Ford blogs for reactions, he will go as far as to post indiscreet pictures of himself for attention. (IE picture of his sore tongue...). He just wishes to provoke people. But as my mother has a soft spot for eccentrics (I used that phrase the other day whist chatting with mom, and she got disturbed, thinking that now I was obsessed with her.), Ford has a decent character. If my mother (who has a history of being impatient and picky towards people) can tolerate him, people can too, he's interesting...and that's what he wants to say--by posting links to lewd pictures or angry emails from readers.

Is Banning The Bible Next?

Mark Steyn writes in the Jerusalem Post:

If you live pretty much anywhere in the Western world these days, you'll notice a certain kind of news item cropping up with quiet regularity.

The Irish Times had one last week. As Liam Reid reported, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties has warned Catholic bishops that distributing the Vatican's latest statement on homosexuality could lead to prosecution under the 1989 Incitement to Hatred Act, and a six-month jail term.

"The document itself may not violate the Act, but if you were to use the document to say that gays are evil, it is likely to give rise to hatred, which is against the Act," says Aisling Reidy, director of the ICCL. "The wording is very strong and certainly goes against the spirit of the legislation."

No Irish bishop has actually called gays evil yet. But best to be on the safe side and shut down all debate.

From Dublin, let us zip 6,000 miles to Quesnel, a small paper-mill town in British Columbia. Chris Kempling is a high-school teacher and a Christian conservative and he likes writing letters to his local newspaper. In one of them he said that "homosexuality is not something to be applauded."

The regulatory body for his profession, the British Columbia College of Teachers, suspended him for a month without pay for "conduct unbecoming a member of the college."

My Soul Longs For The Purity Of The Country

David Poland writes: "That attack on Cathy was stunningly hypocritical, considering that you bend the word of God on a daily basis... I don't mind your behaviors or choices... they are yours to make... but this "you people" stuff, when Cathy outmorals you by a country mile... pretty gross."

Luke says: "I can stomach the filth of the city and its godless inhabitants no longer. I'm off to the purity of the country, to the wholesome wide-open spaces of the San Fernando Valley."

More Clueless Secularism

I wanted to ignore these obtuse sentences of Cathy Seipp's:

I’m curious why Christians get so hot and bothered about what seem to be awfully small things. Friday night at Yamashiro, Rob Long, who’s happens to have been reading a lot of ancient Christian history lately, said that on his recent barbecue-eating drive across the country, he noticed all these billboards in Oklahoma saying something like: “Celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday instead of Saturday? That makes the DEVIL happy!” Apparently Rob was in Seventh-Day Adventist Land and I suppose going to church on Saturday is a big deal to them. But why get all huffy if other people prefer Sunday? That doesn’t seem very Christian. Which was Rob's thought too, but he's an Episcopalian and gets along with everyone.

But I can't. I've thought about them on and off throughout the day and I find them infuriating and so easy to answer.

First of all, Cathy is secular. She's never practiced an organized religion. Rob Long is secular. He may go to church once a year. Both of these good people look silly when they wonder why religious people take their religion seriously.

It's like asking why do writers like Rob and Cathy take word placement, spelling, grammer and punctuation seriously? Because they're writers.

Why do football players take first downs seriously?

Why do religious people take the core of their religion seriously? Because they are religious.

Take a "Seventh Day Adventist." Cathy, note that "Seventh Day" takes up two-thirds of the definition. Now do you still wonder why a "Seventh Day Adventist" takes the Seventh Day seriously?

Anything that is vitally important to you, you're going to proselytize. That's human nature.

Cathy, have you ever read the Ten Commandments? What is the Fourth Commandment? Remember the Seventh Day to keep it holy.

Cathy, why do you take the Sixth Commandment (against murder) seriously but not the Fourth?

If you take God and the Bible seriously, you should take the Seventh Day Sabbath (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) seriously. There is no Biblical basis for observing the Sabbath during any other time period.

Now, Cathy, you are welcome to say the Bible ain't no thing. But you know it is the basis of Western Civilization.

The basis of most of what we hold precious tells us to keep the Seventh Day Sabbath.

Why Cathy do you take the state of your car brakes seriously? Because you could die if you don't. A Seventh Day Adventist by definition fears that people who don't keep the Seventh Day as the Sabbath could die for all eternity.

For secularists like Cathy, the here and now is the ultimate reality. For Cathy, car brakes are more important than breaking for sacred time.

For the believer - be he a Jew, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist - the spiritual plane is the ultimate reality.

For me, the Sabbath is more real than the 405 Freeway. The differences between Sabbath and Sunday are more dramatic than the differences between The Los Angeles Times and some hick paper in rural Arkansas.

So Cathy, the next time you struggle over writing an article to please a boss and earn a paycheck, remember there are billions of people who put just as much effort into pleasing God and earning eternity.

Randy Swanson writes: "I am a secular soul myself although my in-laws are very religious. I don't understand why you have to be so annoyed with some woman who lives a secular life. My roomate is an atheist, and he's a kindhearted soul. The bible is the cornerstone of Western Civilization, you say. That's true, but progress is progress and people can live moral lives without a strict religious routine. In other words, everyone ain't like you, so deal with it. Forgive this lady's ignorance, everybody doesn't have to know everything!"

Dr. Laura Quits Judaism

From Worldnetdaily.com:

Dr. Laura Schlessinger, one of the nation's most popular radio talk-show hosts and the most successful on-air counselor, is no longer practicing the rituals of Judaism – a religion she converted to a decade ago in her 40s.

''By and large, the faxes from Christians have been very loving, very supportive,'' she said. ''From my own religion, I have either gotten nothing, which is 99 percent of it, or two of the nastiest letters I have gotten in a long time. I guess that's my point, I don't get much back. Not much warmth coming back. It's intellectual, argumentative and angry. If anything, that's all solidified me where I am.''

Chaim Amalek writes:

That really is it, in a nutshell. That's why Judaism just has never caught on, whereas Christianity and Islam have. And all you Rabbi Shmuleys and chassidic masters and baal teshuvas don't, in the end, matter at all.

Luke, one of the reasons your rabbis doubt the sincerity of your conversion to rabbinical judaism is that they know, from experience, that it often doesn't take, and that as a genetic gentile, you have the option of returning to the gentile faith of your ancestors - an option not available to the Jews. Of all the people I've ever met who converted to judaism, about two thirds ended up leaving judaism (I'm counting only orthodox conversions here) within five to ten years, and for much the save reason. You're not going to be any different. Some day, if you are fortunate and Jesus smiles on you, you will fall in love with a fine Christian woman who falls in love with you, and your experiment with Judaism will come to an abrupt end. And that's if you are lucky.

I think one of the results of a better understanding of the human genome will be the realization that the Falasha jews of Ethiopia are (historically speaking) recent converts to the faith, and are NOT descended from the mythical 12 tribes of Israel. Remember, the rabbis who declared them jews were ignorant of science and history. They were, after all, rabbis steeped in the oral law.

Judaism (which is to say, its rabbinate) screwed up at least twice in its history. As the rise of Christianity proved, the Roman people during the days of empire were ripe for a message of hope that the monotheism of Judaism could've provided them, but no such effort at spreading any such message was forthcoming from the Jews, and it fell to the Christians stole their march. Similarly, hundreds of years later, the Arabs, Persians and Turkish peoples were ready for such a message, but it fell to Islam to spread it, with consequences that the Jews have been struggling with for centuries since.

Had the rabbis not been so obsessed with bloodlines (it's far worse than you realize) and their personal authority, the world today could easily be two-thirds jewish. Instead, the Jews fell inward, and the believers among them spend their days engaged in endless rituals that are mostly divorced from reason and which serve only to keep jews apart from gentiles. Their Great Enterprise is Israel (without which most of surviving world jewry would have made for the exits after the holocaust), and even that may be living on borrowed time. (Demographically, it cannot remain a democracy for much longer, with or without the so-called "west bank.")

In the broad sweep of history, Judaism is a failure, even if it never entirely disappears.

Luke says: "Like Lauren Winner, Dr. Laura primarily seeks in religion something comforting and personally meaningful and fulfilling. This is not what Judaism is about. Judaism is primarily about serving God and the world through obediance to commandments. It's not primarily about making you feel good through a personal relationship with God. I converted to Judaism in 1992 and I've had my ups and downs with it, but my commitment to it has never wavered."

Mark writes:

Judaism was actually pretty successful in converting many Gentiles during the Helenistic period of the Roman Empire. It has been estimated that up to 10% of the population of the larger cities of the Empire (Rome, Antioch, Alexandria etc.) were Jews - many diasporan immigrants, but many were converts. But the version of Judaism that was spread so successfully was not Rabbinic Judaism (Pharisaic Judaism at the time), but Hellenistic Judaism - a Judaism which preached one God and followed the moral law, but interpreted other aspects of Torah allegorically. But several aspects of Judaism were too literal and too tribal to be allegorized or philosophized away: the need for circumcision as the initiatory ritual, and the need for Temple sacrifices (only in Jerusalem) for atonement. Potential Gentile converts found these aspects of the faith hard to swallow. Many of them did not become full converts (proselytes) but mere God-fearers - they would come to the Synagogue, listen to the (Greek) Torah readings and homilies, give money, but not convert fully.

When Christianity came along, it was a Jewish sect that perfectly fit the Hellenistic mind set. Early Christian writers like Paul allegorized the Scriptures more than the Hellenists like Philo did. It emphasized the moral law even more, and de-emphasized the ritual law. Circumcision was replaced by baptism, and Temple sacrifice by the sacrifice of the cross re-enacted in the Eucharist.

So, it "stole the march" on Judaism, but only because the ground had been prepared by Hellenistic Judaism for several hundred years, and because there were already tens of thousands of Gentile converts and sympathizers to Judaism who were ready for a more allegorical, less tribal faith, but one that taught the same God and the same morals. (And I cannot help but add the Kissingerian observation that I believe it had the added advantage of being true.)

Jim Goad On Adam Parfreys

I know at least one literary agent who considers Jim Goad - sentence for sentence - as good as any writer in America.

He calls me Saturday night after I emailed him for a quote on Adam Parfrey.

Jim Goad: "The first I time I ever heard of Adam Parfrey, I was working at the Los Angeles Reader. He'd submitted something there. And the music editor disapproved because she was certain that he was a fascist. So I was a little scared of him at first. I read in the Reader that Apocalypse Culture was a landmark work. It was just light years ahead of anything else."

Luke: "Do you feel like he is a kindred soul?"

Jim: "On some levels. I'd asked my friend Nick Bougas about him about a popular predatory publisher in LA Amok Press, which Adam was once a part of. I asked Nick why Adam and Amok didn't get along. Nick said it was because Adam wanted to go balls to the wall and they were scared. Adam obviously got my respect because of that."

Luke: "What do you guess are the social consequences of publishing the type of books he does?"

Jim: "He's been sued. He seems to have plenty of friends. He doesn't get into nearly the same amount of scandals that I do. There's a lot less raw anger in the stuff he does and he comes off more genteel and literary. People fear that I'm going to do the things written about in his books, rather than just write about them.

"I can you tell a freaky story that still scares me. July 4th, 1996, at 8:30AM. I call up Michael A. Hoffman II in Cordelaine, Idaho. He's a white separatist and a scholar on the history of indentured servitude. He's a self-professed scholar on Masonic assassination attempts and conspiracies. The conversation drifted to Adam, who'd recently posed in a San Francisco satirical magazine called The Nose in a Knights of Pythias costume. I know nothing about the Masons but I suspect that is a breach of the Masonic code. Hoffman started going off on how Adam should never have done that. The Masons don't like to be f---ed with. That they will strike him. It will be severe. It will be on a day with great political significance. It will be the final blow to Adam Parfrey.

"Six hours later, Adam was blowing up firecrackers in Vancouver, Washington, on the fourth of July. He inexplicably fell to the ground and had some sort of seizure. I believe he went into a coma for a while. He became a ward of the state for about six weeks. It struck me as odd that Hoffman made this ominous prediction and six hours later, Adam had this seizure.

"Adam had been in a truck accident a few weeks before and was thrown through the window. He had water on the brain.

"He did a great column in the San Diego Reader called 'HellLa.' He was writing about the LA Weekly and that the only person of color is the Mexican janitor. And that all these people without color were clueless and always were. I don't think he gets enough credit for being funny."

Luke: "So are things going good for you?"

Jim: "I'm trying to walk the straight and narrow. Sometimes in life there are ripple effects to things you do and even though you try to stay out of trouble, you can't. This town has been poisoned for me. I wind up feeling like a battered wife who keeps going back.

"The morning that resulted in the evening of my crime [beating his girlfriend severely], I called up Adam. My car had been totaled the day before. I asked Adam basic car insurance questions. He commented on how bad my luck had been in Portland. I said, 'I'm going to stick around just to spite the town.' I've just been in a maelstrom ever since.

"Sixteen hours later, it all went down. The day started out hopeful. I went to the doctors to see if I had a concussion from the car accident. We got into a fight on the bus where she wound up leaving a permanent scar on my arm after biting it. Then just more Jerry Springer stuff all evening. We traded insults. We got back together again and had sex. Then the fateful car ride after that."

Luke: "The colorful life you lead."

Jim: "I wouldn't mind some black and white. The color is fine but it gets in the way of being productive. Somebody said, 'Lead a dull life so you can have danger in your writing.'

"I remember the first time I met Adam was at Nick Bougas's house in 1992. Adam had just purchased a small videocamera that he was going to use to film people without their knowledge. Adam used a video camera, I don't know if it was concealed or not, while eating spaghetti with Irv Rubin at Franks in Hollywood. He just got these angles under Rubin's face that made him look like a dinosaur munching on Eucalyptus leaves. These impossible angles of Irv Rubin stuffing spaghtetti in his mouth.

"Bougas and Parfreys had a huge influence on me doing my zine Answer Me, which started out tame and progressively became more unhinged."

American Movie Classics Punks Out On Steven Seagal Bio

They were doing a documentary. They had it all, the mob hits, the women, the fugue states, Seagal's dirty lawyers, the whole shot. They had Eli Samaha on the record, Avi Lerner, Jules Nasso, John Connolly, some old hookers, everybody. AMC got scared, and now it's just gonna be Jules Nasso cooking in his kitchen. The producers, Teale Prods out of NY, bought the footage back and it's gonna be on Channel 4 in Britain.

Amalekite Plan For World Revolution

Chaim Amalek writes: What miscegenation between Negro men and white women is to the Black Woman, stories like this are to the biological Jewess. I mean, what is the average Jewess of eastern European descent supposed to think as she takes a gander at this Norwegian-American goddess? With rare exception, she knows she hasn't the genes to compete with her for most men, and the thought that such women (few though they may be, alas) may be competing with her for the few Jewish men out there cannot be helpful to her already nervous mental state.

Norwegian women are among the most beautiful on earth. Anyone who really thinks we are all equal, or that there is no such thing as "race", should ask the average white man to compare the beauty of a randomly selected group of 20 young Norwegian women to the mean beauty of a randomly selected group of 20 young West African, Arab, or Bengali women. Yes, this would be an invidious experiment, but you get the idea. At least in terms of physical beauty, race counts.

Which is why there needs to be affirmative action for us homely people of all races. I'm sick of being forced to the "back of the bus", dating- and work-wise. I'm tired of seeing pretty people skate through life while I must struggle. The time is coming soon when we shall have a real revolution in this country, and yes, things will get damn ugly. All that is stopping it up is the refusal of the mass-media to let certain kinds of obvious facts flow to the masses, and we all know who controls the mass media. Pretty people may be its face, but who contols them? Exactly.

Last Sunday the New York Times Magazine had an article on this phenomenon with respect to black men. They call it "living on the down-low", and it is a must read for one and all.

Otherwise, Luke has an unhealthy fascination with dogs, horses, racism, and for squiring middle aged white women about town. He chooses to live in an abode in which any male guest must, necessarily, be in intimate physical proximity to Luke as he wraps leather straps about his brawny Australian arms, although he could afford housing more spacious than that. And yet he purports to have ----- with women as well. Draw your own conclusions.

Asking a nice Jewish girl from an orthodox temple about ---- --- on a first date would qualify you as a nut job in most people's books (mine included). If that's the sort of thing that you were doing among the orthodox, then they were quite right to kick you out and they should keep you out. If it is forgiveness that you are seeking, the better religion for you is Christianity.

Does she know of my aspirations for you, namely, that you get famous and rich for something good so that I can use the connection to date young Norwegian women?

PS I've been thinking about this of late. The next thing you should do is go Mormon. Think about it - polygamy, patriarchy, holy men etc. And the women are wayyyyy hot!

Khunrum writes: "Luke, a meal ticket? hahahahaha! What Nice Jewish Gal, desperate or not wants to live like a starving Somalian?"

The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Mr Ed writes: "A horse is a horse of course of course. And (the law says) no one can have intercourse with a horse of course. But why not? I am certain that if instead of having to hide his love, this young man had been permitted to marry the object of his affection, the mare would still be among us. When will we learn that EVERY form of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is wrong? Society cannot play favorites by species. You Luke, are the man who could lead that great crusade for understanding and justice."

Cecile writes: Your post about the mare. Isn't that a bit grisly to start the Sabbath? Couldn't you save that post until Sat. eve or Sunday and do a wholesome closing for your blog? Interesting, but I don't know. Honestly, the last mark you leave on the blogosphere is some creepy guy rambling on horses...

Feral House Publisher Adam Parfrey

Most people I interview are more fragile than I expect.

One could have all sorts of horrific images of Feral House publisher Adam Parfrey. After all, he's published many books on such creepy topics as murderers and satanic cults and demon possession.

In person, he's a gentle, shy, soft-spoken middle-aged twice-divorced man wearing soft comfortable slippers that he slips in and out of as he pads around his multi-leveled house and Feral House office in Silverlake.

I drive to his home and office August 6, 2003. Parking on a busy street, I climb a steep hill and ring his buzzer.

Adam clambers down the steep stone stairs, lets me in, and gets me a drink of water. We sit on a couch in his living room, which is filled with bookshelves.

I ask for the story of his life.

Born in New York, Adam moved to Los Angeles in 1962 when he was five years old. "I went to Santa Monica High School and then to UCLA."

His father was character actor Woodrow Parfrey, who appeared in Planet of the Apes, Dirty Harry and Bronco Billy. His mother, Rosa Ellovich, taught speech.

Senior editor at Variety, Pat Saperstein, attended high school with Adam. She writes me: "I admired him as a journalist in high school and was honored that he chose me to be entertainment editor when he graduated. I wasn't too surprised he ended up at Feral House. All of us Malibu kids were encouraged to be as far out as possible. Michael Penn and Adam's brother Jonathan concocted some hilarious tv shows in our junior high tv studio and I knew everyone would end up doing something interesting. In high school, I mainly remember Adam's star turn in a Midsummer Night's Dream. However, it seems Adam also belonged to the Malibu Jr. Optimist Stamp Club, so that's kind of amusing!"

Adam: "I eventually transferred to UC Santa Cruz. I never graduated. I did theater and history.

"UCLA has a horrible undergraduate program. We're in classes with 600 or 800 people. If it wasn't for the paper, the UCLA Daily Bruin, I wouldn't have had anything to do."

Luke: "After you dropped out of school, what did you do?"

Adam: "I had a confused five or eight years. I put on some plays. I did a couple issues of a tabloid newspaper (Idea Magazine) in San Francisco. It didn't go anywhere. Then I moved to New York. I worked at the Strand book store with a guy who was stealing money as a cashier. He had enough money to start his own graphic arts magazine, which I worked on. After that, I worked for a small publisher, PAJ Publications. They did avante-garde theatrical books. I did typesetting and editing and took care of the business while they were getting Guggenheim grants and running around the world.

"I learned about a printer in West LA, Ken Sweezey, who wanted to go into publishing. We got together and did Amok Press. Ken also did a catalogue and bookstore with his brother Stuart and other people. There were fraternal disputes, so we decided to go our own way. I started Feral House in 1989 off of a big $5000 share of profits from Amok Press.

"I started minimally and built it up slowly. It's no big deal. We put out about eight to ten books a year."

Luke: "What was the life you were supposed to lead, that you learned from your parents and from your upbringing? What was the life laid out for you?"

Adam: "I think I was expected to become a lawyer or doctor. My mother being Jewish (Rosa Ellovich). My father not. That was the idea of succeeding. I briefly tried acting in my teens."

Luke: "Were your parents bohemian?"

Adam: "Yes. They had a belief system that was absurd to me - that theater was some sort of religious thing. They met in the leftist New School for Social Research in the 1940s. My mother taught speech there. My father was an acting student after WWII. He was a prisoner of war. He had some close shaves with the Germans. Everyone in his regiment died of starvation. He was 60-something pounds [standing 5'9"] when he was liberated. He didn't like Germans."

Luke: "It was interesting that your parents didn't want you to become bohemian. They wanted you to become professional."

Adam: "My father was a busy actor but it's not a good thing for other people to judge when you get a role. It's based on other people's good will for you to get a part. I didn't want to be beholden to that."

Luke: "What did you want to do when you were a kid?"

Adam: "I had no true aspirations, outside of being a screenwriter or director."

Luke: "When did you realize your life mission was in publishing?"

Adam: "It was 1982 or so. I was living in San Francisco, and had put on a show about Gilles DeRais at the On Broadway Theater. At this time I was wandering down Sixth Street near Howard [and] saw these big dumpsters [with hardcover books] being loaded into a [dump] truck behind a Goodwill store. Inside the store, they only had mass-market paperbacks. I went in and asked the manager of the store what was going on. He said, 'We only keep the shiny books.'

"I looked at the 'garbage' and was awestruck. I wasn't interested in publishing before that, but I got this pickup truck and made arrangements to get the books dumped into the back of my pickup truck. I sorted through them and I was amazed by the books I found. I learned publishing in the couple of years I became a wholesaler to used bookstores in the Bay Area."

Luke: "What's your best selling Feral House book?"

Adam: "The book that does well now is Lords of Chaos - about heavy metal in Northern Europe. It's partly true crime, mythological, sociological and just plain rock book. Asia Argento wants to make a film of it.

"A book called Death Scenes: A Homicide Detective's Scrapbook. An LAPD homicide detective had a scrap book that he showed to students in high schools to scare them from committing crimes. This is noir era stuff, 1950s and earlier. We kept the original notations the detective made."

Luke: "Was he still alive when you published this?"

Adam: "No. It went to his widow who gave it to a used bookstore."

Luke: "When did you publish [not write] your first book?"

Adam: "It was 1986 with Amok Press. It was a novel by Joseph Goebbels called Michael. It got a positive review in The New York Times. That was my only review in The New York Times."

Luke: "When did you write your first book?"

Adam: "Apocalypse Culture came out in 1987. It's extreme sociology. I was thinking about the millennium. I was thinking about Oswald Spengler and what he was saying about the decline of the West. I wanted to put forward some unusual things I had run into that seemed to fit together in an unusual way. Nobody had done a book like that. At first it was notorious, because it went against people in the art world. It was too weird. It wasn't reviewed by the major places. On the other hand, everybody knew about it. Most people in New York had seen a copy of it.

"It got few orders when it started. Then it sold 50,000 copies.

"Next, in 1988, I co-edited a book called Rants and Incendiary Tracts. It was about the literary form of the rant. I took from the Middle Ages up to Modern Times. I put together a book called The Manson File. My partner didn't want me to put my name on it because I did the introduction to the Goebbels novel. I did Apocalypse Culture. He didn't want it to seem like a vanity press. So we found this weird guy to attach to it.

"In 1996, I wrote Cult Rapture. This book had a lot of material I published in weekly papers like the San Diego Reader and the Village Voice. I was the first person to write about the militias. I wrote a piece for the Voice about this crazy woman [Linda Thompson who threatened to march into Washington DC with thousands of militia members and lynch every Congressman who supported the Brady Bill.]

"I edited Nightmare of Ecstasy, the Ed Wood oral history, whose format was inspired by George Plimpton’s work on Edie, the Edie Sedgwick book.

"The Russian version of my 2001 book Extreme Islam: Anti-American Propaganda of Muslim Fundamentalism was briefly banned in Russia because it was misinterpreted as a pro-terrorist book."

Luke: "How did you meet Cathy Seipp?"

Adam: "On the UCLA paper, the Daily Bruin. We both wrote for the Arts section and later became co-editors."

Luke: "What do you remember about her? You were both 18?"

Adam: "Yes. She was raised in Orange County and she was really antithetical to the whole Orange County thing. She's a smart girl. I liked that. She was neurotic. I liked that too."

Luke: "How was she neurotic?"

Adam: "I don't mean it in a bad way. She had an unusual temperament."

Luke: "How was she different then from how she is now?"

Adam: "She's pretty similar."

Luke: "Forthright."

Adam: "Yes, exactly. Particularly for an 18 year old and particularly for a girl. And that was refreshing."

Luke: "And you guys went out about six months?"

Adam: "Longer than that. About nine months."

Luke: "Then you went off with another woman?"

Adam: "We were starting to fight about the paper. She had to have her way. OK. We started falling apart when I was working on this movie as a dialogue coach, a really bad movie about Douglas MacArthur starring Gregory Peck [1977's MacArthur]. I invited her to come out to Catalina Island where I was working. She didn't. We started going downhill."

Luke: "Did she tell you what to do?"

Adam: "Oh yeah. Oh yeah. It was our initial boy-girl thing and we were obviously confused. I have good memories of her."

Luke: "How did she dress?"

Adam: "I must've dressed worse because it was that horrible '70s thing with [bell-bottom] levis with patches all over them."

Luke: "Did she dress slutty? Did she dress conservative?"

Adam: "She was conservative. She had good stories about drinking with guys and listening to heavy metal music."

Luke: "I've met several of her ex's."

Adam: "What can you tell about her from that?"

Luke: "I've never met any that she's compatible with. They're usually writers."

Adam: "I've never met any except for Jeff Berry, who worked for me on the UCLA Daily Bruin. I was in Santa Cruz [by the time Jeff and Cathy got together]."

Luke: "Have you kept up with her over the years?"

Adam: "Not really. When I moved back to LA, I ran into her.

"I had these girlfriends who were very exclusionary. Now that I don't, I'm looking forward to socializing."

Cathy Seipp replies after reading the above:

Gee, he's got a good memory. Better than mine I think! He's right that we all dressed horribly then and it's very gallant of him to say he dressed worse.

What I remember are the hideously uncomfortable too-tight Chemin de Fer jeans you had to lie down on the bed to zip up. And the halter tops of course. But everyone wore them so they were hardly "slutty." Now I'm going on a trip down memory lane thinking of all my favorite old outfits...

I don't think I really was conservative then, by the way. Prob just seemed that way to Adam because he grew up in the Malibu/Hw'd set and I didn't. He was very hardworking and ambitious when we were in school, which impressed lazy me. He also didn't seem nearly as eccentric then as he does now. But what do I know? Obviously I have a soft spot for eccentrics.

Luke: "What brought you to bring out It's A Man's World [Adam's latest book]?"

Adam: "I found these [post WWII mens pulp magazines] magazines and they seemed so much like post 9/11 material. Quasi-patriotism and quasi Ozzie-and-Harriet reversions. I found out that no book had ever been done on this type of magazine. These magazines were mainly from the '50s and '60s."

Luke: "You must be gratified by all the good reviews?"

Adam, lifting up The Los Angeles Times (most highbrow book section in country) Sunday Book section cover devoted to his book: "Yes. It's my first cover review. Doing this sort of book makes it easier for mainstream publications to acknowledge. The other stuff I did was apparently too much. I get reviewed much better over in England, more often, more frequently and more respected.

"I think they're more conservative over here about publishing. My stuff lends itself more to the British sensibility [home of the world's great tabloid papers]. To this magazine Head Press, I'm a big deal. Over here I'm a crazy guy, a weirdo."

Luke: "Do you still hear from Mr. Awesome [wanna be male stud] and Whitney Wonders [guess her profession]?"

Adam wrote about them in his Apocalypse Culture book.

Adam: "Thank God, no. He was the most pathetic loser. He had a big problem and needed to be famous. He was a wanna be on a dismal insane level. That's why his story is in the book - to point out that aspect of our culture.

"People don't really see the humor in that book. I do."

Luke: "I guess it's an acquired taste.

"Has it taken a toll on you being regarded as a nut?"

Adam: "As long as the books sell, I'm all right. As long as I can keep doing what I'm doing. I'm doing what I want. How many people can say that?"

Luke: "We're all affected by other people. No man is an island."

Adam: "I'm not an island and certainly I'm affected by things. Certainly I want the gratification of seeing people acknowledge my work. But if it is not going to happen, I'm not going to roll a bong."

Luke: "If you would plump your childhood psychology, what would you find that would link to your interest in the bizarre?"

Adam: "I had a normal childhood. It was a theatrical family. I once went out with this girl whose parents and grandparents had a very negative feeling about that. At the turn of the century [19th into 20th], most people did. I'm not sure how much that affected me. I think my mother calling me a little Hitler affected me."

Adam laughs. "I'm not sure. I don't know where this comes from."

Luke: "Did you enjoy shocking and provoking people?"

Adam: "I was the class clown in high school. That's what they called it. I was brought into the principal's office for making people bust up.

"I did the punk rock thing from 1977-79."

We've been conducting our interview under the stern but reassuring gaze of Joseph Stalin.

Luke: "Why do you have a picture of Stalin up?"

Adam: "He's the greatest mass murderer of all time. I find it intriguing that it makes some people very uncomfortable. I find that recent piece of human history fascinating. It's not really discussed. That was our ally during WWII but he made Hitler look like a piker."

Luke: "Would you put up such a picture of Adolf Hitler?"

Adam: "No."

Luke: "Why?"

Adam: "Hitler, there's an affect with people and with me. Maybe if I was a Russian from Kazakhstan and my family was murdered by Stalin, I wouldn't have it up."

Parfrey does not practice Judaism or any religion. He says he's struggling with belief in God.

Luke: "Where do you get your moral code from?"

Adam: "I treat others as I want to be treated. I believe in karma."

Luke: "Do you publish books about how to make bombs?"

Adam: "No. I have no interest in that. It's never occurred."

Luke: "Do you struggle with feelings of responsibility to society as a publisher?"

Adam: "I feel there is a lot of corruption and hypocrisy and the inability of humans to examine the world honestly is a big problem. That's what I hope to do - to be unsparingly honest."

Luke, thinking, OK, if Adam wants to be unsparingly honest, let's swerve over here: "What do you think of the book THE BELL CURVE? About the purported differing mean levels of intelligence between races?"

Adam, not comfortable with the question: "It all depends on who you speak to. If I say there's something to it, is it nasty and racist to say that blacks or African-Americans are more gifted athletes? What does it mean? In terms of THE BELL CURVE, Asians are more intelligent. Whites don't make out. Well...

"I did a piece in the original Apocalypse Culture about eugenics. I discovered the Third Reich used California eugenic law as the model for their own. Then I found out that these major liberal people like Oliver Wendell Holmes promoted it and passed laws. There are things about history that people don't want to look at or acknowledge."

Luke: "Do you think that people of different races can live together happily?"

Adam: "I did a column for San Diego Reader called "HellLA." I spoke to this Asian guy who ran an office [for the city of L.A.] about how people can get along. He told me, 'This is the first time in human history that so many races in such great numbers have gotten together in this one place.' I'm not sure if it can work or not. There's an intense Balkanization. There have to be some economic benefits to all these people to be in the United States at this time but when things get more desperate, it's not going to be so nice.

"The Hispanic department of UC San Diego got really upset about my piece [about the ‘92 riots]. They thought it was racist."

Luke: "Why is that?"

Adam: "I pointed out that the riots came on the same day as a violent pagan holiday practiced by Aztecs and Incas."

Luke: "Do you think California is better off for having eight million illegal Mexican immigrants here?"

Adam: "Why are you getting into this stuff?"

Luke: "You said you wanted rip off hypocrisies and talk straight?"

Adam: "Yeah, well, of course, but there are certain things I won't talk about. Anyway, no, obviously. I'm doing a book with this guy Reynaldo Berrios. He's a Mexican gang member from the San Francisco Bay Area. He's talking about Aztlan. It's a racist religious belief that western states like California are really their land. It's like Nazism. But then they can say that Israel is a racialist state too."

Luke: "Except that any race is welcome to move there so long as they are Jewish. And any one of any race can become Jewish."

Adam laughs. "OK Whatever."

Luke: "You can't convert to Mexicanism."

Adam: "I've seen some people try. You can see it with blacks. They call them whiggers - the white kids who imitate hip hop culture."

Luke: "What do you think are the primary issues that challenge this country? What do you worry about?"

Adam: "I'm worried that the elite have no interest... They're into grasping the last little small crumbs before it falls apart."

Luke: "So you think we're on the verge of an apocalypse?"

Adam: "Yes."

Luke: "Do you own weapons?"

Adam: "Yes. I've been through the LA Riots. There were people driving by with rifles sticking out of their van in my direction. I was living in the Melrose/Normandie area. It was flaming up from all four sides."

Luke: "Did you own a gun then?"

Adam: "No. I wanted to. I said, well, look, if I am challenged to defend myself, I will. I don't want to die because I don't have the capability of doing that. That's when the police said, you can't rely on us. When they said that, that's when I went out and got a gun. Afterwards, I found some guy in my living room. I had firearms. Was I going to kill somebody? It wasn't pleasant. I thought I should get out of town. It was tense between races then, a lot more than now. Soon after that, I went up to Portland [about the whitest city in the whitest state in the US.]

"Did you live here then?"

Luke: "No, I lived in Northern California but it is an area of fascination for me."

Adam: "Why?"

Luke: "Nobody wants to talk openly about what they think and feel. Therefore, it's fertile ground for journalistic exploration, particularly if you can get people to give voice to what they truly feel about race. Therefore I can make an impact.

"What do you think about the majority of true crime books from straight publishers?"

Adam: "They're dull and hypocritical. They glorify these crimes but make like they are against them. CourtTV is the same."

Luke: "How is your true crime stuff different?"

Adam: "The true crime stuff I put out is by the original source material. It's by the minds of these people. They're more rewarding as sociological study than some secondary guy putting that stuff down.

"We did a book by that Moors murderer called The Gates of Janus. We're doing True Vampires about people who committed crimes believing they were vampires."

Luke: "What's that creepy painting over there?"

Adam: "It's by a Christian fundamentalist Norbert Kox. That's his depiction of the Pope."

See also Brian Doherty's interview with Adam Parfrey.

Adam photo Adam Adam with Uncle Joe Stalin Adam, Joe Adam as Mussolini Adam Osama Bin Laden Adam Adam

Prager Unimpressed With Arnold Schwarzenegger

Dennis Prager will be on the Today Show Friday to talk about the Mel Gibson film.

Dennis was not impressed with Arnold's performance on the Tonight show. He lashed out against special interests but did not name any. He didn't get any specifics on his platform. He hasn't established credibility in the political arena.

There's no comparison to Ronald Reagan, who was in public and political life arguing issues for 20 years before he ran for office.

I don't like the idea that you go straight from Hollywood fame to public office without intermediary steps.

One thing I like about Arnold is that he's grateful for being an American.

Dave Deutsch writes:

One of the more poignant (and unmentioned) hypocrisies of the previous Bush administration was that at the same time that Vice-President Quayle was criticizing Murphy Brown for having the leader character have a child out of wedlock, the administration had appointed as Physical Fitness Guru (I.e., role-model for America's youth) a man whose biggest film (Terminator, for you effete literary types who aren't familiar with non-pornographic popular culture) postulated that such a child would be the savior of humanity.

Chaim Amalek is right about the demographic time-bomb within Israel's borders; my suggestion is to compensate the Palestinians for land taken from the West Bank by giving them a nice chunk of the Galilee with a few hundred thousand Arabs, and sweeten the deal for the latter by continuing to give them Israeli medical and social welfare benefits, etc.

Dennis Prager is upset because this teacher tried to suggest that Palestinians are humans. I mean, what exactly is he complaining about? Did this teacher say that Israel didn’t have a right to exist? That the Jews should go to Poland? That the Palestinians should rule over them, and would be kind, benevolent masters? Or simply that that things might be more complex than these students imagine? Is this something to mourn, that a teacher is actually trying to discuss something in depth? And here we have another example of “Hitler breath.” Nazis hate Jews. Most Palestinians hate Jews. Therefore, the Palestinians are the equivalent of Nazis.

Here’s the problem, though. As opposed as I am to suicide bombing (and “homicide bombing” is a stupid and completely meaningless term. “Suicide bombing” differentiates it from other bombings that don’t kill the bomber. What does “homicide bombing” define? Are there bombs that aren’t designed to kill people? Confetti bombs? Ice Cream bombs? Puppy bombs? According to this logic, we “homicide bombed” Hiroshima and Nagasaki), that doesn’t mean that the Palestinians don’t have any legitimate claims against Israel and its supporters.

The Nazis merely claimed that the Jews were out to get the Germans; the Zionist movement really was out to get the Arabs, at least the ones living in Palestine. Political Zionism was based on the premise that Palestine would be a state for the Jews, and in their own discussions, the leaders of the movement certainly made clear their hopes and intentions that the Arab residents of the land (close to half a million in 1880—despite the motto “A land without people for a people without a land”) would remove themselves or be removed from Palestine. I don’t fault them; they were rightfully terrified of what was going to happen to European Jews. But they were also privy to the same sort of racism that infected the rest of Europe at the time, and their self-interest combined with their prejudice (not just to Arabs, but to non-Ashkenzi Jews as well) colored and corrupted the state.

Is Prager going to argue that Israel is perfect? That every other conflict has nuances and complexities, but in this one case, there is only absolute right and absolute wrong? That’s a position that the founding fathers of Israel themselves certainly never took, since among themselves they freely admitted that the Arabs acted ultimately out of a desire to defend their homes. I love how somebody can picture a Palestinian kid, living in a cinderblock hovel with an open sewer running alongside it, whose family lost its land in 1948 or 49, who has to go through frequent petty humiliations and abuse at the hands of Israeli soldiers (and watch his father experience the same), and can’t fathom why this kid might hate Jews. That a thinking person can be so lacking in heart as to not feel any compassion in this case I can understand, but so devoid of imagination?

As for the comparison with the Nazis, we can split the difference. The Germans both oppressed and murdered the Jews. In Israel, the Palestinians are oppressed but not murdered, the Jews are murdered but not oppressed. And while I personally would rather be oppressed than murdered, if I had my druthers, I’d rather split the two people apart politically, throw up a nice wall and minefield, and let the Palestinians murder and oppress themselves, and if they try to do either to the Jews, then treat them like any other independent country, and blow the hell out of them. Nor is this argument merely historical. Explaining the motivations in the conflict can point to a resolution.

The fact is that many Palestinians are willing to accept the existence of Israel, and even those who support suicide bombings in many cases see them as a tool to force Israel to the negotiating table (just as most Israelis support a Palestinian state but see Sharon’s tough measures as way to force them to negotiate). The right-wing Jewish view—“they are Nazis”—allows them to avoid seeking a solution, since what solution is there to Nazism? I also love how right-wing Jews, who themselves advocate slaughtering Palestinians, justify it by saying “We want peace, they want to kill us.” Who among “we” wants peace? I want peace—I don’t believe the settlers in Netzarim, or their ideological peers want peace.

Another particularly galling aspect of Prager’s position, and that of the people who fired Maksik, is the view that there is only one way to be a supporter of Israel. All my sympathy for the Palestinians would be meaningless, if I also didn’t believe that a Palestinian state would be better for Israel as well. I don’t want to see Palestinian children die, but my first concern is saving Jewish children, and I think that while a Palestinian state may not solve the problem, nothing else will, either. What are you going to do, beat them into submission? Or expel them (I won’t go into the economic and military unfeasibility of this, but right-wing fantasists should consider this sobering fact: Israel can’t even expel Yasir Arafat)

So the school is Zionist, great. But why must support for Israel mean agreeing with everything it does? Somehow, a large part of the Israeli population agrees with Maksik. Aren’t they “Zionists?” There are soldiers with records every bit as distinguished—if not moreso--as the teachers at Shalhevet, who believe that Israel acts unjustly. Does the opinion of an IDF veteran who made yerida, and doesn’t serve at all in the military, count more than that of an IDF veteran who stays in Israel, and refuses to serve only in the West Bank and Gaza?

What’s so pathetic is that you have people like Prager, who live in the US, and who believe that they are more devoted to Israel than Israelis themselves. Newsflash: The average Israeli leftist is a better Zionist than the most ardently right-wing American Jew, by simple virtue of the fact that he lives in the country, takes the risks, serves in the military, pays his taxes and raises his kids there. It's great that an American Jew goes on vacation there, and sends his kids to yeshiva there—but that doesn’t compare with actually living there. I think that right-wing American Jews have a tremendous amount of self-hate. They believe that the only thing that matters is making aliya, but they don’t want to give up their cushy lives. Since they can’t live with their own failure, they project it onto others—those other Jews are the enemies of Israel, I’m a Zionist hero. Someone should disabuse them of the notion that they are settlers on the Far West Bank.

Educationally, Prager is also messed up. He’s complaining because a teacher was trying to get his kids to think? Let’s look at the To Kill A Mockingbird anecdote, which, as you note, he left out. What lesson does Prager think he should have derived from it? That Harper Lee meant that racism was only wrong in this specific case? That racism was only wrong when applied against African-Americans? That racism was only wrong in books turned into films featuring Robert Duvall in a non-starring role? Or that racism is wrong? Maksik did exactly what a good teacher should do—use literature to force the students to look into their own souls. He asked them a question, instead of just telling them a platitude. Are 7th graders too young for this? I don’t think so. If they are old enough to be having discussions about the conflict, they are old enough to be actually addressing the issues and not just hearing propaganda. That’s particularly true in a school like Shalhevet which maintains the façade of teaching kids to be independent thinkers. These kids are old enough to have a court to administer the rules of the school, but they can’t hear that Israeli soldiers aren’t always saints? How about this, since its and orthodox school: Could they hear what the great tzaddikim of the late 19th and early 20th century had to say about Zionism?

There’s certainly no religious mandate to accept every action by the Israeli government as being divine, or even correct. And what does it say about the message these kids have been getting regarding the conflict, if it can be threatened by one teacher? Here are kids who are getting the message that Israel is 100% right by their parents, their rabbis in shul, their rabbis in shiur, their friends—but all of that will be destroyed by one teacher? It suggests to me that maybe he must have something of value to say.

Finally, there’s the usual hypocrisy of the conservatives on issues of intellectual openness and “political correctness.” Imagine if this had been a Reform school, and a teacher was dismissed because he tried to teach that Israel was always right, that the Palestinians were always wrong, and that the only solution was expulsion (I find it worth noting, particularly on Tisha B’Av, that Jews never speak of the “transfer” of Jews from Spain in 1492). Prager and others, I’m sure, would be up in arms over the depredations of the liberal thought police. Yet here we are, a teacher who, it should be noted, has not been accused of any specific lie, or untruth, just a different interpretation, and he’s fired for it.

And I love the part about leftist being unable to distinguish between moral right and wrong. I’m comfortable saying that suicide bombing of civilians is always wrong. But is democracy always right? Is equal treatment under the law always right? If they are, then Israel must be wrong. But if these things are conditional—that sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren’t, so that Israel can rule over several million Palestinians who have no political and few civil rights—then who is engaging in moral relativism.

I teach freshmen, just a few years older then these kids, and we go hammer and tong on questions of race, religion, and Israel. Some parents agree with me. Some don’t. Most, however, regardless of their views, are happy that their kids actually paid attention in class, and look forward to coming to class the next day. And if you have a teacher who can make kids do that, as this guy apparently did, you should be rewarding him (in case my superiors read this, by “him”, of course, I mean “me.”), not dismissing him.

Yeshiva Dave writes: "If I had my druthers, I’d rather split the two people apart politically, throw up a nice wall and minefield, and let the Palestinians murder and oppress themselves."

Chaim Amalek responds: "Ah, but it isn't that easy any more (if indeed it ever was). Just looking at Israel proper, excluding the so-called "West Band" and Gaza, one fifth of the population is Arab (Palestinian by any other name). Their birth rates are among the highest in the world (8 per woman, I think), dwarfing those of Jewish women in Israel. Extrapolating present trends, we see an Arab majority inside Israel within a few generations. Do you really think that Arab majority will want any part of Zionism? I don't. So even if there were no troublesome Arabs on the "West Bank" on in Gaza, Israel would be living on borrowed time."

Doug and Doug Show

Belly laughs outnumbered breasts tonight.

My, theater has broken boundaries since I was young.

Fourteen year old girls who have Cathy Seipp as a mother should not read this.

My friend Yechiel Hoffman manages writers and he invited me down to The Empty Stage to catch a revue by a couple of guys he represents - Doug Krintzman & Doug Triconi.

I arrive at 7:45PM because I can't help myself from arriving early. The lobby is full of what I presume to be loose women. They're drinking beer and wine. There's a cooler laid out with dozens of bottles of beer and there are half a dozen wine bottles on a counter.

I drink two glasses of water out of a paper cup and sit awkwardly to the side, conversing with nobody.

We are near the end of the Nine Days in the Jewish calendar leading up to the saddest day of the year Wednesday night - TishuB'Av. Jews are not allowed to take hot showers or wear fresh clothes or drink wine or eat meat. For a month now, we've not been allowed to listen to music or take in entertainments.

Khunrum writes: "Goddamn boy, you must have been reeking. No wonder you were sitting by yourself. You probably smelled like a dead skunk in the middle of the road. Peeyeeeeew!!"

I sit off to the side not because I am socially awkward and misanthropic but because I am so pious. Knowing that Yechiel will be here wearing his beanie, I wear mine too.

I am here to work - to review the show. I am not here to laugh or to have fun or to meet pagan girls.

Strapping 6' Amy Levy, former ADL (Anti-Defamation League) associate director, walks in. I've seen her introduce various speakers at ADL events. She, along with most of the staff in the LA office, left after national leader Abraham Foxman forced out LA leader David Lehrer. Amy now operates her own public relations company.

When her blonde short-skirted friend arrives, I vacate my chair for her. I go stand in a corner and read my book, The Art of Fiction by John Gardner.

More slutty looking women arrive. I may be projecting. For the past few weeks, most every woman under 40 has looked slutty to me.

One woman has large fake breasts in a small shirt but I take no notice of their round juicy goodness. Instead, I think about the Holocaust.

I figure there's so much alcohol because the organizers want to make sure everyone enjoys the show. Ah ha, my sobriety won't succumb to their temptations.

A man pops in: "Anyone here driving a 450SL?"

Amy Levy: "If he's tall, I'm going home with him."

Everybody's talking and having a good time. I stand sullenly in my corner. I refuse to have a good time when Jews are suffering in Israel. Or when there are two defunct Jerusalem temples to mourn. I will not have fun. I will not have fun. There's loose women and beer but I will not indulge.

At 8:30PM, Yechiel invites us in to the stage: "Feel free to grab an extra beer."

Secular rock music blares as I take my seat in the back. No women in my row. I plug my ears to the music.

8:45PM the show begins with a short video presentation - The Search For Five. It's the two Dougs searching for the fifth volume of the Taboo series. I had no idea what this series was until a friend told me it was pornographic. Breasts and laughs are equally distributed in this Dougs video.

The stage show begins slowly. I fear it's going to suck. Oh well, just as well, it's punishment for my sins.

Five minutes in, I have my first laugh. I make a jot on my paper. Then the laughs, and the references to oral sex, come fast and furious and I finally give up scribbling after nine marks.

The shows about these two guys trying to write a funny show. They get inspiration from eating Magic Wings, some gross looking meat with bones.

Doug: "It tastes like a Puerto Rican shot a load in my mouth."

That's my favorite line of the night. Does that mean I really want oral sex or does it mean that I harbor prejudice against Puerto Ricans and can't imagine anything more vile than what's described?

The humor reminds of the movie There's Something About Mary.

I give the Dougs credit for providing more laughs than f-words, while larding the performance with references to oral sex. I really don't think you can have too much of that (where the woman pleases the man).

There's a gorgeous busty athletic flexible woman in the show named Caroline Johnson. She can some to shul with me any time. Wow, imagine what they'd say at the kiddish about Levi and his date?

The punchline to many of the jokes with Caroline involve her running off to have sex with a very black looking black man. In one scene, she shares needles with him in Haiti.

In a sketch towards the end, Caroline comes out to blow everybody in the audience but Doug and Doug pull her back and she gets mad at them for denying her.

There have been all too few theatrical productions in my life where an actress has come off the stage and into the audience and satisfied me in that peculiar way. I think we should see more of that (or I would think that if I weren't so moral). The reviews would certainly stand up.

Anyway, I feel guilty that I laughed a lot and enjoyed the smutty humor and looked closely at Caroline and then came home and wrote about it on this site.

On the Judaica side, the Dougs do realize they need to say a blessing before opening a trunk filled with smutty gags. So a young man comes in wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) and sings out the Shma - the credo of the Jewish faith - Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.

There's also a ton of homo humor and one of the Dougs has a great ability at monkey humping and simulating blowjobs.

If I were a good liberal, I'd say the show uses homosexuality and blackness as putdowns, as examples of the worst thing that could happen to you - rape by a homosexual black guy.

Given how black people have suffered for centuries at the hands of white people, I don't think it's so bad that evil white men (is there any other kind?) get sodomized regularly and violently by negroes. Call it reparations.

There's huge applause at the end of the show and singing and clapping. I have to watch Caroline closely to know when to clap because I have no sense of rythym unlike the big black guy with pierced nipples.

Dear rabbi, if you are reading this, I want you to know that I only wrote in such a graphic manner above because I want to alert the authorities to the type of obscene material now performed publicly in the city of angels.