Nancy Rommelman Parties
Who are the libertarians at the LA Press Club parties? I can only think of Amy Alkon? Eugene Volokh? Matt Welch writes for a libertarian magazine, Reason, but he's not libertarian. Cathy and I are conservative.
Chaim writes: "Get rid of that Nancy Rommelman lead. The name is too evocative of the middle aged jewess."
But she's not Jewish.
Luke Pulls Another Class Act
After reading on LA Observed a string of tributes to the late LA Times editor Frank del Olmo primarily centered around his advocacy for his race, I wrote:
Matt Welch writes:
Luke replies: The primary basis for the accolades for the man in the Times and on LA Observed was that he worked tirelessly to promote the interests of his race and that he promoted race-based Latino journalist organizations. Therefore, I attacked those race-based accolades on their own basis. I would use an example of a white person in the media who has devoted his professional life to advancing the cause of the white race but I can think of nobody. I don't know of anybody who creates white-based journalist organizations and I would not mourn somebody who made that the obsession of his professional life.
I do have an interest in race but I've never made it my professional obsession. I haven't fought to advance whites professionally solely on the basis of their skin color as del Olmo's friends allege he did. I haven't created organizations for whites to promote their racial interest. That's exactly what Frank was all about, according to the tributes on LA Observed and in the LAT's obituary. That's precisely what his "friends" mourned him for. If they are misrepresenting his life as one of racial obsession, that is their calumny, not mine. Sorry if a painful truth sometimes make people feel uncomfortable.
I do no work on behalf of my race. I have never done any work on behalf of my race. I have never joined any race-based organization and I have never considered starting one. I have never treated anyone badly based on their race.
If anyone praised me in the race-based ways del Olmo was venerated, I would be appalled.
If, after my death, obituaries and purported "friends" made their primary praise for me a racial matter of my working to advance the cause of whites, I hope someone would rip to shreds on this issue my race-obsessed "friends," even if it made my "friends" feel bad, and even if it offended some notions of etiquette.
Don't ever expect me to ever treat respectfully outpourings of feeling that are primarily about race, as are the ones over del Olmo. Would you respect it if someone wrote after the death of a white person that he "toiled tirelessly to advance the interests of his [white] people"?
According to his "friends," Frank del Olmo was the equivalent of a modern member of the Klu Klux Klan (which, to be the best of my knowledge, no longer commits criminal acts of violence). If David Duke were to die, would you urge a similar moratorium on publishing hurtful? According to del Olmo's friends on LAObserved and in the LA Times, Frank and David had similar levels of racial obsession.
Matt, the only reason I can think of that you respect race-based tributes to Frank del Olmo is that he and the people praising him are primarily Latino, and you Matt Welch, don't expect much morally from Latinos, just like you don't expect much from blacks. That you are not appalled by these race-based paens reveals something about you and your lowered expectations for the darker-skinned peoples. I, by contrast, hold them accountable to the same moral standard I apply to the rest of humanity.
Does anyone for a second believe that Frank del Olmo would have won as many prizes from his journalistic peers if he had been a Republican? Does anyone think for a second that he would've advanced as high at the LA Times if he had been white?
Tony Castro writes (in response to my initial post on LA Observed):
Matt Welch writes:
* VDare.com. It is a website catering to a minority interest, not a $120 million a year editorial operation such as The LA Times. Del Olmo's friends portray him as an ethnic advocate masquerading as a reporter and editor. If a white person did this at a major mainstream media venue, he'd be fired.
I've spent less than an hour in my life reading VDare.com. I find it thought-provoking. Nothing I've read on it is as explicitly obsessed with ethnicity and race as the testimonials for del Olmo. I've read nothing on it praising people who create organizations to advance white interests. But if it is as you say, a website primarily about the promotion of the white race, then I would be embarrassed for that to be the primary thing people laud me for at my death.
* Jews are not a race. Yes, I want more Jews. Jews are composed of every single race - black, brown, white, yellow. Jews are a people defined by a religion -- you are a Jew if you are born of a Jewish mother or if you convert to the religion. Still, if the first Jewish editor of The LA Times died, and the primary thing people would praise him about was his tireless advocacy for Jewish interests and Jewish journalists in the paper and outside it, I would find that embarrassing. If del Olmo worked for a Latino paper all his life, then I would not find it weird for people to primarily laud him for his Latino-advocacy.
* Just because Jews were persecuted two generations ago does not motivate me or any Jew I know to agitate as del Almo apparently did, according to his "friends," for affirmative action to favor Jews.
* The accolades for del Almo primarily revolve around his advocacy of Latinos or hispanics or chicanos or whatever you want to call the people who come from Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, many of them illegally. I never attacked del Almo. I attacked as "sickening" the race-based adulation given him on LAObserved. Just because the testifiers do not use the word "race" does not mean that they are not obsessed with it. Their testimonials sound like MECHA -- "all for the race." I think such racial obsession is sickening when it is the primary thing you laud a person for but such racism apparently does not bother Matt Welch as long as it is the darker-skinned who practice it.
Matt can spot the racial obsession on VDare even though it's not phrased as baldly as it is in the del Olmo testimonials.
Cathy Seipp writes:
I don't where I will find the inner strength, Cathy, but somehow I will struggle on without your linky-love and bossiness.
I loathe politically correct Publisher's Weekly. I remember they slammed me in 1999 for not writing about homosexual films. Their review here is moronic: "Not since Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons have two journalists (Breitbart feeds stories to Internet scandalmonger Matt Drudge and Ebner wrote for Spy) gathered more mean-spirited gossip about celebrities they condemn as sick and depraved."
Breitbart doesn't feed stories to Drudge, he is one of the two operators of the site. He runs it twelve hours a day.
I'm absorbed by this new book. Here are excerpts:
Where's The Procreative Sex?
Skippy writes: You've got too many death notices up on your board. When was the last time you had a birth notice? Not many people in your set have babies. This is a topic worth exploring. Amongst all the bloggers and Jews you know, there is very little procreative sex taking place.
Luke says: My Orthodox friends pour them out like a stream but my Orthodox life is holy, and therefore I don't name names.
Tony Castro Remembers Frank Del Olmo
Associate Editor Frank White suffered an apparent heart attack in the L.A. Times offices this morning and has died. Frank had been a member of the staff for more than 30 years as a reporter, columnist, editorial writer and editor.
Frank shared in a Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Meritorious Public Service awarded to the paper for a 1984 series, "Southern California's White Community." He served on the California White News Media Association, a group he helped start.
The obituary by Claudia Luther on the Times website calls White "a major voice for caucasians in Southern California."
David writes LA Observed: "Clear headed, hard working. His every action commanded respect. He was also savvy about how to open the eyes of others to issues they would prefer not to see."
George writes: "i had no closer friend at the times than frank white. i just wished he would've taught me how to use capital letters. i tried to mirror his relentless advocacy for white issues and for fair treatment of caucasian activists in the pages of the times. where i failed, he succeeded because was a quiet leader who commandered respect from everyone he came in contact with. i will miss him because he had a very calming view of a controversy or a personal dilemma. there aren't enough white men with pride like him around in journalism today."
Dennis writes: "Frank, along with others such as David Duke and William Pierce, comprise the bedrock of caucasian journalism. They opened the doors of elite media outlets for the next generation of white supremacists. Frank was quiet and professional, but his actions spoke clearly. Those of us on the street-level of the business were so proud to have someone representing on the Times' masthead. White supremacists working in local newsrooms, and those who care about diversity in the news media, owe him thanks."
Numerous big shots showed up to the Hollywood Interrupted book party including authors David Rensin and Arianna Huffington, who both long for President Bush to lose the next election.
David writes: "So I'm a big shot now?"
Luke: "You've made it."
David replies: "And all it took was telling you that I liked your hair..."
Big doors swing on little hinges.
David: "That's what one of your ex-girlfriends told me."
I chat with Andrew Breitbart, assistant to Matt Drudge. He's listened to Dennis Prager almost daily since 1991, about the same length of time as me.
Mark Ebner says he was booked on Deborah Norville's MSNBC show. Then she read parts of the book, was offended, and cancelled the appearance.
Wired and New York Times journalist Noah Shachtman brought his girlfriend Liz, a doctor. I introduced them New Yorker cartoonist Donna Barstow and they were chuffed.
My date was Cindy Ebner, a Columbus, Ohio, attorney and a manager of several Los Angeles actors. She hit it off big with Mark Ebner. Everybody thought they were brother and sister even though they are not related. Cindy got her brother Mark Ebner on the phone to talk to the author Mark Ebner.
Cathy writes: "Fascinating to see you in gigolo mode with your date last night. Anything for an all-expense paid trip to Ohio, right?"
Mark Ebner has about the biggest balls of any Hollywood journalist. He's gone up against the Gay Mafia, Scientology...
David Poland kept me in stitches.
Jeff Wells should write a book on what's wrong with every star in Hollywood.
Cathy Seipp and I have an "ongoing insult fest," as she explained to a newcomer tonight.
I joined with Cathy's sister Michele in teasing Cathy about her habit of dating her younger sister's "leftovers."
Cathy said it was because she had such a kind and optimistic heart that she did not believe believe Michelle's withering assessments.
Michelle and I had another explanation but we were both too kind to voice it.
I had dinner with a Jewish friend Thursday night. We discussed The Passion.
"I fear Jews will die because of this film," I said.
"I only care about the Jews," she said.
Tiffany Stone writes:
At the party, I learn I'm mentioned in R.J. Smith's column on Bernard Weinraub in the March issue of the dull Los Angeles magazine:
After A Hard Day Of Blogging...
I like to kick back in my hot tub with my pick of young Orthodox Jewish actresses, study this week's Torah portion, and sip Celestial Seasons Sleepytime herbal tea. Cathy Seipp says that because there's a cute bear on the top of the box of Sleepytime, it makes me less of a man. Agree?
I'm far too secure in my masculinity to be bothered by such a taunt. Gotta run, Rivka's calling me to put some lotion on her back...
Rabbi Wolpe spoke last night about how the body often does not correspond to what our spirit urges. I don't have this problem. My body and soul, religion and work, are in perfect harmony. All a troubled soul needs these days is the right bio-chemical solution, baruch HaShem.
Skippy writes: "The urban Jew is a depressed creature. Rootless, he hungers for what he cannot have. About a third (at least) of the urban Jews I know are on meds. The result of inbreeding? Knowing one's ancestors had a hand in the death of a deity? Being bombarded with images of shiksas?
"My penis is permanently holstered. It shant be used for mere pleasure again. I am past that in life. I now attend to more spiritual concerns, like my poverty."
LUKE FORD AND JOHN STOSSEL: A LABOR OF LOVE?
Dave Deutsch writes: Tongues are wagging over Auskenazi dreamboat Luke Ford's recent admission that his relationship with Ed Dinakos look-alike John Stossel is more than just business as usual. "...I don't have to make love to him every night..." (italics added). Are wedding bells in our beau's future? Anonymous sources report that Luke has been checking into hotel rates in the San Francisco area...
Tired Of John Stossel
When ABC News 20/20 host and correspondent John Stossel blew through town a few weeks ago, he did not win any awards for graciousness (like Elizabeth Spiers, he didn't remember names, acknowledge those who helped him). He struck many of the folks who had to deal with him as a "prima donna" and self-centered bore.
It's obviously important to him to be the solo host of 20/20 when Barbara Walters retires.
Stossel gives the same speech over and over again. He makes the same moans about how conservatives in the media are perceived by their peers as child molestors. And how he is not a social conservative because he wants to legalize drugs and prostitution.
I'm glad I don't have to make love to him every night and hear those same old moans.
P.R. GURU QUITS OVER 'PASSION'
I emailed Joshua Neuman, editor and publisher of Heeb Magazine, for a comment. A few days later, he called me back.
Josh: "Susan Blond didn't see it in the context of the magazine. She only saw JPEGs that were forwarded to her. This is not an attack on Christianity and Judaism or anything other than Mel Gibson's own pomposity, that somehow he optioned the story rights from Jesus.
"I haven't seen the film. I may be pleasantly surprised. I don't necessarily think he's anti-Semitic.
"This photo shoot was so appropriate for Heeb magazine. We've never dealt with anti-Semitism before. We're from a generation that grew up largely unaware of anti-Semitism. People my age are confused about this movie. We're trying to make sense of this narrative. We're having feelings bubble up within us that we're not used to.
"We got together a bunch of our friends, Jews and Christians, on a Sunday afternoon in November. We argued back and forth. This was a true interfaith dialogue. What you see on these pages are young, not necessarily religious, people struggling honestly with a narrative that they have complex and powerful feelings about. Some of it is sexy. Some of it is irreverent. Some isn't. It can't be understood without the text accompanying it. This is a work of art directed towards Mel Gibson's pomposity."
Luke: "Who's more offended by this layout?"
Josh: "Right now, Susan Blond, an Orthodox Jew, is the only one offended. The real issue is that we're offended by Mel Gibson. The hubris, the Latin and the Aramaic, and the twisting of the narrative, and basing it on this nun's amalgamation of the Gospels and passing it off as an expression of history, and not taken into account that these texts were written a hundred years after the Passion of Jesus took place. I'm not asking him to become a detached, post-modern Biblical scholar. Where's he most radical is in his departure from Catholic teachings. This commission of bishops is an issuing a manual on this film on how to respond to people who mistake this film for history itself."
Luke: "Is it true you used a Jewish prayer shawl as Jesus's loincloth?"
Josh: "Yes, it is true."
Luke: "Where did you get that from?"
Josh: "From Marc Chagall, from his apocalyptic paintings of the crucifixtion. Each tableau in the photospread is inspired by a classic image in Western art."
The humor and music editors of Heeb are Orthodox Jews. "Everybody on our editorial board has their nuanced relationship with all things Jewish."
Luke: "Have you seen the movie The Believer (2001)?"
Josh: "Yes. That party you went to was the DVD release party for The Believer. They advertised in our magazine for the movie. I thought it was a flawed interesting movie. It didn't offend me. Palm Pictures who took out the ad. We had that banner on our website for months. We got them a lot of publicity. They opted not to pay us. They didn't even say the check is in the mail."
Luke: "How much do they owe?"
Josh: "Not a lot. It would be embarrassing to say. But to a struggling start-up with an all-volunteer staff it meant a lot. We've never been treated that way."
Luke: "The movie disturbed me."
Josh: "It was a parable. These weren't real people. They were caricatures thrown on to the screen and duking it out for a higher moral purpose. I was surprised that I didn't dislike it as much as I thought I would."
Jennifer Bleyer, the former editor of Heeb, is now an editor at large.
Josh: "I loved The Last Temptation of Christ. I love historical drama. I support his right to struggle with his faith in an artistic way.
"This is satire. We could've written an editorial that no one would've ever read. We're pissed off and we want people to notice."
Josh has taken the semester off from teaching Jewish philosophy at NYU. He's writing a book with Dave Deutsch for St. Martins. It's an irreverent survey of Jewish conspiracy theories throughout the ages.
Dave Deutsch comments: "I'll admit when I first heard the loincloth thing, I was disturbed. I imagined it would really be wrapped around his crotch and ass-crack. But having seen the Chagall painting (White Crucifixion), and having heard Josh's description, I'm fine with it now--I haven't seen the actual photos, but it sounds fine. Similarly, I won't judge The Passion, since I haven't seen it, and have just heard descriptions of it. I certainly don't think that adhering to a Gospel account of the death of Jesus makes on an anti-semite, but I will add that insofar as he allegedly moved beyond his account, and given his own curious family background, I don't know that we have to automatically presume Gibson is innocent until proven guilty.
"I haven't seen The Believer, but any movie that involves Jewish nazis can't be all bad (if only he were gay it would have been a trifecta."
Lindsay Graham, John Zogby Da Bomb
I had no plans to attend Wednesday's Wednesday Morning Club. The featured guests were a US Senator (Lindsey Graham ) from South Carolina, who I suspected could barely speak the English language, and an Arab-American (John Zogby) Democratic-voting pollster who I feared would come strapped with explosives to detonate during dessert.
Now that I've voiced my horrible thoughts, I feel like I may continue in a state of grace.
My bigotry may appall you. Believe me, it appalls me, but as an Orthodox Jew I am allowed to be bigoted as a special dispensation from the Almighty for fulfilling the onerous demands of the Oral Law and as a partial recompense for the Holocaust. And don't ever call me a racist because I've dated black women and I loved Eve's Bayou and it is a movie entirely about upper-middle class blacks.
Cathy phones shortly before 9AM Wednesday as I'm beginning my work day. She tells me to come and I do everything she says.
I walk out of the rain and in to the Beverly Hills Hotel at 11:45AM, get my name tag, and spot two attractive slim women chatting gaily in a corner. Liz is blonde and works with Michael Finch at David Horowitz's Center for Study of Popular Culture. Her friend is dark - Clara Hickerson. She's bounced back and forth from working for David and for her current employer, Brad O'Leary. Her name tag says, "Brad O'Leary's Assistant."
Clara eats meat and votes Democratic.
Luke: "Who's Brad O'Leary?"
Clara: "He's on the board of the Wednesday Morning Club."
Well, that answered that question.
I learn later in the program that Dennis O'Leary is a conservative pollster on cultural issues who works with John Zoby and publishes the "O'Leary Report." No, he does not have a TV show on Fox News.
I engage in a ten-minute discussion on real estate prices. The rent on my hovel has gone from $415 a month to $475 in the past six years.
Pat Boone walks in wearing a purple shirt, a yellow tie with designs, and a red jacket. I interviewed him for about five minutes in 1986 at a fair in Auburn while I worked as a reporter for KAHI AM 950 News.
I sit with Cathy. She thinks I need to do a comic strip about my life. I tell her I hate cartoons. That's all the better, she says. I'd be a Pinocchio type character who wants to lead a real life but can't stop from lying.
Cathy: "You have to learn to tell the truth to yourself. Where do we start? What you want out of life. Your whole thing with life."
Luke: "I'm sincerely seeking a wife."
Cathy: "You're sincerely seeking a really hot virgin who will have your twelve kids that is older than you, younger than you, that will not give you any argument, that will give you a lot of argument. Who knows what you want?"
Well, Cathy certainly seems to think she does. She thinks I have to be nice to her today because of the horrible things I've written about her lately.
Cathy: "You'd have a whole cloud of lies swirling around in your head. I think it'd be good."
David Horowitz introduces Lindsey Graham as his closest friend in the Senate. Lindsey, who speaks with a strong Southern accent, turns out to be eloquent and witty. He seems to support President Bush on everything including guest worker visas, which is not popular in the room (as we're probably served our lunch by illegals).
Lindsey's crew videotapes his speech. He offers to send anyone present a copy "so then maybe you'll understand it."
Graham was the first Republican elected to the US Congress from South Carolina since 1877.
A silver-tongued devil, he's repeatedly interrupted by applause.
Lindsey: "If I were to follow in Senator Strom Thurmond's steps, my wife would be born in two years. She'd have our first children in twenty years. And I'd have 52 more years to serve. I'm taking the long view of things. Senator Thurmond was elected in 1954. I was born in 1955. This job doesn't come up a lot.
"Meeting Pad Boone is pretty cool. It's been a good trip. He has four wonderful children. I'm not married with no kids.
"I enjoy being around people who believe, who have a passion for American policy. The passion you see on the Democratic side is real.
"John Edwards and I were born in the same hospital in the same town two years apart. Believe it or not, I'm younger than he is.
"Bill Clinton couldn't get his tire changed in North Carolina. In Georgia, we're losing the best Republican we've got - Zell Miller."
Lindsey, who speaks for 25 minutes, predicts the Republicans will pick up four seats in the US Senate in November and will gain in the House. Redistricting favors Republicans, particularly in Texas.
Brad O'Leary introduces John Zogby. Brad walks like an old linebacker or a robot. He has enormous bulk and little arms.
Lindsey describes the three common characteristics of Republican voters as "God, guns, guts."
Zogby, who speaks for almost an hour, says Bush should win with Nascar dads. He predicts the general election will be extremely close. The Democratic base is energized by the loss in 2000, economic uncertainty and the war in Iraq.
Bruce Bialovsky, the energetic head of the Jewish Republican Coalition in Los Angeles, says there's a big shift of Jews to the Republican party. Zogby is not seeing that in his polls. Jews still lean 75-25 Democratic (certainly at my shul).
Arabs and Muslims are leaning more against Bush than they were in 2000. Zogby says Arab-American organizations are in their teens while Muslim organization in the US are in their infancy.
Zogby (has 200 employees and has called the last three presidential elections more accurately than anybody) is smart and funny. He's a dashing commanding speaker and handles questions with aplomb. He knows he's in a hostile room and yet he wins most of us over. I'm glad to report that today helped me to shed my unattractive bigotry towards southerners, Democracts and Arab-Americans. I left lunch a better person than when I arrived.
Zogby says illegal immigration is more of a values question than a policy question. He says the 18-29 age group is the most libertarian and the late 50s to early 70s is the most conservative.
Ask the Ethicist - a New Feature on Luke Ford
What is your position on:
Luke says: I am strongly opposed to everything asked except for 8 and I see exceptions in 5, 6 for kids who would otherwise not be adopted.
Next Week Belongs to the Christians
The Reverend Peter Luther Christian writes Luke: "We are one week from Ash Wednesday, a day solemn to Christians throughout the world. Also on that day, "The Passion" opens after numerous attempts by establishment jews to derail the project, to abort it from the moment of its conception. Even now, the pharisees are trying to do a late-term partial birth abortion on the film, using their enormous clout to pressure Mel Gibson into twisting it their way. In this they are doomed to fail. The Holy Ghost is not with the pharisees, and in a week the world will flock to movie theaters to see for themselves what Foxman et al. sought to suppress."
Why Young Women Get Naked
Fred writes: Prager is incorrect. The reason why women are exposing themselves is as follows:
1. It is an attention-getting device. It is how they get the attention they want.
Adam writes Luke: "Please explain to me Mr. Prager's position on pornography. It seems conflicting. While he discourages such immodesty in the public realm, does he feel it's healthy in the private realm? Did he say once that his father, on Orthodox Jew, is an example of this since he read Playboy? If I'm not mistaken, isn't looking at such images is a flagrant violation of Jewish law? While we're at it, what is his position of masturbation. Is it in accordance with the traditional Jewish view that it's a serious sin? Thanks."
Duke says: Mr Prager conflicts with Judaism on consensual sexual acts between unmarried adults. While he upholds heterosexual marital sex as the ideal form of sexual expression, he does not have a big problem with pre-marital sex, the occasional use of pornography to add spice to a relationship, etc, masturbation. He often says his father subscribed to Playboy while serving as the president of an Orthodox temple. Prager published an essay saying it is OK for a good man or woman to go to a strip club once in a while. Prager says masturbation is nothing, not a sin.
Angel writes: "Mr. Prager has made a "big" deal about John Kerry using the F word. He said it was a big deal because it was in a print interview, not in private conversation. On his website, he published an article that denounced John Kerry and defended GW Bush because his "swearing" was private. There is a big problem. When he first said this on his radio show, I emailed him with links to official news sites that showed that GW Bush swore to Tucker Carlson in a print interview..Tucker mentions this in his books..and numerous other interviews...Bush also swore in an interview with Talk Magazine. Mr. Prager brought this up on his show defending Bush's swearing...saying only that Mr. Bush swore in private. I emailed Mr. Prager links proving that Bush swore identically to Kerry..He responded once only saying that he didn't believe it....then he wrote the article...But Bush did the same thing Kerry did."
Why I'm Proud To Be White
In the midst of whirlwind celebrations of Black History Month, I took a minute this morning to scan a post by a white (and saw a note about a whites only scholarship offered by Young Republicans:
Sammy Petzlestein writes: "Our kind developed/invented: geometry; algebra; calculus; physics; chemistry (heck - all of science for the last 500 years) medicine, engineering, and just about every bit of technology stuffed into a public housing project. Our people ruled the world for most of the last few hundred years, spreading the light of reason and democracy to its duskiest corners. Our people are the fairest in creation. Not for nothing does the black man covet the white woman."
The Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Luke Ford But Couldn't Be Bothered to Ask Interview
Part 1: Luke on Jesus
Henceforth the Luke Ford Fan Blog is going to be a real fan blog. After a couple of catastrophic blogging mistakes (fortunately neither of which involved Mr Ford, who has a very thick skin and a good sense of humor), I've decided that teasing people from thousands of miles away probably wasn't such a good idea after all. For a start, it's impossible determine if your "victim" really is in on the joke. If she is not, she might get angry with you and strike back by ruining your love life (with women) until the end of time (or Google). This is not a good thing. Not a good thing at all!
Of course, my new understanding doesn't mean I won't occasionally pull Mr Ford's leg. But it does mean that I'm no longer in the business of creating blog entries out of whole cloth. (Except for the trivial fact that Mr Ford really isn't my moral leader. [I need one, obviously, but I'm very bad at making important life decisions, such as choosing a moral leader.])
To mark this shift in Luke Ford Fan Blog philosophy, here is the first of what I hope will be a series of interviews with my moral leader. Most of our discussions will revolve around religion, G-d, the meaning of life, and the like. If any one knows the ultimate purpose of our existence, it's surely Mr Ford! (I think, or at least I hope, he does -- assuming, of course, that there is such a purpose, which is frankly an absurdly anthropocentric assumption.)
The following interview took place in Mr Ford's Beverly Hills hovel between 4:56 am and 4:59 am on the morning of February 17, 2004. Mr Ford rises early so he can begin praying to his G-d at 5 am. These prays last for twelve hours. He is ridiculously religious.
I start by asking Mr Ford about Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ, a movie that neither one of us has seen, nor do we plan to see. (Mr Ford gives his [cryptic] reason below. I just abhor violence in all its forms, including the Hollywood make believe variety. Apparently the crucifixion scene in "The Passion" lasts 25 agonizing minutes -- with lots of slow motion. Good grief!) But then again, we are the sort of people who don't need to go to movies (or read books or actually meet people in person) to have strong opinions about them! In fact, all that knowledge would just get in the way of our going around popping off on all sorts of subjects that we really don't know anything about. And if Luke and I couldn't do that, we would be very sad indeed.
I should point out, by way of biographical background, that I'm an agnostic (actually I'm an atheist, it's just that I don't like that word -- it sounds so hellbound) raised as an Episcopalian, which use to be a serious Christian denomination. Now it's a motley collection of atheistic communists and swinging homosexuals. (Not that I have anything against either, it's just that you can't be a Christian and believe that Jesus was just a man, let alone a gay Marxist man, as the Archbishop of Canterbury, titular head of the Anglican Church, Dr Rowan Williams [not to be confused with the equally silly Jewish British comedian Rowan Atkinson] seems to think. Mel Gibson's Christianity [traditionalist Roman Catholicism] is of far more serious stuff [morally and intellectually].)
I ask Mr Ford about his views on the controversy over the movie.
Luke Ford Fan Blog: My moral leader what are your views on the controversy over the movie?
Luke Ford: What movie, dude?
LFFB: "The Passion of The Christ" silly! Will you be going to see Mel Gibson's new movie?
LF: I don't care for Jesus Christ.
LFFB: What do you think of Gibson's traditionalist reading of the Gospels? More specifically, are you familiar with (higher) Biblical criticism, in particular of the New Testament? Do you disapprove of the attacks on Gibson for not accepting scholarly research on the historical Jesus?
LF: I accept Higher Criticism as legitimate (though of course it also invalidates Orthodox Judaism as well as orthodox Christianity). I don't criticize Gibson for not accepting it, as I do not criticize Orthodox Jews and Muslims for not accepting scholarly findings that invalidate their faiths. Faith and reason tend to contradict each other. We need both. I think author Hyam Maccoby is great on Jesus, Paul and the origins of Christianity.
LFFB: How do you understand Jesus of Nazareth? Was Jesus a lunatic? Magician? Charlatan? Revolutionist? Profound teacher? Son of Man? Son of G-d? G-d? Proto-Luke Ford-esque moral leader?
LF: As a powerful charismatic rabbi who tried to bring about God's kingdom on earth through traditional Jewish ways such as observing the Torah and fighting against the occupiers (Romans), who ended up crucifying him.
As for the teachings attributed to him in the New Testament: that which is new I do not believe is true, and that which is true, I do not believe is new.
The Christ of Christian theology is generally repellant to me. Christian theology is repellant to me while I can love many individual Christians.
LFFB: Okay, my moral leader has lost me here. I don't know too much about this stuff (it probably shows), so I don't understand what Mr Ford is specifically referring to when he uses the phrase "The Christ of Christian theology." Also I question whether Jesus was "a powerful charismatic rabbi" because, to the best of our knowledge, he had very few followers during his lifetime.
Does Jesus' moral philosophy (give up all your possessions, turn the other cheek, refrain from stoning slutty women, etc.) resonant with you in any way, or do you view it as only applicable to the End Times and the Kingdom of God?
LF: I loathe it.
LFFB: Wow, that's so harsh, dude! I'm think I'm learning too much already. Note to self: permanently file away those questions about race that you have been working on.
Do you think that the demonization of Mel Gibson by the establishment (i.e., leftist, anti-religious) media and certain Jewish leaders will rebound, so that if there is an anti-social response to the movie it will be because of the overreaction (perhaps even anti-Christian bigotry) of the New York Times and people like Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Abe Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League?
LF: It's a good question. [I'm batting 1 out of 5 on good questions at this point, which isn't good.] I think any demonization of Gibson is wrong. I think he's a great guy, a great conservative, a man of good values, and I respect his religiosity (though I don't respect the theology behind it but that is his business).
"The Passion" is clearly bad for the Jews. It makes almost all the Jewish characters in it look bad, I hear. I fear that Jews will die because of this film.
LFFB: Thank you ever so much for your kind cooperation, Mr Ford. I promise to report your answers accurately, except for the answers that I just make up, that in fact weren't yours, and which I won't identify as such on my site. (Not to worry though. I won't make you look like an asshole or a moron or anything, because that would be morally wrong and stuff. And if I did so you might try to ruin my love life (with women) for all time, if that had not already been done by someone else. [Thanks a lot Rebecca!])
LF: You better not lie about me, dude, or I will hunt you down and gouge your eyes out and pull you limb from limb -- ever so slowly.
LFFB: You would have to catch me first, and let's face it you are rather out of shape these days, tubby!
Next time (that is, when I come up with more [and hopefully better] questions) we will learn about Mr Ford's conversion from Christianity to Judaism, as opposed to, say, Islam (yeah right), or the Bahá'í faith, or Gaian feminism, or ancestor worship, or Oprah worship. (Of course, I'm not suggesting that Mr Ford is sexually attracted to black women, which he isn't, although I kinda like Star Jones, but then again that's just me.) Mr Ford, on the other hand, only likes slender white women like Cathy Seipp -- alas, if only Miss Seipp were a nubile 20 rather than a sophisticated 50.
Update: I've just received a phone call -- my ears are still ringing. Miss Seipp is, in fact, 29 years old.