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Cathy Seipp Reports On Her Party

I was not showing too much leg in my dress as it was a floor length dress. Luke must have sent away for one of those X-Ray vision glasses sold in the backs of comic books if he thought it was too revealing, but he says that he is such a spiritual person -- being Torah observant and all -- that he can see flesh where others can't. You know, for some people bullshitting is a habit, and for others it's a craft, but I'd say that Luke has raised it to a fine art. For which I salute him of course.

I know that Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of Reason, always likes to meet Hollywood folk who support libertarian causes like drug legalization -- a line in the sand I can't get too excited about unless it's over-the-counter Vicodin just for me personally -- and I know that my friend Morgan Gendel, a TV writer who was the showrunner on the old Pamela Anderson show "V.I.P.," is entirely sympathetic about this, so I was happy to be able to introduce them. Note to Debbie (aka Mrs. Gendel): I see a $14.95 subscription to Reason in some lucky husband's birthday present future!

Speaking of TV writers, my friends Lisa Simmons and Josh Weinstein very kindly gave this party for me. Josh and his partner Bill Oakley were the showrunners on "The Simpsons" for a while, and now they have a new show called "The Mullets" on UPN in September. Read On

Cool Party Baby May 29

Mediabistro.com hosts a cool party for media types May 29 at the Wyndham Bel Age on Sunset Blvd. And it is free. I'm going.

I just got new voicemail. It's costing me about $20 a month and it hardly gets used. So please leave an inspiring message - 310-281-5500.

'I Won't Read Luke Ford'

...or any other particular writer or website or newspaper or magazine or TV show...

It is such a silly claim that it can only be understood as a cry of pain. I keep hearing it as I go around the industry seeking scoop. 'Oh, I never read you...'

Face it. If a particular website or magazine has powerful information, you are either going to read it, or you are going to be affected by people who do read it.

No man is an island. We are all powerfully affected by the way people important to us perceive us.

Say your business is revealed as fraudulent on lukeford.net and you hate Luke Ford and will never read the site. It does not matter. Your peers will read it, they will bring up the matter to you and you can't hide from it.

If Lukeford.net reports something that affects you or your business you are going to be affected whether or not you pretend that you ignore that particular site or person.

If I get a big scoop, I can't be ignored by the people the scoop affects.

So grow up guys and quit pretending that if you ignore reality or a particular writer or website and stick your head in the sand, you won't be affected by what is written about you and your company and your friends.

Cathy Seipp's Party

Shul finishes at noon (after a sermon by the young rabbinic intern on "reducing, re-using and recycling," and what a wasteful society America is with its SUVs etc, in short, everything but the phrase 'What would Jesus drive?') Sabbath, 5/17, and I hike to Santa Monica for Cathy Seipp's 6PM party at the home of her secular friends.

Now I know most of my readers are wondering how I could attend a party during the sefira - seven weeks of semi-mourning in the Jewish calendar leading up to Shuvuot - the feast of weeks - when Jews celebrate receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai from God.

I have two exemptions that allow me to attend this party:

* I'm visiting the sick.

* It's for work purposes (so I can suck up to my superiors).

One reason Torah Jews (not those Jews who vote for the Democratic Party and support feminism and more rights for the sodomite and the transgendered) mourn during this time of year is that 1900 years ago, 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva's (greatest rabbi of the Talmud) disciples died because they did not show each other sufficient respect.

[Khunrum writes: I'll be darned...I never knew this. How were they killed? lethal injection? LF answers: According to Jewish tradition, from a plague. According to historians, at the hands of the Romans during the Bar Kochba revolution of 132-135 CE.]

So the moral lesson I take with me into the secular hedonistic libertine drunken party is that it is important to treat fellow Torah Jews (and to a lesser extent, regular Jews and righteous Gentiles who observe the seven laws of the sons of Noah) with respect.

I arrived at 6:15PM. Cathy introduces me around with an appallingly accurate description of my past. Less information please, Cathy.

I schmooze with Matt Welch about his real job this week blogging at Reason magazine located on Sepulveda near the Ten and 405 freeways.

A tall dark handsome man walks in. Everybody turns and stares at him. It's Nick Gillespie, the editor of Reason. I spend most of the night talking to him. He should hire me, except I am not a libertarian and I spend my every waking moment fighting the permissiveness they promote.

Writer David Aaron Clark went to Rutgers with Gillespie in the early eighties. "Nick was a great guy who was very serious about work yet had an unflinchingly irreverent sense of humor and a sarcastic take on everything. We worked together on the DAILY TARGUM and had a great time."

I try to get Matt fired from Reason. I tell Nick that Welch is not a libertarian. He's a liberal. Nick and Matt say Matt's a liberal in the tradition of the Economist magazine.

Matt supports universal healthcare (not a libertarian ideal) and more open immigration. Nick says libertarians support throwing open the borders. This gives me the creeps, driving me to the cheese and spinach thingies, of which I have about eight. I have one rice wrapped with seawead thingy. I have several pitas and carrot and celery sticks. With the same amount of faith I use to believe that God will send a messiah and resurrect the dead, I believe all food on the table tonight is kosher.

Hedonists Welch and Gillespie hit the bottle hard.

Matt and Nick say they find it difficult to finish their New Yorker magazines.

Matt and I praise The Atlantic monthly drawing Nick's ire.

Nick says The Atlantic lost $15 million last year while Reason magazine's entire budget is $2.5.

Luke: "It's a great magazine though."

Nick: "Thank you."

I was complimenting The Atlantic but Nick thought I was compliment Reason. I don't set him straight because I want to score points with the powerful.

I look around and there's not one person of color in the room. Could they not rent one?

After using Rent-a-negro.com, A.P. says: "My friends still ask, 'how is that black friend of yours?'"

Debbie Gendel introduces her screenwriter husband to Morgan to Gillespie and they chat about the absurdity of criminalizing drugs. I bet they've each tried more than their fair share in their time.

Adam Smith points out in his 1776 book The Wealth of Nations that there are vices the middle class can get away with that would destroy someone of an inferior class.

Even the low standards of their Conservative temple have proved too much for Debbie and Morgan and they have absented themselves from their compromising people, which just goes to show that those who think that lowering the standards of the Torah will encourage more people to observe it are smoking Jacob Sullum's bong.

A week ago, I invited Debbie and Morgan to join me in a Torah-lite showing of the PBS documentary The Gifts of the Jews at the Museum of Tolerance, which should be a favorite place for all Jews into pluralism and inclusiveness (not me). Deb, a convert to Conservative Judaism, replied: "I'm going to pass, though, as I'm pretty much Jewed out right now. It's what eventually happens to all converts, I suspect. After 20 years of drinking in the entire culture, I can be as apathetic as the next real Jew. I've finally arrived!"

A Torah Jew is never Jewed-out except when it comes to dealing with those less than him in mitzvos (Torah-commandments).

Cathy looks great (in a secular sense) in a stylish evening dress. She's obviously not Orthodox because she's showing a heckuva lot of flesh. Her arms and shoulders are completely exposed as are much of her legs. The dress is rather form-accentuating. Overall, not what a daughter of Torah should wear in front of anyone but her husband.

Cathy writes: I think you must have sent away for one of those X-ray glasses sold in the back of comic books re the amount of leg I was showing in that dress because...it was a floor-length dress!

Luke replies: I am very spiritually sensitive to these things... I catch flesh where others would not notice...

Cathy's ex-husband Jerry does not make it to the party.

Cathy's daughter "Cecile du Bois" arrives with Cathy's Dad Frank and his friend Dave. I spend 15-minutes talking to them about blogs. Cecile takes a bunch of pictures with her new digital camera.

Frank says therapy is bunk. Dave says that's a defensive response. All Dave's kids are therapists.

Dave asks me what I really think about blogs. I say they are just another vehicle for self expression and communication. Dave thinks they are primarily about ego rather than communicating important ideas and insights.

I say that most practicioners of everything, from therapy to blogging, are inept.

Dave, Frank and I agree that even in blogs, the most free mass communications vehicle, you can't write openly about race.

Dave: "Jayson Blair was just a young streetwise black guy [who put it over paternalistic whities like 1982's Janet Cooke did at the Washington Post]. But has anyone said that?"

I agree not.

Nick and Matt were both ambivalent the war on Iraq. Nick feels more positive about it now. About a third of the Reason staff opposed it and about a third supported it. All of the staff supports decriminalizing drugs and sexual things like pornography and prostitution.

Nick and his wife met in graduate school. For goyim, they're amazing smart. They both have PhDs in English. She's an anarchist. They have two kids - a son nine and a daughter, two. Children have not yet tempered their libertarianism.

Nick met Washington Post neoconservative columnist Charles Krauthammer in Washington DC at the Weekly Standard offices of Bill Kristol and they got into a big argument. Krauthammer told Nick he used to be a libertarian until he had daughters. Krauthammer supports censoring pornography.

Nick has yet to publish a book.

He succeeded Virginia Postrel as editor, who'd been on the job for ten years.

Virginia used to go around saying Nick was her hand-picked successor, to prove the point that she wasn't tossed out of her job. Nick then called himself her hen-pecked successor.

Nick came to Los Angeles for the week (he lives in Ohio where his wife is an English professor with medical benefits and everything) with Jacob Sullum who just published the book - Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use. They had a party for the book Thursday night and it was dull. A bunch of donors to Reason magazine, a few subscribers and a handful of intellectuals. The average age of attendees was about 50. Two people smoked cigarettes, the limit of the debauchery.

Which political magazine attracts the most hot chicks?

Jacob is not at Cathy's party tonight because he's an observant Conservative Jew and the Sabbath doesn't end until 9PM. Nick came back to their hotel room Friday night and found an inebriated Sullum making the Sabbath holy with two bottles of wine while lying on the couch watching TV. Sullum claimed it was ok to watch TV so long as it was turned on before the Sabbath began and you didn't change the channel.

Sullum is married to a female Conservative rabbi. Female rabbis by definition violate Jewish Law. Sullum is a modernity-appeasing compromiser of the Jewish tradition. He doesn't fool me by staying in his hotel room while I party hearty with Cathy. I'm still the Torah-true stud. I don't hold with women rabbis, women cantors or women doing anything historically reserved by the Torah tradition for men.

And I don't hold with smoking dope like pot-head Sullum. And to think his wife is a rabbi and he's out peddling dope to kids, well, ok, I just made up that last accusation but with libertarians you can never know. Libertarians are the right-wing form of the left said the late Allen Bloom.

Les writes: Or as someone said, libertarians are convervatives who smoke dope. And it's true on so many levels!

Gillespie does not approve of Bloom because Bloom doomed rock music.

Matt says Tony Pierce gets off on reading the blogs of 15-year old girls which creeps me out. Matt then points out the group to that my credentials for moral leadership (www.yourmoralleader.com is my domain) are suspect.

Cecile freaks me out by saying a friend of mine had written a column on www.moviecitynews.com about me. I get home and find out the producer character Lou is definitely not me.

Cathy gives a brief speech at her party. She calls it "self-involved and vindictive." She says she walks two hours a day and not only can out-write anyone at the LA Times but kick their ass too. She's glad to say that her illness has not made her a better person.

She says she invited everyone who's been nice to her over the past year to the party - that's about 50 people.

Every time I see Cathy's daughter Cecile she's wearing a mini-skirt. Cecile definitely needs to go to an Orthodox day school where she will learn about modesty and how to be a Bat Torah (daughter of Torah).

Cecile writes on her blog: "I love Judaism, but I don't want to be brainwashed into being a lady! I would much rather stay at my regular school, go to WASPy ville and go live in Europe. Mom made me wear a skirt! My other white skirt is ugly! I really wanted to wear my jeans, but it had to be "fancy". Sigh, well I guess I dress like a slut. My friends tell me I'm too Jewish. [Reform] Sunday School nears..."

Mickey Kaus (Slate columnist) and Rob Long (TV sitcom writer) come to the party. At least they're not wearing miniskirts.

I tell Mickey and Nick about my conversation Thursday night with author Jim Sleeper. Jim has bombarded Mickey with emails to link to his Hartford Courant (America's oldest newspaper) column on the Jayson Blair affair. Kaus says he's Blaired-out. I talked for an hour with Sleeper and his political philosophy reminded me of Kaus. Jim agreed.

I eat four chocolate chip cookies and a brownie. I drink five cups of Perrier. I drunkenly ask Nick, "Who's that blonde to your left?"

Nick: "I don't know, but she came in with another writer."

Matt and Nick, friend to the transgendered and the sodomite, are too apathetic to be atheists.

Emmanuelle and Nick went to Roman Catholic day schools but are not religious any more.

Nick, the libertarian, and his wife, who feeds at the public trough, send their kids to public schools while their leftist friends at university send their kids to private schools. Nick doesn't believe that government should educate our kids.

It is time for me to pray the afternoon and evening prayers and make the separation of the Sabbath from secular time (havdalah). I see three stars in the sky. The Sabbath is over.

Matt Welch, Emmanuelle, Richard, their friend Sarah, and Gillespie leave Cathy's party shortly after 9PM for some devil-worshipping rock concert. Goyim.

I fall asleep listening to a recording of Hamlet. I have three nightmares in a row, like three episodes in a TV show. First nightmare, a colleague at my newspaper office is briefly kidnapped. Second nightmare. While at work, I hear scary sounds. Third. While at work at my newspaper office, I am overcome by force and tied up for a few hours. I awake at 1:15AM.

I go back to sleep and have another nightmare I can't remember.

5/18, 7AM: I got a link from Instapundit! The Gospel of Luke is going to all the world. I know it's no big deal for major-league journalists like Matt Welch and Ken Layne, but I'm going to synagogue right now to give thanks to God and to pray that He pours out his wrath on the wickedly fornicating dope-smoking libertarian goyim.

Cecile writes on her blog: "I went to Sunday School, as usual today. A boy there seemed more interesting than usual. Since I had my digital camera, I showed the class the picture of my dad snoring, and the one of Luke Ford, whom I talk about often--my Sunday School teacher thinks he's quite eccentric."

From Amazon.com's description of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use:

Dave Barry, syndicated columnist and author of Tricky Business and Big Trouble:
Jacob Sullum has produced a thoughtful, sane, and logical analysis of our drug laws. Is that even LEGAL?

Thomas Szasz, professor emeritus of psychiatry, SUNY Upstate Medical University:
Sullum pits the truth against the lies of the drug prohibitionists.

Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union; professor of law, New York Law School:
Saying Yes is a powerful refutation of the pharmacological prejudices underlying the war on drugs.

Book Description

Jacob Sullum goes beyond debate on legalization or the proper way to win the "war on drugs," to the heart of a social and individual defense of using drugs. Saying Yes argues that the all-or-nothing thinking that has long dominated discussions of illegal drug use should give way to a wiser, subtler approach.

Exemplified by the tradition of moderate drinking, such an approach rejects the idea that there is something inherently wrong with using chemicals to alter one's mood or mind. Saying Yes further contends that the conventional understanding of addiction, portraying it as a kind of chemical slavery in which the user's values and wishes do not matter, is also fundamentally misleading.

Writing in a lively and provocative style that earned him critical acclaim for his previous book, Sullum contrasts drug use as it is described by politicians and propagandists with drug use as it is experienced by the silent majority of users. The lives they lead challenge a central premise of the war on drugs: the idea that certain substances have the power to compel immoral behavior.

About the Author

Jacob Sullum is the author of For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health. He is a senior editor at Reason and a syndicated columnist with Creator's Syndicate. Sullum's weekly column appears in newspapers across the country. His work has also appeared in Cigar Aficionado, National Review, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and The New York Times.

Michael Evans writes: Luke: I attended the AFI panel and have been reading your blog regularly ever since. I think it's great work and it seems as though you're one of the few writers out there narcissistic enough to be completely honest when you write. Instead of spending time shaping and forming some internet image, you just hang it out there, and that's very refreshing.

I mentioned that I have a strong interest in how people integrate religious traditions into their lives, often without knowing it. I'm very interested in how religious traditions and their presentations of desirability (in thought and behavior) migrate into the secular world and shape how everyone thinks about desirability.

As someone who thinks about the distinction between the sacred and the profane, and who deals with the conflict on a regular basis as part of a daily religious life, how do you reconcile the compulsion to interact with the profane world (through work, or technology, or let's face it, blogging) and the mandate to remain mindful and resident in the sacred world? Put another way, does the self-interest that drives blogging empower our profane lives and cause interference with our sacred lives?

Luke replies: Simply by observing Jewish Law, I constantly make separations between the sacred and the non-sacred. Orthodox Judaism is very specific. It lays it all out and you do it. I'm not yet up to doing all of it, so I check out and dive into the profane world frequently but my religious commitments insure that never goes unchecked. For me it is a very practical and specific and action-oriented solution to the dilemmas you pose. I have the Sabbath, daily prayer, dietary restrictions, required Torah study, holidays, a religious community that reads my writing and keeps an eye on me...

Douglas Rushkoff vs The Reviewers

Author Douglas Rushkoff writes 5/16/03 : Most discouraging, so far, have been a few of the outlandishly negative reviews. I wouldn't mind at all if people who angrily reviewed the book actually read the book - but the two I've read seem to be commenting on a different book, entirely. They think I hate God, am some sort of closet atheist, or am desperate to work out a personal hatred of Jews.

I looked closely at the words and - in some cases, past work - of these reviewers, though, and came to realize that these are their own personal obsessions. People who think an "open source" Jewish tradition will kill God are the same people who, deep down, constantly question whether God really exists (me thinks the lady doth protest to much...). Those who see the end of Israel in any honest discussion about Judaism have Zionism at the heart of their own conflict. The notion of an open, honest discussion about Judaism serves a Roschach test, bringing up whatever it is we're attached to, or conflicted about (same thing).

A great rabbi - the head of education at University of Judaism [Rabbi Artson?], wrote an extremely encouraging letter to me in which he said that "Hey, when you get that sort of response from the organized Jewish world, consider yourself a success! There is a ton of paranoia out there about the 'end of Judaism.'"

The Matrix Reloaded

I hated the first one and I don't plan to see the second. Critic Henry Sheehan says the Matrix movies "are martial arts movies with actors who don't know martial arts."

Indecent Proposal

Trust the Jewish Journal (Golan Takes Films To New Heights) to suck up to awful filmmaker-thief Menahem Golan.

JJ managing editor Amy Klein reveals her dating woes. It reads like shallow people dating shallow people. What else do you expect from those who reject the Torah? If Amy were Orthodox, or if I were truly Orthodox, we'd each be married by now. We haven't made the sacrifices necessary to be married.

From the JewishJournal.com: An Irish multimillionaire pining for a London teacher offered her husband $1 million to divorce her in a real-life "Indecent Proposal" that has scandalized London’s Orthodox Jewish community, according to a May 4 report in London’s Sunday Times.

Brian Maccaba made the offer to Alan Attar after he allegedly became infatuated with his wife Nathalie Attar, an instructor at Beth Yosef preschool, which is funded by a nonprofit chaired by Maccaba.

Australia’s Daily Telegraph reported that Maccaba, who is married, became interested in Nathalie Attar soon after she arrived at his $3.8 million home in North London to teach his children.

In a handwritten letter sent to the couple, Maccaba referred to Nathalie Attar as his "true soulmate" and the money as a "golden key" that would "set her free" and give the husband "a bachelor’s freedom again ... to be a playboy in the south of France for a while."

Nathalie Attar was so shocked by the letter that she took it to Rabbi Dayan Lichtenstein, a senior rabbinic judge with the Federation of Synagogues’ beit din, for advice. The 30-something couple rejected the computer executive’s offer.

A Jewish court cleared Maccaba of sexual harassment allegations and said that he had not acted inappropriately, according to The Sunday Times. But the letter has now become Lichtenstein’s main piece of evidence in a defamation suit filed against him by Maccaba, alleging that the rabbi has damaged his personal and professional life.

Maccaba’s suit alleges that the rabbi referred to him on two separate occasions as a known adulterer who pursued "young Jewish newlyweds" and who "has been involved in numerous affairs with married women within the Jewish community."

Color Schemes

Jim Sleeper's book review in The Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif.; Feb 17, 2002;

COLORING THE NEWS: How Crusading for Diversity Has Corrupted American Journalism, by William McGowan. Encounter Books: 278 pp., $25.95.

There it was: that look, on the face of a member of Harvard's prestigious Society of Fellows, as I told him over coffee in 1996 that the "epidemic" of racist arson against black churches headlined on the nation's front pages was a fantasy. Worse, I said, newspapers weren't admitting they'd been stampeded by activists' claims that a small uptick in church arsons nationwide was concentrated on black churches. They hadn't bothered to discover that many of the black- church fires were set not by racist nightriders but by blacks seeking insurance money or drunken white teens seeking thrills. My new acquaintance gave me the easing-toward-the-exit smile of one who's found himself at the wrong table. Like many busy people, he relies more than he realizes on editors' news judgments to take his bearings amid racial, sexual and other social changes. Keeping his political and moral equilibrium sometimes involves being notified when to be outraged. It unnerved him to be told he was being misled.

William McGowan, who'll get lots of looks like the one I got, explains the problem with the arson story and other such reportorial wrongs. How are journalists, who are professional skeptics, so easily gulled? His answer is flagged by his subtitle: Something has gone terribly wrong with the noble goal of diversifying American newsrooms, where more racial and sexual variety is supposed to enhance political and philosophical vitality. Too often, McGowan claims, it has done the opposite, as high-end media managers dress up quarterly bottom-lining with color- and gender-coded crusading that asks reporters to become true believers, not skeptics. The result, he says, is a toxic brew of guilt-driven moral posturing by publishers and editors, bureaucratic diversity training and groupthink for reporters, racial and sexual sensationalism and cheerleading and stroking for targeted markets.

Promoting "diversity" for profit and moral purity reminds me of Woody Allen's quip that the socialist magazine Dissent was merging with the conservative magazine Commentary "to form Dissentary." But journalists who've made it their mission to slay the dragons of racism, sexism and homophobia may consider McGowan part of a conservative, white-male media-bashing campaign. There are indeed such campaigns. McGowan has gotten too close to them for a good skeptic's comfort, and some of his documentation looks sloppy or manipulative. But his targets' flaws transcend his own and must be reckoned with. He carries his argument through journalistic embarrassments touching feminism, gay rights and immigration as well as race, but the book's title reflects his preoccupation with the last, which began for him in Sri Lanka, where he wrote tellingly of racial and ethnic conflict for his book "Only Man Is Vile."

"Coloring the News" opens with an account of how, in 1995, as initiatives against affirmative action arose in California and other states, journalist Nicholas Lemann wrote a New York Times Magazine profile, widely reprinted and retold, that made a civic saint of Patrick Chavis. The black physician had been admitted to UC Davis' medical school under a racial-preference quota the U.S. Supreme Court later struck down after a challenge by white applicant Allan Bakke. Still angry about Bakke, Lemann contrasted Chavis' apparently noble work among the poor of Compton with Bakke's humdrum service in Minnesota.

Three years later (as the Los Angeles Times reported fully, though McGowan doesn't acknowledge it), California's medical board revoked the medical license of Chavis for "gross negligence" after six patients were injured and one died from botched operations in a liposuction business he was running. Chavis was an embarrassment to affirmative action because Lemann's misplaced moralism had made him an icon; so, McGowan reports, the New York Times and many other papers that had touted him never reported his fall. Perhaps, having abused Chavis by inflating him, Lemann and the New York Times hadn't the heart to hit him again. But what about their obligation to readers, like my Harvard acquaintance, who still think Chavis a hero?

Journalists whom McGowan queried agreed that had Bakke been "caught in such flagrant malpractice, the press would have been all over the story." But they wouldn't admit this in print, where, McGowan claims, their credibility is dropping as readers tire of forced marches through stagy morality plays like the Chavis and church-arson stories; the "decimation" of the Congressional Black Caucus by Supreme Court rulings against racially drawn districts; the "re-segregation" of higher education via Proposition 209 (at the hands of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, no less).

We need better reporting, especially, McGowan argues, to sort conflicting claims about racial preferences. He argues that--in sectors such as college admissions and journalism, where nonwhites are sought avidly--affirmative action, which was supposed to counter discrimination, has been superceded by a color-coded "diversity" to keep up the appearance of full racial integration even when pools of fully qualified applicants are thin. Instead of helping the disadvantaged, "diversity's" claim that serious deficiencies are really just cultural "differences" reflects a fudging of entrance and performance standards to deflect political or bureaucratic presumptions of racism and to enhance a company's niche marketing efforts. Thus contrived, diversity ends up misjudging and isolating its supposed beneficiaries, like Chavis.

How pervasive is this? McGowan says that news corporations' legal and marketing priorities are at odds with the public's need to find out. He notes that some "diversity" programs chill true diversity of opinion and freedom of expression: Religious and/or anti-abortion reporters are more closeted now in mainstream newsrooms than gays; so are blacks who think that O.J. was guilty or that racial preferences bring dubious returns. Those who leap forward to speak for their "groups" become apparatchiks of color, he claims, licensed to dispense bitterness and mistrust in measured doses to all who deviate from accepted patterns: Several times McGowan cites Washington Post columnist Dorothy Gilliam, former president of the National Assn. of Black Journalists, for rants about the "plantation" racism of whites who doubt, say, Marion Barry's statesmanship, and he cites Latino and gay counterparts in the piety police. Nervous white editors roll over at dubious charges of racism: McGowan tells how only after embarrassing legal depositions did Gannett's Burlington Free Press in Vermont settle out of court with an award-winning white reporter it had fired because he'd angered a black politician by telling the truth about a public meeting "for people of color" at which whites were barred from speaking.

"If white men weren't complaining, it would be an indication that we weren't succeeding," retorts New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. to such criticisms, in an in-house Times newsletter quoted by McGowan. Sulzberger, a crusader for what he calls "managed diversity" in the nation's newsrooms, adds that no longer can news be reported only from a "white, male and straight" perspective. McGowan pairs that with former Los Angeles Times publisher Mark Willes' call to make his "white male newspaper" more appealing to minorities and women with stories "more emotional, more personal and less analytic." You wonder whether these elite white men and their collaborators of color downstairs can tell "white" from wrong or "male" from stale. George Orwell or Lionel Trilling could have explained how such groupthink multiplies blunders.

But McGowan's political groupthink produces blunders of its own. He doesn't acknowledge that while liberal guilt certainly drives moralizing, the corruption of diversity is more corporate than "liberal." He touts the conservative editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and Fox TV News as trustworthy alternatives to liberal bias, as if they had no pieties, phony crusades and buried stories of their own. They and most other conservative team players have given his book great play. I've long damned such devil's bargains, and McGowan hasn't escaped this one by putting me in his acknowledgments. He's caught in the left-versus-right paralysis of public discourse, in which each ideological camp is right about how the other is wrong yet too partisan to follow its truths wherever they lead.

"The profession would be better off," McGowan acknowledges, if it hired not more conservatives but more "journalists who possessed skepticism, a regard for hard truth and an impatience with the 'smelly little orthodoxies,' as Orwell described them." So why doesn't he cheer when the "liberal" press catches wind of itself and cleans up a little? In 1998, the New York Times and its Sunday magazine began producing some work on racial districting, bilingual education, affirmative action, hate crimes and even the supposed statesmanship of the Rev. Al Sharpton that all but rebuked editorial page "diversity" mantras that had framed the paper's mind-set. Stung by criticism like mine, the paper also cranked out a decent but dull "How Race Is Lived" series but then repackaged it for book publication in pious, editorial groupthink.

It's too soon to claim that McGowan is only fighting the last war. This country's vast race industry of activists, consultants, foundation officers, civil rights lawyers and government monitors enhances its funding, job lines and moral cachet by playing up bad racial news and discounting the good. Whatever his mistakes, McGowan is right to argue that journalists should be investigating the race industry, not working for it.

The Blushing Bride

From the USA Today:

By Olivia Barker LAS VEGAS -- Swaths of skin glisten under a pair of disco balls at the Olympic Garden, a topless cabaret on the north end of the Strip. Patrons ringing the shiny black stage linger over Corona longnecks and Coke cocktails. The air is ripe with the scent of sweat, smoke and after-shave.

A typical Saturday night of mild sinning in Sin City, except this one features a twist more intoxicating, to certain observers, than those served with the martinis. Up here on the second floor, the ogled aren't prosthetically enhanced (at least above the belt), and the oglers aren't middle-aged men.

As Johann, Paris, Danny and Tommy gyrate to Justin Timberlake, Diana Vincent flutters her hand in front of her face. ''He is so hot!'' shrieks Vincent, 32.

Danny, clad in a black-and-red thong, is sliding his bare bottom and back against her seated friend, Czari Anulao, a gauzy white veil pinned to her long brown hair. Minutes later, Anulao is breathless but beaming. ''I liked it,'' says the 29-year-old biotechnician from Sacramento.

An hour-plus later, how many scantily clad studs have shimmied in her lap? ''I lost count.''

Anulao is getting married soon, like half a dozen other women in the red-velvet-shrouded room, some crowned by condom-studded veils. One bride-to-be is tethered to a male blowup doll. Meet a new generation of bachelorettes, for whom swearing is as natural as squealing, the craps table is as alluring as the cosmetics counter, and bawdiness is next to godliness.


On his nationally syndicated radio show, Dennis Prager says: "Men who strip are boys. They are not men. Women are turned on by men.

"This isn't a new generation of bachelorettes. This is exceptional in female nature. "Women are getting back at men with these things. Women don't like that guys do this before the wedding. So they do it too.

"Female sexuality is more about alluring males than acting like males by ogling male bodies. Females don't ogle male bodies. It is male nature to ogle female bodies. There is no equivalent to Playboy for women. Playgirl is bought by gay men.

"This whole thing of bachelorette parties with male strippers is a creation of masculinism. If men do it, I'll do it."

Kelly, 33yo female caller: "Women have these bachelorette parties because they feel so threatened by their men having their bachelor parties."

Dennis: "Ask any guy, moral considerations aside, if he'd like to have sex with the attractive stripper and he'll say yes. Most women will say no.

"We've confused equality with sameness. Women have been sold a bill of goods, to act like men, think like men, dress like men. It's a real loss to society. Femininity and masculinity are gorgeous.

"This is an effort to de-emotionalize sex, which runs against female nature.

"As a woman, would you like to go into a private room to get a lapdance? Men want that."

My Therapist Retires Me

After four sessions with my darkly beautiful therapist, she's retired me. She says I'm wasting my time and money coming to therapy. Oh, my broken heart... I thought she was really coming to like me... If I have any really big problems that I feel I can't handle, however, I can come back.

It was freeing to walk out today and go on my way feeling capable of dealing with what life sends me.

Khunrum writes: An obvious quack. Everybody else knows how f---ed up you are, why not her? Don't give her another dime...

With a bit of searching I am sure Luke will be able to find another shrink to take his money and tell him he indeed needs therapy.

Fred writes: That his therapist threw him out, here are the possibilities: 1. Luke is actually "cured" (more likely due to lithium, viagra and [Torah], rather than any therapy); or 2. The therapist now has patients who can afford higher billing rates and is ditching the low income patients. 3. The therapist is unable to perceive Luke's "problems".

Amy Alkon writes: I guessed, since you'd read so much Albert Ellis, that was your story, too. I went in to see a therapist who listened to me for two sessions and told me I had a very healthy approach to solving my problems for myself, and that there was nothing more she could tell me that I wasn't already telling myself! Retired!

Kayla, 5'10 with big boobies, writes: Step in to MY office!

Luke: what would you do to me?

Kayla: not TOO much, your sense of guilt would be driving you INSANE otherwise...

Sarettah writes: Well, sounds like you got from her what you sought... Good advice.... Duckdude...

I have read your stuff for what seems like many years now, (prolly about 4)... You aren't actually a bad person, you are'nt necessarilly a good person... You're a person...like the rest of us... You got ups, you got downs, you got in betweens...

Stop torturing yourself over crap and start fucking living life... You ain't stupid... You are willing to sacrifice for what you want... (ref sleeping in your car when first arriving in LA) ... Get off your ass and start acheiving dammit.... You had a good thing going with LF>com, you sold it for a pittance and moved on, giving it up....

How many times have you NOT finished stuff in your life ??? You can fix that and you are the only one who can fix that !! Therapists can not, friends can not, lovers can not..... One thing you need to understand is that NOBODY IS HAPPY 100% of the time..... Happiness comes in spurts (first one to turn that into a porn connotation dies....very very slowly) it is fleeting, it occurs in moments, not even second or minutes..... Inner Peace can come more often then happiness, but for many people is a very hard thing to attain, most of us settle for periods where we feel inner peace....

Contentment is also something that tends to come in periods.... If we can find contentment, inner peace or Happiness for even 10% of our time, we are doing good !!!! That does'nt mean that the rest of the time we go around hating the world or ourselves.... The rest of the time we are living, experiencing things, working, trying to SURVIVE !!! All of us, every one.....

CJ writes: sarettah, i can't believe you wasted all that wonderful advice on a whiney attention seeking baby!!

Sarettah writes: Yeah, I know.... But I get tired of the Vampires (and Duckboy is definitely a vampire). They spend all day long just sucking the life out of you.... They always want to be the very first one to tell you tragic news... They get off on bringing you down to their level.... "Oh my, did you hear about So and So, he died last night in a terrible accident" is the kind of thing that you hear from them, and while their mouths might be frowning or grim...

If you look in their eyes you realize that they are getting off on telling you this stuff.... Unfortunately for them, they can only do this so long before nobody wants to be around them.... So, they end up old, lonely, dried up carcasses of crap.....

Duckboy still has some life in him and can recover from his vampireness, so I figured I would point out that he can, if he wants to..... One of the problems he has is that he keeps looking for the "SECRET". He has looked in porn, he has looked in religion, he looks and looks and looks.... Duck, come here for a moment.... I'll tell you the "SECRET"... Here, closer, I don't want anyone else to hear this....

Duck, the secret is that THERE IS NO SECRET !!!!!!!!!

That simple and straight forward really..... You are looking for something that does not exist and as soon as you realize that, you will find all those things that you NEED..... They are right there in front of your little whiney face.... Here... You want to find some stuff out.... Some reccomended reading... Sugar coated enlightenment for you.... Read "Another Roadside Attraction" by Tom Robbins, follow it with "Still Life with Woodpecker", also by Tom Robbins..... Think about what you read... Apply the lessons well... Then go and read "Even Cowgirls get the Blues", also by Tom Robbins.....

After you finish that, do what it says... and call in WELL once in a while.... You always seem to be calling in SICK, it is time for you to call in WELL.. dammit.... "I've been sick since the day I started working for you. I'm well today" "So, I won't be in"

After all the TR reading, which like I said is enlightenment coated with sugar spoonfed to you, you might be ready for some deeper stuff.... You can stop being a vampire, or you can continue to alienate everyone you come in contact with... Your choice...