Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Roger Ebert/Debbie Schlussel update

On Monday, I posted a link to a Debbie Schlussel column regarding Roger Ebert's support for a terrorist and Ebert's attempt to prevent his deportation.

Roger Ebert has responded to Debbie's column with an e-mail to Debbie. I include Ebert's e-mail and Debbie's response (minus the e-mail addresses):

> Dear Ms. Schlussel,
> >
> > Update your database. I have lost 100 pounds.
> >
> > As you know, because I made it clear in the letter
> > you refer to,
> > Ibrahim's offer to come to my house to cook for me
> > came during a period
> > when I was recovering from radiation treatment. By
> > suppressing the
> > context, you make it seem as if I support him
> > because I am a glutton.
> >
> > Of course I do not support terrorism, as you know
> > perfectly well. I
> > support Ibrahim, who was granted asylum in this
> > country at a time when
> > the Kurds were considered to be U.S. allies.
> >
> > From the New York Times article on the case:
> > " of his closest
> > friends, Martin Dzuris, who had fled Communist
> > Czechoslovakia and who
> > is now a loyal George W. Bush supporter, built a Web
> > site and organized
> > a letter-writing campaign to
> > politicians."
> >
> > He is a true conservative in that he opposes
> > unnecessary government
> > intervention in the private lives of citizens.
> >
> > Since you are personally aware of the nuances of the
> > case, as a fellow
> > journalist I doubt you are proud of the headline
> > "Roger Ebert Gives
> > Thumbs-Up to Terrorism." Surely there is a way to
> > make your argument
> > without playing dirty?
> >
> > Sincerely,
> >
> > Roger Ebert
> >
> > P.S. I submitted this letter to the "Comments"
> > section of
> >, and it was rejected because "we
> > have new standards in
> > place that prevent the use of vulgarity and profane
> > terms." What's with
> > that? If you have a sense of fair play, you will be
> > sure to see that
> > the letter is posted on the site.

Debbie responds:

> Dear Roger Ebert, "R. Hyde," "Reinhold Timme," or
> whatever name or pseudonym you are using these days:
> I was sorry to learn that you were ill, and am
> sincerely glad to hear that you are in remission.
> However, as you readily stated, during a recent
> appearance on "The Howard Stern Radio Show," your
> weight loss was forced--due to your illness.
> Regardless, that is not the issue. I did not once
> mention your weight or illness in my column. They are
> irrelevant. Instead, I mentioned your penchant for
> food, which appears-- from your letter to the U.S.
> Government--to be the sole reason you know this man,
> Ibrahim Parlak, and want him to be allowed to stay
> here. In your 16 line letter (as it appears on
> Parlak's website), I counted at least 7 references
> (almost one every 2 lines) to Ibrahim Parlak's
> "restaurant," restaurant "business," your status as a
> 10-year "regular patron" of the restaurant, his offer
> to prepare "special foods" for you, etc. I could have
> quoted all of those things to give it even more
> "context" (which you claim is lacking, but isn't), but
> in the interest of space, I chose only one of those
> many references.
> And therein lies the issue. You are vouching for this
> murderer and terrorist because he makes food you like
> to eat and you like his restaurant. But that does not
> mean he is not a terrorist or a man held responsible
> in the murder of two people, and did not lie about it
> to get into this country and remain here. As you are
> well aware, Parlak is and did all of these things, of
> which he is accused. In fact, his food preparation
> skills and restaurateur status have nothing to do with
> the price of tea in China, as the trite old saying
> goes.
> I am sure Osama Bin Laden could make a mean falafel
> and a fabulous fattoosh if he had to, but that would
> not be an excuse to fail to bring him to justice. I'm
> not saying this man is on that level. He isn't. But
> he's a terrorist and a murderer, who trained in terror
> training camps, and that's enough. And many in his
> shoes can make Middle Eastern food. In fact, several
> men arrested on terror charges and/or deported from
> the U.S. have owned, operated, and/or worked at Middle
> Eastern restaurants. The ability to make Baba
> Ghanoush is not a litmus test on whether one is a
> terrorist or a murderer.
> You claim that because PKK was not always classified
> as a terrorist group, as it was not so classified when
> Parlak came into this country, that Parlak should not
> be penalized. However, the same can be said of the
> groups Hezbollah, HAMAS, Islamic Jihad, and, yes, even
> Al-Qaeda. Yet, we regularly--thankfully--deport those
> who have been involved with these groups on a regular
> basis, even if they came here when, unfortunately, our
> country did not take terrorism seriously enough, and
> the groups were not labeled as terrorist groups. The
> State Dept. terrorist list only dates back to 1995 or
> 1996, when President Clinton signed a law mandating it
> and making it illegal to be involved with those
> groups. While, as you state, the Kurds were
> considered to be allies, the PKK was hardly considered
> to be so. It has ties to Al Qaeda and a host of other
> groups who hate us and want to eliminate us.
> Regardless, it was ALWAYS illegal to lie on
> immigration and other forms. And it was ALWAYS the
> policy not to let a man held responsible for the
> murders of two men (who served jail time for it) into
> this country. Yet, your culinary pal, Mr. Parlak,
> lied not once, but FIVE times on FIVE separate
> government documents/applications -- all of which are
> enumerated in my column, a fact which you continue to
> choose to ignore. It is a fact which is important,
> because, as you and I both know, had your chef, Mr.
> Parlak, been truthful even once regarding his
> conviction, he would NEVER have been allowed to stay
> here in the first place. He was granted asylum, only
> because he lied and continued to lie thereafter, every
> step of the way. That is the issue, plain and simple.
> Yet, you fail to address that.
> You claim that because Martin Dzuris, a
> self-proclaimed conservative Republican, is a friend
> and supporter of Parlak, therefore, some Kosher (or is
> that Halal?)seal of approval must automatically be
> stamped on Parlak. What does Dzuris know about
> Parlak? He played tennis with him and, like you, ate
> at his restaurant. Big deal. He was not there in
> Turkey with Parlak and his grenade, AK-47, and pistol,
> and he was also not there, each of the five times
> Parlak lied about his being held responsible in two
> murders. He was not there at the terrorist training
> camp in the Bekaa Valley, etc. What about that?
> And what about Parlak's lawyer, Noel Saleh, who openly
> declared that he donated to Hezbollah, another
> terrorist group, which murdered over 300 U.S. Marines
> and civilians, and who is president of an organization
> tied to terrorism? President Bush welcomed Islamic
> Jihad front-man Sami Al-Arian to the White House, as
> well as others who are strongly tied to terrorist
> groups. Bush, as you may know, is a conservative
> Republican, too. But, he, too, was wrong (and I
> called him on it, in an October 2001 series of columns
> and an "O'Reilly Factor" appearance, that same month).
> As a conservative, I really do not need to be lectured
> by a liberal, activist movie critic about the
> definition of a "conservative." "Unnecessary
> government intervention in the private lives of
> citizens" (your words) have nothing to do with this
> situation. This is not even close to akin to
> government intervention in abortion or someone's sex
> life, regardless of what your and/or my views on those
> issues are. In fact, the primary purpose of
> government is to defend its citizens--from harm, from
> foreign armies and invaders, etc. I suggest a review
> of the U.S. Constitution, as I can think of no better
> example of the federal government exercising its power
> per Article IV, Section 4, which states, "The United
> States shall guarantee . . . . and shall protect each
> of them [each State] against Invasion," or Article I,
> Section 8, which provides Congress (which created DHS)
> the power to "repel Invasions." When illegal aliens
> come to this country, and lie to get citizenship, that
> is, no doubt, an invasion.
> As for the headline you quote, which you claim is
> "playing dirty," I am, indeed, proud of it. On my own
> website, it's entitled, "Thumbs Down: Roger Ebert
> Supports a Terrorist." In your own letter to the
> government, you begin by saying, "I am a film critic."
> You are allowed to use your status as a TV and print
> movie critic as a credential, however dubious with
> regard to national security, for your claims that
> Parlak does not pose a risk to this country and is not
> a dangerous person, yet I am not allowed to use your
> trademark phrases employed as a movie critic? You
> can't have it both ways.
> As far as "playing dirty," I could have mentioned in
> my column your own failed "films," which you--no
> surprise given their gutter quality--wrote under the
> pseudonyms, "R. Hyde" and "Reinhold Timme."
> I could have discussed the "plot" of "Beneath the
> Valley of the Ultra-Vixens," the promotional posters
> of which feature two giant female breasts and erect
> nipples, with nude and semi-nude women orgying on top
> of them. I could have discussed the main character,
> "Lamar's obsession with rear entry," how "Lamar is
> trying to find other tail to try his technique on,"
> and the movie's "love scene from the mattress' point
> of view." Or I could have mentioned your masterpiece,
> "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," featuring "a
> sleeping woman performing on a gun which is in her
> mouth" and "lesbian sex scenes." Or I could have
> written about "Up!" which features an Adolf Hitler
> lookalike, playing character "Adolf Schwartz" (talk
> about belittling the Holocaust and WWII). "Springtime
> for Hitler," anyone? That's not to mention its
> "one-woman nude Greek chorus" that pops up at various
> intervals during the movie, to narrate, and "breasts
> from every angle imaginable."
> Had I mentioned these other things, perhaps you could
> have said that I was "playing dirty"--or merely just
> writing about you "playing dirty." But the dirtiest
> thing here is that a renowned movie critic--who
> employs ink by the gallon for his own print column--is
> using his renown to help a man like this--a murderer
> and trained terrorist. Then, he's shocked, shocked,
> when someone calls him on it.
> Sincerely,
> Debbie Schlussel
> P.S. I'm not sure why your letter to the "Comments"
> section of was rejected, as I don't
> believe it was vulgar or profane. It must have been a
> computer error, and I am therefore, forwarding and
> submitting it along with this response to the editor
> for publication.

I never knew about Ebert's porn movie credentials. I do remember Ebert panning Richard Gere's anti-Red China movie "Red Corner." I guess Roger never met an American enemy he didn't try to protect. Debbie's column is also posted at I believe Front page has posted this e-mail exchange by now also.

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