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CNN TALKBACK LIVE

Should Astros Be Able to Rename Enron Stadium?; Is New Magazine Offensive to Jews?

Aired February 6, 2002 - 15:16   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

AMY ATKINS, HOST: ... no longer fuels the team's engine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're interested in getting the name Enron off their ballpark (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ATKINS: But can they switch brands?

Hello, everyone. Welcome to TALKBACK LIVE, America Speaks Out. I'm Amy Atkins, I'll be your guest host for the rest of the week.

Today we'll look at, what's in a name? And we're going to start with Enron. That company bought the naming rights to the Astros Stadium in Houston. Probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Ken Lay, Enron and the Astros -- a team. Of course, that was before the Enron meltdown. Now the Astros want Enron off the team.

Check out this statement from Pam Gardner, she's the president of the Astros business operations. "The Houston Astros have been materially and adversely affected by the negative public perception and media scrutiny resulting from Enron's alleged bad business practices and bankruptcy."

Well, is a deal a deal? Joining us is Sandy Mayerson, a New York bankruptcy attorney, Scott Ferrall, host of "Sports Guys" on WNEW Radio in New York, and standing right in the middle of the controversy at Enron field is Kenny Hand, a sports radio talk show host on KTRH in Houston.

Kenny, I want to start with you, because I guess you're none too pleased that you're actually at Enron Stadium.

KENNY HAND, KTRH RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: It's a little cold today, yeah. It's a little nippy out here, which is unusual for Houston.

ATKINS: But I think you're pretty cold to the idea that it's called Enron Stadium. And why is that? HAND: Yeah. Well, I've lived here for 25 years, I was with "The Houston Post" for 18 as a columnist, and I think there was always a feeling among the fans and the media here that the Astros might leave if they didn't get a new stadium. And then, when Ken Lay came along on a white horse and helped deliver that stadium, and in fact, became one of the principal movers and shakers in getting that stadium, then I think everybody felt pride.

Now there are a lot of fans that feel shamed because of the name that's associated with it, the biggest bankruptcy collapse in history.

ATKINS: But wouldn't you say that when you hook up with a company like Enron, you run the risk of that company going under and not being able to afford it and possibly having a name that everybody is not so happy to be associated with anymore?

HAND: Oh yeah, there's no question there's risk associated when you're an owner and you make that move. I think a lot of owners feel like they have to do it because it's so expensive. The Astros have a payroll of about 63 million this year, so that 3.3 million coming in is imperative that they get that. It was $100 million deal over 30 years, so the owners are inclined to try to put those deals together because it's so expensive to operate baseball. But Enron was going more than $80 a share. There wasn't any reason at the time to think it was that big a risk.

ATKINS: Do you think, aside from the idea that they possibly can't afford to be doing this anymore, that they actually just shouldn't be doing it, because they're not, in some people's minds, upstanding citizens of Houston any longer?

HAND: You're saying, should Enron not do it anymore?

ATKINS: Just because they're Enron, having nothing do with their finances at the present time?

HAND: Well, I'm not sure I know what you're getting at. I mean, Enron is in a position right now where, you know, their next major payment due will be August 31. I don't see how they're going make a $3.3 million payment there. So I think it's all going to be decided in bankruptcy court anyway. I think the Astros position is, as I try to talk over the ambulance here, why don't we try to come up with an amicable parting of the ways right now, because this can't be a long- term endeavor.

ATKINS: I guess what I'm getting at is that the Astros are saying that they have been, in effect, been harmed just by being associated with Enron. The E-word in Houston is dirt.

HAND: Yeah. I mean, it has been harmed. I think if you tried to put a marketing package together right now and you go to potential advertisers and clients, I mean, it's very hard for the Astros right now to have any believability -- I guess would be the word -- in this stadium name. Most of the time you wouldn't think the stadium name would be that important to fans and potential advertisers, but it is in this case. ATKINS: And I want to turn to Scott now, because I understand that Scott really doesn't care all that much. Is that true, Scott?

SCOTT FERRALL, WNEW RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, I just think it's the most ridiculous thing. I can't even fathom that anybody wants to take their time to worry about these people.

First of all, they're quick to get into bed with Enron people, but they're quick to get out. All these baseball corporations across America are getting into bed with these big, large companies so that they can flip the bill. They're going to pay them what, 3.3 million a year or something of those relative numbers for the next $100 million that they owe? The payment in August won't be made. They got enough problems.

But I think it's funny that the Astros want to run out of bed with them. They were quick to build that lousy stadium with their miserable poll in center field that players are running into, and they got an outfield with a wall that goes up. It's the strangest ball park in the majors. Thank God they're building a nice football stadium in Houston for the new Texans. They got all this money floating around, but nobody wants to be with a real situation.

And it's families being affected, there's lives being affected. There's guys ending up in their cars with gas, dead because of this. It's the most outrageous thing in the world. Who cares about major league baseball when there's people dying and there's families being affected?

And everybody's in bed with them. Turner is in bed with them. They got their stadiums in Atlanta. In San Francisco, the ball park, they've had six names. Every year they're quick to change names, whoever gives them the dollar. Corporate America loves to suck the money in and have their big parties, and then when it comes time to count the beans, the counters are all crooked, and everybody is dicing around with the same meat clever.

They're all evil, and they should swim in their stew, and they should enjoy the foul stink that they created! The Astros made this mess. They got to lie in it. I hope they enjoy their new lover.

ATKINS: Shy and demure as usual. Thank you very much, Scott.

Kenny, your response?

HAND: Well, my response is that in most -- you take New York, for instance. George Steinbrenner doesn't need to put a name on Yankee Stadium...

FERRALL: That's right.

HAND: ... because he has got such a sweetheart deal with local TV. And there's no comparison to that around the country.

FERRALL: Shea doesn't need one neither. Neither ballpark needs them. None of the ballparks need them. HAND: Well, you know, you can say that, except look at what's happened to baseball. I mean, I think this is more of a baseball thing than anything, because the salary structures have gotten so totally out of control. I mean, there's no name on the ball park in Arlington, but I believe there is going to be one down the road.

And yeah, all things being equal, we don't want to -- you wouldn't want to see a name on Wrigley Field and Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium. But apparently, those places don't need them. There are some other places in the heathlands like Houston and some other places that will need that $3.3 million income to foot the bill for the players.

FERRALL: How about the new...

ATKINS: Wait a minute, I just want to bring in Sandy Mayerson. And she is a bankruptcy attorney. And Sandy, I am just curious, the real issue here is who has the right, if in fact Enron can't pay those bills, who has the right to sell those naming rights? Is it Enron, or is it the Astros?

SANDRA MAYERSON, ATTORNEY: Well, that's what the whole controversy is about. And right now, Enron has the right to name that stadium. And unless it misses a payment in August, which is a long way from now, it has that right.

What the Astros are trying to do is sell it for a second time to somebody else. The real question is, should the creditors of Enron get the money for renaming the stadium -- because it will surely be renamed -- or should the Astros get the money for renaming the stadium. I think the creditors of Enron deserve it.

And you know, the Astros couch their motion papers in terms of, oh, we care about the poor citizens of Houston, and we don't want them to have to live with this Enron name again. But that's not it at all. If they cared about the citizens of Houston, they'd let Enron make the money for renaming the stadium, so the citizens of Houston that have claims against Enron have another asset to look to. Instead, they've already got $11 million or $12 million from Enron, and now they want to get that kind of money again from somebody else.

ATKINS: So you're saying it will be...

MAYERSON: And it will be at the expense of Enron creditors.

ATKINS: So that the issue of whether or not this is or is not a good thing just because of the name Enron and everything that the name Enron means, you're saying that really has nothing to do with the legal arguments in court, if it ever gets to court.

MAYERSON: It doesn't. And there's lots of situation where bankrupt companies have put their names on a stadium. We have Continental Airlines out in the Meadowlands. There was Trans World Stadium in St. Louis. Just because a company has been through bankruptcy doesn't mean they automatically get their names off of a stadium. This is about money and nothing else. FERRALL: It's incredible that they all get to run and hide under the bankruptcy filing, too. Isn't it funny how they all go bankrupt and then they all want protection from the feds? Take a look at the Diamondbacks with their fabulous stadium. Is that a baseball stadium or is it a mall? You could buy cars there, you could buy vacation packages there, you could stay at a hotel at Sky Dome in Canada. What's their dollar worth, 54 cents?

I thought they were supposed to play baseball in these stadiums! They all want the money real quick so they can have luxury boxes and their big parties with their corporate executives. I love seeing them all miserable! Isn't it funny? Who's laughing now? The Astros should worry about losing (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and they're a lousy team that's going to stick for the next five years! Ask Bagwell and Biggio, if they'd learn how to hit in the play-offs, they'd finally win some games.

Their money problems are their owners' own problem. Enjoy the problems your own owners created for you, Houston! You can swim in it, and enjoy your 1-15 football team. And they spell my name Ferrall.

ATKINS: Ferrall, thank you very much. Kenny wants to get a word in edgewise.

HAND: Well, you know, what are you going to say to that?

(LAUGHTER)

HAND: I mean, if George Steinbrenner needed more money, which he has got all the money he needs that gets out of the local broadcast rights, then he would probably go try to find a corporate sponsor. But he doesn't need it. I mean, to say that Houston deserves that or whatever, I don't think that's fair. The thing that bothers a lot of us here is that there are 4,500 people that worked for Enron that lost a lot of money because of their 401(k)s, and that's at the root of a lot of unhappiness here. Baseball is a side byproduct of that.

ATKINS: All right. We have Christopher on the phone from Texas. Christopher, what's on your mind. Christopher? Are you there, Christopher? No Christopher from Texas.

All right, we have to go to a break. Sandra Mayerson, thank you so much. Kenny Hand and Scott Ferrall.

MAYERSON: Pleasure.

ATKINS: Thank you so much for being here. Up next, we will talk about slurring your speech.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ATKINS: A new magazine is on the stands. It is called "Heeb: The New Jew Review." Yes, you heard me right. And I've got to tell you, a lot of people are upset about it. Politically incorrect? Offensive? Not to Jennifer Bleyer. She is the editor in chief and founder of the magazine. She joins us, along with WABC talk show host Steve Maltzberg.

Jennifer, I want to start with you, because I think there was not one person in our studio audience knew what a heeb is.

So please tell us, what is a heeb?

JENNIFER BLEYER, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "HEEB": Well, a heeb is a Jew. A heeb is really a archaic, derogatory term for Jew that I don't think anybody has heard used in the derogatory sense really in the past 50 years. I have not met anyone who was.

But, probably at the turn of the century, it was the derogatory term. And, in this magazine, we are sort of trying to reclaim it and give it a tinge of pride, a tinge of sort of endearing quality, and just reclaim it.

ATKINS: Heeb is short for Hebrew.

And Steve Maltzberg, talk show host, you think this is a bad idea. Why is that?

STEVE MALTZBERG, TALK SHOW HOST: I think it is a bad idea for a name. Certainly, I could think back to Archie Bunker, who quite frequently would refer to Jews as heebs and other derogatory names.

Just knowing that it is a derogatory name and it has a derogatory history, you have to start thinking, well, if it was a black magazine trumpeting African-American history or events or culture, would it be named the N-word? Or it was Hispanic, would an editor come along and name it a word that starts with S? I can't see it happening. And I don't understand why there are Jewish groups and charities and whatever that help fund this magazine.

I think it is a terrible choice for a name. And, when you look inside the issue -- as I admit, I have had very little chance to do, but I did -- one thing that strikes me is there is whole story on an Orthodox Jewish man who came out of the closet. It is that that is kind of something, to me, a negative kind of story as far as introducing people to Jewish life and Jewish culture.

So I don't understand the whole concept, to be honest with you.

ATKINS: Joining us now on the phone is somebody who I believe agrees with you. Her name is Deborah Lauter. And she is the Southeastern regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

Thank you for joining us. I am curious if you are going to go out and buy this "Heeb" magazine.

Hello? We do not have our caller.

Let's go to our studio audience. They have not been heard from at all this show.

What do you think, Charlie? CHARLIE: I think it is a derogatory term and is meant to offend. But, as far as being the name of a magazine, that certainly -- the person who is going to buy it has got the right to buy it or not buy it. They can protest it that way.

ATKINS: Do you think that there is anything to the argument that, if a Jewish person uses the word heeb, it is OK; if a non-Jewish person uses that word, it is sort of not OK?

CHARLIE: Well, once again, it has to do with the context. If it's said in anger or trying to be offensive, then I would think that it then. Just because you might be Jewish doesn't give you the right to be offensive to somebody else. But if you are just joking around with somebody and it is a friend, then they don't need to be offended by it. But we are talking about a magazine. And that would offend everybody I would think.

(CROSSTALK)

BLEYER: Actually, I would like to, if I can, I would like to thank the audience member who just made that point, because it really is all about context.

And the context of our using the word heeb is not at all hateful. It is not at all negative. If anything, it is about pride. It is about self love. It is about trying to be proud of our culture. And the people who don't really get the name, I think there is a real generational rift. Our parents, certainly our grandparents have memories of it being used in a derogatory way.

But, for us, it has a sort of street connotation, in the same way that gay people have reclaimed the word queer, in the same way that African-Americans have reclaimed the N-word. And they certainly don't use it in a negative way. For them, it is really all about context.

MALTZBERG: I have got to tell you, looks to the contrary, maybe, I am not that old. And it offends me.

But, look, it has worked. It is obviously a publicity kind of stunt. If it was named "Jew" or "Jewish Culture," we would not be here right now talking about it. And nobody would know about it. But you have come up with a name like "Heeb" and obviously it is controversial and it's accomplishing its goal.

BLEYER: It is really, though, not meant to be controversial. The fact that it is is sort of baffling to all of us who are part of this magazine.

ATKINS: Jennifer, Jennifer, Jennifer, you know, when you use the word heeb, this is not a something that is just going to go over well with the entire Jewish population. You had to know that.

BLEYER: You know, the Jewish population in this country is not a monolithic entity. And I think it should understood that Jews are different people. Saying, oh, let's come up with a magazine title that appeals to every Jews is like saying, let's come up with a magazine title that appeals to everyone with blond hair or brown hair.

Jews are a very diverse population in this country. And there are some who will get it some who won't.

MALTZBERG: All right, but if a blond-haired, blue-eyed non-Jew was to publish a magazine and called it "Heeb," I wonder how she would feel.

BLEYER: But, again, it is about context. And once you get past the title of this magazine and you see the content, you see that is it intelligent writing. You see that it is funny and entertaining and witty. And it's really about being proud of our culture.

(CROSSTALK)

ATKINS: David is in the audience and he has got something to say.

Dave, go ahead.

DAVE: Absolutely.

This Episcopalian I don't think is offended by the title. I think it's a great marketing scheme. And if she gets her message out and attracts more attention, more power to her. And I think it is great that you can turn something negative and make it into a positive.

BLEYER: Rock on.

(LAUGHTER)

ATKINS: All right, thanks very much, David.

(APPLAUSE)

ATKINS: The studio audience agrees with you.

(CROSSTALK)

ATKINS: All right, we have got to take a break. When we come back, we will be fighting it out some more. So stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: Hi, I'm Joe at American University.

I think that "Heeb" magazine is shooting themselves in the foot by insulting the very people they are targeting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ATKINS: And we are back talking about "Heeb" magazine.

Joining us now on the telephone is Deborah Lauter, the Southeastern regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

Thank you for joining us. And are you going to go out and buy this magazine?

DEBORAH LAUTER, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: I have not seen the magazine yet, but I am curious about the content. And just based on what Ms. Bleyer said, I laud her intentions. I think what she is trying do is good, but I do have concerns about the title.

ATKINS: Because?

LAUTER: Well, because I think she is being naive to say that it is not used derogatorily anymore. We at the ADL take calls and complaints of anti-Semitism and hate crimes. And I have to tell you, that word is still used in a derogatory fashion.

ATKINS: All right, thank you very much.

I want to give Jennifer a chance to respond to that. I'm sure this is not the first that you have heard that somebody in the Jewish community is not liking the word heeb.

BLEYER: Right.

Well, I definitely recognize that there are legitimate instances of anti-Semitism that still go on in this country. But, again, I ask people to look past the title of this magazine and really look at the content.

And, as far as Anti-Defamation League, which has been pretty outspoken in their opposition to the title of this magazine, I just have to say that there are some really, really important and pressing examples of defamation and discrimination going on in this country, not just against Jews, but against black people, against Latino people, against gay people, that I think that are much more pressing and really much more dangerous to us as Jews and us as Americans than, you know, the name of this little magazine.

MALTZBERG: You know, you look around the world, the increase this anti-Semitic violence is just astounding and horrific. And it's within the past year or so, and especially overseas, in France, Paris, specifically, and here in the United States.

And why does someone who is Jewish and says they are promoting Jewish culture and Jewish history, why do they need to take an offensive word like that and use it as their banner? You know, Steven Spielberg contributes to a charity or a fund that has given this magazine somewhere between $30,000 and $60,000. Now, why any fund that represents anything Jewish would give $30,000 to $60,000 to a magazine called "Heeb" is just beyond me.

ATKINS: Well, Steve, maybe he is doing it because, in his mind, if a Jewish person uses the word heeb, it takes the sting out. And maybe it is time we did. What do you think?

MALTZBERG: I don't buy that. I mean, they say that it is OK for one black to call another black the N-word, but, of course, a white could say it. And I agree a white shouldn't say it. But neither should a black.

And, in the Jewish community, I have got to tell you, it is not an affectionate term. I don't go around calling my friends or my family "Hey, you heeb". I never heard it in an affectionate way.

(CROSSTALK)

BLEYER: Steve, I have to point out that there is a generational rift here. And I don't think that we are of the same generation, because I have friends who really do say it. And they call each other heebs as a term of endearment, as a term of affection, as a term of just having some sort of pride in being Jewish.

So it is really not being used in an offensive way, although I do want to absolutely agree that there is still rampant anti-Semitism in the world, as there is rampant racism, as there is rampant discrimination of all sorts. And it is up to all of us to be really aware of that and fight it.

ATKINS: All right. In our audience is somebody who has been chomping at the bit to talk. If Dushawn (ph) doesn't say something soon, she is just going to implode.

And I want to talk to you about the idea that using the word heeb -- if a Jewish person uses the word heeb, it is not unlike an African- American person using the N-word, is what you were saying. Can you just talk about that for just a little bit?

DUSHAWN: Well, I feel that me, as being an African-American, I can call my friend here, Shanika (ph), the N-word and she will not get offended, because we are the same race. And we feel that if we call the N-word, it is just like saying, "What's up, dog?," just like a heeb word. I don't see the problem with a magazine called "Heeb."

If a Jewish person wrote it and it is for a Jewish person to read it and it doesn't have any derogatory content in it, then there should be no offense to it. Like -- what's the man's name -- Steve, I don't feel that he should have any problem with it. This is 2002. This is a new generation. There is not much racism and all that other stuff in there. So people should just leave the girl alone and let her have her magazine.

(APPLAUSE)

ATKINS: You do agree. But I would never, ever use the N-word.

DUSHAWN: No. People know these days you don't call me the N- word just to be like, "What's up, so and so?" You can't do that. People know their boundaries. And they know the boundaries that they can step outside of.

ATKINS: Steve, what do you think of that, Steve? She doesn't mind the N-word if she uses it. MALTZBERG: I can't understand that. Obviously you and I are saying the "N-word." We won't even say it in this context. We are not calling anybody it. We are afraid to say it.

ATKINS: But she can.

MALTZBERG: Well, apparently she can. I think that it is absurd. Again, I don't know Jews that call each other kikes or heebs or Jew boy. She says it is generational. I think it is ludicrous. I've never heard it.

ATKINS: Truth be told, I have heard it. I am Jewish and I have heard it. And it does not bother me so much.

But we are going to go to a break and talk about it more when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ATKINS: Welcome back to TALKBACK LIVE. We are talking about a new magazine just out this week. It is called "Heeb." And for those of you who have never heard the word, it is heeb, short for Hebrew. And a lot of people think that is offensive.

I want to talk to Ryan, because you had something to say.

Ryan, what's going on?

RYAN: Yes, ma'am.

I think, as the editor, it was her choice to name it "Heeb." And that is her choice. And she is entitled to it. But I think, if she had real respect for her people, she would understand that that word is offensive to some of them and maybe she should name it something they can all be proud of, like "Hebrew Pride," something they can all respect.

ATKINS: Well, Jennifer, what do you say to that? You know if you called it "Hebrew Pride," you probably wouldn't have made it through the morning meeting here at TALKBACK LIVE.

BLEYER: Yes, and I don't know if would -- if were I were walking past a newsstand, if I would pick up a magazine called "Hebrew Pride."

I think, in the end, there is an enormous sense of empowerment that those of us who are from ethnic groups and cultural groups that have been discriminated against in the past can take from taking the words that were used against us and just transforming them, reappropriating them, taking them back and infusing them with our own meaning.

ATKINS: The problem is, some people are not doing that. Steve is not doing that.

MALTZBERG: Let me point out that this magazine is not just targeted to Jews. And this is where I think it adds a whole new dimension, a whole 'nother dimension. There is a full-page ad at the beginning of the magazine with a black gentleman reading the magazine. And it says, "You don't have to be Jewish to love 'Heeb.'"

Now, if you are targeting just to Jews, that's one thing. But if you are saying, hey, all ethnic groups could love this magazine called "Heeb," I think you have a responsibility here. And I think they're not living up to that responsibility here.

ATKINS: Jennifer?

BLEYER: What we are trying to do is just recognize the degree to which Jewish culture has really become a part of the American fabric.

And the ad in the front of the magazine that he is referring to is really a jokey way of saying that. But in a way, it is true. We have a sort of take on being Jewish that says, if you have ever watched "Seinfeld," you are Jewish. If you have ever eaten a bagel, you are Jewish. Everybody in this country at this point has a little bit of experience with Jewish culture. And we are trying to recognize that it is not just our exclusive province, that we are trying to integrate everyone into what is a beautiful and amazing history.

ATKINS: I can appreciate that you want to get everybody in America in touch with their inner Jew. But a lot of real Jews are having a huge problem with this name. And I can only imagine that it went through your mind. You can't be completely surprised.

BLEYER: I am not completely surprised, but again I ask those who are offended to just have a look at the content of the magazine, to get past the title. And I think then they will understand more. And, again, not everyone is going to like it. Some people get it. Some people don't. And I think that is the case with all media. You are never going to have one magazine that speaks to everybody.

MALTZBERG: It is a left-leaning magazine. It is way to the left, as evidenced by the fact that one of their prominently featured articles is about an Orthodox Jew who came out, talking about when he was gay, how he came out. No wonder it is not called "Hebrew Pride," because it is not about Hebrew pride. It is about heeb. It is about making fun of the Jewish religion. It's about showing sideshow events of the Jewish religion.

BLEYER: It's absolutely not...

(CROSSTALK)

ATKINS: I want to take a call from Steve in Colorado.

Steve, what is on your mind?

CALLER: Hi. I don't mind being called Jew or heeb.

(CROSSTALK)

ATKINS: Are you Jewish, Steve?

CALLER: Yes, I am, ma'am.

ATKINS: OK.

CALLER: Let me just say, I think this is great pop culture. I think the only way you kill hate is by showing people your culture and showing people who you are. I mean, amen, bravo to the African- Americans who did it, Latinos who are doing it and everybody else. The only way you kill hate is by getting out the message: I am this way. I cook latkes, you know. I don't hate other people. This is me.

Brandy?

BRANDY: ... Steve is all about being so offended by this magazine. He can't bring himself to say the S-word or the N-word, but it's perfectly comfortable demonstrating his prejudice against gay and lesbians, as evidenced by his comment that to have an article in this magazine about an Orthodox Jew coming out of the closet reflects poorly somehow upon the religion. I think he needs to examine his own hypocrisy.

(CROSSTALK)

MALTZBERG: There is no prejudice against gays or lesbians. The fact that the magazine, in its initial issue, would go that route shows where the magazine is coming from and what it is trying to say and what its editorial policy is.

BLEYER: Where this magazine is coming from is the one of most long-standing traditions in Jewish culture, which is fighting for the economic and social and racial justice of all people, and in evidence in that article about Orthodox Jews coming out of the closet. There are gay and lesbian Orthodox Jews. And they have their own personal struggles. And we want to celebrate people who have tried to help them.

ATKINS: Steve, though you hate the name, could this not be a blessing in disguise, in the sense that it is getting all of this attention and it might bring more Jewish people into the tent?

MALTZBERG: Well, I don't think this magazine will bring more Jewish people into the tent. It might get more Jewish people to buy the magazine. But I don't -- looking it over again -- and to be fair, I have only looked it over briefly -- I don't see it as a magazine that would interest me. I don't think I'm going to learn much that I need to know about Jewish culture.

I think I know enough about Jewish culture. And the side that it wants to reveal is not that important to me.

(CROSSTALK)

ATKINS: We are out of time. I am going to have to thank all of our guests, our absolutely fabulous studio audience, and you at home.

I'm Amy Atkins. I will see you again tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. Eastern with more TALKBACK LIVE.

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