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Sheen’s Argument

Charlie Sheen demands (and deserves) an apology from the ADL

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Update:Commentator “Z” (see after the jump) found the rest of the Chuck Lorre essay quoted by Charlie Sheen. The extract from Sheen’s letter indeed has a completely different connotation in context, and I stand corrected.

Earlier this week, Charlie Sheen said in a radio interview, “I violently hate Chaim Levine”—a reference to the Hebrew name of Chuck Lorre, the director and creator of sitcom Two and a Half Men on which Sheen stars.

Warning bells! The show was canceled and Abe Foxman and the Anti-Defamation League leapt into action. They accused Sheen of “borderline anti-Semitism” and then, presumably exhausted from all that intolerance fighting, took a long nap, content in the knowledge that when they woke there would be an unconvincing apology waiting for them from which they could derive nourishment.

Nothing happening. Sheen, in his usually calm and collected manner, flipped his wig, and sent his lawyers along with an open letter demanding the ADL retract their statement. Now the surprise: Sheen is right. He may be crazy as a hungry honey badger, and should have been fired years ago for his repeated alleged abuses of women, but what he’s not is an anti-Semite.

That’s not to say this kind of name game doesn’t have the potential for prejudice. When someone insists on emphasizing Barack Obama’s middle name, but not Bill Clinton’s, you can assume they have an ugly axe to grind. But Sheen seems to have produced a trump—a ‘vanity card’, one of the trademark small essays that appear at the end of episodes Lorre’s series, on which Lorre wrote,

…why have I spent a lifetime moving away from that group [Jews]? How did Chaim become Chuck? How did Levine become Lorre? When I was a little boy… the rabbis regularly told us that were the chosen people… I went home, observed my family and… thought to myself, “bull$##!

Sheen argues that he called Lorre “Chaim Levine” not because Sheen dislikes Jews, but because Lorre does—and if Lorre had talked about rejecting the name Snuffleupagus, Sheen would have used that to get under his skin, too. Sheen, filled with chutzpah after presenting his case, does go a bit too far in the letter—he dares the ADL to go after Lorre for mocking chosenness—but he probably deserves that apology. He’ll finally be able to mosey off into the sunset with a spotless reputation, never to get in trouble again.

Insulting Chuck Lorre, Not Abuse, Gets Sheen Sidelined [NYT]
Charlie Sheen Demands Apology From Jewish Group[TMZ]
Earlier: Sheen calls Creator of Hit Show Haim

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Phil says:

This shows that both of them (Sheen and Lorre) are jerks

The whole vanity card though seems to be a self-meditation on the question of identity on Lorre;s part. This is the etire text:

“I’m writing this vanity card in Israel. I like it here. Not for the geography, or architecture, or even the history. No, I like it because for the first time in my life I’m surrounded with DNA much like my own. Until I got here, until I wandered around Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, I didn’t realize how much my double helix yearned to be around similar strands. Now that’s not to say that I don’t occasionally have that very same genetic experience in Beverly Hills (particularly in Chinese restaurants on Sunday night). But the sheer homogeneity of Israel overwhelms any over-priced kung pao gathering at Mr. Chow’s. The cop, the cab driver, the hotel concierge, the pilot, the waiter, the shoe salesman, the beautiful girl looking right through me as if I didn’t exist — all Jewish! If I had to sum it up, I’d say the sensation is like being at a B’nai B’rith summer camp that is surrounded by millions of crazy bastards who hate the sound of kids playing tetherball, and all the poor little camp has going for it is pluckiness and nukes. Anyway, I have to believe my visceral and very pleasant reaction is some sort of evolutionary, tribal thing. Some sort of survival gene that makes human beings want to stay with their birth group. Which raises the question, why have I spent a lifetime moving away from that group? How did Chaim become Chuck? How did Levine become Lorre? The only answer I come up with is this: When I was a little boy in Hebrew school the rabbis regularly told us that we were the chosen people. That we were God’s favorites. Which is all well and good except that I went home, observed my family and, despite my tender age, thought to myself, “bull$#*!.”

To say that is the same as what Sheen did, which does seem like the “Barack Hussein Obama” style of thinly veiled bigotry is pretty ridiculous.

Michael L. says:

Another self-hating Jew rebounds onto himself…
Good luck, ‘Chuck’!!

Glenn Bergenfield says:

Z has it right. So many American Jews reject Israel and then go there and are stunned that they feel something good, feel proud of that brave, democratic, busy, horn-honking place. Oh my, Israel is not monstrous but, actually, quite interesting and democratic. It wants peace. To bad Lorre/Levine did not go there in high school; he might have been spared 30 years of loathing and denial.

As to Sheen, it’s as if he has fallen into his TV character. He is curmudgeonly and selfish and provocative — and proud of it. On TV he seems to care little for his family, does mean things to them and we laugh with some sense that if only we had the nerve to be so blunt and honest. Actually, being selfish and small and hateful plays badly in real life. Pointing out Lorre’s struggle with his Jewishness and slyly implying that Jews should be hated, well, it’s not a winning strategy. Glad Sheen was fired.

M. Brukhes says:

Congratulations, Tablet: you’ve finally managed to say something about the Charlie Sheen “controversy” (as if there were REALLY two sides to the question of whether he’s flipped his lid?) that is actually STUPIDER than anything Sheen himself has said on the subject…. Keep up the good work, kids: you’re really making the most of that Tikva Fund bankroll!

shelly buchanan says:

Charlie Sheen IS Jewish!

Charlie Sheen’s mother Janet Templeton is Jewish and his father Catholic, and the kids were raised c

Read more:

Z rendition of text from Lorre, shows that Lorre was quoted out of context. Actually Lorre pendulum (to be and remain Jewish or to negate it) is exactly as described by the French writer Albert Memmi, and the impossible condition of the Jew: to go back to what he considered a cryptic tradition of superstitions or to assimilate within top intelligentsia of France. Both identities are stressful and he recommends solving the internal conflict by living in Israel.

Lorre confession has a Talmudic subtleness that in outside Jewish world is hard to understand. One can stumble in his identity and still be Jewish at heart. Rabbi Nachman says it is hard to believe in Gd without doubts. Charlie Sheen seems incapable of such nuanced judgment.

It is not case of apologizing. If one must apologize is Charlie Sheen, who sure is not antisemitic, but has a dim intellect. He thinks, the mere appearance on the screen or having 6,000 followers in 24 hours after his first twitt, gives him wisdom. In Kabbalah, the numerical value of wisdom is 73, the same value as the word “misunderstanding”. True wisdom is not just a word, but is very hard for Charlie to understand that what-you-see-is-not-what-you-get..

Chuck Lorre’s “vanity card” about Jewish identity is misleading. Visiting Israel, he wasn’t necessarily “surrounded with DNA much like [his] own.” We shouldn’t deny the legitimacy of a genetic claim to Jewishness, but genetic testing has confirmed that Jewish peoplehood is principally ethnic, religious, and psychological; hence, black, Indian, Chinese, Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and so on…klal Yisrael ain’t all white-skinned and black-hatted.

harris says:

does this man deserve a comment? chuck lorre may deserve some thought since he suffers from the same identity issue that far too many jews possess. what ever the problem is for sheen it is his problem. what about the crew of his show who are without a job and little consideration. mr. lorre should have some thought for them.

brynababy says:

Harris is blaming Lorre?! That is incredible. Sheen should have been fired a long time ago. To put up with such abuse, to have a show associated with such hateful and destructive behavior, all for the bottom line, is sickening. His denigrating of Lorre is very anti-Semitic- that was the only reason for using the “Chaim Levine” id. Lorre Vanity Card statement was very honest, very interesting and very moving.
Sheen is a nothing who could be replaced very easily by any number of wonderful actors who know how to handle comedy, and the show kept going, if Lorre has the guts to try.

brynababy says:

Maybe Harris should have congratulated or commended Lorre for overlooking Sheen’s atrocious behavior for so long, in order to keep everyone else working!

I dont like Jessica Alba in Luck Chuck, she is kind of unnatural in this movie. And anyone has an idea of the three tits girl? Is that real person?

I’ve said that least 2783875 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

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Sheen’s Argument

Charlie Sheen demands (and deserves) an apology from the ADL

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