Chuck Lorre is a fabulously successful Hollywood sitcom producer– Two and a Half Men, the Big Bang Theory. Lorre airs mini-essays at the end of every show, his famous “vanity cards” of a couple of hundred words, broadcast nationally for a half second or so in the time granted a producer to display his or her brand.
Here is a portion of one of his cards that aired last fall, an essay praising government ineptitude:
I celebrate the magnificent, muddle-headed ineptitude of our democracy. As far as I’m concerned, a little confusion and waste may keep the trains from running on time, but it also keeps people like me from getting a one-way ticket in a cattle car.
Lorre is 60 and Jewish. Many American Jews of his generation and older really believe this stuff. Jon Stewart once said that Jews had to be good at looking over our shoulders because of pogroms. In this place and time, this is a delusion. And an irresponsible one.
P.S. A reader passed this Lorre essay along yesterday after I did a post on Terry Gross’s interview on public radio with Mitch Hurwitz, a very successful Hollywood producer, in which his Jewishness came up a lot, and the two were uncomfortable about talking about his rather obvious entitlement. I said they were biting their tongues because like many American Jews, they don’t want to give up a traditional sense of ourselves as outsiders. Certainly we have been persecuted historically; but a historical lens keeps many of us from acknowledging our place in American society– and the obligations that flow from such power. Terry Gross is uniquely situated to do this story. I hope she gets to it.