Wouldn’t it be great if religious observance were a bit more like Fudruckers? At Fudruckers you choose your base: a hamburger, a turkey burger, a chicken sandwich; and then you take to the fixings bar with a steaming hot sense of self and an appetite for individuality, plucking pickles, Thousand Island Dressing, jalapenos and, whatever feels right for you. So let’s say I identify as Jewish, take pride in my heritage and can even tolerate that stereotypes that come along with it, but I subscribe to other religious traditions as I see fit. Perhaps, I like to celebrate Hanukkah, but I’ve enjoyed the scent of a Christmas tree and find the whole mistletoe thing rather alluring. Best of all, this pan-religiousness would mean being able to pick and choose holidays as needed. This year, there have been quite a few non-Jews who could probably benefit from taking a little time out of their year, to abstain from food, beat their chest and pray for god to inscribe them in the Book of Life. The following news-making non-Jews in particular might want to buy tickets for temple before they run out.
5. Charlie Sheen
Compared to the rest of the people on this list, Charlie Sheen is an absolute mensch, and after all is said and done, he came out of his public meltdown looking not-so-bad. In fact, his life has become something of a meta-reality show, that’s tested positive with the world.
Last week Two and a Half Men premiered its first sans-Charlie season, going up against the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen. Though the roast was by far the funnier watch, it had no chance of competing against the sitcom behemoth for ratings. Although Kutcher’s whole dumb-lovable-millionaire act felt like nothing more than a slightly tweaked version of his character from That 70’s Show, critics and fans ate it up, which is exactly the kind of thing likely to make a middle-aged Hollywood train wreck relapse. Since tiger blood medically has no more tolerance for crack cocaine than human blood, why not spend an hour suffering the bad breath and inscrutable hymns of the high holidays. Chaim Levine can probably recommend a Torah portion for you read.
4. Mel Gibson
Why not right? You know he wants to do it. Mel Gibson’s life has become a big game of “What can I do to become a bigger a-hole.” Making a movie version of the Hanukkah story crossed an invisible line. Now it’s just a matter of dreaming up the most ridiculous, bad taste things he can possibly do. However, attending High Holiday services for Mel might actually do a fair amount of good. The Beaver was proof that no matter how good a movie he makes, he’s soiled his reputation too much to successfully act in movies, so a meltdown is probably right around the corner. After Yom Kippur, perhaps he’ll go ahead and decide to convert. It’s absurd, I know, but this is the nature of what the world is like after the invisible line crossed.
3. Sarah Palin
For those who are thinking that it’s unfair to include the Palin on this list, please consider for a moment the entire Tea Party, and the possibility that Palin was the spark that ignited it. But don’t stop there: Palin did a pretty nice job skirting controversy after the Arizona tragedy, but to act like nothing was wrong with those target posters she made is sad, and deserving of at least one day of atonement. Moving along, the Palin daughters have turned into a slightly less zombie-like equivalent of the girls from the Westboro Baptist Church with their anti-gay rants and Facebook wall posts. Thus we must blame the mother that bore them. The Palin’s have shown that perhaps G-D knew what he was doing when he put Alaska way up high, separated from the rest of country. At the very least, Sarah might want to atone for the all the bears she put down this past year because Paintball just wasn’t satisfying enough a thrill.
2. Rupert Murdoch
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Murdoch is going to end sitting pretty after all is said and done with this hacking scandal, and at the very least he might want to get right with the man upstairs. Unlike the New York Post, actual consideration goes into who makes it into the book of life, and Rupert as old as you are, might want to consider an hitting the bimah and belting out a few Avenu Malkenu’s to make sure your byline gets printed.
1. Casey Anthony
If, in the name of shorthand, you were to call this a “Worst People of 2011” list, you wouldn’t be far off (with the exception of Charlie Sheen.) Yes, Casey Anthony takes the cake when it comes to being the worst person of 2011. During the trial, people split into those who thought that she was guilty and those who thought she was not guilty, but now that the trial is over, there’s pretty much no discrepancy regarding whether or not she’s a good person. Inherent in Anthony’s case for innocence was the notion that she was a terrible person who mistakenly killed her daughter and then covered it up and Snookie’d her way around Florida for a month. If Casey Anthony were to subscribe to the Fudruckers religious movement, she might want to go straight to Ramadan after Yom Kippur. In fact, Casey Anthony might just want to never ingest food again in order to get right with the lord.
For the rest of us, the High Holidays, though severely unpleasant, is the season that keeps observers in check for the rest of their year. Had the people on this list knew they’d eventually have to revisit their trespasses come late September, maybe they’d have thought twice about being such bastards.