Idol Chatter

In the immortal words of Alice Cooper, “School’s out for Summer.” But Cooper, the heavy metal maestro, is making sure that the kids of southwest Phoenix will still have a safe place to go once school doors are closed., via the Associated Press, reports that Cooper’s Christian, nonprofit Solid Rock Foundation, “has begun fundraising efforts for a 20,000-square-foot teen activity center to be called The Rock, to be built at Grand Canyon University in West Phoenix.”

The former vincent Furnier spends most of the year in suburban Phoenix playing golf and working for his foundation, but realizes that it’s not all tee times and spa treatments for many of the area’s children. “People don’t lay in the sun in southwest Phoenix. There’s lots of shootings going, there’s lots of meth going on, there’s lots of gangs,” Cooper said. “In the middle of all that is a bunch of 12-, 13-, 14-year-old kids that can go one way or the other.”

Isn’t this the same heavy metal rocker whom pop culture lore says took his stage name after learning that he was the reincarnation of a 17th-century witch, Alice Cooper, while scrying on a Ouija board? Yes it is. And while Cooper wasn’t actually a witch in the past–the name came from his idea of an ax-wielding little girl– he did come from a long line of Christians. According to Wikipedia, Cooper’s grandfather was an ordained Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ, his father was an ordained Elder, and Cooper has some distant French Huguenot ancestry.

The shock-rocker returned to his Christian roots in the 1980s when he was struggling with alcoholism, and is now interested in helping at-risk youth learn the value of “boundaries.” “Kids love boundaries. We used to fight against them. But in all reality, what we really did want was to know where we could go,” he said.

“We’re not going to beat them over the head with a Bible,” Cooper told the AP. “But we’re certainly going to be available to tell them that that’s available to them.”

And not to worry, there will be plenty of rock at this teen center–rock climbing that is. The center will include a “recording studio, indoor basketball courts, rock-climbing walls, coffeehouse, game room, and concert hall.”

The Anti-Defamation League has formally accepted Mel Gibson’s apology for his anti-Semitic outburst last Friday. After calling Mel’s first attempt at apology “unremorseful,” the ADL has helpfully offered to take the “Passion of the Christ” creator up on his offer to meet with Jewish leaders. “Once he completes his rehabilitation for alcohol abuse, we will be ready and willing to help him with his second rehabilitation to combat this disease of prejudice,” the ADL says in a release.

Phew! It’s good to know that such a beautiful moment of interfaith cooperation can come out of a drunken-driving/anti-Jewish-ranting incident.

Criticized yesterday for an apology that was deemed “insufficient” and “unremorseful” by Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, actor Mel Gibson released a full statement today asking for the forgiveness of the Jewish community for his anti-Semitic tirade during an arrest on DUI charges.

“There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.”

“I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.”

The Academy Award-winning director–who has battled with alcoholism, and is heading back into rehab–goes one step further, asking for the assistance of the Jewish community in his recovery process. “I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery,” said Gibson. “I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.”

Gibson may be waiting a long while for that door to open, as many big-name Jewish Hollywood personalities have spoken out against the star, including screenwriter director Nora Ephron and agent Ari Emanuel, the real-life inspiration for HBO’s “Entourage” agent Ari Gold. “People in the entertainment community, whether Jew or gentile, need to demonstrate that they understand how much is at stake in this by professionally shunning Mel Gibson and refusing to work with him, even if it means a sacrifice to their bottom line,” Gold wrote on

In fact, the ostracization of Mel is already underway: The Wall Street Journal reports today that ABC is pulling the plug on a Holocaust miniseries that the network has been developing with Gibson. Apparently the Mouse House doesn’t deal with rats. Meanwhile, ABC’s grande dame Barbara Walters remarked on “The View” Monday morning that she didn’t think she’d be watching any more Mel Gibson films; but I’m sure she’d love to have the first interview with him after his stint in rehab.

This past weekend, I was sitting in New York City’s Union Square, waiting to meet a friend, when a group of people caught my eye. They were all wearing long, white, flowing robes. Their leader was strumming a guitar. And they were all holding up signs reading, “Jon Stewart is God.” They sat in a ring, singing together, and waiting for curious bystanders to approach them. A camera guy tried to look blasé and hid behind a tree, taping the whole thing. I couldn’t tell whether he was with the group or was just following them around for his own purposes.

I went home that night and Googled the group. Their website explains the basic principles of “Jonism,” including the faith’s theological foundations. Why is Jon Stewart a God? According to the “Jonsons,” it’s because, “He is not a man because no man can be consistently that funny. He is not an animal because he is way too articulate. He is not a plant because… well… he moves too fast. He is neither an idol nor is He a statue of any kind although his exquisitely times pauses make us wonder sometimes.”

The Jonsons are releasing their single “Jon Stewart is God,” on iTunes in September. Here are some sample lyrics:

Jon Stewart is God
No minor deity
Jon Stewart is God
More than you and me
Before Buddha and Allah
Cast their cosmic dice
They seek Jon’s advice


Thanks to the internet, the Jonsons have a way to proselytize and convert the masses. They even manage to get in a dig at TV pundit Tucker Carlson, whom Jon famously insulted on CNN’s now-cancelled show Crossfire. According to the Jonsons, “The extent of sin is so great that its effects continue to this very day in the form of cruelty, sickness, suffering, death, taxes, bad movies, fast food, and politcal pundits who wear bow ties.”

Whether it’s a gang of true believers or just an elaborate joke is yet to be determined. What’s for sure, though, is that their song is pretty catchy. (Click here to listen to it.)