NEW YORK (6NoBacon) — Steven Spielberg knows how to fight anti-Semitism: apply peanut butter. In a revealing interview, he told Lesley Stahl of "60 Minutes" about the traumas of his childhood in suburban Phoenix, Ariz., where he was bullied and mocked for being Jewish.
"I denied it for a long time, my Judaism," Spielberg said. "I often told people my last name was German, not Jewish. I’m sure my grandparents are rolling in their graves right now hearing me say that. But I think that I was in denial for a long time." Spielberg’s mother said, "People used to chant ‘The Spielbergs are dirty Jews.’ " One day young Steven decided to retaliate. As he recalled, "I took Skippy peanut butter and smeared it all over [my anti-Semitic neighbor’s] windows."
Spielberg eventually decided to channel his emotions, and his relationship with his parents and religion, into filmmaking. The rest, of course, is history.
Lebanese decry ‘Homeland’
Officials in Lebanon are furious with the creators of the Showtime series “Homeland,” which is based on an Israeli show dealing with the intrigues of counterintelligence work. Some recent episodes of the Emmy Award-winning drama portrayed Israel’s northern neighbor as a dangerous and terrorist-flooded land.
Lebanese Tourism Minister Fadi Abboud told The Associated Press that people in his country are extremely upset, mostly because the show was filmed in Israel. (Some scenes even show T-shirts with Coca-Cola in Hebrew and the Israeli soccer team Beitar Jerusalem). “Israel destroyed our country,” Abboud said. “Israel invaded and occupied our country. It was not filmed in Beirut and does not portray the real image of Beirut.” For example, the tourism minister said, “It showed Hamra Street with militia roaming on it. This does not reflect reality.”
Next steps? Abboud said the Lebanese government is considered suing the creators of "Homeland."
Drake the graduate
It’s an exciting time in the life of the 25-year-old Jewish Canadian rapper Drake. Earlier this year he became “re-bar mitzvahed”; now he has finally earned his high school diploma. (Yes, it took him about seven years more than most folks.)
Drake, born Aubrey Graham, dropped out of school to pursue his acting career. Back then he was known as James “Jimmy” Brooks, the paralyzed basketball player in the popular Canadian television show “Degrassi.” In 2009 he left that role and turned to music. But this summer "Drizzy" decided to hit the books to complete his degree. Last week he proudly tweeted "97% on my final exam. 88% in the course. One of the greatest feelings in my entire life. As of tonight I have graduated high school!"
What’s next academically? Over the weekend he made a surprise visit to a music festival at Howard University in Washington. "I just wanna say something real quick before I go," he told the crowd. "About two minutes ago I made the decision … for the last like four months, I went back to high school. I graduated high school. So you see what my campaign is about this year, ’cause I went right to the bookstore. I’m trying to come to school with y’all." Could his graduation party outdo his second bar mitzvah?
Simmons’ bid to relaunch Led Zeppelin
Kiss bassist Gene Simmons told the British tabloid the Sun that he was once handed more than $320 million to help reunite the legendary hard rock band Led Zeppelin. “In 2009-10 I was given a few hundred million dollars in an account by a large concert promoter and given the task of reaching out to Jimmy and Robert and trying to convince them to get back together,” Simmons said. He was urged to take on the task after Led Zeppelin’s successful 2007 reunion show in London. What happened? Speaking of singer Robert Plant, he said, “Of course, it didn’t work. Robert just doesn’t want to do it.”
Rabbi vs. Silvermans
Sarah Silverman is back in the headlines, but not of her own doing. Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt in an Oct. 11 Op-Ed for the Jewish Press newspaper in New York slammed her use of biblical language and Jewish references in some videos. Many blogs focused on the response in the paper by the comedian’s father, Donald, who referred to Rosenblatt as "Rabbi Idiot." For some, the ensuing debate opened talk about the role of the modern Jewish women. Strangely, it seems that the one person who didn’t have much to say — other than a supporting tweet for dad — was Sarah herself.
Israeli singer following Bieber and Kanye’s steps
It’s pretty apparent that doubling up with chart-climbing pop star Sean Kingston to make music is a safe way to make it big: Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj did it, as did Akon, Kanye West and Dr. Dre. Now comes Maital Dohan, an Israeli rock and roll star and Tel Aviv native. The 33-year-old singer and actress is better known for her acting roles in "The Sopranos" and on "Weeds." (In the latter, she’s the sex maniac in rabbinical school). The song featuring Kingston, “On Ya,” was released Sunday and already has more than 1.2 million hits.
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