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Posted at 7:39 PM ET, 02/24/2011

Charlie Sheen is wrong about Thomas Jefferson

By Alexandra Petri

I5611-2005Mar03.jpg(image via AP/New York Historical Society)

Dear Charlie Sheen,

I disagree with your characterization of Thomas Jefferson. On live radio, after being likened to Thomas Jefferson, you called him a [wimp].

You may not be able to read this right now because the letters on the screen seem to be singing, dancing and trying to explain the Vatican conspiracy to you, however, there are many reasons you are not only wrong, but will never be able to stack up against Thomas Jefferson. Here are a few:

Thomas Jefferson purchased Louisiana! The closest you've come to that is buying Popeyes chicken, because you heard it was "Louisiana: Fast."

Thomas Jefferson had an immense intellect. You spent 20 minutes on the radio claiming that you had cured your addiction with your mind.

This man wrote the Declaration of Independence! You are on the CBS sitcom "Two and a Half Men."

You say your only addiction is winning? Thomas Jefferson's only addiction was winning REVOLUTIONS! And French wine. He loved French wine. He spent so much money on wine that he had to sell his library to Congress! Do you have a library? I doubt it, or you would be better informed about our founding fathers. Lightly used copies of Maxim do not count as a library.

Thomas Jefferson was our first Secretary of State! You could be our Secretary of Altered State, but that's as far as you'll get.

Thomas Jefferson's face is on our currency! The only time your face is on currency is when you've passed out in a pile of money.

Thomas Jefferson has a monument, in a neoclassical style, made of white marble. You, on the other hand, have lost your marbles.

In conclusion, as Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit."

Take it back, Sheen.

By Alexandra Petri  | February 24, 2011; 7:39 PM ET
Categories:  Epic Failures, Petri  | Tags:  Thomas Jefferson, slow news day  
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I'm sorry, but did a five year write this?

Posted by: terriblysmart | February 24, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

The 'graph about winning is full of win.

Posted by: shadow27 | February 24, 2011 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Right, just ignore the man's moral compass and ignore the fact that he bedded and owned slaves. And what makes it worse is that he corresponded with Benjamin Banneker and spoke candidly about how he though the 'enslavement of the Negro people's was wrong' and yet he continued, why? Money. Jefferson was a great revolutionist, statesman and philosopher, but a terrible moralist and economist (He refused that the state should have a national bank, luckily for us, Washington sided with Hamilton on that argument.)

Posted by: Grayson23 | February 24, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

"A coward is much more exposed to quarrels than a man of spirit." Brilliant quote, hypocritical though coming from our learned former President. You are also hypocritical in your article. You focus only on the controversial and lecherous sides of his being. I'm sorry but how is calling someone 'Chaim Levine' anti-semitic? Political Correctness is stifling this nation. Alluding to the killing of Christ or using a particular K-word I could have understood the cause for lynching. The man his faults, he is a drunkard and of terrible temperament. But he's donated to charities that benefit kid's (sure some might argue a publicity stunt) he is not completely rotten. But you would seek to vilify him as if he were some sort of Abomination upon the earth with your unlettered and incorrigible prose.

Posted by: Grayson23 | February 24, 2011 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Thomas Jefferson also owned slaves, which he at best abused his powers and sexually harassed or at worst raped.

Posted by: aqua11 | February 24, 2011 11:03 PM | Report abuse

"take it back!"


this entire incident is to stupid and crazy - it's hilarious! hahaha!

Posted by: bachman737 | February 24, 2011 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Let charlie alone you jealous shweinhunds

Posted by: schmidt1 | February 25, 2011 12:10 AM | Report abuse

Charlie Sheen is a moron. He endorses these crackpot conspiracy theories that this nation attacked itself on 9/11.

Posted by: RealChoices | February 25, 2011 12:29 AM | Report abuse

I was less upset by Sheen's slander of Thomas Jefferson than I was about his disrespect for [kittycats]. I happen to love [kittycats], and I get a lot of pleasure from petting them. They're especially adorable when they've been out in the rain and they get all, well, rained on.

Anyway, it does sound like Sheen may have cured his alcoholism, for this week at least. Unfortunately, it also sounds like the pills he's taking now are even worse. I didn't detect a single, coherent thought in his entire manic ranting, which is typical for guests on the Alex Jones Show.

Several guests on the "Bottom of the Compost Comment Show" pointed out that Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. Apparently that means you're not supposed to say anything nice about Tommy.

This might be a valid criticism if Sheen had called Jefferson a racist. However, Sheen compared Jefferson to the material on the inside of a juicy zit. Petri was right to pop Sheen's bubble..., and to remind us to stand up for [kittycats]!

Posted by: divtune | February 25, 2011 12:41 AM | Report abuse

@divtune it's a valid criticism regardless of Sheen not calling Jefferson a racist. What need did I have to adulate Jefferson considering the writer of this article did nothing but just that. In fact I mentioned that he was indeed a great statesman, revolutionary and philosophical thinker. I was merely balancing the bias of this laughable 'opinion' piece.

Posted by: Grayson23 | February 25, 2011 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I think a lot of people may have missed the boat here. This article, as far as I can tell, does not in any way attempt to put itself forth as some sort of brilliant piece of writing or analysis. Rather, it goes for the funny. It succeeds. At least someone tried to find a little humor in this entire debacle.

Posted by: BadDogMom | February 25, 2011 1:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm thinking maybe a continuation of shooting "Two and a Half Men" with the "Charlie" character dead would perhaps get the point across to Mr. Sheen as far as his ego would allow.

Posted by: SuperiorityComplex | February 25, 2011 4:04 AM | Report abuse

No need for an assault on Jefferson - it's a fluff piece. 8 of the 10 first presidents owned slaves. Not condoning it but that was the reality then. Even someone of great character like Dr. King cheated on his wife. I don't think he owned slaves though so that's good. Lighten up Francises. Pobody's Nerfect.

Posted by: chumleyX | February 25, 2011 4:17 AM | Report abuse

Shame on you Post writing crap like this to get hits!

Jefferson was a smoothie a little like Sheen.

Posted by: shamken | February 25, 2011 7:43 AM | Report abuse

People are denigrating Jefferson in a piece pointing out the fallacy of a comment by Charlie Sheen? CHARLIE SHEEN? Have you people lost your marbles? Seems to me that some "terribly smart" people are really terribly, terribly stupid.

Posted by: Jayne | February 25, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

I like Charlie Sheen. I like Thomas Jefferson. And I like this article. Well done.

Posted by: dreamtime | February 25, 2011 8:40 AM | Report abuse

it's "pun"-- it's not an article. Made me laugh on a dreary Friday morning. Great!

Posted by: mimo1 | February 25, 2011 9:01 AM | Report abuse

why are you editing Sheen's incoherent rant? Are you a wimp? He didn't call Jefferson a "wimp," he called him a "p*ussy." I think your readers can take it.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | February 25, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Grayson, Pppffffffffttthhhhhh.

Posted by: veritasinmedium | February 25, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Very funny piece, Alex -- made me smile! Taking down Sheen is a bit of the old shooting fish in a barrel, but you do so with elegance, wit, and style. Thanks for the Friday morning pick me up!

Posted by: JefComment | February 25, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Jefferson is a coward, a wimp. Jefferson is the one who hid in the woods when enemy troops were approaching Virginia. Unlike Hamilton, Jefferson never tasted true heroics in battle. Unlike Hamilton, Jefferson chose to attack behind ones back rather than confront his enemies. Better yet, when the heat was turned up on Jefferson, he chose to resign from Washington's cabinet. He is a coward and a wimp...

Regarding the Declaration of Independence, we have John Adams to thank for that. It was his humility that allowed Jefferson to sign on as the author, even though Adams deserved much more credit. Typical of Jefferson...a coward.

Long live Alexander Hamilton, the man Jefferson secretly admired and hated while calling him "a colossus... without numbers, he is a host within himself."

Let Jefferson have his red wine and go back to his beloved France to enjoy it, a place perfect for him...full of cowards.

Posted by: kioncarruthers | February 25, 2011 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry but how is calling someone 'Chaim Levine' anti-semitic? Political Correctness is stifling this nation.
Posted by: Grayson23
Why is it necessary for Sheen to point out Lorre's/Levine's ethnicity/religion? What purpose does it serve his tirade?

Posted by: binaryboy | February 25, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

True story: every comment that denigrates this piece was secretly made by Charlie Sheen's sock puppets.

Posted by: dkp01 | February 25, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Interestingly, the comments on every side of this little comic piece indicate the intellectual depth of the writers. Too bad for us as a people.

Posted by: Geezer4 | February 25, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Nice little distraction piece.

Well done.

Posted by: Benson | February 25, 2011 11:14 AM | Report abuse

"I'm sorry but how is calling someone 'Chaim Levine' anti-semitic?"

As Lisa de Moraes pointed out in her TV column, his name isn't Chaim anyway. So Sheen's rant does seem to have a "jewjewjewjew -- oh, did I mention he's JEWISH" intent.

"Let Jefferson have his red wine and go back to his beloved France to enjoy it, a place perfect for him...full of cowards."

Leaving aside the rest of your historical revisionism, I'll just point out that French military assistance was key to the revolutionaries' victory. There is a reason that the square directly in front of the White House is named "Lafayette."

Posted by: Janine1 | February 25, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Charlie Sheen
obviously F'd up.

Whats your excuse Washington Post?

Who is next? L. Lohan? Kardashian?
When did an alcoholics mid day rant about nothing turn into something?

It is a sad day in May when you see Washington Post fail.

ps comments by entertainers are meant to be entertaining and that is precisely what sheen is being. I wonder if Alexandra would be far happier at TMZ. The Post is going down the wrong road by hiring AP.

Posted by: BILDERBERG | February 25, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I love it! Hilarious! And I'd love to see Charlie attempt to write his own Declaration of Independence - could be hilarious too.

Posted by: OldTimeRider | February 25, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Sheen is such a loser. Lots of posters on this page are losers too.

Posted by: MILWI | February 25, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

@ Grayson23 "Right, just ignore the man's moral compass and ignore the fact that he bedded and owned slaves."

Grayson.. We all know he owned slaves! Christ, everybody in the US knows some founders owned slaves. The sad thing is, is that's all they know about them! Why do you feel the need to put that asterisk next to every mention of the founders? Why don't you mention the fact Jefferson attempted, numerous times, to ABOLISH slavery? Why can't you think within the context of living in that time period? Jefferson inherited his slaves. He was born into the institution of slavery, in which much of the world was a participant. Would you have had the foresight Jefferson had or would have you been amongst the ignorant masses of that time? Have you actually explored the reasons Jefferson gave for not freeing his slaves and the internal struggle he had with it? And the Sally Hemmings story has yet to be proven and probably won't. There is much evidence that does not support your presumption.

I wonder if you're willfully ignorant of the subject or if you have an ulterior motive.

Posted by: Lennox76 | February 25, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of Independence contained a scathing denunciation against slavery and would have abolished the practice. If it had been accepted there would not have been a civil war. Jefferson's change to Locke's natural rights of Life, Liberty, and Property, to the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness is proof that Jefferson believed owning another person was wrong.

Posted by: roundtable | February 25, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I think the humor in this piece is lost on a lot of folks.

Posted by: dp17_2003 | February 25, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of Independence contained a scathing denunciation against slavery and would have abolished the practice. If it had been accepted there would not have been a civil war. Jefferson's change to Locke's natural rights of Life, Liberty, and Property, to the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness is proof that Jefferson believed owning another person was wrong.

Posted by: roundtable | February 25, 2011 12:29 PM

There wouldn't have been a civil war because we would have had two separate nations right from the outset. The northern states would have immediately ended slavery, and the southern states (Maryland included) would have become the CSA.

The French Revolution may not have ever happened, and the Louisiana purchase wouldn't have either.

Then in 1812, the British would have beaten both nations and re-created the colonies.

Spain owned the West. France owned the middle. England owned the East.

The United States of America would not exist at all today.

Posted by: ProfessorWrightBSU | February 25, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Petri is hilarious, and so are condemnations of Petri. All this vitriol against Thomas Jefferson? It's a riot!

Why hasn't anybody pointed out the oddity of a guy whose real last name is Estevez mocking his boss for changing his name?

Posted by: jonfromcali | February 25, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

This is an amazingly childish defense of TJ, who had a lot of moral issue.

One thing I always liked was his long time support for the French Revolution long after it had gone insanely bloody.
Another is that the Constitution needed to be refreshed in blood every 20 years are so.
TJ did not right the DOI by himself by any means, On June 11, 1776, Congress appointed a "Committee of Five", consisting of John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Roger Sherman of Connecticut, to draft a declaration.

TJ may or may not been responsible for the pretty words, but many were lifted from John Adams earlier stuff.

Posted by: Muddy_Buddy_2000 | February 25, 2011 3:10 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for your excellent analysis of what might have happened if Jefferson had succeeded in abolishing slavery with the Declaration of Independence. Thank God we don't all speak Canadian today, eh?

Let's not forget that it was Jefferson who wrote these wonderful words, and kept them in the Declaration: "All men are created equal."

Eighty-seven years later, Abraham Lincoln echoed Jefferson's words shortly before he abolished slavery:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

More recently, Martin Luther King payed homage to Jefferson with these words:

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

Posted by: divtune | February 25, 2011 3:28 PM | Report abuse

It's a painful experience to watch a talented actor devolve into a corrupt state due to a licentious lifestyle.
There doesn't appear to be much his family can do to temper his destructive public behavior because he's of age and long ago, when Reagan opened all the mental institutions wreaking havoc on American society in the name of "smaller gov't", those who are intensely psychologically crippled can walk among us with impunity.
I hope that some day he can recover, after he hits rock-bottom, which he very apparently hasn't yet.
I hope his career will recover, but I doubt it.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | February 25, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I thought it was Carter that emptied the institutions, but on compassionate grounds -- many of them where One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest types of places at the time.

I liked this defense of Mr. Jefferson -- under these singluarly weird/pathetic circumstances, humor is the only kind of dignified response possible.

Posted by: Georgetwoner | February 25, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Charlie Sheen is an actor, he makes his living playing imaginary characters and should never be elevated to the level of serious discussion. On the other hand, I'm getting real tired of people trashing anyone who lived two hundred years ago. They were men and women of their time and should only be judged by the norm of their day, not ours. Those high and mighty among us who criticize them may well be criticized a hundred years from now for following the social and moral norms of our time.

Posted by: spidermike | February 25, 2011 7:32 PM | Report abuse

I think this piece is reaching for The Onion's Jackie Harvey or Jean Teasdale, but it's not quite silly enough.

Posted by: Mujokan | February 26, 2011 8:11 PM | Report abuse

So Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. The Apostle Paul said, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ...Render service with enthusiasm...And masters do the same to them. (Ephesians 6:5 & 9). Hmmm...doesn't sound like he was against the practice. Maybe we should simply burn the Declaration of Independence (written by Jefferson,that blasted slave owner) and the Bible, which appears to be pro-slavery, not just in Paul's Epistles but in the Old Testament (excuse me, Hebrew Bible)and build a gigantic statue to St. Charlie Sheen. Oops! Didn't he make a pro-Bible movie? Remember to be pro-Bible is to be pro-slavery, just as to be pro-Jefferson is to be pro-slavery. Darn those wolves in sheep's clothing. Charlie must be a Confederate sympathizer; sympathizing with that pro-slavery Bible the way he did. What is a true, red bloodied American to do? Throw everything out and make a monument to himself? Yep! That's the only way.

Please, please people examine your reasoning for logical fallacies, at least.

Posted by: jamesnickels | February 27, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

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