Thus Spoke Sheen: Nietzsche and Tiger’s Blood

I have long been a lover of the writings of Nietzsche. Surprisingly though, the recent Charlie Sheen spotlight has brought me back to a book I have read and reread a bunch of times, Thus Spoke Zarathustra (my copy is translated by Clancy Martin and I know Izak would take umbrage with that). In case you haven’t read it, the book is about a “mystic” that descends from the wilderness to speak revolutionary truths to a town of people, the first and most famous of which is “God is dead.” Here, early in his writing career, Nietzsche uses the character to express his ubermensch concept. Without commenting on the connections I see between Zarathustra and Sheen any further, I would just like to put some of their notable quotes side-by-side as food for thought.

“You have made your way from worm to man, and much within you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any ape” (Zarathustra 9)

“It feels like from the people I talk to in and around my circles, it seems like the worm is turning” (Sheen).

“they do not understand me; I am not the mouth for these ears” (Zarathustra 13).

“You can’t process me with a normal brain” (Sheen)

“since childhood, short, weak, thick-glasses, never seen by a goddess, only owned by the bully. Like a bitch. sizzle, losing, bye” (Sheen)

“The people have little comprehension of greatness, that is to say: creativeness. But they have a taste for all presenters and actors of great things” (Zarathustra 46)

“I’m sorry, man, but I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time – and this includes naps – I’m an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground.” (Sheen)

“when I lived with them I lived above them. Therefore they took a dislike to me. They wanted to hear nothing of any one walking above their heads. Thus they muffled the sound of my steps, and so far I have been least heard by the most learned… and even if I walk on my own errors, still I am above them and their own heads. For men are not equal…” (Zarathustra 110)
“I’m a frickin’ rock star from mars, people can’t figure me out, they can’t process me” (Sheen)
“Even in your folly and contempt you each serve your self, you despisers of the body. I tell you, your self wants to die and turns away from life. No longer can your self do what it desires most… And therefore now you are angry with life and with the earth. An unconscious envy is in the squint-eyed glance of your contempt. I shall not go your way…” (Zarathustra 33).

“I don’t have time for their judgment and their stupidity and you know they lay down with their ugly wives in front of their ugly children and look at their loser lives and then they look at me and they say, ‘I can’t process it’ well, no, you never will stop trying, just sit back and enjoy the show. You know?” (Sheen)

“There have to be more important things going on in the world than my past… What you come to discover is, it isn’t how you get there, it’s that you get there. If that’s what it took to get me where I’m at today, so be it.” (Sheen)

“”It was”: thus is the Will’s teeth-gnashing and lonesomest tribulation called. Impotent towards what hath been done—it is a malicious spectator of all that is past… That time doth not run backward—that is its animosity: “That which was”: so is the stone which it cannot roll called.” (Zarathustra)

“I think my passion is misinterpreted as anger sometimes. And I don’t think people are ready for the message that I’m delivering, and delivering with a sense of violent love.” (Sheen)

“Something unappeased, unappeasable, is within me; it longeth to find expression. A craving for love is within me, which speaketh itself the language of love.” (Zarathustra)

“I’m bi-winning. I win here, I win there.” (Sheen)
“Aye, for the game of creating, my brethren, there is needed a holy Yea unto life: its own will, willeth now the spirit; his own world winneth the world’s outcast.” (Zarathustra)

“I have a different constitution. I have a different brain; I have a different heart; I got tiger blood, man.” (Sheen)

“I am happy to see the marvels the warm sun hatcheth: tigers and palms and rattlesnakes.” (Zarathustra)

“As it happeneth with me, so is it with all fruits that turn ripe. It is the honey in my veins that maketh my blood thicker, and also my soul stiller.” (Zarathustra)

“For now, I’m just going to hang out with these two smoking hotties and fly privately around the world. It might be lonely up here, but I sure like the view.” (Sheen)

“But one day will I take them up, and put each by itself alone: that it may learn lonesomeness and defiance and prudence. Gnarled and crooked and with flexible hardness shall it then stand by the sea, a living lighthouse of unconquerable life.” (Zarathustra)

“I’m here and I’m ready. They’re not. Bring it.” (Sheen)
“They are not ready” (Zarathustra)

9 Responses to “Thus Spoke Sheen: Nietzsche and Tiger’s Blood”

  1. This is genius. Bravo.

  2. Love this Scott!

  3. thumbs up.

  4. Took your food for thought, chewed it for a second, spit it up – to swallow everything is truly the swine’s manner. How is Zarathustra like a serial abuser of women who hates the mother of his children, who is consumed and recirculated instantly and endlessly by pop culture, who exerts power and manipulation over all those around him (including his “goddesses”), and who’s doing everything in his power to cash in on and exploit his popularity? Perhaps Martin Clancy’s translation really is that terrible, but I don’t see the connection.

    Charlie Sheen is a joke, and a funny one. Your quotations demonstrate that – unlike Nietzsche or Zarathustra – there’s nothing more to him.

  5. ^ Nietzsche is srs bzness

  6. To Koslow: It was never suggested that Sheen is a current Zarathustra figure, just that Charlie Sheen’s recent actions, words, and tone interestingly echo those of Zarathustra. While Sheen is neither strong nor eloquent nor believable, his persona smacks of a Zarathustrian charisma, and belies an unusual character.

  7. … No, it really doesn’t. In any way at all. The closest connection (Certainly closer than Sheen saying he has tiger’s blood and Zarathustra saying the sun birthes tigers – and also trees and snakes) is that after listening to him rant, Sheen’s audience hated him.

  8. Asshat Mcgee Says:

    Hey everybody, I’m Scott Koslow, I am the zero zone. I am totally serioul.

  9. So I googled “Nietzsche Charlie Sheen” and found this. Damn I’m not the first! I’m actually putting together a video series that will serve as a sort of introduction to Nietzsche for the pop culture minded. And I recalled my thoughts on the Charlie Sheen rants. I won’t list credentials but I will say I am more than familiar with ALL of Nietzsche’s published work, and much of his unpublished work, as well as a good deal of academic writing on Nietzsche.

    I think Charlie Sheen does embody MANY of Nietzsche’s tenets. Good job on the chosen quotes, but there are actually many more examples in Nietzsche’s other works. (Let us not forget his thought’s on the “monster” Borge.) Living a warrior’s life, contempt for the values of the masses, loneliness, dismissal and attack on slave morality, Schadenfraude– Charlie Sheen is like a Zarathustra operating in the pop culture sphere. Of course Nietzsche would have been dismissive of the pop culture sphere as “suitable only for the rabble” or “swine”, but as a Genealogist and occasional humanist he would have good reason to observe it and study.

    “since childhood, short, weak, thick-glasses, never seen by a goddess, only owned by the bully. Like a bitch. sizzle, losing, bye,” Charlie Sheen.

    “Moral judgments are symptoms and sign languages which betray the process of physiological prosperity or failure.” Nietzsche.

    See also Nietszche’s descriptions of Slave morality in Beyond Good and Evil and The Will to Power. Sheen is a Lion (or Tiger) who values “winning”, success, getting the girl, etc– his detractors are physical weaklings or otherwise “losers” who are consumed by Nietzschean “resentiment”.

    “Some animals are by nature sheep, field mice, or cows—and some animals are by nature wolves, hawks, or lions. Psychologically and physically, this divide also runs right through the human species. Some people are born fearful and inclined to join a herd—and some are born fearless and inclined to seek lonely heights.{ see Sheen quote about flying all over the world with goddesses} Some are born sedentary and sluggish—and some are born crackling with purpose and craving adventure.”

    Sheen certainly seems the type described in the last. Next Nietzsche shows how the weak create a value system that demonizes the strong out of envy and fear

    “That lambs dislike great birds of prey does not seem strange: only it gives no grounds for reproaching these birds of prey for bearing off little lambs. And if the lambs say among themselves: ‘these birds of prey are evil; and whoever is least like a bird of prey, but rather its opposite, a lamb—would he not be good?”

    It’s pretty obvious that the poster above who says “How is Sheen like Zarathustra… [when he] exerts power over others around him (especially his goddesses)” has understood little of Nietzsche. The line about abuses against women is ironic given how often Nietzsche is taken to task for his views on women which, “generally do him little credit” according to Walter Kaufman who is one of Nietzsche’s great defenders.

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