Friday, October 14, 2011

The A,B,C's of the News - C is for (Sorry) Charlie Sheen

Today I conclude my brief foray into learning about what is probably some of the least consequential news of last year. 

Casey Anthony? Innocent? You're kidding! Brett Favre? I'm sorry to even know about what that man did.

And now we come to the last of the news not worth knowing.

Charlie Sheen.

My only excuse for this exercise of diving to the bottom of the fetid American cultural ocean and indulging in several hundred words of bottom feeding is that it's a matter of avoidance behavior.

As I contemplate getting caught up on the real news of the last 365 days, or at least some of it, I find myself hesitating. The death of Bin Laden, the Giffords shooting, a Japan earthquake and nuclear reactors gone wild, Arab revolutions, famine in the Horn of Africa.

It sounds so heavy.

It's much easier to delay with C: Charlie Sheen. Tabloid junk food. Come to Daddy.

Gesture of the Jester
I have come not to slam Charlie Sheen nor to criticize him. There's little point. In a way, I think we want there to always be a Charlie Sheen around.

Kings desire a jester. In between wars, public executions, wrangling over laws and resources, the goofy clown provides a welcome lightness.

Enter the fool.

I've also come to believe that we Americans in particular need someone who counters our basic tendency to idolize people who are good looking or gifted or both. The antidote is a star who tanks. Acts outrageous to the point of alienating the very people who made him or a star. Haven't we been through this before?

Britney Spears.

Like Brittney we may eventually re-invite Charlie back into our passive viewing lives. Celebrities spoiling on the shelf become an obsession. Like an ex- we can't get over.

Perhaps this explains why in my own tenuous exploration of old news I found it unexepectedly easy to settle down on a patch of google and try to figure out what people meant when they told me Charlie Sheen had a "meltdown" in February.

Some of them even opined that Charlie was seriously crazy.

And they didn't think this before? Fancy that.

So I learned about Charlie's taunting and mockery of Chuck Lorre, the creator of Two and a Half Men, of Charlie's proud claim of "epic partying," his less doubtful assertion that he is now clean and sober, of his prediction that his army of loyal followers will lead him back into his cherished spot on the number one comedy show.

That was about the extent of what I uncovered. It left me shaking my head. This was definitely tabloid fodder, but beyond that who cared?

The most interesting thing to me was that I learned Charlie was the highest paid actor on TV, making $1.8 million an episode (and demanding a raise to over $2 million as recompense for the grief his meltdown had caused him).

This is truly an astonishing figure but so is $100 million paid by the Eagles for Michael Vick, a guy who was recently in prison and one of the more despised people in America because, you know, lots of people love their dogs.

The man who wanted to be a clown...
Perhaps the reason I was so unimpressed by Charlie saga was that I didn't see any of this unfold in real time. And I didn't augment my bare bones information by playing any videos or recordings of Charlie being Charlie during interviews and on talk shows. I'll just have to take people's word for it.

Charlie, a guy who had already pushed every boundary practically known to man, including beating on women, had finally found a way to reach a point of no return. No wonder Charlie was shocked. Based on all his past indiscretions, he thought he could get away with anything.


"Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen's statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Bros. Television have decided to discontinue production of Two and a Half Men for the remainder of the season," the press release said.

Now I understand. Charlie had reached the fabled point of "totality." A partial mess is fine. Become a total mess and you're exiled from laugh track land.

Still, I think it was the right decision. I discovered that Charlie actually called Thomas Jefferson a "pussy". That's where Mr. Sheen personally crosses the line for me. Anyone who would say that about the man who put together the best home library in early America, is worse than a Philistine. He has a very small mind. More, it's clearly empty. Charlie, you pussy and clown, try reading a book. - A.H.

Jefferson's library recreated at the Library of Congress


No comments:

Post a Comment