Monday, March 7, 2011

Some Comic Relief--Charlie Sheen: The Nexus of Corporate/Media Exploitation

It’s hard to know what to make of the Charlie Sheen circus which has been obsessing the major media for at least two weeks now. His meme has consumed almost every channel, from NBC’s Jeff Rossen to CNN’s new “Larry King”, Piers Morgan, to Charlie’s home, CBS, and his story has enflamed the minds of his fans which sprout newer fans every moment. I understand he is now in the Guinness Book of Records as having most Twitter followers ever.

But what is his story? What are the facts versus the hype? It’s hard to follow from day to day. As with many who consume enormous quantities of street drugs, a lot of what he says doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

As opposed to my sister, I always felt a little affection for Charlie. He was the Bad Boy. I watched his show, putting the knowledge that he was (to put it charitably) not nice to women, in the back of my mind. It was at one time a guilty pleasure.

In his latest
he was charged with second-degree assault, menacing and criminal mischief after allegedly attacking his wife Brooke Mueller in Aspen, Colorado.

This was how he celebrated Christmas 2010:

Sheen, 44, spent Christmas in jail after an alleged scuffle with his wife, Brooke Mueller. He is being held with no bond, and he will remain in jail until his court appearance due to Colorado law which mandates a protection order between those arrested for domestic violence and their victims.

He was also arrested in November 2010 for trapping an underage porn star, Christina Walsh, in a New York hotel room during a cocaine-fueled, sex-for-hire tryst.

Walsh is preparing to sue the Two and a Half Men actor, claiming she felt her life was in danger during the incident.

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to Charlie’s private life. That is, until he popped up everywhere in interviews, opening his multi-million dollar home to TV cameras. It was a Roman bacchanalia! Kind of like a moth-eaten Hugh Hefner.

Charlie and two pretty young ladies he referred to as his “goddesses” (hey, that’s a better than some terms applied to young women in the sex industry) held court on a variety of subjects, including using what was written up in the media as applying anti-semitic terms to his show’s creator, Chuck Lorre (he called him by his given name, Chaim Levine). According to the interview I saw, his goddesses were caring for his young sons. Sort of like divine au pairs.

Now he’s more popular than ever. Someone surely is compiling his tweets and calling it “The Wit and Wisdom of Charles the First, the One and the Only”. This clown circus can only help raise awareness of his show “Two and a Half Men” for the production company, the network, and certainly, the syndicator. It’s tough to be the highest paid TV actor in show business.

The question then becomes: Is Charlie a role model? Or is he in need of rehabilitation? Or is the answer both?

Anyway, thanks for the bread and circuses. I always loved your dad, who had a heart attack at a very young age due the strain of shooting the brilliant Apocalypse Now (talk about putting your life on the line for show business), as the President in The West Wing and as a caring operative in Scorcese’s Oscar-winning The Departed. Just a short list. And this entire brouhaha also reminded me of his brother Emilio Estevez, who was so great with Harry Dean Stanton in the original Repo Man.

Hollywood royalty, indeed, however befuddling.

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