Charlie Sheen’s sickness is also America’s: Why are we wallowing in meltdown porn?

March 3rd, 2011 by Staff

www.nydailynews.com — He has “tiger blood” in his veins, he’s “addicted to winning,” he’s “a Vatican assassin warlock.” He’s Charlie Sheen. Turn on any television channel, and he’s virtually inescapable. But judging from the ratings he’s getting from his media rampage, we don’t want to escape.

Visit the comments section of any Web article about the troubled star and you’ll find folks more worked up than Sheen on a Saturday night: They blame him for being a drug addict, frequenting prostitutes and spewing hatred.

On the other hand, some praise him for “telling it like it is” and, as one blog post put it, for “living the dream that primates have been working toward all this time: as much bliss as possible as often as possible.”

Regardless of what you think of Sheen, it’s pretty clear that we’re feasting on the demise of a troubled man with the help of an enthusiastically complacent media.

Networks “have been relentless in recent days in aiding and abetting the epic meltdown of a celebrity who happens to be the biggest star on the biggest comedy,” James Rainey writes in the Los Angeles Times. “Are they all that different from the two live-in young ‘goddesses,’ whom the actor keeps around his Beverly Hills home?”

But then again, the media are only selling what they know we want to buy. Aren’t we the very voyeurs who want to get in on Sheen’s threesome?

Sheen has joked that he’s high on “a drug called Charlie Sheen.” The more we hear about him, the more we become addicted, too. In the wake of meltdowns by Lindsay, Britney and Mel, it’s safe to say that the cult of self-destructive celebrity is our favorite drug.

In his case, it appears that the public can’t decide whether to send him to rehab, arrest him – or just toke up with him. Of course, the fact that he can’t use restraint is his problem. The fact that we can’t get enough is ours.

Yes, we love a good Tinseltown train-wreck – every society since the ancient Greeks has had a need to partake in the tragic demise of its heroes. But a nation founded on puritanical values is captivated by a man addicted to porn and coke? Are we as depraved as Sheen, or just desensitized?

On his now-defunct “Two and a Half Men,” Sheen played a rowdy bachelor obsessed with women who joked routinely about heavy drinking and sex. Sound familiar? The character was even named Charlie, in case you didn’t get the joke. His hard-partying persona propelled the show to the top of the ratings and made Sheen TV’s highest-paid actor, at $2 million an episode.

But why can we laugh at his character so easily while condemning the man himself? We’re fine with art imitating life, but not life imitating art. What does that say about the moral standards we hold ourselves to?

Perhaps that those standards were never so high to begin with – and Sheen is doing little more than driving home the sad point. After all, we forgave Bill Clinton for oral sex in the Oval Office and rewarded hooker-loving disgraced Gov. Spitzer with a CNN show.

Sheen seems more fun – and there’s nothing Americans love more than that. For as much as we say we worry about Sheen’s instability, we sure do like tagging along for the ride (the author of this column included).

No doubt, Sheen needs mental help, not a media circus. The saddest thing about this saga is that there are children involved, making it hard to follow Sheen’s directive that we should just “sit back and enjoy the show.”

Sorry, Charlie: That’s exactly what we’ve been doing. And maybe that’s the problem.


2 Responses

  1. CocoLoco

    I’ve always felt that a man should be able to be with as many women as he likes,” says Rachel Oberlin, 24, one of Sheen’s two live-in girlfriends. “I’ve never had the opportunity to share that with any man before because, honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been with a man who was even deserving of that.”

    “I adore them,” says Oberlin, a former porn star whose screen name was Bree Olsen. “I’m just a really loving, passionate, compassionate person. My heart just goes out to children. I was playing with the boys [on Monday], and I was holding little Bob and I just didn’t want to let him go.

  2. TiTUS

    I think Charlie Sheen’s interview with 20/20 did for him what Michael Jackson’s interview did oh so many years ago. They said “yeah Mike go on TV let em’ into your world, show em’ you’re not crazy”. I imagine the same guy was whispering into Charlie’s ear as well “yeah Charlie go on TV let em’ into your world, show em’ you’re not crazy”. I get letting people in, telling your side of things, not just laying down, but the dude’s off his rocker! I mean I like the guy, I like the candidness, that he makes no bones about his affinity for porn stars and partying. Most “celebrities” you see these days are so obsessed with their public image you only see a shadow of who they really are. Like the other day Bubba talking about Reggie Roundtree and how he is on air versus real life. That’s because he’s gotta protect his interests, his pay check, he doesn’t wanna end up on some E! True Hollywood special. Charlie Sheen was a likeable guy, he was good looking, funny, charismatic, all that. However that interview didn’t do him any favors.

    He looked worn, old in the face and neck, unkempt. He rambled on almost maniacally pretty much the whole time. In one sentence he’s saying as long as you’re honest everything’s groovy, that he can’t stand liars. Here he’s living at compound Sheen which only weeks ago had the cops out there for a three day bender saying, “there’s no drugs in the house, we don’t do drugs here”. I understand he’s gotta say that for legal reasons so he can see his kids. But don’t expect me to believe two porn stars stick around to be wet nurse to your kids because of your “winning personality”. They’re there for the DRUGS and the PARTIES and with any luck to get some fat settlement money that you’re always paying out to any woman you come in contact with.

    Am I jealous? Hell yeah I’m jealous, and I can’t say if I didn’t have the money I wouldn’t be doing the same thing. The thing is I wanna like the guy again.. I REALLY do. You just can’t say things like:

    “I am on a drug – it’s called Charlie Sheen,” he said this week. “If you try it, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”

    “If you borrowed my brain for five seconds, you’d be like, ‘Dude! Can’t handle it, unplug this bastard!’ It fires in a way that’s maybe not from, uh, this terrestrial realm.”

    “Tiger blood will drip from my veins … defeat is not an option. She will be living under a bridge, toothless and confused.”

    And my personal fav..

    “I don’t sleep. I wait.”

    Isn’t that last one Chuck Norris’ line? You’re at an 11 Charlie, I need you more at like an 8. You can be intense and awesome, and in our face, just not off the chart. I like that you let it all hang out, I want you to bang your way down the streets of Hollywood doing line’s off back public bathroom toilets, I want your parties to be “epic”, just come back down to Earth. I don’t know where you’re at now, but find your way back to us, we miss you. Good luck and God speed bud.

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