Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Sheen is a shine, a gleam, a polished thing that has a luster, an incandescent glow, a gloss, so glossy that it can sometimes reflect us on its surface.

With Charlie Sheen's tweets, his manic interviews, his campaign against the entertainment world, the star is giving America exactly what it wants out of a modern celebrity.

Alec Baldwin, recently advised Sheen, "You can't win. Really. You can't." Alec, also a lustrous celebrity, is an actor I like for his acting, for the way he's survived the media attacks on him for insulting his daughter and his ex-wife. I especially admire him because he said on TV (twice), that my husband, actor John Cullum's performances (which Alec saw when he was a kid), inspired him to become an actor.

Alec tells Sheen, "No actor is greater than the show itself when the show is a hit. And, in that regard, [executives] are often right. Add to that the fact that the actor who is torturing their diseased egos is a drug-addled, porn star-squiring, near-Joycean Internet ranter -- [Charlie] they really want you to go."

Breton Easton Ellis, a best-seller writer, says, "Charlie Sheen is Winning." Bret, a not quite lustrous celebrity whom I've envied for writing a fascinating book about disordered, messed-up Hollywood teenagers, has just joined the staff of the resurging Newsweek-Beast. In his recent article, Bret said -- " 'Drugs' is the first word Charlie Sheen utters in his only scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off." (It's a film starring Matthew Broderick, made in 1986 that also keeps resurging.)

Bret explains, "In a police station, Ferris's sister sees a gorgeous dude in a leather jacket who looks like he’s been up for days on a drug binge. She asks, 'Why are you here?' and Charlie, deadpan, replies, 'Drugs.' That’s when we first really noticed Sheen, and it’s the key moment in his movie career (it now sums up everything that followed). He hasn’t been as entertaining since. Until now. In getting himself fired from his hit TV show Two and a Half Men, this privileged child of the media’s sprawling Entertainment Empire has now become its most gifted ridiculer."

Bret goes on, "Sheen has embraced, post-Empire, making his bid to explain to all of us what celebrity now means. Whether you like it or not is beside the point. It’s where we are, babe. We’re learning something. Rock and roll. Deal with it."

Okay Bret -- okay Alec -- you guys say it's a WIN LOSE situation. I think something more important is happening.

I think we need what's happening to Sheen. I think we need a NON hero. We needed Mel Gibson, a knock 'em down, aggressive brave guy, a remarkable actor, to fall apart, disintegrate, do very wrong things such as making those anti-Jewish remarks, beating up his girl friend, endangering his daughter, and divorcing the loving woman who has been at his side as he became a hero. Gibson makes us feel somewhat heroic ourselves, because we've been able to grow up and hold onto what we've believed in since we were children.

And similarly, we see the lucky, successful, attractive, wealthy Sheen, raving and ranting, misbehaving, jabbering unrealistically. Sheen isn't crazy. Gibson isn't crazy. We are not crazy because we feel sorry for the two men, and annoyed, impatient, and superior to both of them. They make us feel better about ourselves.

Why is this happening? I blame practically everything that seems wrong to me, nowadays, on the media. We've got too much media -- all day long, in color, HD -- we are getting opinions on what to fear and what to admire based on the media's semi-lustrous stars mesmeriszingly, repetitiously selling us what to think, what to buy, and what to feel.

What to do? Turn off the TV!

Can you?

I rarely do. I'm hooked!


Carola said...

I have basically turned off the TV. There is nothing on. It's just a bunch of reality shows.

Michael Blevins said...

I don't have TV in my home.

Anonymous said...

Em, Agree, turn off the TV, show no interest. Interest feeds and enables the media and those seeking attention. I admire and treasure talent of all kinds for what they teach but not interested in the personal struggles of celebrities of any kind, I don't know them and I'm sick of being manipulated. We all have people in our lives we do care about that have struggles and hard lives that we can support and actually do something to help. I've come to the conclusion I have to control who and what takes up my thoughts and energy. Thanks for this discussion Em...xxxxxxoooo Heather