In defense of Charlie Sheen | Pakistan Today

In defense of Charlie Sheen

NEW YORK – A few days ago, Alec Baldwin offered some advice to Charlie Sheen. “Take a nap. Get a shower. Call Chuck. Go on Letterman and make an apology. Write a huge check to the B’Nai Brith. And then beg for your job back.”
Non-celebrity to non-celebrity, we’d like to provide some equally unsolicited suggestions. Take a deep breath. Take a cold shower. Take a gigantic step back. It’s time to chill your collective shit.
When Charlie Sheen went on his first bizarre and public rant two-and-a-half weeks ago, reactions ranged from shock to admonishment. Four days later, Sheen appeared on the Today Show to do the complete opposite of damage control in an equally bizarre interview. But there was a glimmer of clarity in those beady little crazy eyes. When asked whether Warner Brothers had any choice but to fire him after his inflammatory remarks, Sheen declared his behavior off the set irrelevant.
People like Sheen get screaming fans and special treatment. Being a celebrity in the United States is no small deal. So yes, this system is going to churn out the occasional nut who thinks it’s acceptable to go on drunken rampages and publicly insult his boss. We tell some members of society that normal standards of behavior and morality aren’t applicable to them, and then proceed to hurl a great deal of wealth their way. It doesn’t require much foresight to picture the outcome of this set up.
We don’t mean to imply that there is only one response to fame. Of course there are many. A well-known actor or actress might enroll in an Ivy League institution. Celebrities often champion causes they believe in and make large charitable donations. Stars who are feared to have peaked at a young age sometimes develop as artists and create increasingly inspired works over careers that span decades. The famous can be perfectly lovely people.
But here’s what else you can do if you’re a celebrity. You can treat people like crap and coast on your looks, money, and fame. You can make melodramatic statements about the cost of your success to sympathetic audiences. You can endorse products for a handsome cheque, and you can endorse politicians as though you have the slightest clue what you’re talking about. You can stay in your comfort zone playing a character who’s precisely who you are in real life minus the dark and depressing stuff, make exorbitant amounts of money, and sleep with lots of beautiful women. And people will still listen.
If anything, that’s why we should find Charlie Sheen’s latest ramblings pretty un-annoying. He’s not whining about how much his life sucks. He’s talking about how awesome it is. And it is objectively awesome, if only for its possibility. Why would we expect a human being to respond to the insane idolatry we hurl at celebrities in a sane way? Someone who would behave in such a vitriolic and arrogant manner isn’t someone we’d want to engage with personally.
So when Charlie Sheen declares that Warner Brothers has no right to fire him because he shows up on time and delivers his lines like a pro, we’ve got to give him a resounding, “Guy’s got a point.” The only thing that is relevant is the product. Warner Brothers giving Sheen the boot fuels this culture. It says that what matters about celebrities isn’t their acting ability, but their personal lives.
It tells that it makes sense to be surprised when Mel Gibson goes on another violent tirade. Or when Lindsay Lohan steals another necklace. Or when any celebrity isn’t enough like the person they pretend to be on screen or stage. Or, in Sheen’s case, is too much like that person. This episode should be a wake up call not only for Sheen, but for us. We need to start expecting less from celebrities, and more from ourselves.

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