Last week, Charlie Sheen took over.
This has been building for two or three weeks, and when it finally hit, Charlie Sheen became the most productive he has ever been. He got sober; he gave an anti-drug speech; he was interviewed; he won Twitter; he spawned memes and T-shirts; and if you consider the amount of Facebook statuses he inspired, you might say he broke social networking.
There is something lovable about the former Two and a Half Men star. I can’t really explain it.
Sure, he’s a jerk, and most of America does not agree with any of the decisions he’s making, but he’s not really racist (like Mel Gibson) except when he is anti-Semitic, or really old (like David Hasselhoff) except that he is. But he doesn’t really seem to be able to put together coherent sentences so while people might feel like they should beoffended by what he says, they don’t know why.
While it is fun to have someone like Charlie Sheen in the limelight (it’s kind of like having a giant inside joke that all of America is in on), we are turning a blind eye to things about this whole media frenzy that are harmful.
Anna Holmes addressed some of these things in her article “The Disposable Woman” in last Thursday’s New York Times. Holmes argues that Sheen, like most crazy, drug-induced celebrities is offensive and cringe-worthy but that reporters aren’t asking him the correct questions.
Even if you believe that Sheen is sober, and not racist, you have to admit that he sure as hell is sexist and definitely misogynistic.
All of his marriages have ended in accusations of physical abuse. And while most of these charges have been settled out of court, and while none of his ex-wives have really stepped forward to talk about the accusations, it’s safe to assume that they weren’t all just making it up.
All of this should make you wonder, as Holmes says, why the media and the public seem to be OK with him living with two women.
Holmes argues there are two issues at work. The first is white male privilege. Sheen gets to be a rock star while other messed-up celebrities are vilified. The second is the “otherness” of the women with whom he associates.
They are of questionable reputation by the public’s standards — either coming from the sex industry or being relatively no-name individuals. The message this sends is clear, Holmes says: It’s alright to abuse women as long as they aren’t important.
Holmes is right of course. Sheen should be held responsible for his actions. But she’s wrong in her prescription. Reporters shouldn’t ask him tougher questions; they should stop interviewing him. He’s not entertaining; he’s criminal.
Maybe when people stop wearing T-shirts with his quotes on them and when people stop watching Two and a Half Men, he will finally understand that he is no longer a real celebrity.
Spencer Smith is a sophomore studying philosophy and English, and a columnist for The Post. Tired of hearing about bi-winning? E-mail Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.