I’ve never watched an episode of “Two and a Half Men” in my life and my interest in the second generation of the Actin’ Sheens is pretty much nil, but I gather Charlie Sheen’s public meltdowns are the best thing to happen to guerrilla humor since Sarah Palin.
No sooner had I chuckled through the Sheen Family Circus yesterday than I was alerted to Charlie Sheen in New Yorker cartoons. This story has developed quickly enough — sorry, you couldn’t pay me enough to watch him on “20/20” — that half the lines are going over my head. There are people who have the industrial-strength new-media skilz to monitor two dozen websites and Twitter feeds, but I’m not among them. Not if I’m going to have time to browse Cute Overload once in a while.
But I did take a few minutes and watch most of the clip at this Salon link, mainly because the headline irritated me; whatever else Charlie Sheen is, he’s not “frightening.” The haggard face, the cigarette in the teeth — he reminds me of the guys I used to meet in those summers during college, when my friends and I would go to different apartment-complex pools during the day. (We didn’t know anyone who lived there. That was sort of the point.) I bet he has a funny name for his penis. I bet he calls it “little Elvis” or “the Highlander.”
Back to the humor. This is sort of second-rate, but it contains at least one new fact (to me) — the Plaza Hotel has an Eloise suite. Of course they would, but the thought of Charlie and his goddesses partying there is rahther sobering, as Eloise might say. This who-said-it quiz provided one of my rare humiliations in the area of online quiz-taking (I am an Oxford don of online quizzes. Go on, Pew Center, try to stump me!).
Is this sort of bad behavior really so different from previous episodes of bad behavior? Then why are so many people who clearly have better things to write about writing about it? Why am I writing about it?
I liked this comment at Walter Kirn’s blog:
Like Hugh Hefner. Sheen’s flashing, haunted eyes, the nodding head, the sidelong, you-better-believe-it-pal, meaningful looks at his interviewers, all remind the spectator of the panhandler, the street hustler, the drunk tank cell mate, the it’s-reeeally-heavy-maa-an tedium of the Dennis Hopper character in “Apocalypse Now.” And finally, the drunk ranter in every bar in every town. Yeah, pal, you’re brilliant. You’re really special. And you know things ordinary mortals don’t. I gotta go now. We see our reduced selves and recoil.
He left out the way he rattles a rocks glass before he tries to drain it of the last few drops. That’s another thing those guys would do on their poolside chaises.
And Ken Levine’s post isn’t hugely insightful, but kudos for this shoutout to “A Face in the Crowd,” the closest thing to a literary reference you find in showbiz, most days.
My word counter says we’re at 500 on the nose, so let’s skip to the bloggage:
This story was done by one of my students. I pass it along because until I moved to Michigan, I’d never seen a hookah lounge before, let alone one in a strip mall called Off the Hookah. This one sounds like a sports bar for Arab men.
Clint Eastwood is directing a script about J. Edgar Hoover, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. So there. Soooo. Theerrrre.
Oh, and note the lead in that story, which admittedly is from E! Online and not the New Yorker. I think Hank Stuever once noted that stories about movies featuring gay characters always feature a passage about kissing — what was it like to kiss another man, Leo? Was it difficult? How did you prepare? As though a simple kiss is the equivalent of losing 60 pounds and shooting a lengthy scene in which one swims a river of shit. No one ever asks that of the hookers who bang Charlie Sheen.
If you’re not reading the NYT’s Disunion blog, you should be. We’re only a few weeks away from the attack on Fort Sumter.
And is that it? I think it is. Off to the gymnasium.
Kirk said on March 2, 2011 at 10:50 am
8 for 14 on the who-said-it? quiz. That probably means I’m a little more familiar with the rantings of prominent assholes than I’d care to be.
LAMary said on March 2, 2011 at 11:13 am
There are tons of hookah lounges here. Gen x types hang there as well as folks from places where hookahs are more common. I think the fad may have peaked actually.
I forgot Charlie Sheen had shot his fiance. Isn’t that the current Mrs. John Travolta? She went from Charlie Sheen to closeted Scientologist? Gosh. Hollywood is so special.
Mark P. said on March 2, 2011 at 11:21 am
I didn’t take the quiz because any one of the three could have said any of the quotes at one time or another. The crazy runs deep in these three.
I am encouraged that no one in my home town in Georgia seems to be much concerned with the Civil War sesquicentennial. The would-be rebels down here are more concerned these days with making sure poor people don’t get health care and Mexicans can’t work in chicken packing plants or lawn care companies. I’m sure they often discuss it while standing in line at the unemployment office.
MarkH said on March 2, 2011 at 11:36 am
“Closeted”, LAMary? If so, Travolta came out spectacularly with “Battlefield Earth”.
LAMary said on March 2, 2011 at 11:50 am
Poorly closeted. Carrie Fisher who calls herself one of his oldest friends has casually referred to him as gay in interviews and in her most recent book, and there have been rumors about him for years. Scientology forbids or maybe seriously disapproves of, homosexuality, so of course some of the most public Scientologists are gay men, i.e. Travolta and Tom Cruise. It’s institutionalized gay self hatred, not an uncommon phenomenon, but weirder because it’s Scientology rather than fundamental Christianity or the Republican Party.
Cara said on March 2, 2011 at 11:56 am
Interesting grouping for the Quiz! Hard to tell who is further “out there”!
Suzanne said on March 2, 2011 at 12:14 pm
Freaky. Apparently, one of Charlie Sheen’s girlie friends has a Fort Wayne, IN connection, as stated in the Q & A section at the bottom.
Jean S said on March 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm
hookah lounges also big here in Portlandia….a most excellent way for the Gen whatever slackers to amuse themselves. That, and the Renaissance Faires.
Judybusy said on March 2, 2011 at 1:22 pm
My only exposure to any of the Sheen stuff was a Sheen vs. Ghadaffi quiz my BIL posted on FB. I did ok, 25 out of 28! I immediately thought of sharing it here, until I see NN had an even better model. Will peruse it when I’m done with work….
Peter said on March 2, 2011 at 1:24 pm
I only got 6 out of 15 on that quiz. Maybe I need to watch more Glenn Beck…
Julie Robinson said on March 2, 2011 at 1:44 pm
Yep, we’re known as the City of Churches, Bree Olson, and Harry Baals. Feeling so proud today.
Like most of y’all, I’ve never watched the show except when channel flipping, but I found the premise so off-putting that I was amazed it had #1 status many weeks. Craig Ferguson has even stopped telling jokes about Sheen, and he’s right, there isn’t anything funny about him anymore.
Connie said on March 2, 2011 at 1:51 pm
My husband and I did a Sheen or Quaddafi quiz last night and got two right out of eight. That’s worse than hit or miss!
LAMary said on March 2, 2011 at 2:04 pm
I watched most of one episode a few months ago. It’s on several times a day here in reruns. I thought it was stupid. The humor is adolescent raunchy tits and ass stuff.
Bitter Scribe said on March 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm
Let me get this straight. Sheen is (was) the star of TV’s top-rated sitcom, pulling down a million-plus per episode according to what I’ve read, and he gets to wallow in all the tits and ass any man can handle. But he’s ranting because those around him don’t appreciate how awesome he is?
It would be different if he decided he needed some sort of spiritual fulfillment or meaning, something of that nature. But honestly, turning on everyone around him like that has to be the result of substance abuse or something more insidious.
moe99 said on March 2, 2011 at 2:31 pm
My youngest son frequented hookah lounges for a few years, even after I was diagnosed with lung cancer. Hopefully he’s out of that sub genre now in rural Vermont.
del said on March 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm
The lede to a Scientology expose in the old Spy Magazine years ago began with the author’s blunt admission of various sexually deviant acts, crimes, drug use and the like. Said he had to reveal past sins to gain access to the cult for the article and had to disclose them to take away its implied threat of outing him. So the Travolta and Tom Cruise Scientology connection may have something to do with that…
ROgirl said on March 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm
Scientology is just fucking batshit crazy. There are a lot of closeted men in Hollywood who aren’t Scientologists. What’s the draw for Cruise and Travolta?
coozledad said on March 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm
Some of those Sheen quotes sound like they’re coming straight from his mangled hippocampus. I think it’s what a lot of guys would sound like if you removed everything in their cortical region except the ability to produce speech.
Similar effects have been noted among people whose brains have undergone hypersonic intracranial contact, i.e. professional boxers, but they’re inscrutable sometimes, and might just be “fronting” to unnerve an opponent.
Maybe Charlie’s trying to unnerve his next wife.
del said on March 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm
Yeah, Travolta and Cruise are drinking some weird kool-aid for sure. Closeted gay Scientologists may differ from other closeted gays in Hollywood in their community confessions (perhaps in some detail) to persons with a financial interest in keeping them as contributing members of the cult and therefore having an interest in threatening disclosure of secrets should they wish to leave. Scientologists glom onto the moneyed class. Perhaps Tom Cruise was channeling in Jerry MacGuire when he screamed, “Show me the money!”
LAMary said on March 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm
I think it’s very hard to leave Scientology. The New Yorker story referenced here recently tells about Paul Haggis, the screenwriter, leaving the cult.
Jeff Borden said on March 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm
What is troubling about the Charlie Sheen story is not the obvious fact that he is a self-worshipping ass, but that it was his remarks about the producer and the network that have led to the shutdown. All parties concerned were perfectly fine with Mr. Sheen when he was accused of domestic violence.
The parallel to me is all those animal loving NFL fans who want to see Michael Vick imprisoned for life, if not executed, for dog fighting, but who speak nary a word about the high number of these giants involved in domestic abuse or other acts of violence. I loathe the idea of dog fighting, but how can fans focus on animal cruelty while ignoring the cruelty shown to fellow humans?
LAMary said on March 2, 2011 at 6:02 pm
I don’t know why Charlie Sheen isn’t in prison. Well, I do. I guess because he has millions of dollars for lawyers to burn through, but really. Drugs, domestic abuse, hookers, shooting a girlfriend. Anyone else would be locked up.
Scout said on March 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm
Charlie Sheen will hopefully be shunned in the same way Mel Gibson was when he showed his baboon red-assery to the world. I did get a kick out of the New Yorker cartoons though, so maybe stuff like that will be his saving grace.
I remember reading that Scientologists must submit to being recorded making full life confessions, which would explain why, once they get in they can never get out. I suppose in the fervor of newfound spirituality it doesn’t occur to them to leave certain bits out.
Major Pettigrew is on my nightstand too. We have a date for this evening. I just finished reading The Help via Kindle and man, what a read. Couldn’t put it down.
deb said on March 2, 2011 at 7:10 pm
Scout, “baboon red-assery”? Hilarious.
I took yet another who-said-it quiz (how many of these are there, anyway?), got only 4 out of 10 right, and concluded both Charlie AND Qaddafi are batshit. (Have you heard any of these Charlie interviews? Either bipolar or drug-addled. Perhaps both.)
But, Nance, I think this quiz did reveal that the self-described “total bitchin’ rock star from Mars” does have a nickname for his wanker:
“These resentments, they are the rocket fuel that lives in the tip of my sabre.” Winning!
Catherine said on March 2, 2011 at 7:11 pm
Major Pettigrew is on my nightstand, three. Really enjoying it.
Liked one of the comments re Charlie Sheen on Ken Levine’s blog: “The way I see it, the only winner in this entire scenario is Mel Gibson, who gets to pass the mantle of biggest self-destructive narcissistic asshole to Sheen.” Winning!
LAMary said on March 2, 2011 at 7:38 pm
Lindsay Lohan is winning too. Charlie drew the attention away from her necklace stealing hearing.
moe99 said on March 2, 2011 at 7:55 pm
I am 200 something in line at the library for Major Pettigrew. I sure wish they would get Kindle enabled. A friend who works at Amazon says that is possible. They already do e-books.
Joe Kobiela said on March 2, 2011 at 8:26 pm
Would it be wrong to wish Charlie Sheen would just take a gun and blow himself away.
brian stouder said on March 2, 2011 at 8:29 pm
Well, I got 9 of the 14, with a streak of 5 in a row correct (including the gimme one, regarding Nescafe, which I had heard on the news).
Charlie was a little hard to sort from Gadfly, but the Becker-head was pretty easy to sort
edit: Joe, I think he’s on that same path, albeit with a different means of self-destruction. When Pam and I first saw the thing on the Today show, I had the same reaction as the guy that Nance excerpted. I’m not a barfly, but that drawn face of Sheen’s, and the askew hair, and the flatly declarative nature of everything he says…I’ve seen that sort of transient-crazy at the McDonald’s where I-69 and US-30 come together.
One time, a guy kept trying to tell me how he should be making so much money from an oil well on his property; but the damned government was robbing him (etc etc). All this, as he nursed his to-go coffee
Connie said on March 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm
Major Pettigrew was wonderful. And got my vote for best cover of the year. And Moe99 if Amazon has enabled library lending for the Kindle they haven’t got around to telling libraries about it. And right now libraries are signing on for every e-book service they can find.
Harper Collins has just announced that all library e-book versions of their titles will now cease to exist after 26 checkouts.
LAMary said on March 2, 2011 at 8:46 pm
Joe, yes it would.
Joe Kobiela said on March 2, 2011 at 8:49 pm
del said on March 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm
Because, it would.
Jolene said on March 2, 2011 at 10:14 pm
Sheen is behaving like an ass, but my guess is he’s bipolar. If that’s correct, he needs treatment, and he’s like lots of other people who have that problem in thinking he doesn’t.
Crazycatlady said on March 3, 2011 at 12:31 am
My father-in-law LOVES ‘Two and a Half Men’. Since he’s practically blind, he watches the show with binoculars and never misses it. I think it’s an insult to anyone’s intelligence. But my dear Dad is 89 years old and if he wants to watch it, he darn well can! As for Hookah Bars, there was one set to open near Detroit in East Pointe on 9 Mile near Kelly, but the timing was bad–the new restaurant anti-smoking law went into effect. Never opened.
Dexter said on March 3, 2011 at 12:53 am
I have been around a few bipolars in my life and while I am certainly not qualified to dx anyone, man, Charlie is acting like a man in acting-out mode.
It’s hard to wish him the best when he says he is hitting .420 and knocking in 170 runs and hitting 60 homers or whatever, while hinting the rest of are incapable of even seeing the baseball. That day he was speaking in all baseball metaphors.
Hookahs seem nice. I have never been around them, but when cameras were depicting Baghdad life a few years ago I saw the fruit heads being smoked and I was intrigued. But…nearly 30 years off cigarettes now, and 25 off all tobacco products, 100%…nah, not for me, even though stories like this fire up my desire to smoke—now ain’t that a curse?
Crazycatlady…your story reminded me of the time I couldn’t buy a ticket at Notre Dame for the Michigan football game. For all those who didn’t have a ticket the Joyce ACC was opened and TVs were stationed around the hockey arena. I couldn’t even get close to those, but I had binoculars with me in hopes of scoring a ticket…and I watched a 21 inch TV from about 100 feet away and I got to see the game in one of my strangest football games I “attended”, ever.
Julie Robinson said on March 3, 2011 at 8:27 am
Darn you all for enticing me with another book to read! My list is so long that I haven’t been reading reviews or best seller lists in the hope of paring it down. So many books, so little time…
prospero said on March 4, 2011 at 10:38 am
Emilio Estevez made an obviously great movie. Repo Man is brilliant. So did dad. Apocalypse Now might be slightly better than Repo Man. Slightly. Guys got a normal sibling and a decent dad. He’s Josiah Bartlett for God’s sake. So how did Charly wind up in a motel all broken inside? Kinda like carving the turkey, kinda like cuting the lawn, everything comes to this perfect onvection, winds up on a customers plate and its gone. Kinda like the food chain. No joke? Why does anybody think Charlie is remotely interesting? Did Charlie? Nope. Why don’t his brother and his dad rescue his ass?
I don’t think any of this is funny, and I find it objectionable to make fun. It’s like laughing at Lindsay Lohan when she’s a talented actress abused by dysfunctional parents. No? These people are monsters. I’m not sure Charlie Sheen didn;t inflict this on himself, but making fun of his raging addictions is rampant Republicanism, And it is decidedly anti-Christian. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren. Would real Christians please stand up? Real Christians believe in WIC. Real Christians believe in Head Start.
I’m a Catholic, so I’m not Christian according to these assholes. I’m a believer in the demonic cult they all sprang from. Where there Protestant religions if they didn;t come straight out of Catholicism? How did right-wingers decide Catholics were evilexcept for the really small number of shirheels like
bill Donovan? Fuck this guy. Catholicism in this century is opposing bastards in Central America. Social Justice and Jesuit politics. If we aren;t supporting the people, we are supporting the autocrats.
Halloween Jack said on March 4, 2011 at 11:19 am
Julie Robinson, I think that that’s another indicator that Craig Ferguson is the real class act among late-night talk show hosts. (No disrespect to Coco.) I believe he’s also mentioned his status as a recovering alcoholic on the show, as well.
Nance, whether Walter Kirn has anything better to do with his time or not (his most recent post, in which he’s shocked, shocked to find out that the owners of this free social networking site that he uses are still trying to find new ways of monetizing it, isn’t too impressive), I liked his “three uses for Charlie Sheen” post as a way of addressing just why this has become so compelling for people, like you and me, who otherwise have no particular interest in him or his work (in my case, at least since Wall Street. I’ve had discussions with otherwise-sensible people who are trying to hold him up as patron saint of Sticking It To The Man, as well as reading numerous speculations that it’s all a crazy-like-a-fox smokescreen for breaking away from the apparent tyranny of Chuck Lorre and striking out on his own with a tell-all book/reality show/line of condoms/&c.
I think also that, for some of us who have had to endure a loved one’s perpetual cycle of abuse and rehab, there’s a deeper and even guiltier attraction: the vicarious pleasure of someone going so far beyond the pale that we can write them off forever.
prospero said on March 4, 2011 at 12:49 pm
Fort Sumter, right up the road. It does make me wonder if it wouldn’t have been a good deal to let them walk. Florida? No more Jorts. SC, no Nikki Haley that was apparently more active on the Trail than that exceptionally homely Mark Sanford. And the governor may think she’s Divya, but she is not close. But inveighing against Southern govs is ignoring what total assholes Kasich and Walker are, You kidding?. Kasich zlmost makes Boner seem sentient.
prospero said on March 15, 2011 at 6:11 pm
This discussion has gotten idiotic. My ex ASKED ME IF SHE could listen to Love It To Death. Anybody that doesn’t understand that Dwight Frye is brilliant, well that;s a dumbass. Back in those days, we actually mingled with these artists. Alice, Procul? I was in a teen center in Birmingham and talking to Gary Brooker about Alice Cooper. Which was the better band? This seems rather obvious. But what were we to think? God’s aloft the winds are raging. God’s aloft the winds are cold. You should have been there at the teen center when they played Salty Dog. You’ve got to be kidding. Are we kidding? How is this not some jingoist horeshit? We purport to extend sensibility. That’s not sensible? We have an internet flooded with wackjobs saying Japan deserved this. Karma and Pearl Harbor. We can only hope they croaked, If these bizarre jingoist assholes have forgotten about HIROSHIMA AN NAGASAKI, WE CAN ONLY HOPE THEY BURN. AAnd suffer for their idiocy.
prospero said on March 15, 2011 at 6:21 pm
Japanese people deserved this? Only in the USA. What is wrong with peaaople? i rel. too some extent , on what y’all think. You people are pretty smart and you seem to have some basis in morality. Ever see that movie, “The PROPOSITION?”It’s astoundingly good. I’d like to hear na opinion.