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.