Sunday, March 13, 2011

Charlie Sheen: Anna Nicole Smith, Part Deux

Until the real news became too big, disastrous and fatal to avoid within the last few days, our country’s news media was saturated with the hyper visage of Charlie Sheen.

On one hand, I appreciate the inspiring spectacle of an artist living without apology. Sheen indulges every whim and refuses to live life on anyone else’s terms. He has been confronted by the hypocritical false morality of Hollywood, which shrilly attempts to shame excess while enabling it, and he has exposed it and spit in its face.

On the other hand, he is someone who at one point had legitimate gifts and has squandered his talents in an endless streak of waste and self destruction. He is being endlessly played and used by the very entertainment industry vultures he claims to detest, and in the process he has become more of a running joke than a call to arms.

I’m far from the first person to draw the analogy, but I cannot help to think of Anna Nicole Smith. Her slurred bimbo antics were hilarious television fun. Who wouldn’t enjoy seeing such a well-endowed woman embrace the American dream until it suffocated in her ample bosom? It was all shits and giggles until her 20-year-old son died of a drug overdose while visiting her in the hospital. Not even her death a short time later could stop the shameless and macabre tabloid feeding frenzy, as speculation over the paternity of her latest bastard child made Maury Povich look staid.

We’ve seen this movie before. And as entertaining as Charlie Sheen’s bombast is, it can only turn from laughing at him to being ashamed of ourselves.

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