The Sheen Spectacle

by Jonah Goldberg

I’m trying to decide what I think about all of this Charlie Sheen nuttiness. If you take the position he doesn’t have serious mental-health issues — an implausible position, I think –  and you don’t care one bit about his drug problem, he’s still an absolutely ridiculous person who doesn’t “deserve” a fraction of the attention he so clearly enjoys. But if his drug problem and his mental health aren’t issues, then he is also an immensely entertaining or at least engrossing spectacle. It’s rare to see someone own his idiocy and self-destruction so completely, never mind so boldly. He makes it hard to look away.

On the other hand, there are problems. First of all, what he’s doing to his family is disgusting even if he is sane and sober. Moreover, he may be (temporarily) sober, but it’s not clear to me he’s sane. Regardless, there’s a certain flies-on-fecal-matter aspect to the spectacle, as well. Watch this segment on Good Morning America, where George Stephanopolous gamely tries to make ABC’s exclusive interview with Sheen into something serious and important, when the truth is that everyone involved is simply turning the cameras on a human trainwreck for the ratings.

It’s impossible for me to feel sorry for anyone save his family and the crew members of his TV show who lost their jobs. And I can hardly condemn the entertainment press for trying to satisfy demand for a better view. But I could do with a good deal less “serious” coverage of this entirely unserious human being.


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