Centre Stage

11 03 2011

Charlie Sheen is many things, it seems, and there are very many things that he is not. While the blogs are abuzz with questions regarding his antisemitism (for the record, he is as antisemitic as I am), I recently encountered a rather curious allegation. In addition to all of the various other things that Charlie Sheen is not, he is also, it would seem, not filial. No, not one bit.

The article in question, which appeared in China’s Global Times, stresses some key truths about the nature of the US media. Rather than quietly and sensitively deal with one man’s car crash of a life, what people want the most is to see the individual behind the wheel, front and centre stage, while he drives into a wall. Again, and again, and again. When he should be receiving appropriate treatment for his psychiatric disorder, he is instead allowed free reign to advocate the worst elements of his decrepit lifestyle. I won’t join the bandwagon and get indignant about his mistresses living together, but only because I am jealous. I will, however, suggest that his continued advocacy for drug use (“dyin’s for fools”) is disturbing, and irresponsible on the part of everybody who has helped to give him a microphone.

But while this is all very important, the chief focus of the Chinese article (as its title suggests) is Charlie’s relationship with his distraught father. While the author makes a connection between that and his relationship with his immoral fatherland (this is, after all, a Chinese paper), it is their condemnation of his lack of filial propriety that draws their greatest ire. And so I feel that it is worth mentioning at this point that the article in question either suffered a rather unfortunate lacuna on its way towards publication, or the editor is an idiot.

In the second-to-last paragraph, before declaring (the fact) that “Sheen is a disgrace”, the author – a Mr Hao Leifeng – makes the following claim:

He ignored his own father’s advice to keep quiet, who was once the president of the US.

Is China so starved for information about the outside world that people think The West Wing was a documentary? Did the article originally add something along the lines of “… in an award-winning NBC drama”? Or has it suffered, perhaps, in translation? Am I missing, in English, vital clues to the effect that this piece was supposed to be a lampoon, and that Charlie is only playing the fool, in much the same way as his father played Josiah Bartlet?

I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that if you’re going to complain about somebody standing centre stage while they make a fool of themselves, you should probably not make a fool of yourself when you do.



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