Biggest moments of 2011 #9 The Sheen comes off Charlie
Sheen, the son of the excellent Martin and the star of a crap blockbuster TV show, destroyed his immediate career in a drug-, women- and media-fuelled tizzy of spectacular proportions.
There were signs that Sheen’s life was starting to careen out of control in January when he went to rehab after a series of public shenanigans. Two and a Half Men was put on hiatus.
But the kerfuffle didn’t really get started until Sheen called up a US radio show to tell the world just what he thought of Two and a Half Men and its producers. He declared the TV show was: “A pukefest that everyone worships” (right on, Charlie) run by an “AA Nazi” and “blatant hypocrite”. Producers, who were sick of Sheen’s issues and his partying, ended production.
This was only the beginning of a Sheen media blitz, though. The guy was getting paid $1.8 million an episode at that stage and as far as he was concerned, he was living THE life. In interview after interview, Sheen explained how he was “winning” at life - despite losing his job and having his kids taken off him.
What happened next
Charlie Sheen went viral. His interviews were broadcast on TV and mashed up into YouTube clips that scored millions of hits. Sheen took to Twitter to spread his message and had a million following him in 24 hours. He kept on feeding this multipronged media beast with his nonsense phrases like “winning” and “tigerblood”.
It was out of control, an eruption of pop culture as huge as Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano’s last year, grounding all discussion of more important things.
When asked about his drug habits in one interview, Sheen said: “I am on a drug, it’s called Charlie Sheen”. Plenty of us – the media and your average, social-media savvy Joe - found we were addicted too.
What we learned
Charlie Sheen’s “winning” epitomised everything that’s wrong with our celebrity- and wealth-obsessed culture.
When it was pointed out that many were asking how he could be “winning” when he’d lost his TV show and his family, Sheen said: “They can say that but what kinda car are they driving? What kinda girls are they taking home?”
He then confirmed: “Yeah, I said girls”.
In other words: I’ve got all of these great things and you don’t, aren’t I great?
There’s nothing wrong with idolising Sheen’s hedonistic lifestyle. Everyone likes to cut loose every now and then.
But what was really disgusting about Charlie Sheen was the his “ner ner ner ner ner I have cool stuff and you don’t” attitude.
What we learned from the Sheenplosion was very similar to what we learned from the recent Kyle Sandilands saga.
If you’re a defiant, selfish arsehole, this world is for you. Millions will think you’re getting it right every step of the way, no matter how much you carry on like a pork chop.
Those same millions will then follow you on Twitter.
How The Punch covered it
Joe Hildebrand noticed some stark similarities between Sheen and another of this year’s flashiest dressers:
Sheen and Gaddafi are not genuinely comparable, anymore than you can compare Al Qaeda with a Hollywood divorce. One causes the bloody and callous destruction of innocent lives and the other’s just a terrorist organisation.
Soon after though, the world had run out of Charlie Sheen jokes, reported Jason Tin. And it was all the fault of social media:
[On Twitter], a joke moves a long a conveyor belt where it is quality tested by millions of workers and either discarded or elevated to premium status.
And our man in the US, Paul Toohey, explored whether Sheen’s success had totally transformed the nature of celebrity. Is true stardom just for the extreme, unapologetic partygoers or the world?
Or is there still a place for people with talent?
Read all about it
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