Last week it seemed no one could get enough of Charlie Sheen. Though
he'd previously made the papers with his drug problems, domestic
violence incidents, and hit TV series, Sheen attained internet meme
status when, after his ravings derailed his show, he responded with spectacularly
outsized references to himself as "an F-18" with "flaming fists" and
"tiger blood" who was in all things #winning.
This led to humorous Charlie Sheen random quote
generators and flow charts as well as outraged remarks, some of
which were pretty astute, and some of which were silly.
You know rightbloggers had to get a piece of this action. In their hands
Sheen became a metaphor for liberalism, homeless policy, union
violence, and America's moral decline in the gay marriage era.
In fairness we must say that many of the brethren obviously used
traffic. This we endorse as part of a timeless journalistic tradition.
We are sympathetic as well toward Christian sites that did Sheen posts,
as they rely on fallen celebrities almost as much as gossip sites do.
Sheen's "public disintegration... reflects the core sickness of an
entertainment-saturated, celebrity-worshipping culture," one typical
analysis by Army chaplain Michael Anthony Milton told us. Milton added, "the
cure for Charlie Sheen is not more Charlie Sheen. The cure lies in less
of him and more of God," which is pretty quote-generator-worthy, itself.
But a lot of them, alas and what a shock, thought Sheen's public
breakdown was political news.
"Charlie Sheen, you are the denoument of the left wing dream," said Warrior of RedState. "Your rant is indicative of
the self-righteous arrogance which characterizes nearly everybody on the
left... If anyone ever wonders what a country dominated by godless,
leftist mooonbats will look like, all they need do is cast a weary
glance your way. The river of putrid sewage which has become your life
would very soon become characteristic of our national ethos." A nation
Also: "You are the harbinger of morbid excess, not George W. Bush."
We're not sure how Bush got into it; maybe Warrior has a random
generator of his own.
"Some might say that Sheen wants this publicity," said Bookworm in Right Wing News. "...There's a
difference, though, between a mentally functioning person (even a low
functioning person) taking appropriate steps to advance his career, and a
mentally ill person treading that same path. It reminds me of the
arguments the ACLU always makes about the paranoid schizophrenics on the
streets of San Francisco: 'They want to be there.'" Sheen's current legal representation is probably focusing
on other strategies, but no doubt appreciates the advice.
The easy layup for rightbloggers was Sheen's association with Hollywood,
which in their universe is a rogue state whose primary exports are
donations to Democratic candidates, pornography, and treason.
"Charlie Sheen is the product of a liberal upbringing," The Right Perspective Podcast Blog said, "his
wide-eyed father slept on a heating grater to show solidarity with the
homeless instead of raising his son in a decent manner."
"[Sheen] finally said aloud what I've suspected the Hollywood crowd
thought about us mere mortals for a long time," said Musings of a Mad Conservative. "When is Hollywood
going to learn that this is what happens when you raise your kids with
extreme liberal 'values'?" beseeched The Alternative Conservative.
"Even in the 'fair city of Detroit', when a man threatens to sever his
wife′s head and mail it to her mother, the man usually winds up either
in a jail cell or rubber-coated room of a psychiatric ward," said Andrew
Zarowny at Right Pundits. "But in Hollywood, such a man sets records
for new Twitter followers and earns millions of dollars." This implies
that Sheen's record-breaking crop of followers are all Hollywood weirdos
themselves, which just makes his achievement all the more remarkable.
The Sheen menace was thought to have further implications. In a video, AlfonZo Rachel showed an angry union demonstrator
and said the man was "Charlie Sheen in 30 more months -- same person,
totally obsessed with how bad-ass they are and how violent they can
get." Also, "Charlie Sheen is another one of those types who hates the
rich and their greed." This doesn't seem to track with Sheen's actual
"bitchin' rockstar" self-assessment, enabled as it is by mountains of
cash, but Rachel insisted, "he's the greedy rich, he's
projecting. He's the same as the unions. It's never enough for them!"
Clearly Scott Walker is right to try to strip Wisconsin teachers of
their excessively generous two-goddess-per-household benefits.
Later Rachel compared unions (or maybe Charlie Sheen, it's not clear) to
pimps and battered women, suggested the word "Sheen" be used as a
synonym for shit, and raged at the Angry Left for attacking him for hate
speech sometime in the future. Red State Report concurred: "With all the sanity
and civility of a Charlie Sheen Tweet, the Unions and Democrats are
relentless in their supposed anger and rage. "
menace has formed an alliance with the Kitteh menace. No man is safe. (via)
menace has formed an alliance with the Kitteh menace. No man is safe. (via)
went for humor, of a sort: Tobytoons offered a one-panel comic showing Sheen in
a tiger suit celebrating his "tiger blood," and a woman observing, "Oh,
great. Now Charlie thinks he is a congressman!" Bob Gorrell did a four-panel strip with the
punchline, "I am on a drug. It's called liberal Democrat!" Sometimes the
jokes write themselves, especially when no qualified author is
You-know-who was inevitably brought into it. "Addiction does strange
things to the mind," wrote Floyd and Mary Beth Brown. "The same is true of
America's addiction to debt... Clearly Obama is addicted to debt the
same way Charlie Sheen is addicted to drugs."
"Obama is WINNING the future, Charlie Sheen style," tweeted Ben Shapiro. "Gadhafi, Charlie Sheen, bin Laden,
Obama, Nancy P., MICKEY MOUSE, and DONALD DUCK can do whatever they
want," asserted Constance Lee, "BUT THEY CANNOT OUT RUN THE HOLY
Some focused on the liberal media's blame in all this, and not solely in
expected ways. "While the media is doing its best to exploit the
self-destructive train wreak otherwise known as Charlie Sheen," said Press Flak, "reporters, especially those in the
liberal media, are demonstrating a case of selective amnesia about how
cruel Charlie Sheen's father, Martin, was in his comments about former
President George W. Bush's admission of his drinking problems as a young
man." Stop the presses!
Not everyone saw Sheen as an avatar of liberalism, though. A few saw his
bold contempt for political correctness as a distinctly conservative
"Unlike probably everyone else watching Charlie Sheen these days, we
think this 'train wreck' (as some are calling it) is probably the best
we've seen him, and (having mutual friends) we applaud him mightily for
it," said The Crack Emcee. "His nothing-can-take-me-down
attitude, in the face of this wimpy, middle class, wet rag nanny state
finger-wagging opinion is winning. This is a man, owning his actions and
insisting everyone else come clean and take responsibility for theirs
So in going crazy, Sheen is actually going Galt. We'd be more inclined to sympathy with
this view were it not for the suspicious tendency of women close to
Sheen to wind up complaining of assault. But maybe The Crack
Emcee took this into account, as he castigated the "cautious,
conformist, inoffensive, non-risk taking, arrogant, lying bunch of
NewAge pussies who think if any woman, like [Sheen's Good Morning
America] interviewer, says she or others don't approve, then some form
of public contrition and apology is called for."
Ann Althouse appreciated Crack Emcee's POV. "It's
funny, I was just saying to Meade that people don't rant against
'conformity' anymore -- not like they did in the 50s and 60s," she
Right Wing, Nut was even more inspired: "Some of
us, sheep, willing to give up of freedoms for a little more security. On
the other hand, some of us have become...Tea Partiers," he wrote.
"Another group of rebels, scorned by the media and loathed in polite
society, who yet continue to push forward and succeed in their mission
of taking our freedoms back. 'Live Free or Die,' and 'Don't Tread on
Me'... sentiments that Charlie Sheen espouses in his own sphere
seemingly every five minutes. And the media -- despite their
tongue-clucking at our imaginary excesses -- cannot stop talking about
us, even if only to vilify us."
That'll make the protest signs more interesting, at least: Less "Don't
Tread on Me," more "We'll Cure America With Our Brain" and "If You're
Part of the Tea Party We Will Love You Violently."
WorldNetDaily's Ilana Mercer approved Sheen's non-conformism in
another area: "Unlike the automatons of the entertainment industry - and
the population at large - the intemperate Mr. Sheen refuses to accept
as holy writ the teachings of a therapeutic cult that coerces its
adherents into conformity." The cult to which she referred is Alcoholics
Anonymous. Well, good thing he's out of that!
Perhaps the oddest Sheen reference came at the end of a long video
conversation about gay marriage between Ricochet's James Poulos and National Review's
Jonah Goldberg. The two prominent conservatives, perhaps sensing the
tide of history against them, spent 23 minutes trying to find problems
with gay marriage without outright condemning it. Goldberg, for example,
denounced the "elite populism" of people who "now have decided that
they want to redefine what the institution of marriage is" just because
"they have numbers and influence on their side..." Poulos used Barney
Frank's failure to endorse polygamy as evidence of "tension that exists
on the left." Etc.
Eventually they meandered into Goldberg's idea of a marriage-ready
"homosexual bourgeoisie" (or HoBos as Goldberg is pleased to call them), who in
his view used to just want anonymous sex in clubs like the Ramrod before
they, for some reason, decided they wanted to get married instead.
Poulos suggested that nowadays all bourgeois people, gay and straight,
"especially want to do this kind oscillating back and forth between the
comfy enclosures of their domestic zone and the experience of
transgression that they swore off as a full-time lifestyle when they
went bourgeois. Case in point, Charlie Sheen, right? This is the kind of
guy who wants to have his cake and eat it too. He wants the bourgeois
lifestyle, he wants the family lifestyle, but three divorces in he wants
to have two girlfriends..."
Like many another commentator, Goldberg leapt at the chance to change
the subject to Charlie Sheen. "One of the reasons why we're in trouble
in this country is that we don't have as healthy institutions as we
should, to create more decent people," he said. "Though I still think
this is an inherently decent country with vast reservoirs of -- not to
keep repeating the word -- decency to draw upon, but when you have
people like Charlie Sheen out there, when you have this sort of culture
that says you can be both transgressive and bourgeois at the same time,
that we can all be Batman, then you get yourself into trouble."
Well, at least it got them off the topic of gay marriage, and onto the
subject of how they and all decent people are better than, or at least
jealous of, some celebrity. Which is fortunate, as that's mainly what
stories like this are good for.