Charlie Sheen and the Curse of E.D.*
Like just about everyone else in the English-speaking world, I’ve been seeing a lot of Charlie Sheen lately. Probably too much. But I have to say this for the brash, blustering, sometimes incoherent, grotesquely overpaid ($1.8 million per episode) sitcom star and master of debauchery: the kid has a way with words.
I’ve made a minor hobby this past week of collecting the choicest public utterances of this middle-aged boy wonder, this “high priest Vatican assassin warlock” with the “Adonis DNA.” He hasn’t disappointed. Here’s just a brief sampler of Sheenisms for your reading pleasure and contemplation…
I have the mind of a 10,000-year-old man and the boogers of a 7-year-old.
I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen.
I’m so tired of pretending I’m not a total freaking rock star from Mars.
You can’t process me with a normal brain.
It might be lonely up here, but I sure like the view.
[My two “goddesses”] boil my tiger blood like a microwave on meth.
Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.
These resentments, they are the rocket fuel that lives in the tip of my sabre.
I’m dealing with fools and trolls. I’m dealing with soft targets.
[On his boss, “Two and a Half Men” creator Chuck Lorre]: A turd… a contaminated little maggot… Clearly I have defeated this earthworm with my words. Imagine what I would have done with my fists.
Sheen is unemployed now, as everyone knows. It wasn’t his drug abuses that got him canned, or his over-the-top lifestyle, his brace of porn-star housemates, his alleged spousal abuse or his tardiness on the set. It was his tirade against Lorre that finally did him in. Sheen iced this particular cake by referring to Lorre as “Chaim Levine” (his actual given name is Charles Levine), purportedly in retaliation for Lorre referring to Sheen by his actual given name, Carlos Estevez.
Regardless of who initiated the name-calling, Sheen is out of a job — at least until some hungry producer offers him his next job. Sheen’s hubris was finally too much for CBS, which stands to lose up to $200 million in revenues by canceling his hit show. (Whoever said TV executives are obsessed with the almighty dollar?)
Not to be outdone by his hypersensitive earthworm bosses, Sheen came right back and demanded a raise. That’s right. Already the highest-paid series actor in American TV history, Sheen demanded a 40% increase — to $3 million per episode. Last I heard, the CBS executives weren’t biting.
Sheen’s many critics have called him unhinged, self-destructive, downward-spiraling, out of control and destined for an early grave. They’ve questioned whether he’s still stoned on drugs or suffering from withdrawal. What I haven’t heard is a discussion of his most obvious problem: E.D. Not the mundane male affliction addressed nightly on TV commercials. No, I’m talking about a more serious (and perhaps even more pervasive) syndrome: Entitlement Disorder.
Sheen definitely has it. (His demand for a raise after being fired is evidence enough.) But he’s far from alone. Libyan strongman Moammar Qaddafi would rather slaughter his own people than step down after four decades at the top. Obviously an E.D. sufferer. The Wall Street investment bankers who expected $10 million bonuses after plunging the Western economy off a cliff in 2008 were clearly afflicted with E.D. So, too, are the professional athletes and their agents who routinely negotiate for seven- and eight-figure salaries, pricing sports tickets beyond the reach of the average fan.
Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mao and George W. Bush: E.D. sufferers all. I remember hearing about a movie star who cut to the front of the line at an ice cream parlor, justifying her breach of etiquette on the basis that her time was “too valuable” to be spent waiting her turn with the commoners. Classic manifestation of E.D. Even the brave American pioneers who pushed Westward to the Pacific felt strangely entitled to lands that already belonged to the continent’s original inhabitants.
E.D. seems to know no political boundaries: right-wingers feel entitled to reject mild tax increases on the rich during an off-the-charts deficit crisis; lefties feel entitled to impose reverse discrimination and expanded welfare costs upon an already beleaguered middle class. Extremists tend to believe that everyone needs to get with their program — that no right-thinking person would stand in their way. I mean, it should be obvious — right?
Moderates are different, of course. If anything, we could use a greater sense of entitlement. We’re much too self-effacing, especially for a group that represents a plurality of the American electorate. We need to stand up to those who would casually squeeze us out of existence. We need to get a voice and use it.
Maybe we moderates could all use a little of Charlie Sheen’s tiger blood when it comes to making ourselves heard. No tax increases for your precious rich folks, eh? Total amnesty for illegal immigrants, huh? Listen up, you slimy extremist earthworms: don’t press your luck unless you’d like to see your guts explode in the microwave of our superior 10,000-year-old brains.
Well, I said we could use a little of Charlie Sheen’s tiger blood. We’re moderates, after all — not total freaking rock stars from Mars.