Judging Charlie

Posted on March 9, 2011

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Recently I used “winning” in a Facebook post, and a friend asked me not to do it again “because Charlie Sheen is a douche.” While he might be, I’m in a less of a hurry to judge him.

Hold on…

Look, Charlie Sheen isn’t Michael Vick. Vick used his money and his celebrity status to promote an unlawful activity – dog fighting. That happens to go against my ethics and morals, but even if you’re from a different culture and don’t share those ethics & morals, we can agree that dog fighting is unlawful under laws in the United States.

And yet…

Charlie Sheen is also breaking the law. He has admitted, on television, to doing crack. If I was being interviewed on television for some reason and casually mentioned that I had killed someone in India five years ago while on a business trip, you can be damn sure that I would get at least one visit from law enforcement. I have no money, and am just a guy. Charlie Sheen is the famous son of a famous father and was, until recently, the highest paid person on television. He admits to doing drugs on TV, and nobody bothers him. He’s just a rich, famous criminal.

Hey…

I will not argue that Charlie Sheen is only hurting himself by doing drugs, because that’s not true. He has hurt everyone whose income depended on Two and a Half Men. Family services should be looking into the welfare of his children, considering the environment that he appears to be creating for them. Still, most of what I’ve seen that isn’t directly created by him shooting his mouth off in public is mocking and satirical, rather than idolizing, so I don’t think we can say he’s hurting our nation’s youth.

What about…

Let’s take another scandal that Americans got worked up about: Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. A friend of mine, at the time, pointed out two things. First, we had no idea what the relationship between Bill and Hilary Clinton was really like. She stuck with him, and it’s hard to believe she was unaware of all the women that he slept with. It seems far more likely that she accepted his extramarital affairs as a price for him advancing her political career. Second, he pointed out that everything the Clintons did together was political theater. Their relationship was a show they put on to get them political office. Yet all of America condemned Bill Clinton.

Yeah, but…

Just like with the Clintons, we have to realize that we’ll never have the whole story with Charlie Sheen. As I write this, Charlie is controlling the narrative. He’s the one talking. The producers are taking a decent, professional approach and not airing dirty laundry in public. This costs them control of the narrative.

Sure, Charlie says there’s no morals clause in his contract. Sure, he says that his private life never interferes with his work. Crackheads are not the most reliable narrators, though.

Civil Discourse in America

We must be willing to admit our limited perspectives. We must fight ourselves to reserve judgment. If Charlie Sheen’s behavior offends you, then it’s better to say that than to dismiss him as a douche. We can argue about how big a train wreck Charlie is, but I will never dispute the validity of your feelings.

Now if only we could civilize the discourse between Liberals and Conservatives here in the States.

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Posted in: Self-Reference