I like the guy. Several million of us do. We care about him.
I’ve greatly admired his dad, Martin Sheen, one of the premier actors – and conscientious activists – of our day. We don’t have identical perspectives on political issues, but I see his deep commitment to the things he believes in. It’s a worthy heritage and example, for both his sons.
And I’ve watched with great interest the early careers of both boys, Charlie and Emilio. Each has developed and exploited talents inherited from Martin, and made names and opportunities for himself. Ideally, that’s the way things are supposed to go.
But, in recent years and months, things with Charlie have ominously run off the rails. In a checkered trail, the favored son has moved from serious dramatic roles, in which he shone, to TV comedy in the acclaimed sitcom “Two and a Half Men” – and almost unbelievable riches. But the frantic trail left several marriages and five children in its wake. And along the way, we’ve become sadly aware of drug and alcohol binges, out-of-control violent displays and disturbances, and, increasingly, an erratic and dangerous behavior resulting in court appearances and injunctions keeping his children and former wives and prostitutes at safe distances.
How did this happen? And why?
Well, take a look at his environment in the entertainment industry. There are definite causal influences.
You’re surely aware that most of the studios, producers, networks, writers and executives have long since decided that a vast American public can, and will, be seduced into paying to see some of the most sordid and forbidden behavior of which fellow humans are capable. “Reality” shows like “Jersey Shore” that depict real-life young people indulging in wild and profane and promiscuous behavior are promoted and acclaimed. Cable shows like “Weeds” win industry awards as they tell the continuing story of a pretty single mother deeply involved in marijuana trafficking in her neighborhood, in heartland America.
“Jackass” has become a juggernaut of profitability as it chronicles insane behavior and wildly dangerous stunts among our impressionable young.
“Skins” and “Desperate Housewives” and “Nip/Tuck” and “Gossip Girls” depict folks like us, kids and their parents, all wallowing in decadent and totally immoral behavior – getting away with most of it – and the shows being showered with money, TVGuide covers and industry awards. Even popular, beautifully produced shows like “Brothers and Sisters” and “Modern Family” feel they must include and portray every kind of aberrant behavior and immorality as part of American life, just “the way it is.”
So it’s no surprise that a writer/producer would conceive and fashion a sitcom intentionally to showcase – and profit from – the already publicized foibles of Charlie Sheen. How could it miss?
In one of the most reprehensible concepts yet, a handsome and successful bachelor shares digs with his single-dad brother and his very young son. While the bachelor (Sheen) indulges in every mortal sin known to man, his envious brother tries to emulate him with comic results, and the wide-eyed young boy watches his bumbling dad fail in his attempts to succeed in the decadence and debauchery of the “swinging” uncle, who beds at least one different woman per episode, and sometimes several – all this in a half hour in prime time.
Because this insane show was expertly produced and marketed, it has sat near the top of the ratings for several years, and Charlie Sheen has been paid $1.8 million per episode, per half hour of inexcusable _________!
So, a man who’d already exhibited tendencies toward irrational, promiscuous and self-destructive behavior was being given a king’s ransom to portray and glamorize it all on TV. And with enough money to indulge any and every fantasy, we began to see Charlie live like the character he portrayed – in spades. The pattern and the path is unmistakable, and predictable. And inevitably tragic, for Charlie.
But not for the network. The execs are even now fervently looking for the actor who can pick up the fatal mantle and continue the show, as if nothing wayward had happened! While Charlie has been fired and left to dangle in the wind, the network wants to keep the cash register jingling with its weekly high-rated depiction of anti-family, anti-moral, demonstrably fatal “fun.”
Friend, you and I, and all right-thinking Americans, should try to help Charlie and other actors caught in similar snares. Sure, they walked willingly into those traps, lured by the money and likelihood of more fame and acclaim, but they’re being sacrificed on the altars of greed and immorality.
Yesterday, out of curiosity, I Googled “Rock Star deaths” and came up with 14 pages of names! Poor Charlie keeps referring to himself as a “rock star,” which in truth he’s become. Is he going to join all the others who also knew they could defy the odds and nature itself, and survive drugs, alcohol and sexual perversion? Famous, lamented stars like Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, Sid Vicious … Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, among scores of others on every level of popular entertainment?
“They DIE in youth, and their life is among the unclean.” Job 36: 5, 6, 14
“As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own DEATH.” Proverbs 11:19
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of DEATH.” Proverbs 14:12
“For the wages of sin is DEATH: but the gift of God is eternal LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
Charlie, my young friend, you can’t beat those odds. Nobody can. You might continue to twitter and tweet and rant and rave for a little while longer – but the catastrophe ahead is absolutely unavoidable.
May I offer a very personal invitation? You and I don’t live far apart, here in L.A. In a very private, intimate way, my wife and I would love to have you come over for dinner, have a quiet chat, share experiences – and let us introduce you to the STAR of all time, the revolutionary who defied His culture and turned the world upside down. Best of all, He’ll provide you with the most exciting ride you’ll ever have, and eternal LIFE as well.