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Entertainment / Fatwah / January 29, 2011
By Eileen Jones


Charlie Sheen is in the news a lot lately because he can’t handle his liquor. Or his drugs. Or his porn stars. He’s a problem-partier; you know how there’s always one who freaks out on illicit substances, and cries, or starts a fight, or runs outside naked, or ODs and has to go to the hospital. Even at children’s parties, you’ll notice, one of the kids will have hysterics over too much excitement and cake. Charlie Sheen is one of those, and this allows millions of righteous gits to profess shock, shock I tell you, at the news that there are dedicated hedonists living in Hollywood. How can such a thing be allowed to go on?! Why don’t the producers of the Sheen show, Two and A Half Men, fire him for his own good?! Why isn’t Sheen tackled in the streets by the clean-living citizenry of Los Angeles, and frog-marched off to semi-permanent rehab?! Why don’t the cops arrest him on vice charges, just like they would if it was plain old you ‘n’ me?!

Here’s why.

In America, it’s part of our social contract that we should all try to “make it,” i.e., become rich and/or famous. If we do manage to beat the incredible odds against us and become rich and/or famous, we get invited to “The Party.” “The Party” is a never-ending round of pleasures, many of them illegal, that are going on constantly in mansions, yachts, four-star hotel rooms, restaurants reserved for private use, the roped-off section of invitation-only events, upstairs at fancy ski condoes, etc. It’s not a myth; it’s really happening. Even if you edge close to the rich/famous, or their kids, or their friends, or their colleagues, you can get a taste of it, or maybe just a glimpse of it in action.

But once you’re well and truly IN, you’re actively encouraged to stay there by almost everybody, except during those times when you’re actually out earning the money or making the public appearances necessary to maintain your wealth and/or renown. And why wouldn’t you stay? It was the whole point of becoming rich/famous, to live a life of untrammeled freedom and ecstasy, and to have the waters part before you everywhere you go.

The cops, of course, realize that this has become the chief goal and purpose of our contemporary culture, to create just such a libertine elite, and they look the other way when not getting a piece of the action themselves. You’ve got to pull a real Mel Gibson to actually get arrested and have your mugshot in the paper and all that. Or a real Charlie Sheen.


The idea that the Two and a Half Men producers would interfere with Charlie Sheen’s revelry, as long as he made it to work on time and said his lines more or less correctly, is insane. For one thing, it’s the right of every American to party like the world’s going to end—which it might!–every day of his or her adult life, if so desired. That’s what we call “the pursuit of happiness,” and it’s written right into the Declaration of Independence, in a prominent spot. Look it up!

Besides, that’s business as usual in the entertainment industry, where parties are thrown for every conceivable reason—kick-off parties, wrap parties, birthday parties, award show parties, Tuesday parties, Thursday parties. The producers and CBS honchos are no doubt very, very sorry Charlie Sheen is such a problem-partier. They just had to shut down the show, put it on hiatus, till Sheen recovers, and that’s real money down the drain. Plus it’s putting another nail in the coffin of the benevolent, amusing, good-time-Charlie persona that the show has cultivated with Sheen’s alter-ego character, Charlie Harper.

The whole conceit of the show is that the most crassly hedonistic characters are the highest-functioning and most successful, because they’re just what our culture ordered. We may claim we want restrained, hard-working, capitalistic church-goers, but it’s been many, many years since we put a convincing face on that. Charlie and his ferocious mother, Evelyn (Holland Taylor), are both sexually insatiable gluttons for alcohol and consumer goods, indifferent to the conventional pieties about family and religion and the Protestant work ethic. Meanwhile brother Alan (John Cryer), perpetually anxious and eager for respectability, gets nowhere in life, and can only survive by sponging off Charlie.  That leaves the half-man, Jake (Angus T. Jones), Alan’s thick-headed teenage son. Jake has two dicey male role models, but he also has enough sense to lean Charlie’s way to the best of his limited abilities.


A lot of bloggers are excoriating Charlie Sheen’s dreadful behavior and then adding the unkindest cut of all: “…And besides, your show is lousy!” But it’s actually not bad. Pretty funny, in fact, for an old-fashioned sitcom that’s been running for eight years. And oddly bracing in its honesty about certain aspects of American life. Of course, it has to enforce a base-level morality that’s sort of suspect—the fractured family members all have to love each other deep-down and all that—but the rest of the time, no holds are barred. Who’s happier, who’s getting more out of life, Charlie or Alan? Charlie, every time, even with all the embarrassments and inconveniences attendant upon a life of adundant sex, drugs and alcohol in a society that both worships and pretends to condemn them.

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Add your own

  • 1. th_hey_ppl_OF EGYPT  |  January 29th, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    So what? The eXile is a bunch of racist druggie kegger-type frat boys too.

  • 2. Arch Stanton  |  January 29th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    If you can’t shamelessly wallow in your own crapulence, what’s the point of being an American? So STFU al-qaeda lovers.

  • 3. namp1  |  January 29th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    I think this is one of Eileen’s better articles, but I have to disagree with its premise: that we are encouraged to live life. Maybe in Hollywood, but every place outside of college has been the complete opposite; not only are we discouraged overtly by our peers, the law, colleagues to not take it easy, but the system too. If I wanted to take time off and do something cool, it should be my right–but no, if there is a gap of more than six months in my resume, I’m screwed, maybe unemployable. As an American white man, I am expected to work hard, pay disproportionate amount of taxes, not consume, but support a wife and kids that do consume much. Say I don’t want to get married, then I’m selfish, or something’s wrong with me. Say I want to switch careers after a certain age–then something is wrong with me because I couldn’t be successful. Heck, as a board certified professional, if anything comes to light, bar fight, argument with the girlfriend, even reckless driving, I’m screwed. There is nothing about this system that promotes hedonism, or even mild amusement.

  • 4. az  |  January 29th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    But in his article Mark wrote that Americans hate these people and love only the lizard Republicans because for all the money they make they don’t enjoy any of it… So who’s right? I need guidance to get through this because I am a loyal eXile reader who forgoes thinking in favor of reading articles on here.

  • 5. Derp  |  January 29th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Derp derp derp! Yeah, for once I agree with you Mark!

    If a man wants to do coke and hookers then that’s his God-given right, it’s in the Constitution! Derp derp derp! Just as long as the people doing it aren’t darkies in any ghettoes, it’s a-okay by me, derp derp!

    Ah hell, let the darkies have their fun too! Derp derp derp!

  • 6. Skeeve  |  January 29th, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Charlie’s just another Tiger Woods. And don’t we all secretly admire Tiger for getting all that pussy? (Even if most of it was skank?)

    Because America is about getting more and more, and never being satisfied (and to hell with the wife and kids). Maybe a better name for the place would be “Wendigo.”

    You should cut Charlie a little slack, though. His time in Vietnam obviously left him pretty fucked up.

  • 7. maus  |  January 29th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    “druggie kegger”

    FIFY. Sad that your retarded Neocons are so busy being racist fratboys that you can’t see beyond their ills and are reduced to false equivalencies.

  • 8. Me  |  January 29th, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    You say it like it’s something bad

  • 9. John Drinkwater  |  January 29th, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I laughed when I read that he called 911 after an alcohol and drug binge…because I’ve done the same thing. (It’s not a good idea, btw. The EMS people were cool, but the doctors and nurses treat you like a leper.) A lot of us like seeing Sheen fuck up so publicly. Makes us feel better.

    Two and Half Men? If you’ve seen one episode, you’ve seen them all. 8 years of the same joke is enough already.

  • 10. Lothimoor  |  January 29th, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    I pretty much hate drunks and coke heads, but as long as they keep to themselves I don’t care what they stumble over or what stupid memory they babble about. The problem is, this donkey is jockeying for top slot in the news with revolution in Egypt. It’s a form of propaganda.

  • 11. ThierryEnnui  |  January 29th, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    You can tell me people have a right to pursue success; you can tell me people have a right to celebrate success; you can tell me that the entertainment biz is all about parties; you can convincingly explain why “Two And A Half Men” is American hedonism and materialism personified.

    But you can never, ever tell me that it’s “not bad” or “pretty funny”: it’s much more like being face-raped by a frat-boy to a canned laughter soundtrack.

  • 12. james dillant  |  January 29th, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Right on the money. Eloquently delivered, and not a word to waste.

    But your metaphor extends way beyond the confines of Hollywood, the Party’s taking place in all but the poorest of neighborhoods, hell, it’s the dividing line on the frontiers of China and Russia, it may not be as big or as glamorous, but it’s happening – and for every one charlie sheen, there’s a thousand no-namers, slumped up against the sidewalk, calling in sick for work.

  • 13. ghostunit  |  January 29th, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    I want to be happy too!

  • 14. Charlie Sheen  |  January 29th, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    I just wanted to take a moment to apologize to everyone for my recent, unacceptable behavior. Rest assured, it will never happen again. Thank you all for your concerns.

  • 15. sum guy  |  January 29th, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    for a crack smoking psycho, his show is pretty fucking boring

  • 16. pMX?  |  January 30th, 2011 at 2:26 am

    So that´s how the American Dream looks like up close. It´s….beautiful.

  • 17. Gazpromjunkie  |  January 30th, 2011 at 3:51 am

    @ Charlie Sheen

    No problem Charlie. BTW do you mind if kill you and take your skin to wear like a suit? I really admire your lifestyle and achievements.

  • 18. Brick  |  January 30th, 2011 at 4:54 am

    It’s one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen.

  • 19. Ape  |  January 30th, 2011 at 8:57 am

    I don’t always herp, but when I do I always do coke as well.

  • 20. my talkative ringpiece  |  January 30th, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    It’s Calvinism for the masses, and hedonism for the top few %.

    If we work our asses off, and pay tons of taxes etc serve or send our kids to serve in plenty of wars, maybe our descendants will get to join The Party.

  • 21. C  |  January 30th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    As far as the history of sitcoms go, its no Cheers or Seinfeld, but its much much better than average. If you have any type of ability to judge sitcoms, compared to others in the genre, its better than average quality is completely obvious. However, if your standards are ever so unattainable because your a snarky douchebag, then I see your point.

  • 22. smalz  |  January 30th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    You are confused. Americans do not have the “right” of pursuit of happiness. This is because The Declaration of Independence does not enumerate or guarantee ANY rights to citizens of the United States. The Constitution does that.

  • 23. Comedy Expert  |  January 30th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Here’s the test to see if a sitcom is really funny or not: watch an episode with the laugh-track removed. Usually you can find this by poking around on youtubes or one of its non-union mexican equivalents.

    After undergoing this test Seinfeld still holds up pretty well. Two and a Half Men does not. It has lasted for eight years thanks primarily to skilled sound editing and some good studio audience wrangling.

  • 24. Fissile  |  January 30th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Sleazy behavior by the current crop of Holly-weird bad boys/girls is nothing new…have a look at Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon. Drug use, interracial orgies, suicides gone wrong, coke bottle sex assaults, grizzly murders…all happened long before Sheen and his party mates were born. The reason I despise people like Sheen is that their degeneracy is all too vulgar and boring. Fuck whores, get drunk/high, OD, go to emergency room, repeat next week. Wow, really original, Charlie. If you want my admiration, you’ll need to achieve a higher form of degeneracy and insanity. You’re just not trying hard enough.

  • 25. Laika  |  January 30th, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Another Hollywood type totally debauching himself on drink, blow and chicks. Hope he pulls it together, but it’s all up to him. Was okay in “Platoon”, though…

  • 26. Michael Geoghegan  |  January 30th, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    The Libertine Elite I like that. All I ask for is the chance to prove that money can’t buy me happiness. Would I really feel happy being given head from a nubile young Moldavian stewardess in my private jet whose command of the English language is limited to such important phrases as “you fuck me now?” and “another drink?” Yeah I can imagine how truly shallow and empty my life would feel. Thank you Charlie for serving as a warning to all of us to be content with our lot in life.

  • 27. CapnMarvel  |  January 31st, 2011 at 4:54 am

    The problem I have with Charlie Sheen is not that he cokewhores it up, because – who wouldn’t? It’s because he got IN because his dad was the one with the talent. Watch Platoon or Wall Street now and tell me Chuck was destined for greatness on his own merits. He’s been skating on his dad’s 2 or 3 great movies since about 1985.

    I want my hedonistic stars to be like Keith Richards, a truly talented semi-superman who spends his life obsessed with sex, drugs, and rock and roll, not necessarily in that order, and has done so since before most of us were born, thumbing his nose at death, the pious, and the reformed all the while. That’s greatness. Having Charlie Sheen be our poster-child for partying seems cheapened.

  • 28. Rick  |  January 31st, 2011 at 5:54 am

    I read somewhere that Charlie is a consummate professional on the TV set. He leaves his personal life outside the studio. If so, then he’s smart enough to know how to survive and thrive on his limited talents. He could be around for a long time…

  • 29. John Drinkwater  |  January 31st, 2011 at 10:56 am


    For a brief, painful example of this, see Sheen’s cameo in Wall Street II as “Bud Fox” – it catches you off guard by how poorly acted it is. Martin Sheen was way overrated anyway. I think Emilio Estevez is the best of three of them, actually, if only for his performance in the Young Guns movies. Not to mention Repo Man.

  • 30. Tyr  |  January 31st, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Who gives a shit ? I don’t care if he blows hobo’s in the alley outside the studio for crack money. Oh, I’ll read about it, that’s what the guy’s there for after all: to entertain me. And then when Charly finally gets stabbed by a cocked out whore there’ll be a 100 more to take his place. But if you care, really care, what a human being you don’t actually does in his/her private life then you’re the cancer.

  • 31. the dodd  |  January 31st, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    charlie is filling “the hopeless emptiness” (revolutionary road) of his life with hookers, coke and booze…i pity the fool.

    martin sheen should tell off his fucked-up son like he did in “wall street”! hehe.

    at least, charlie and martin are sane about questioning 9/11:

  • 32. a  |  January 31st, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    That is the exact life I would lead were I paid like him.

    Good on ya, Charlie!

  • 33. y6554r  |  January 31st, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Protestant work ethic, this century? Maybe Hindu or Confuso-Maoist work ethic. When have you ever seen a Protestant with a work ethic? No fair Nigerians don’t count.

  • 34. rick  |  January 31st, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Sorry, Eileen, but you’d have to be bored as shit to notice any sitcommy nonsense not produced by Larry David–who you’d never expect, in 1990, to be exponentially better than Woody Allen, admittedly–I saw that shit for ten minutes once, it was so awful. Ir’s not a good show.

  • 35. Zhu Bajie  |  February 1st, 2011 at 3:21 am

    “If you want my admiration, you’ll need to achieve a higher form of degeneracy and insanity. You’re just not trying hard enough.”

    He should run for office! The Senate is the place for him!

  • 36. adam  |  February 1st, 2011 at 6:17 am

    Eileen, please never, ever stop writing…

  • 37. C  |  February 1st, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I don’t think Charlie wants anyone’s admiration or to be anyone’s hero. That’s baggage levied on him by you, the audience. The fact that there is any emotion about it at all tells me that certain people need to go out and live their own lives. At least he’s exploiting his place in Hollywood to the max. Living the life that’s available to him, through privilege. The greater sin would be in not doing so.

    I see a direct correlation the the Exile book, wherein the majority of American expats didn’t take advantage of the hedonistic adventure that was Russia. The hollywood stars who aren’t living like Charlie Sheen, and are single, are like them.

  • 38. Wyse Guy  |  February 1st, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Can you get the War Nerd on the Egypt report? We know how much of a trauma the hostage crisis was for that overgrown man-boy of a character, how about a bit on the new Khomeini possibilities (v. unlikely) in Egypt?


  • 39. Ineda  |  February 1st, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Does anyone else find it ironic that Charlie Sheen has daughters?

  • 40. tanya  |  February 1st, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Eileen, don’t get mad, but who gives a shit about Charlie Sheen?

  • 41. maus  |  February 2nd, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    @30: “But if you care, really care, what a human being you don’t actually does in his/her private life then you’re the cancer.”

    He’s a domestic abuser in front of his children. He’s shot a fiancee, beaten sex workers, he’s the worst sort of trash.

  • 42. maus  |  February 2nd, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    @39: “Does anyone else find it ironic that Charlie Sheen has daughters?”

    No? Plenty of people who beat women and do not consider them to be people manage to produce multiple offspring from them.

  • 43. josef johann  |  February 2nd, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Seriously, where is the friggin War Nerd article on Egypt?

    Write an article on Egypt!!!

  • 44. Australian Man  |  February 3rd, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    #3, Namp1.

    “As an American white man, I am expected to work hard, pay disproportionate amount of taxes…”

    The most hilarious thing I’ve read in months. Americans are the most undertaxed people in the industrialised world.

    That’s why you have such an obsolete infrastructure, why your safety nets (like unemployment and medicare/medicaid) are so much more limited than what the rest of us have.

    Because your imbecilic enough to let the moneyed elites convince you that taxing them proportionately to other nations to give the disadvantaged a chance to climb out of poverty and abject misery is “socialism.”

    You’re a funny people. Not good for much you understand, but you do make us laugh.

  • 45. CensusLouie  |  February 3rd, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Two and a Half Men pretty funny? Good lord.

    The show is so bad that you swear it must be some kind of meta joke. You say to yourself there is no way in hell such an outdated and tired show is still on the air in 2010. Traditional sitcoms have reached the point that movie musical did 20 years ago: they’re so ridiculous out of date that the only time you ever see them is as a parody.

  • 46. maus  |  February 3rd, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    @44: “You’re a funny people. Not good for much you understand, but you do make us laugh.”

    Oh please. You’re addressing all Americans, who are not universally whores to the ruling elite. And Aussies aren’t extensively conservative? Keep your own house clean first before you mock us.

  • 47. wintersoldier  |  February 3rd, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Shit, starting out on third base doesn’t hurt. Give that job to somebody who earned it. Don’t bump into the furniture goofball.

  • 48. namp1  |  February 6th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Australian Man, I didn’t say I was over taxed, I stated I was disproportionately taxed compared to the wealthy. You need to discern precise language, something not needed in the outback, or gator wrestling. And I concur with the guy responding to you: Australia is following in the footsteps of its older brothers, Britain and the USA. Howard and Rudd were/are less suave Clintonites. The same neoliberal bull is propagated there and here in the US.
    Hollywood has given the Aussie male some sex appeal, I’ll give you guys that–easier access to crappy American p**sy. Score!

  • 49. C  |  February 7th, 2011 at 8:21 am

    “You’re a funny people. Not good for much you understand, but you do make us laugh.”

    Do you know what makes us laugh?

    The one track shallow interpretation of everything America by British and Aussies. Its like you can’t help but comment on the same thing that every international American has heard from every single on of you for twenty years. You are so narcissistic, yet so ignorant that you believe that your opinion is unique enough to be worthy of polluting the air.

    If I had unoriginal tired opinions, that were common knowledge to everyone, I would at least have enough respect for my own dignity to keep them to myself. Instead, you think that you are educating. In reality, it comes off as juvenile, angry, uncultured, and pathetic. After all, we live here and know the score on a much deeper level than a non-citizen ever could. Its amazing how fascinated you are though. Just keep consuming our culture and stick to your own politics.

  • 50. Jim Vail  |  February 12th, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Good story. Reminds one of Rerun from What’s Happening sitcom whose crack addiction was so fierce he was being fed coke while on the set. That’s Hollywood for ya, never miss a beat.

  • 51. Second Reformed Orthodox Church of Sheentology  |  March 3rd, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    The rules of life for Sheentologists are simple. Winners: keep winning. Losers: sit back and enjoy the show.

  • 52. abc123  |  March 7th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    This article is so full of fail. They have now decided to fire him.

  • 53. vatican priest  |  March 11th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    they fired him – so what? you can’t keep a bad man down, charlie’s comin’ back, dude!

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