Sunday, April 3, 2011

Charlie Sheen's Show Bombs; NY Times Hits Sheen on the Head

Charlie Sheen's first show (in Detroit) didn't go so well. The cheers quickly turned to boos and a lot of fans walked out. Sheen then traded insults with the people still in attendance.

That is the technical interpretation of what happened Saturday. The show was no good, and the public protested. But then there is the cultural analysis, which in the end is only slightly more interesting. Mr. Sheen is hardly the first celebrity to mistake morbid, hysterical curiosity for adoration, or to think that he could extend his fame by finding the right alloy of self-mockery, bravado and false populism. His act, such as it was, vacillated between sentimental declarations of solidarity with the audience and reminders of his own superiority. “I have two goddesses,” he said to one heckler. “How many do you have?”
Of course the people in the seats — fans, rubberneckers, critics — were guilty of a complementary hypocrisy. We profess dismay at Mr. Sheen’s long history of drug abuse and violence against women, but we have also enabled and indulged this behavior, and lately encouraged his delusional belief that he could beat the toxic fame machine at its own game. The price of a ticket to one of his shows represents a wager that it is impossible to lose. The audience that walked out of the Fox could feel righteously ripped off and thus morally superior to the man they had paid to see, who seemed to feel the same about them. Win-win!
Hope the show is still on come the end of April, where I'm scheduled to go see Sheen. Agreed - I need two and a half shrinks. Still going though.

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