Apparently, Charlie Sheen isn’t the only one who thinks he’s “Winning”. An article by Bret Easton Ellis (fittingly, the author of the novel “American Psycho”) argues that not only is Charlie Sheen Winning - he’s basically a role model for the new celebrity world order. According to Ellis there are two types of “stars”: “Empire” (not good) and “Post-Empire” (excellent!). Put another way, Post-Empire Stars “get it”; “Empire” stars do not…
Ellis says, “Sheen has embraced post-Empire, making his bid to explain to all of us what celebrity now means. Whether you like it or not is beside the point. It’s where we are, babe. We’re learning something. Rock and roll. Deal with it”.
So who are these Post Empire celebs who “get it”? According to Ellis, the list includes The Kardshians and the cast of “Jersey Shore”. Lady Gaga proved she “gets it” by arriving at the Grammy’s inside a giant translucent egg. Ricky Gervais “gets it” too - which he demonstrated during his hosting of the Golden Globe’s. However, Robert Downey Jr., who got mad at Gervais for his crass and even cruel remarks, “didn’t get it” by getting angry.
And the list goes on…
Ellis continues, “James Franco not taking the Oscar telecast seriously but treating it with gentle disrespect totally got it.” But Ellis points out that Franco’s co-host Anne Hathaway who tried to bring some class to the broadcast didn’t get it at all.
Surprisingly, despite his embarrassing couch-jumping-I’m-so-in-love “Oprah” episode, Tom Cruise doesn’t get it either, in Mr. Ellis’s opinion. Sure he had a rather public meltdown of sorts, but because he did it with a smile on his face and apologized later… it just proved that Cruise is “Empire”.
Here’s another quote from the article:
“You’re completely missing the point if you think the Charlie Sheen moment is really a story about drugs. Yeah, they play a part, but they aren’t at the core of what’s happening - or why this particular Sheen moment is so fascinating. It’s about a well-earned mid-life crisis played out on CNN. Arrests. Accidental overdoses. Halfhearted stints in rehab and allegedly threatening to cut his wife’s head off and send it to her mother…”
Throw in all the bizarre rants, the “Tiger Blood”, and the porn stars for good measure and Ellis says, “Sheen has put on a mesmerizing and refreshing display of midlife-crisis honesty. He’s just himself, an addict — take it or leave it… He’s raw and lucid and intense: the most fascinating person wandering through the culture”.
If Mr. Ellis’s take on Charlie is right, and Barbara Walter’s feels the same way, look to see Sheen snag the number one spot on her “Most Fascinating People of 2011 Special”. That is, if he lives that long!
What is so disturbing to me, is that for younger people watching all of this play out — this behavior (not only bizarre but in Sheen’s case dangerous) can’t help but become what they consider “normal”. As Ellis says, “What Sheen has exemplified and clarified is the moment in the culture when not caring what the public thinks of you or your personal life is what matters most… and what makes the public love you even more.”
Personally, I think there is a lot more at play with Charlie Sheen than just his addictions. I believe there is definitely some mental illness there. And given his romantic track record, I wouldn’t be surprised if Syphilis has eaten away part of his brain. But to set him up as the poster child of “Post-Empire” celebrity-dom and say that that’s a good thing - no, a GREAT thing - is in itself bizarre and potentionally very dangerous!
I guess, I’m just one of the ones who, happily, “doesn’t get it”.
Have a great weekend! See you back here Monday morning!