Charlie Sheen… Ungrateful waste of human DNA? Or someone truly ill? Why waste one more self-aggrandizing nano-second on the easiest target Hollywood has produced since Mel Gibson? After all, Middle Eastern governments are changing hands. Animal species are going extinct. And coastal water levels are rising slowly just outside your window. Take a look.
But after seeing what fellow actor, and once King of the Hollywood bad boy scene, Sean Penn, has been doing for the last year, an eviscerating comparison is not only irresistible but imperative.
The corner stone of Sheen’s argument is that “people” around him are trying to tear him down. His self-proclaimed “rock star” lifestyle has made them uncontrollably jealous.
Let’s leave aside the intrinsic insult this is to true rock stars. At least they play instruments. Google “rock star” and see thosands of images that are NOT Charlie Sheen. That’s because what Charlie Sheen does is memorize lines written by the actual talent on “Two and Half Men”, the writers. He boasts that he is the highest paid actor on TV and his reward to himself, because let’s be honest, he deserves an award, is cocaine and pussy and the adolescent need to parade both in front of the “industry” he was grandfathered into by his Dad, Martin, and his brother, Emilio. But we have Charlie now, mainly because he has obeyed the primary tenet for success in Hollywood, which is, when you have everything, ask for more.
It made Anthony Bourdain’s Travel Channel show “No Reservations” all the more harrowing this week, when he walked around the still decimated, post-earthquake terrain of Haiti with none other than actor/director Sean Penn.
The 7.0 earthquake hit January 12th 2010, killing 230,000 and leaving 1.3 million more without a place to live. Mr. Penn arrived on his own volition a week later to help in any way he could. It has now become his life’s work.
Penn has accepted the position of ad hoc mayor of a 55,000 person refugee camp where he oversees 11,000 tents, a staff of medical personnel, a farmer’s market and a food distribution center. He helps fund fledgling schools, greeting students personally, and has gone so far as to fight the armed gangs that overwhelm the country in destitute areas.
“I started paying for stuff, and that was when I thought, ‘OK, I better figure this out, because at this burn rate I’ll last about a week and a half.'” Assistance from charities like OxFam has helped. But Penn continues to fight for more for a country who was forgotten by the world a month after they had sold the pictures of the devastation to the highest paying tabloids. He has spent the majority of his time there since, with trips State side to raise awareness with the United Nations and other relief organizations.
You wanna talk rock stars? Take a page from Sean Penn, Charlie Sheen. Or maybe you better not. Odds are you couldn’t handle the script in Haiti where the spine of the character’s through-line hinges on traits like integrity, compassion, generosity, altruism and courage. I guess that’s the real difference between an Academy Award Winner and a sit-com actor.