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Churlesque Show

« April 2011 »

Memo to the Victims of the Truth Torpedo: YOU ARE DUMBER THAN CHARLIE.

As I read through the reports of the epic, free-form clusterfuck that was the debut performance of "Violent Torpedo of Truth", Charlie Sheen's attempt to capitalize on his alleged mental illness by parading it before the nation like a sideshow freak, one single quote from Sheen resonated with me. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I already got your money, dude!" - Sheen, to an angry audience member demanding a refund.

By all accounts, Sheen's show was terrible. Rambling, unfocused, brazenly capitalizing on his (in)famous interview quotes and the tribulations of his recent personal life, heavily reliant on prepared video, and full of tons of dead air when Sheen tried to work with the audience or come up with something off the top of his head.

In other words, exactly what every single person with a clue extrapolated and predicted as soon as they heard that Sheen was embarking on a multi-city live performance tour. Who didn't have a clue? Everyone who bought tickets.

What the fuck were they expecting? Was it just a variant on the hordes of people buying tickets to the Spider-Man musical, hoping they'd win the dinner story lottery and be the ones that were in the audience the night the guy broke his leg or died? Were they hoping to be at ground zero of the latest Charlie Sheen meme? For fuck's sake, this was Detroit, in the middle of a recession, and they still managed to fill a theater with people who had more money than sense.

If Charlie Sheen is actually crazy, why would you buy a ticket? Even ignoring the moral questionability of giving money to a crazy person and the Live Nation company that's exploiting him, even properly crazy people tend to get real boring, real fast. If you think Sheen is crazy, and you want to see his show, just go to your nearest city and sit in a downtown bus shelter. Within half an hour, someone as crazy as Sheen or crazier will start a conversation with you. Within five minutes, you will get tired of this conversation and want it to end.

You see, crazy people are only interesting in very small doses, because they don't actually have anything to say. So don't act all pissed off and disappointed when you plunk down thirty bucks to listen to a crazy person rant for two hours and it starts to get a bit tiresome around the ten minute mark.

Now, personally, I don't think Sheen's all that crazy. A bit stupid? Absolutely. A bit self-destructive in the way of people who continue to act like frat boys, and ingest mind-altering substances like frat boys, long after the age at which they should be acting like frat boys? Fuck yes. Occasionally incoherent and narcissistic? Clearly.

But Sheen and his audience have made the same mistake. Just because people rubberneck at auto accidents doesn't mean they'll pay good money to watch people drive into walls. Well, OK, except for NASCAR. But even they have to pretend it's a sport in order to justify it.

The point is, even if Sheen's spontaneous warlockisms and the "Winning!" meme were the products of spontaneous brain storms, that lasted about a day before self-awareness kicked in and Sheen, and his management, and Live Nation, and the entertainment news shows, realized that everyone was still looking at him. Which means Sheen's in the unenviable, and largely unwatchable, position of either trying to consciously recreate the "magic", or sitting there taking questions from the audience and hoping it'll happen.

All of these things are obvious to the casual observer, and none of them are worth paying money to go see.

But it doesn't matter, because even Sheen knows he already has your money. And you gave it to him. Of your own free will. Which means Charlie Sheen is smarter than you are. Charlie Sheen is, and I hate to use the word here, but it's true - on the winning side of the transaction. You lost to what is, at best, an addled declining sitcom actor. If you want to boo someone and demand recompense, well, I'm betting there's a mirror in your bathroom.

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