Could you imagine sensationalizing, laughing at, or hating someone purely because he or she suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS)? It’s a tough bit of cruelty to accept, but it’s happening to Charlie Sheen right now.
I started a weekend series on Charlie yesterday, the article beginning with the declaration that I can’t stand his behavior. But I went on to explain I’d made peace with my disgust by taking into account his emotional/mental health – and substance abuse – pathology.
I also offered my diagnostic opinions. Click here to read yesterday’s piece (peace).
Today, let’s transition from everything Charlie to all things media and public.
The Cruelty of It All
In yesterday’s article I stuck my neck out (hardly) and offered the opinion that Charlie Sheen is emotionally/mentally ill. I even went so far as to say he poses a threat to his safety, as well as others’.
I acknowledged that the behavior of the emotionally/mentally ill may at times be hard to understand and tolerate. However, I followed with this reality – biochemistry and the environment in which we’re raised are legitimate explanations for disturbing emotional and mental presentations.
If I’m right, what’s up with the media/public’s frenzied reaction to Charlie? Would it be considered acceptable if the same was happening to – say – the brilliant theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking? He has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a situation well beyond his control. That’s him to the left – get your yucks.
Ah, but you say Charlie can control his behavior. Can he? As a counselor, I can tell you that unless, and until, a Bipolar I client is stable on meds, most of us won’t work with him or her. It would be like a cardiologist working with a hypertensive patient who refuses meds and lifestyle change. What’s the point?
I would never suggest the media and public don’t have the right to make of Charlie what they will. But I would suggest we take a long look at the foundation and ramifications of our attention, laughter, and disdain.
Frankly, if the media and public truly cared about Charlie – a fellow human being – he’d get no attention at all in his current state.
But as it stands now, Charlie is nothing more than a puppet performing for the pleasure of the media and public.
Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley wrote a great piece that appeared in Saturday’s edition. It’s entitled, “Turn off the Charlie Sheen train wreck.”
Regarding the Charlie media and public frenzy, Ms. Riley comments…
“And I began to wonder: When did mental illness, addiction and bizarre behavior become entertainment? And what constitutes too much? It can’t be healthy.”
She goes on to say that TV is offering “more human train wrecks disguised as entertainment.” And being a part of the human race, I’m very ashamed to say, yes Ms. Riley, we’re soaking it all in without an ounce of insight and heart.
Consider this powerful observation from Ms. Riley…
“So when will enough be enough? Do we have any limits on what we will watch to be entertained? When will it stop? When someone finally commits suicide on live TV?”
I’ll guarantee there’s a producer somewhere who’s licking his/her chops over exactly that possibility. Sadly, millions would tune-in.
Enough is definitely enough!
Dear Carlos Irwin Estevez (Charlie)…
I still can’t tolerate your behavior, but I hate seeing the victimization of the innocent. You’re actually a player on both sides of the fence, aren’t you?
Within the context of educating the public on the emotional and mental health disorders – and how twisted many of us are – I thank you for your pathology.
But I’d feel a whole lot better seeing you well. Peace!
Click here to read Rochelle Riley’s article.