Archive for May 10th, 2011

Charlie Sheen is no longer “front page  news” (arch. and sic!).  He has been eclipsed by a royal wedding and the death of a tyrant.  When a story is no longer raging in the media, maybe then it is time for some sober reflection.

There are two Charlies.  The first one many of us watched in the  TV sitcom, “Two and a Half Men”.   In his TV show, his character’s name is  Charlie…Charlie Harper, played by Charlie Sheen.  The fictional one has been regularly on TV for a much longer time than the actor who plays him with his headline grabbing behavior this past year.   The TV show, a sitcom, has been on the air since September 2003, for 8 years till it’s cancellation because of C. Sheen’s public misbehavior.   The fictional Charlie Harper’s antics on the hit sitcom has obviously been in the public eye for whole heck longer than the actor playing the part.  This is the crux of my reflection.

Full disclosure:  I once watched this sitcom.   Charlie Harper lives with his divorced brother, Alan.    Alan wanted his marriage to work but alas.  He lives in his brother’s upscale Malibu beach home.  He has visitation rights on the weekends with his son Jake (the  “half man”).  Initially, I thought it was an update on the “Odd Couple”:  Alan is fastidious, wants to get back with his estranged wife and be a good father to Jake.  The actor playing Jake actually grew up through puberty and into his teenage years on the show. Charlie is womanizer who likes to drink.  Charlie Harper makes his money by writing jingles for commercials which puts him plot-wise at home all the time.  Alan and Charlie get on each other’s nerves.  So that is the situation in this sitcom.  It was funny and the funniest episodes did not have a hint of adultery. But as in many a sitcom in the post ’60s sexual revolution, the plots devolved into story lines only about who is sleeping with whom, even fastidious Alan.  Then we saw Charlie Harper drinking more and more and “hooking-up” more and more and all the while a child is in the house.  I stopped watching the show because it became just about adultery, lewdness and drink  sodden behaviors.  And  now everyone has been upset with the real life person, Charlie Sheen and his drug/alcohol abuse and his public disintegration.  First note:  it’s  his drug abuse not marriage abuse that the media latched onto and enjoyed almost pornographically mocking  (as of this writing, Mr. Sheen has divorced his current wife).  In other words:  drug abuse:  not acceptable/marriage abuse:  acceptable, but neither are:  see the 5th and 6th commandments.

My question:  which Charlie did the most damage:  Harper or Sheen?  My obvious answer:  Harper.

For 8 years millions of people watched the hit show  “Two and Half Men”, including this pastor and father and husband and American citizen.  It goes against everything the Lord has taught and the Church is supposed to teach and what American society and culture is…or used to be.  8 years of episodes, at about 27 half-hour episodes per year, that is 7 months of new shows and then throw in reruns and that is a lot of conditioning.  I think it is a fact that TV is controlled by folks who are atheistic, or functional atheists, espousing a “morality” that in the ’60s was called “the new morality” but is still the old immorality.   For instance, I can only think of two sitcoms in recent years in which the characters go to church in an approving way:  “The Bill Cosby Show” and “Everyone Loves Raymond”. Then multiply that one show under discussion here by all the other shows.   No one decried  via the media Charlie Harper and any of the other sitcoms.  Conservative Christians did so point this out back in late 70s and early 80s when TV began to catch up to the sexual revolution, but no more.  We are conditioned. There was  a word  in politics during the Cold War: brainwashing, especially by the Communists.  We have mastered brainwashing via television, and been mastered,  without a Commie in sight.

It was Marshal McCluhan  who said the “media is the message ” and so the “medium (TV) is the massage”.  McCluhan:  “All media work us over completely. They are so pervasive in their personal, political, economic, aesthetic, psychological, moral, ethical, and social consequences that they leave no part of us untouched, unaffected, unaltered.”  TV is now what forms us, not merely informing, but conforming us as we watch hours of it, massaging us in utter docility.  I included.  The shows incite lust, not only sexual lust, but lust is also for money,  power and indolence. Maybe “couch potato” is not really a laughing matter any longer.  Yes, the content forms us by the hours we spend watching it and thus dumbing us down and dumbing us down morally to accept what is plain wrong.  We are a church, and a nation,  of moral idiots.

It’s really not a tale of “two Charlies” but one Charlie, the fictional and real are one as we can see in the fictional world of TV and the 24/7  worlds we bodily inhabit.  Yes, watching less TV is a partial solution.  But in our sitcom world, which is not really even a matter to laugh about, One has entered bodily into the real worlds we inhabit.  He is no fiction but Bodily bore our lust and Bodily rose again.  His Cross and Him Crucified and Risen lifts us up off our couches of indolence and spiritual death.   Then this translation of Psalm 119: 37 is our prayer:

“Turn my eyes from watching what is worthless;                                                                                                                                                                                                                             give me life in Your ways”

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