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Clark: American spirit needs more Sheen

SUNDAY, SEPT. 18, 2011

Charlie Sheen has been on a lot of talk shows lately and, quite frankly, he’s been painful to watch.

Yeah, the poor guy appears to be off the crack and back in control.

Aw, Charlie, say it ain’t so.

I know. That sounds harsh.

It’s fashionable to act horrified when famous people veer off the rails or – in Sheen’s case – blow like an aerosol can of bug spray left too close to a campfire.

I’m talking about …

• Lindsay Lohan handcuffed and hoosegow-bound.

• Britney Spears shaving her head into a cue ball.

• Anthony Weiner mass-texting his, um, sausage photos.

• Larry Craig tap-tapping for man love in an airport toilet stall.

“Outrageous,” we huff.

“Disgusting!” we puff.

Aw, come off it. Be honest.

You revel in these celebrity psycho soap operas as much as I do.

But I’m here to tell you that it’s not wrong to feel this way.

In fact, I believe the big name screw-ups play a vital role in boosting our sagging self-esteem.

Seriously. We watch these fools and realize …

“Hey, my life doesn’t suck nearly as much as I thought it did.”

And we need every little ego boost we can get right now.

See, this country isn’t in the best shape.

The economy’s in the crapper. Unemployment’s higher than the ozone layer.

We’re still at war and the current clown in the White House is proving to be every bit as inept as the last bozo.

On top of that, we’ve turned into a nation of wimps who can’t nibble a candy bar or slurp a sugary soda without being overcome with tsunamis of guilt.

We need the distraction of Charlie Sheen now more than ever.

And not this strange, new, contrite-and-sensible Charlie.

Bring back the drugged-out, self-absorbed scoundrel who rocked the night away in a penthouse with a half-dozen porn stars.

The “tiger blood” Charlie Sheen who blew up his sitcom.

The Charlie Sheen who launched an incoherent “violent torpedo of truth” tour.

That’s the train wreck that took our minds off our troubles.

How pervasive was that Sheen?

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong ad-libbed a Charlie Sheen “winning” reference last spring during his Broadway show, “American Idiot.”

I know because my lovely wife, Sherry, and I were visiting New York and in the audience.

Now it is true that Sheen could be feigning normalcy in order to promote his must-see roast, which airs at 10 p.m. Monday on Comedy Central.

(“How much blow can Charlie Sheen do?” asks Jon Lovitz during the roast. “Enough to kill two and a half men.”)

But I don’t know. Sheen certainly seemed clear-headed while chatting with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show.”

Leno: “Were you out of control?”

Sheen: “Absolutely.”

We may need a new national bad example.

In that case, good news could be looming on the horizon.

Paula Abdul is returning to prime time TV soon on some “American Idol” rip-off with her old nemesis, Simon Cowell.

So I wonder …

Has Paula cleaned up her act? Or will she be the same slurred, nonsensical and overmedicated lunatic that once made Idol such an irresistible freak show?

Cross your fingers, people. Cross your fingers.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by email at

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