Friday, April 15, 2011

Damage control

TheStar Charlie Sheen invites you to walk in TO for bipolar awareness Ayayayayay. In light of recent revelations about Catherine Zeta-Jones and her "admission" of bipolar disorder (and by the way, who "admits" to having Parkinson's or MS or any other disease?), this story of Charlie Sheen's proposed "walk for the cure (for bipolar disorder)" is especially creepy. What is Sheen trying to do here? By all accounts, he has gone completely crazy, although the bipolar label may not be enough to encompass his narcissistic, antisocial rants and florid delusions of grandeur. He will take advantage of anything and everything to draw attention to himself, even to a disease he claims not to have ("Bi-WINNING!"). And this after making malicious fun of the supposed whining and weakness of real sufferers. One sees the influence of his handlers saying, look, Charlie, dissing the mentally ill makes you look bad. Do something about it. Meanwhile, I've seen some stuff about Zeta-Jones that disturbs me. A colleague calls her "brave", a word that always crops up when someone "admits" to mental illness (but again, never for any other disease condition). Another source" said she has been in "rehab", with the implication her illness is akin to snorting cocaine or other self-destructive, self-imposed damage. These folks do have one thing right: nobody seems to have a clue about this disease, and even though the stigma is supposed to be breaking down, just calling it stigmatized re-stigmatizes it. ("It's not that you're a social pariah. Oh, no. Not that.") The "brave" label reminds me of the backhanded compliment, "You're brave to wear a dress like that." According to the response it's getting, Zeta-Jones's "admission" is just another personal revelation her fans can sink their teeth into. Meantime, Sheen gets away with saying he isn't bipolar, but still supports the "cause" to show what a swell, sane guy he is (thus helping those poor unfortunate souls who don't have the chance to rant incoherently in front of thousands of paying customers). So who's really crazy here: the performers, or the fans who pay to watch their favorite stars fall to pieces?