TWO AND A SIXTEENTH MEN

Now that Charlie Sheen has left Two and a Half Men they are going to rename the show Two Men. (rim shot) It is reported that Sheen is suing the nation of Japan.  He’s upset that the Tsunami has replaced him as the biggest disaster on television. (yet another rim shot) It is disappointing to say the least that there is so much public interest in a train wreck like Charlie Sheen.  And by writing a blog about it, now I am guilty of perpetuating the perverse curiosity that seems to know no limits.  On the other hand maybe there is something we can learn from this ongoing side show.

Although I have admittedly never watched a whole episode of Two and a Half Men, I have watched 5 minutes of one which was enough for me to form an opinion.  I did however watch the entire interview Sheen did with Piers Morgan on CNN just after he got kicked of the show. Morgan in his typical self righteous manner asked Charlie, “So you’re running the network. How would you have reacted to the star of your number one family comedy, which is watched by families and liked by families, behaving off-screen in the way that you’ve been behaving?”  FAMILY COMEDY?  Is he on drugs too?  Sheen plays Charlie Harper a sleazy self-styled bachelor completely devoid of any moral fiber.  He and his brother Alan are raising Jake (Alan’s teenage son) together.  Sheen’s character’s lifestyle consists of drinking excessively, smoking cigars, womanizing, gambling, and wearing bowling shirts.  He sleeps in every day as money “falls into his lap” as he lives a life of free-spirited debauchery.  As a drunken womanizer he has engaged in decades of one night stands (and prostitutes) and never calls any of his girlfriends again after he has sex with them.  In other words, he plays himself.  He got kicked off the show because the network realized… he really was Charlie Harper!  How ironic is that?  In real life Sheen lives with two women that he calls the Goddesses.   But the fact that anybody thinks that this is a family show, watched by families, is what is most disturbing to me.

Some of us are old enough to remember when fathers were presented on television as the pillars of their families; full of character, integrity and wisdom.  Shows like, Leave it to Beaver, My Three Sons and Father Knows Best.  Today fathers are presented as bumbling buffoons, who are selfish, ignorant, manipulative, lazy and undisciplined fools. Think Homer Simpson, Ray Ramona or of course Charlie Harper. The comedic value aside, they are an embarrassment to our gender.  In a day and age that is desperate for good male roles models where do we turn?

In 1965 U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote a report for then US President Lyndon B. Johnson where he warned; “From the wild Irish slums of the 19th century Eastern seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future…that community asks for and gets chaos, crime, violence, unrest, disorder.”  Since that time we have failed to heed the warning and the role of fatherhood has been in a state of free fall.  The fastest growing model of the family is the single mother.  In Quebec over 60% of children are now born out of wedlock.  34% of all couples live common law.  Where have all the fathers gone?  Anybody can make a baby.  It takes a man to be a father.

There is hope however.  The very last thing God said in the OLD Testament was this, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.  And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” (Mal 4:5-6)  Often the last thing someone says is the most important.  There are few things as important as fatherhood.  God says He is going to restore the role of fatherhood to its rightful place.  Maybe the crash and burn of Charlie Sheen will provide motivation for some men to look in the mirror and dislike what they see.  In the meantime those of us who care about the next generation can endeavorer to live up to one of the greatest callings on the planet… fatherhood.

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