Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Charlie Sheen, Hugh Hefner, Piers Morgan, Dr. Drew, and Dr. Phil: The Sad, Sexist State of U.S. Television

Breaking news on Charlie Sheen: Brooke Mueller, his ex-wife, has files a restraining order against him.
For more, see:
http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2011/03/01/2011-03-01_brooke_mueller_files_restraining_order_against_estranged_husband_charlie_sheen_t.html

Posted prior to above news:
Have you seen THIS print ad featuring Piers Morgan? It's about as absurd a print campaign as any I've seen, and that's say a whole lot! I would have thought this was some kind of SNL send-up of Piers Morgan, but no. He does it all by himself.

Piers Morgan strips for Burger King's new meat scent

Burger King, the fast food chain, has launched a meat-scented cologne in Britain with Britian's Got Talent's Piers Morgan stripping off for the advertising campaign.

Piers Morgan advertising Burger King's body spray, Flame: Piers 
Morgan strips for Burger King's new meat scent
Image 1 of 2
Piers Morgan strips for Burger King's new meat scent 
Burger King's new body spary, Flame: Burger King's meat scent on 
sale in Selfridge's
Image 1 of 2
Flame is available in Selfridge's department store for £4.99 
The "masculine" body spray reputedly smells like grilled beef and has been designed to boost the libido.
Called Flame, it is available in Selfridge's department store for £4.99 from today.
The meaty cologne, which was released in the United States last year, is the latest in a long line of eye-catching publicity stunts by the chain.
The firm offered burger vouchers to Facebook users who delete ten people from their friends list as part of its Whopper Sacrifice promotion.
Flame is being advertised in Britain with a revealing photo of Britain's Got Talent panellist Morgan lounging in front of a fire with only a stretch of fabric to cover his modesty. A caption beneath reads: "The scent of seduction". [source: here]

TRIGGER WARNING for what follows next: for discussion about predatory sexually abusive behavior by a young man, including against his two-year old daughter. (That isn't called anything like that on TV.)

Yesterday was not a banner day for pro-woman programming on television. Well, no day is really. But yesterday a couple of programs aired that demonstrated to me that unless radical feminists take the airwaves, we're kind of doomed to "not get it" about male supremacist oppression, exploitation, control, and violence against women.

One show was Dr. Phil, which featured, through the second half hour, the tale of a "tortured" young white het man who is sexually attracted to his two year-old daughter. The father has been compulsive ("addictive") about masturbating since age nine--between ten and twenty times a day. That's a lot. (I'm only surprised he hasn't rubbed it down to a mere nub by now.) He's been "addicted" to internet pornography. (Note the lack of agency--the victim status that men hate to see in women who are victimised by men). Most recently his viewing habits have including overtly violent, misogynistic images of machines hurting women and also he's been viewing images of pre-teen girls. (And why hasn't the FBI broken into his home and removed his computer??) He's admitted to getting an erection twice with his toddler daughter on his lap. Dr. Phil didn't see that as abusive to her at all. He took that as "a warning sign", though.

Yes, Dr. Phil did see this as a problem for the man (to be dealt with through in-patient psychotherapy, so he can "heal" from his "sickness"). But his behavior, to date, was not seen as a current and past problem for the daughter. I disagree and don't understand why Dr. Phil didn't welcome the man to take a lie-detector test about whether or not he'd sexually abusing his daughter in more overtly invasive and/or predatory ways. Dr. Phil took the man's word that he hadn't harmed his daughter--or any other girl or woman, not long after the man admitted he was a compulsive liar.

Dr. Phil wanted to be sure the daughter was safe. But who did he say was responsible for keeping the girl safe? The mother, of course. Because we all know men are not responsible adults who manage their feelings and sexual impulses. The program was titled "Secrets Gone Wrong", not, for example, "How to Intervene to Stop a Father from Raping His Two Year-Old Daughter After Already Being Sexually Abusive". Here's more on that:
Dr. Phil speaks to families dealing with the aftermath of secrets revealed. He reaches out to a teen struggling to deal with guilt and loss, and a family torn apart after the father confesses the secret he’s kept for years.

This episode contains strong sexual content. Viewer discretion is advised.



A Secret Obsession
Mark says his secret obsession has caused him to lose everything he’s ever cared about and now it’s tearing his family apart. His girlfriend, Jessie, says she was shocked when Mark confessed what he's kept secret for years, and she doesn’t know how to help him. Find out why she’s now afraid for their 2-year-old daughter.

“To expose your daughter to him in the condition he is now is dangerous.” 
Dr. Phil’s Final Thoughts
“I’ve always believed that secrets don’t get better with time. If you’re living with something — whatever it might be — being alone with a secret is not a very productive thing to do. There’s help, whether you go to your church, or you go to a trusted friend, you go to a hotline and reach out for help. If you’re suffering in isolation about something, reach out, get help.” [source: here]
Later than night, the white Brit who is obnoxiously heterosexual, named Piers Morgan, had a show with one guest: Charlie Sheen. (Piers took over the Larry King Live show time slot on CNN at the beginning of this calendar year). His format, like Larry's, is usually a celebrity interview show, with generally one guest per hour-long episode.

This week he's already had on Hugh Hefner and his fiance, Crystal Harris, who is old enough to be younger than his granddaughter (Crystal Harris is 24). Also on the show was his son, Cooper, who is old enough to be his grandson (he was born September 4, 1991, which makes him 19 years old). I suppose we should be grateful his soon-to-be wife will be a few years older than his youngest son. (Hugh is the father of four: Christie Hefner (born 1952), David Hefner (born 1955), Marston Hefner (born 1990), Cooper Hefner (born 1991). Crystal was born on April 29, 1986. Hugh is busily promoting himself as a key figure in social change movements through the 1960s and 1970s. As if he fought for justice for women or something.

But last night he had Charlie Sheen on, another anti-feminist who proclaims himself to be god's gift to women.

Before getting into that, here's a celebrity news story about Hughs and Sheen:
Hugh Hefner Playmates versus Charlie Sheen Goddesses.
Charlie Sheen has been living the pimp life for a while now. The actor slash drug fiend is no stranger to controversy, as he has made tabloid headlines many times for his various run-ins with the law and porn-star party shenanigans. But lately the 45-year-old star has been comparing himself to Hugh Hefner. Do you see the similarities?
Sheen currently lives with two of his girlfriends, whom he refers to as his “goddesses.” He also lives with his soon to be ex-wife and their twin sons. At the height of his polyamorous affairs, Hefner was dating 7 women, including “Number One” girlfriend Holly Madison. Charlie Sheen has been arrested for doing coke, having committed battery, and for felony menacing. Hefner was only arrested in 1963, for selling “obscene literature.”
Charlie Sheen has been on Celebrity Rehab and Two-and-a-Half Men. Hugh Hefner has starred in his own reality show, has had a documentary made about him (Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel), and was the host of two TV shows: Playboy’s Penthouse, and Playboy After Dark. Charlie Sheen is rich. Hugh Hefner is richer. Ultimate, Hugh Hefner reigns supreme as the ultimate and original playboy, while Charlie Sheen falls short.
As of now, though, Charlie Sheen is currently dating two women while Hugh Hefner has settled down and is engaged. Sheen’s goddesses are Natalie Kenly (ex-nanny) and Rachel Oberlin (porn star). According to Kenly, “We run errands, we eat, we play with the kids. I watch a lot of Two-and-a-Half Men.” Oberlin is also optimistic about the relationship, saying, “I’m behind Charlie 100 percent in whatever he’d like to do.” [source: here]
When Andrea Dworkin wrote about women's active (not passive) collaboration with  male supremacists, this is an example she was talking about.

There are (only) a couple of things I agree with Charlie Sheen about: Dr. Drew's advice about addiction can be silly to the point of being pathetic. And Charlie calling a Jewish man by his Hebrew name isn't necessarily virulently anti-Semitic. He'd like to remind us that the Jewish man, a producer of Sheen's uber-successful CBS TV show, has allegedly called Charlie "Carlos Estevez" (which is his birth name). Charlie asked Piers (I think this might be the exact wording), "Is it anti-Latino for someone to call me Carlos Estevez?" Well--maybe. I'd argue that YES, it is anti-Latino for that particular white man to call Charlie by that name--without Charlie's permission or welcoming the man to do so, and YES, it is anti-Semitic for Charlie to call a Jewish man by a Hebrew name he doesn't use professionally. Does it warrant pages upon pages of press? No. Which is why I'm done discussing that portion of the interview.

I guess this means I really only have one thing that I agree with Charlie about, and honestly, I don't know that much about Dr. Drew. I remember him from back in the day when he co-hosted an MTV program called "Love Line" which had very little to do with love and a whole lot to do with young people calling in with sexually explicit questions. I think I watched the show for a whole week starting on a Sunday or Monday because a young white het man told me how good it was. Dr. Drew made some good points about mutuality and responsibility among and between girls and boys, women and men. But beyond that the show was pure sensationalism. I gave up watching it that Friday.

The portion--which was sort of woven through the hour--that I'd like to focus on was how Piers made it EVER SO CLEAR to Charlie, who he respects, and to his audience, that he does not think Charlie's private life should effect his career or show's status at all. Now, let's have a look at ol' Piers Morgan. I can tell you what I remember about him, clear as day. When he hosted a really awful show--well, usually awful, occasionally inspiring--called "America's Got Talent", he was almost visible "erect" when young women would come out scantily clad and perform for the audience (and, by the look in his eyes, just for him). He'd practically stuff a dollar bill in her attire. To me--and this is no great limb I'm going out on--he came across as a man who enjoys his trips to strip clubs, and also, quite possibly, has enjoyed renting women for sexxxist activities. The pro-misogyny boy-bonding between Piers and Charlie was puke-worthy. If the show were allowed to go X-rated and Piers were bisexual, Piers would have been giving Charlie a blow-job, right there, to show his admiration for Charlie's private (well, not-so-private) sexist escapades. We can note that Charlie thinks he should get a raise if/when he's brought back to his show, Two and a Half Men (with one man with a proverbial dick-for-brains).
When [Piers] Morgan asked him whether he felt any responsibility as a role model when he’s the star of Two and a Half Men, “the number one family comedy,” Sheen snickered that the content of any given episode of Men is “juvenile or gross,” containing a quantity of lewd jokes that “eclipses stuff I do on my most epic nights.” [...]
Sheen said Mel Gibson had called with comforting words — “He’s a stone cold dude,” Sheen said of Gibson. “Sean Penn was over [at my house] the other night and we had a few laughs,” he added.  [source: here]

Are we surprised Charlie, the grand-standing egomaniac, has received support from Mel Gibson, the raging egomaniac? No.

So many pimps and playboys (read: sexual perpetrators against girls and women), so little maturity and ethical, responsible behavior. And some men say feminists don't respect men: how about men respecting themselves--and girls and women--enough to not be predators and pimps?

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