Walter Kirn in his new blog Walter Kirn's Permanent Morning:
1. As Cautionary Tale.
Acutely problematic. Since Sheen's biography bears little relationship to the experiences of most civilians, it's hard to know where exactly he went wrong or how, under the circumstances (father a hyper-observant Roman Catholic political activist thinking-person's movie star; brother a frozen-in-pop-culture-time non-thinking person's teen-dream idol; face a peculiar demonic composite of both of them that's somehow been robbed of its individuality; ex-wife a robotic sex kitten projection deemed real only for legal and gossip purposes; TV show a fiendishly exploitative mechanism which invites the viewer to superimpose what he knows to be Sheen's degraded consciousness on a generic asshole background of a character) he might have avoided going wrong.
Yes, in theory, cocaine abuse is something human beings should avoid and probably ought to condemn when it's observed, but Charlie Sheen does not exist in theory. Indeed, no theory can account for Charlie Sheen. Indeed, the possibility of his existence proves that theory has no useful part in any account of lived human reality.