I’m pretty sure you knew this was coming, so I’m not going to feel too bad about not giving the desired answer. Although I am a little.
I wish I could give you the wonderful comedy script you’re looking for, all tigerblood and winning and conspiracies of dogs, mice and cats. But, as killjoy as it might make me, I don’t feel comfortable laughing at mental illness.
Particularly illness wrapped in misogyny and violence towards women, and even more particularly mental illness that is leading to the slaughter of innocents.
I don’t care how lurid your metaphors are, I don’t care about how you dress, I don’t care how hilarious your breakdown is.
Murder and breakdowns are things that need to be dealt with, not giggled at.
I admit, it’s tricky. We’re talking about a man who has declared himself the King of Kings of Africa and the Sheikh of all Arab nations and the Imam of all Muslim nations. We’re talking about someone who stood in the UN and blamed the US for the 9/11 attacks, for five hours. Someone who refuses to resign because he’s not officially in power.
And at the we’re also talking about someone who thinks he has tiger blood. Who thinks he can’t lose as long as he uses it as a hashtag. Someone who is celebrating the demise of his career by ranting about his bosses in front of millions.
It’s a comedy goldmine.
But we’re also talking about someone who is hollywood shorthand for the abuse of prostitutes. We’re talking about someone who has been deemed a threat to his own children. We’re talking about someone who is refusing to seek help for obvious and self destructive mental illness.
And we’re talking about a dictator that is killing his people. A dictator we armed, and hugged, despite knowing how violent and oppressive he was.
There is very little humour in this situation.
I can’t sit here and laugh about madness when it’s killing people.
Humour is a great defence against the shit that goes on in the world today. It’s good for undermining the power of ideas that rule over us. It’s also good for raising awareness of real inequalities and problems in the world.
But it’s not good in every situation, and right now, in the Middle East, I feel we should be screaming with rage at our politicians, not giggling at silly mass murderers.
The other day, two items in the news immediately next to each other. One about the UN trying to overcome the tyrant Gaddafi, one about the US supporting the Bahrain royal family’s right to sovereignty. The irony overwhelmed me. Some dictators are better than others, it seems.
And as for Sheen.
I speak as someone who has lost his mind before.
It’s agonising, it’s confusing and its terrifying to admit that you have a problem.
If I’d had an audience and enough yes men, I probably would’ve killed myself.
It’s not actually that funny.
Illustration by Rufus