Charlie Sheen vs. the Kindle

Charlie Sheen screenshot from Charlie's Korner video blog Kindle episode, still winning


I was searching for the next big story about the Kindle — and it turns out that’s all Charlie Sheen wants to talk about. Monday the Two and a Half Men star apparently fired up a home-recorder, and taped a 10-minute video blog of himself for YouTube, talking to a friend named Bob Moran who’s traveling in Rome.

Sheen’s been pumped up about his success — and the media attention he’s been getting — and he titled his new video segment “Still Winning.” (“Torpedoes of Truth, Part 2.”) Wearing a blue New York Yankees pull-over, Sheen wanders through a very candid phone call where he suddenly begins talking about the Kindle.

*                                          *                                          *

BOB MORAN: Life’s loving you.

CHARLIE SHEEN: Yeah. You know, it’s about time… Hey, I’m going to roll out an infomercial for my poetry book, “A Piece of My Mind,” illustrated by Ralph Steadman — I mean Adam Rifkin — and, uh… I think it’s, the problem — not the problem, the solution — is it was 20 years ahead of its time, Babaloo. And now it is — it is its time.

Now everybody’s 20 years in the past behind my book, catching up saying, “My gosh? Where was all this brilliance?” And I’m saying, “It was right there! You had the poetry in your magic fingertips the entire time, to flip my perfect pages and read my perfect words. But — but — you didn’t go there! Because you judged me! You condemned me! You discarded me!” Well, not any more. WINNING!

Hold on. Stupid plane with noise attached…

I’m going to reach out to, uh — who’s the founder of Amazon? Jeff Bezos? Is that his name?

BOB MORAN: Yep.

CHARLIE SHEEN: Yeah, I’m going to reach out to him. Because I think we should do my book — incidentally, the title? Best title of all time. “Apocalypse Me: The Jaws of Life.”

BOB MORAN: Should we get Bezos on the phone?

CHARLIE SHEEN: (Acting it out) “Apocalypse Me: The Jaws of Life.” That was brilliant. You should see the images.

Yeah. Get him to call me today, because I’m going to sell this thing through Amazon. And through Kindle. That way we save a bunch of trees, because they give us our oxygen — face it, right?

And we love trees. Must keep as many around as we can. Must maybe even marry a tree. Marry a tree because, you know, the other type of marriage for me didn’t work, so I’m just going to marry a tree.

People keep calling me and interrupting our conversation. Don’t they know — don’t they know that we are in — we are in the cyber-pocket of greatness…? Yeah, let’s — let’s do the Kindle thing with, uh, “Apocalypse Me: the Jaws of Life.” Best title ever. Best book ever…

BOB MORAN: Love it…

CHARLIE SHEEN: “Apocalypse Me: the Jaws of Life.” (Lights a cigarette). C’mon, if you see that cover, and of course it’ll be brilliant and colorful and incorporate all of those elements — if you see that, you’re going to buy it! You’re going to buy 10 copies. If you buy 10 copies….I get one free. That’s how we roll.

BOB MORAN: That’s how you roll?

CHARLIE SHEEN:Yeah, man. You buy 10, I get one free. You buy 11? You get them all. Every! Body! Wins! (Turns off camera).

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You can watch the whole thing at tinyurl.com/CharlieSheenKindle. (It’s at about the eight-minute mark that Sheen first starts talking about “Apocalypse Me”.) With messy hair, looking like he just woke up, the unshaven celebrity actually affirms a new truth. Even the highest-paid performer on television wants to self-publish an e-book on the Kindle, just like everybody else.

But apparently there’s at least two authors who have already beaten Charlie Sheen in the race to Amazon’s Kindle Store. Several months ago, someone released an e-book titled The Charlie Sheen Handbook. (For just $18.38, you too can be reading text that the author admits was all cut-and-pasted from Wikipedia – and several months before anything interesting happened.) And a second author is also attempting the exact same trick, copying word-for-word Wikipedia’s entry into something that he’s titled “Charlie Sheen (The Kindle Book of).”

But there’s at least one original act of Sheen-sploitation – an e-book titled The Thirteen Haikus: Charlie Sheen of Malibu. Author Kenny Dill describes it as “A baker’s dozen of painstakingly crafted poems recounting the methods and madness of Charlie Sheen of Malibu…composed entirely from actual Charlie Sheen quotations (the man is clearly a poet), refactored to fit the form of haiku, then linked together creating a classical Japanese renga.” It’s a sequel (of sorts) to his two earlier collections — The Twelve Haikus: Muammar al Gaddafi of Libya” and “The Twelve Haikus: Steve Jobs of Apple Computer.” But this morning his Charlie Sheen book was actually ranked #71 in the Kindle’s section for poetry criticism and theory — and it’s still #82 in the Kindle store’s special section for the biographies and memoirs of the rich and famous.

I can’t tell if he’s laughing at Charlie Sheen or laughing with him – but this may ultimately be the strangest Kindle news story that I’ve ever seen. It’s as though, just when it couldn’t get any weirder, the tabloid fascination with TV star Charlie Sheen suddenly jumped the rails, and then crashed into my backyard.

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