March 07, 2011
Over the past few days the Greatest Show on Earth has rolled into town. This carnival is complete with its very own troop of freaks, and its ringmaster is cad-about-town Charlie Sheen.
Lest one be too hard on young Mr. Sheen, it ought to be confessed that he has provided more outright hilarity in the past week than in the past seven years of his banal situation comedy.
Highlights from the most recent cycle of pseudo-media-analysis include gems such as, “I have tiger blood in my veins” and “Death is the greatest trip of all; that’s why they save it for last.”
To date, the record for outright comedy has to be Sheen deadpanning, “I”m tired of pretending that I”m not special.” (Truth be told, anyone who earns a reported $32 million per year cannot be referred to as ordinary.)
But things took a darker turn when it was noted (in passing) that Sheen pays $110,000 per month in child support for his five children. This equates to $1,320,000 each year and $264,000 per annum per child, which is a damn sight more than most people with professional degrees make during a rotation around the sun.
With television reporters being what they are (which isn”t much), none has paused to remark on this jaw-droppingly remarkable fact.
For those unfamiliar (or wrongly acquainted) with the law, in the mid-1970s in America (and spreading like a virus throughout the West) there came to be an idiotic doctrine known as “best interests of the child.” One basic premise is that any child born of a parent who is habituated to (or even expectant of) a certain lifestyle must have that lifestyle maintained with the other parent, all expenses paid.
Its application is often ludicrous. “Child support” is a just and worthy thing when confined to what it was intended to be”support of the child. “Best interests of the child,” on the other hand, lends to abuses of all manners such as new homes in which lives the jettisoned mate, expensive vacations to exotic locales, designer clothing and gourmet meals”all “for the child,” doubtlessly.
In many states there is no limit to “child support.” Extreme cases such as Sheen’s illustrate that judges are entirely incapable of applying the laws with any sense not dictated to them in what is often less-than-senseless legislation. It is not uncommon for there to be “support” payments up to $20,000 per month or more.
The concept of any child “needing” $264,000 a year does beg the question of whether having children at all is something to be desired.