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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

The arrest of Charlie Sheen on Christmas Day has all the makings of the next big celebrity scandal. He's the star of a hugely popular TV show and he's accused of threatening his wife with a knife.

But commentator Andrew Wallenstein says he's still waiting for an appropriate show of public indignation.

Mr. ANDREW WALLENSTEIN (Editor, The Hollywood Reporter): 2009 saw scandal after scandal: Tiger Woods, David Letterman, Governor Mark Sanford. But why did their exploits merit such great hue and cry, while Charlie Sheen draws yawns? You can't question Charlie Sheen's stardom credentials. He's television's highest paid actor. Maybe there's no Tiger-sized media circus because the actor isn't being accused of cheating on his wife.

Of course, she says he pulled a knife on her in the heat of an argument. Apparently that's a lesser sin than infidelity. Or maybe it was the timing of that sin. You see, if you're a celebrity considering committing a heinous crime, Christmas is a great time to do it. The media can't quite muster its usual frenzy when it's sleeping off all that eggnog.

So why is Sheen's considerable controversy no big deal? Two reasons: One, we've come to expect this from him. This guy has a well-documented laundry list of sleazy misdeeds dating back to the early 1990s. When your name shows up on Heidi Fleiss' client list, you know you've made something of yourself.

But Sheen's lengthy rap sheet makes the media firestorms enveloping Woods and company all the more peculiar. Shouldn't we save our high dudgeon for chronic miscreants like Sheen instead of less prolific wrongdoers, like Letterman or Edwards?

The second reason is that Sheen not only is a dirt bag, but he plays one on TV.

(Soundbite of "Two and a Half Men")

Mr. CHARLIE SHEEN (Actor): (As Charlie Harper) Smart women, foolish choices. Thank God for those gals.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WALLENSTEIN: The roles he's most famous for, on CBS's "Two and a Half Men," he's basically playing himself - a smarmy rake.

(Soundbite of "Two and a Half Men")

Mr. SHEEN: (As Charlie Harper) I'm just saying that when someone freely gives you her cupcake, your only obligation is to enjoy it. There's no reason to get emotionally involved.

Unidentified Woman: Why not?

Mr. SHEEN: (As Charlie Harper) Cause if they do, the next thing you know you'll be stuck eating the same damn cupcake for the rest of your life.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WALLENSTEIN: Woods and Sanford got roasted because they projected images of disciplined family men. Sheen doesn't bother with that. And if the blurring of his real and fictional personas hasn't lulled the public into giving him a pass, then the frequency of his bad behavior surely has.

But we're better than this, America. So let's all make a resolution in the new year to exercise a more rational morality in our celebrity worship.

SIEGEL: Andrew Wallenstein is an editor for The Hollywood Reporter.

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