As winter turned to spring and the promise of something not too remote from democracy in Egypt and Tunisia remained as yet mostly unsullied by intimations of brutality, misogyny, Islamic fanaticism, and a renewal of tyranny, the two predominant matters of media interest were the popular rebellion against the Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi and the public pronouncements of the actor Charlie Sheen. I am not the first to notice certain similarities between the two central figures in these stories. Tina Brown’s new, slicker, up-market, Vanity Fair–like Newsweek—the cover of whose first issue, like that of her ill-fated Talk magazine, featured the perfectly made-up physiognomy of Hillary Clinton (“How she’s shattering glass ceilings everywhere”)—kindly offered to instruct readers in “What Charlie Sheen’s Meltdown Means for. . .” those who will be affected by it.


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