Over the years I have watched our culture go from one that had great admiration for education and the opinions of those who were intellectually gifted to one that seems hell-bent on showcasing nut bags whose incessant dysfunction becomes fodder for the media. This past week was a case in point. Charlie Sheen became the darling of daily talk shows who allowed his ranting, so they could up their ratings. The question is WHY?
I could understand if it had been a movie star of great merit like Colin Firth or Clint Eastwood, or a politician like Hilary Clinton or President Obama. But I’m sure they would have been medicated and taken someplace for treatment before they had the opportunity to fill the airwaves with dribble. What has Sheen done of any merit? Maybe living with two porn stars will help his children feel he’s a great dad? I’ve never watched Two and a Half Men, but from what I gather from the media, it replicates much of who Sheen is in real life.
If that’s the case then we’re in trouble. Sheens’ rants have spawned several fan sites, and product lines that have gear for sale that have Sheen quotes emblazoned on them. A few choice sayings include “Duh! Winning, “ Team Sheen” and “ Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body”. Wow now there’s something I want to go around advertising. Why not just buy a t-shirt and have “I am an idiot” printed on the front and back. Are we so pathetically bored and devoid of any ability to entertain ourselves that this kind of garbage is how we amuse ourselves?
Fans of “Sheen-isms” say he’s doing something plenty of people wish they could: say whatever he wants. There is even talk of a Charlie Sheen store. Yes we all have things we’d like to say and do that we hopefully learn to recognize as inappropriate if we are to live in a civilized society, but this is no longer viewed as a valued skill. The nuttier you are the more visibility you have. Today you have a greater chance of getting media attention if you act idiotic, go into rehab, have parents who take advantage of you, have an eating disorder or live in a cult. We aren’t we embarrassed or appalled at what’s happening instead of being amused or trying to catch the wave of insanity through products or web-sites? The good news is that Sheen’s popularity will soon wane, the bad news is that we all know by now that another cretin is ready to take his place.