Getting High On Charlie Sheen

Americans love a celebrity train wreck. For some reason, we want to know every detail of a star’s downfall. Whether it’s drugs, booze, sex or crime, we hang on to every scandalous detail. We’ve all indulged in the guilty pleasure of cruising gossip blogs every now and then in order to know what Lindsay Lohan is wearing to court or if Britney Spears still has custody of her kids.

It seems harmless, but if we’ve learned anything from the recent downfall of Charlie Sheen, this obsession with celebrity culture isn’t as innocent as we’d like to believe.

Charlie Sheen has never been a squeaky-clean Hollywood star, but in the last two months he has engaged in behavior that would make Paris Hilton look like a Girl Scout. He trashed a hotel room at the Plaza, locked a porn star in the closet and went on a cocaine bender that landed him in rehab.  His “anti-Semitic” rant against the creators of his hit show “Two and a Half Men” was the straw that broke the camel’s back; the show has been put on indefinite hiatus. Now, Sheen has taken the opportunity to use every possible media outlet available to him to rant about “tiger’s blood,” “bi-winning” and getting high on Charlie Sheen.  He’s finally taken to Twitter and has become the fastest person to reach 1 million followers. It seems like his madness knows no bounds.

Sheen’s meme-worthy quips and quotes have provided obscene amounts of entertainment to anyone who hears them; but should we be laughing along?

The Sheen fiasco is just another sign of our unhealthy obsession with celebrity culture.  In a world currently struck by economic collapse and revolution in the Middle East, we make more time for and pay more attention to the ranting and raving of a crappy actor with a penchant for porn stars. When even CNN is making Charlie Sheen into headline news, you know there has to be something wrong. The media is catering to our lust for gossip and scandal, and we are losing sight of what is important in the world today. Serious issues get forgotten because it’s simply easier to follow the downfall of Charlie Sheen than it is to try and read up on what’s happening in Libya or Egypt right now.

This cult of celebrity worship is corroding our collective national attention span for serious news, and it is a sign of the gradual dumbing-down of American society. The amount of attention paid to train wrecks like Sheen not only trivializes other important current events, but also glorifies the risky behavior of stars like him. When the media devotes so much time and coverage to these stories, it glamorizes all the drugs and drinking, and sends a dangerous message to younger generations. In a time where 15 minutes of fame is expected, kids will come to think that screwing up is the key to celebrity, or at least is not a bad thing. When people like Sheen and Lohan act like criminals but don’t get punished, what are impressionable younger minds supposed to be learning from them?  If the media and society endorse this sort of bad behavior, what can we expect but a generation of fame-hungry young miscreants who just want a shot at stardom?

While there isn’t much we can do to solve the problem of celebrities behaving badly, we can cut ourselves off from the source of the addiction by ceasing to stick our noses into the private lives of these public figures. No more TMZ and no more Perez Hilton; America needs to go cold turkey to quit the celebrity addiction.

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