|CHARLIE SHEEN - THE LATEST IN THE MEDIA FUELED SCANDALS|
|Written by Del Breckenfeld - Author|
|Thursday, 25 February 2010 10:34|
In the past year or so, it seems like the media is crawling over itself to uncover the latest celebrity/politico scandals. From Mark Sanford to John Edwards to David Letterman to Tiger Woods to Charlie Sheen and everyone in between, there seems to be no quenching of the publics thirst for humiliating stories. Back in the good old days of the Kennedy administration, those stories were respectfully kept under wraps as the media considered them personal matters and not for public consumption. But all that changed when the media discovered that ratings depend on instant sensationalism which all too often relegates the real news, like those pesky little wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for instance, to second class status. Understandably, there are so many media outlets fighting each other for the "scoop" that they are forced to make almost everything they report a "gotcha" moment. The good news for the recently shamed is that our and the media's attention span is so short that it won't take long for everyone to, if not totally forgive, to at least partly forget.
But that raises the real question - is a celebrity's talent in any way diminished by his personal weaknesses? True, the scandals do sidetrack them for awhile, and in the case of politicians, they typically derail a political career which is punishment enough. But in the entertainment industry, if they truly entertain us, we would rather have them back doing what they do best. Take Rush Limbaugh for example. He once said something to the effect that all drug users should be deported. And then as irony would have it, he was busted for "doctor shopping" because he was addicted to pain killers to the point that his poor housekeeper was forced to become his connection. El Rushbo claimed he really wasn't an addict because he suffered from back problems, went into rehab, and his millions of dedicated listeners stuck with him. Of course, the only "victim" in this case was Rush himself (and maybe his embarrassed housekeeper). However, for Sanford, Edwards, Letterman, Woods and Sheen, the real victims were their humiliated spouses and that's the personal matter each couple will have to work through in private. The only public part should be their apologies because everyone enjoys a good redemption story and besides, there isn't anyone among us that hasn't experienced some sort of scandalous behavior close to home with friend or family member. Of course, those are thankfully not plastered all over the media.
Charlie Sheen checked himself into rehab his week for "protective" measures and I have been thinking a lot about him because I have a somewhat personal connection. I have been involved with product placement on Two and a Half Men practically since its inception - not just with the guitars and amps "half man Jake" plays regularly, but also with those distinctive retro panel shirts worn by Sheen. I have met him a few times on set and he was nothing but charming, not unlike his more roguish "Charlie" character on the show. Sheen has had his demons in the past but overcame them to be one the highest paid actors on TV in one of its most successful sitcoms. I wish him nothing but the best and I have no doubt that he will come back at some point, and I know I will gladly be watching when he does.
CODA: Some of the greatest names in music became victims of their own abuses at tragically young ages - Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison to name a few from my generation. I have never heard anyone in our industry claim that the manner in which they died in any way diminished the greatness of their talent. In fact, after the tragedy of their passing, the saddest part is they, their fans and generations to come were robbed of all the great music that could have been.