Monday, March 14, 2011

Charlie Sheen vs. Soldiers in Afghanistan

When it comes to Charlie Sheen vs. Soldiers in Afghanistan, apparently, there are people out there wondering why Charlie Sheen is winning the media monopoly. Viral Facebook post pits coverage of Sheen, fallen soldiers Well, acitymom thinks she knows why. And it's not pretty.

When we read about soldiers dying in Afghanistan, we feel bad. We feel guilty that we sit here in our nice houses worried about stupid s*&t, like do we have enough toothpaste. Then we drive our large cars to the grocery store where we can buy strawberries in February and we worry about the price of oil and all the while these young men, who look frighteningly similar to every single one of our handsome sons, are giving their lives every single day for our freedoms that we take for granted.

When we read about Charlie Sheen, poor little rich boy gone bad, we feel good. Look at the highest paid TV actor screwing up his life. He has everything: (everything we may not have) looks, legacy, lineage, talent. Look how he throws it away! "More money than sense," as some people might say. People who despise anyone with anything more than they have, anyway.  As my babysitter puts it, "I don't like these kind of stupid people."

Why such hatred toward those who've succeeded? Because when you haven't succeeded yourself, in the same way, or in a way that you've wanted or makes you happy, it's oh so hard to be happy for someone else. So when we see people who seemingly have everything throw it all away, it makes us feel better about ourselves. It gives us uber schadenfreude. I mean, look at them, those celebrities screwing up. They had everything and they f*&^Ed-it up. But wheee! What this means for me is I don't have to feel bad about never having had it at all. Hurray for me.

Everyone is pointing fingers at the media, at the poor coverage of the war. But I think the media is just giving us what we want, even though we may not even realize it consciously. Does anyone remember Chicago's big experiment with Carol Marin's newscast on CBS? When I heard the concept, oh my God, I had so much hope. No more pseudo-journalists adding commentary on stories they were reporting on, or telling me to bring a jacket like they're my mom. Finally, I thought. Nightly news for smart people! But even I didn't like it. I was bored. It made me depressed. Like watching so many anchovies washing up on a California beach.

No, Carol Marin's in-depth news for smart people didn't last very long. And it wasn't because audiences weren't intelligent, it was because sometimes--no, most of the time--the news, the real news, feels bad. And no one wants to feel bad. So when we read about Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Charlie Sheen, or, you fill in the blank here, we feel better about ourselves and our mundane little middle class lives. Don't blame the media or TV. Blame our own human nature.

Now, acitymom needs to get back to Farmville, while monitoring Twitter, to see when Justin Bieber is going to implode

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