Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Your 15 Minutes Are Up. . . Now Get Out

I guess we should hit this topic since everyone is still talking about it, loathe though I am to even mention it. Charlie Sheen is an almost perfect example of what is wrong with celebrity culture.

Let me start with a disclaimer. Unlike most Americans (disturbingly), I am not in love with celebrity. I don’t tune into a worn out sitcom just because some plastic chick who is famous for a sex tape or some disgraced politician who is famous for a different kind of sex tape will be on tonight. I don’t care. I don’t tune into Celebrity Apprentice, Celebrity Rehab, or Pimp My Celebrity.

At one point, celebrity had to be earned. You had to invent something useful, create something beautiful, or achieve something monumental. Heck, half our Presidents weren't even celebrities because they didn’t do anything worth mentioning. But that changed and now celebrity requires no achievements -- in fact, it disdains achievement.

I lay the blame for this firmly at the feet of that most evil generation: the 60’s hippie/self-love.... er, free-love generation. That’s the generation that created Andy Warhol and his crew, who were famous for being famous. That’s the generation that made celebrities of specific hippies for no other reason than they were there. . . Wavy Gravy? Are you idiots serious? That’s the generation that glorified serial killers (see e.g. Charlie Manson and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood) and professors who liked drugs (Timothy Leary). They even gloried the failed presidency of JFK and tried to turn the whole family into American-princelings for no reason that I can possibly see. This is the generation that divorced achievement from celebrity.

And because of their egotism and narcissism, we are now cursed with the likes of Britney Spears, who is famous for gyrating to a song someone else wrote and then imploding on youtube; Lindsay Lohan who is famous for being drug-addicted white trash and her parents, who are famous for being white trash with a famous daughter; Paris Hilton, who is famous for a sex tape and making out with girls at ritzy parties; Perez Hilton who is famous for being an obnoxious homosexual; Bristol Palin who is famous because the left hates her mother obsessively and because she got herself knocked up; Snookie who is famous for having a bad tan; "The Situation" who is famous for being an obnoxious unaware-metrosexual; and the King of Them All. . . Charlie Sheen.

Sheen gained some fame for being an actor who looked like his father. But he became a celebrity when he started doing so many drugs that he lost touch with reality and began ranting like a lunatic. Sheen is the poster child for everything that’s wrong with celebrities. He’s stupid. He’s harmful to everyone around him, including his kids and multiple wives. He thinks he’s entitled to do whatever he wants. And not only is he allowed to get away with being an obnoxious turd, but people go out of their way to coddle him. Indeed, despite the fact he should be locked up and medicate somewhere. . . possibly lobotomized, Hollyweird is falling all over itself to exploit and enable his implosion.

Come on people, let this sad chapter in American culture end. Their fifteen minutes has run 50 years too long now. Stop paying attention to people who have nothing to offer other than being trainwrecks of human beings. The damage these people are doing to our culture is immense, and we need to stop making heroes out of them.

And if we're going to insist on making these idiots heroes, then I say we start a new program. . . a live action, not-faked version of Celebrity Death Match. Now that I would pay to see.


Tennessee Jed said...

people just can't seem to avoid gaping at a car wreck. I'm not sure it is new. Back in England, the crowds cheered while the convicts entrails were pulled out, burned and fed to the dogs prior to quartering.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's true. But I think the power of modern communications makes this a worse phenomena because today so many people are imitating these worthless jerks and that's creating a whole generation of useless, petty-criminals who end up living on government support.

Writer X said...

I think the people who buy tickets to Sheen's "Torpedo of Truth" lecture tour should be studied. Seriously.

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, Studied or imprisoned. . . either way. But seriously, there is something very wrong with people who pay to see his rants. And there's something even more wrong with the people who are letting him rant rather than getting him mental help.

BevfromNYC said...

Oh, how I agree with you. The real issue with Sheen is our mental health laws that keep his family from getting him any real help. He needs to be committed. Since he is over 18, no one can make (or force) him get him help, and he is so incapacitated that he doesn't know how badly he needs help.

On a side note, NYC/Radio City Music Hall is one of the stops on his "Look At Me, I'm Crazy" tours. The show "sold out" to scalpers within hours. They thought that they were going to make a fortune on tickets, but at this point they can't even give tickets away. As I hate scalpers with a passion AND watching someone bottom out publically repeatedly, it has turned into a Win-Win for me.

BUT, full disclosure, I am addicted to some of those "Housewives" shows. I can't help myself. It's like watching a trainwreck that you can't take your eyes off for the horror of it all! I just can't understand why ANYONE needs that much attention that they would allow the world into their lives in such an all-encompassing way. It looks like so much fun from the outside with all the parties, glamourous clothes, and free stuff, but when you are caught driving drunk, it's front page news. And NOBODY needs to know you will spend $15,000 on a purse! (Yet, I know...)

StanH said...

Wow! Charlie Sheen? What a useless drip, that being said, it’s his life, his money, have at it, he’ll do it without me.

I suppose the attraction, it’s kind of like watching Evil Knievel, or a car race, somewhere deep inside you’re there to see the wreck, or as Jed said a car/train wreck, and brother, this guy, one way or another, is going to splat, and soon. The human body cannot take this kind of abuse, Keith Richards being the exception.

T_Rav said...

Andrew, I have a feeling Charlie Sheen would gladly enter that "Celebrity Death-Match." Probably a good way to show off his tiger-blood warlock assassin skills and everything.

Since it's become cool to rag on BH and everything, I should point out that a few weeks ago one of their contributors posted an article celebrating Sheen as someone bucking the system and therefore a true American hero--and I'm pretty sure they weren't kidding. And wouldn't you know, the hard-core libertarians just ate it up. Not one of the website's proudest moments.

T_Rav said...

Oh, and Bev, you know his Detroit show bombed miserably, right? Seriously, he walked on stage to a standing ovation and left an hour later to boos and heckling. Awesome.

Unknown said...

With as much exposure as he's gotten lately, Obama should consider replacing Joe Biden with Sheen on the Democratic ticket in 2012. Sheen makes outrageous and idiotic statements with considerably more conviction. And Charlie doesn't need hair plugs.

Anonymous said...

I recently wrote something about this in a comment on BH:

And today, all you need to do is star in one movie (or XXX tape) and you're considered A-list. What happened to learning your craft and paying your dues? (Seriously, how many movies was John Wayne in before he hit it big with Stagecoach?**) I was at the supermarket yesterday and I realized something as I looked at the tabloids: "Who the f--- are these people?!" Today, when teen moms, real housewives, and a girl named Snooki are considered Hollywood celebrities, all bets are off.

I guess this means 20th Century Fox won't be purchasing my film idea any time soon: Hot Shots! Part Tres: Topper Harley vs. Gaddafi. :-) Seriously, this was fun in the beginning in a devil-may-care sort of way but that time has passed. Sheen needs help but, like most of these people, he's surrounded by enablers and yes-men.

And re: blame, to quote Kent Brockman: "Now, at the risk of being unpopular, this reporter places the blame for all of this squarely on YOU, the viewers."

Also: the media, who have to fill the 24/7 news cycle with this crap and whose corporate overlords see nothing but $$$.

Also: the Internet, where talent can be discovered but usually the attention is diverted to the non-talent. Not to mention every idiot with an opinion and a keyboard who thinks he's a serious blogger (not you!).

**According to commenter dcase, Wayne did 82 films before Stagecoach.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Our mental health laws are a disaster because they were re-written in the 1960/1970s with the idea that we should turn crazy people free. Unfortunately, that means it's impossible to get help for some people. Some states are starting to go back to the older system, where you can do a mental health hearing to have someone involuntarily committed, but I think that's still pretty rare.

There is no doubt in my mind that Sheen needs medication and whatever other treatments are available. He's right at that point where he think he's finally seeing "reality" and he's on the edge of total insanity. I would not doubt for a minute that he kills someone or himself before this tour is over.

I'm glad to hear the scalpers are losing their shirts. I hate those guys too. When I went to see David Bowie in Denver in 1992, I was second in line. By the time I got to buy tickets 1/2 the arena was sold out and it was because scalpers were first in line all over town and they were buying 100-200 tickets each. Grrrr.

I lost my taste for "reality" tv a long time ago when I realized little of it was real. And I also can't imagine why people would want that kind of publicity. I guess it makes them feel important or useful or something. That's kind of how I see it, as a way for desperately sad people to "affirm" themselves (using the psych vernacular).

AndrewPrice said...

P.S. Bev, this $15,000 purse... did it happen to have $20,000 stuffed into it? If so, then it was a good deal. If not, then not so much.

AndrewPrice said...

Stan, I'm stunned at the kind of abuse Keith Richardson has taken and he's still walking and mumbling and seem relatively conscious! LOL!

But you're right, Sheen is going to splat soon. You can see it building. I guess people are hoping to see that night when it finally happens.

My point, by the way, isn't that these people shouldn't be allowed to do whatever they want with their money, but I wish our country would stop glorifying them. We should making heroes of the man/woman who invented the thing that saved 20,000 people a year, not the plastic-surgery created creature that starred in a sex tape. It's just not good our country in any way shape or form.

And I'll tell you, I think there is a ready market to reject these clowns and move on. Look at how quickly shows on Discovery Channel showing real people in dangerous jobs become hits. I think a lot of Americans are ready for a return to something more substantial.

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, I didn't see the BH article, but I'm not surprised. They have several people who pretty much misinterpret everything.

Sheen is no libertarian hero. He's a paranoid, 9/11 Truther who couldn't find his rear end if you spotted him two finger on either cheek. His rants are about Jews being out to get him, capitalists being out to get him, evil conspiratorial Hollywood, the vast government conspiracy, his ex-wife, his ex-mistress, and anyone who crossed his path that morning. He's just a ball of paranoid hate that's been wrapped so tightly and fueled with very bad drugs (I understand he takes Meth to the point that he's lost most of his teeth) that he's on the verge of bursting into flames.

Anyone who thinks he's a hero is a fool and shouldn't be offering their opinion to anyone except a room full of comedians looking to harvest material.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk. . . . you have a point, you really do! LOL!

BevfromNYC said...

Speaking of Keith Richards - Isn't it proof that there is no God that Keith Richards has outlived Jack LaLanne? I mean, Jack was nearly 25years older, but in Rolling Stone years that should make them about the same age, right?

Actually I think if Richards ever leaves this earthly plane, it will be revealed that he was a tea-totalling vegan, virgin monk who never so much as took an aspirin to the shock and horror of his devotees...

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I'm not blowing you off, I'll respond in a second. By the way, how's the new music box?

Anonymous said...

That's fine.

My music box? You mean this? :-)

It's very cool. And what's even cooler is that the producer of the set asked for suggestions of what to include over on the Film Score Monthly message board. My contribution was something like "What he said!" because someone had beaten me to the punch with an idea (including the original film tracks for Pee-Wee's Big Adventure since the existing soundtrack is an abridged re-recording).

The producer took all of our names and I forgot about it. When I opened the included 250-page book, I saw MY NAME listed along with a few dozen others in the "Thanks for your input and assistance" section.

Between Rutherford and Savas. :-)

Oh, and the music is good, too!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I would put the blame on three things.

1. The hippies. I'm serious. Those selfish bastards really waged a war against the idea of earned respect/earned celebrity/ and consequences for our actions. That was tolerable at first, because the people advocating that had grown up under a different system and had some core values to fall back upon.

But a couple generations down the line, when this garbage becomes the culture and there are no core values to fall back upon, this is what you get. That's why so many people today think they are entitled to be famous no matter that they have nothing to offer, and why there is no longer a distinction between fame and infamy because fame is now the object unto itself and it doesn't matter how you got there.

(I draw an analogy to heavy metal. The first metal bands actually were competent musicians. And if you ever look back on it, it really was well written and well performed stuff, even though it sounded like noise at the time. But by the time you get to the later generations who grew up with the idea that "all you need to be is loud to be a metal star," there was no talent to fall back upon because they had bought into the idea you didn't need it. Thus, modern metal turned into unlistenable garbage. And to stay relevant, they had to rely on shock.)

2. I blame the anonymity of the internet age. In the past, if you wanted to do something like buy porn, you had to get in your car and go to a dirty book store, where you ran the risk of being spotted. If you wanted to talk nasty about another human being (either violently or sexually), you had to do it face to face with people, i.e. your friends, family or coworkers, where you ran the risk of actual rejection that could seriously affect your life.

These things kept most everyone's worst instincts in check because you didn't want your friends seeing you as the guy who keeps talking about killing his girlfriend or as the creepy guy whose hands you don't want to shake.


AndrewPrice said...

But with the internet, all of that restraint vanished. You can now go on line and say anything and look up anything without any consequences to you. This has made everything coarser because our negative impulses tend to act like addiction. That means (1) you need to go further each time to get the same high and (2) the more you do, the more normal it seems and the more likely you are to bring it into regular public interactions.

When you start to get a critical mass of people who are in this type of spiral, they feed on each other and they become a market. Thus, today, you see a market for a level of perversion and violence that just didn't exist twenty years ago.

3. Finally, I blame the corporate mentality that will satisfy any market without regard to the social consequences. Thus, if enough people start demanding snuff films, someone will put them out. And what Hollywood/the music industry, etc. have done is to realize that there are a vast core of perverts and nasty bastards out there who are waiting to be catered to at the lowest common denominator.

Add in the value-less idiots under number one, who only want to be famous and don't mind debasing themselves, and you've got a recipe for sex tape stars.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, I think that just proves that God has a sense of humor! ;-)

You know, it a strange way, it wouldn't surprise me at all to discover that Richards is as you say and not as we've come to see him.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That is really cool that he listed you in the credits!

Anonymous said...

I know... I literally yelped out loud when I saw it and I never "yelp." :-)

I have nothing further to add to the subject at hand but it makes me wonder where we'll be in another five years. As much as I sometimes think we should stand athwart pop culture and yell "Stop!" (paraphrasing Buckley), I wouldn't want the socons to get the idea that we need to push too far in the other direction.

I think we can all agree there is a wide open happy medium between Leave it to Beaver and The Situation.

But we'll always have this guy. :-)

T_Rav said...

Andrew, that's what I told them. Whether they were listening or not, I don't know. (sigh)

And like you and several others mentioned, I think most people are following Sheen just to see the point at which he completely self-destructs. I kind of am, and I'm not comfortable with that, because it's not right to be entertained by someone spiraling downward. I really do hope he gets help, but I think this will probably end in a few months or years with a body bag being carried out of his house.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think there is a happy middle ground and we should seek it out. I'm not saying ban anything, but there changes that should be made. (1) Tighten the ratings system so they can't sell R rated films as PG like they are now. (2) Move the more risque stuff to later in the evening. (3) Work harder to get parents to take an active role in seeing what their kids are up to. And (4) try to make sure there are competitors so that Hollywood is kept under pressure to clean up its act or lose it's market share -- you should never have to hear "well, what choice do I have if I want to watch a film, it's this garbage or nothing."

AndrewPrice said...

T_Rav, You never know who is listening. A lot of people aren't, but they aren't particularly relevant to the planet as none who isn't already a true believer will listen.

I agree about how Sheen will end. It's coming. That's what paranoids do.

Anonymous said...

It's funny you mention the ratings thing because I feel it works both ways. There are PG-13 films that might've been R years ago BUT there are also R-rated films that should be PG-13 for one reason or another. My favorite Woody Allen film is Everyone Says I Love You and it's rated R for one use of "motherf---er" in a rap song. That's it.

And it was even worse before PG-13 was developed (in 1984). You watch something violent like Conquest of the Planet of the Apes or something with some nudity like Logan's Run and you wonder, "How did this get a PG back then?"

I DO agree with you when it comes to the MARKETING of R-rated films (which is usually beyond the control of the filmmakers, unless we're talking about Spielberg or Cameron). And yes, the TV networks could do a better job of keeping the more mature stuff past 9:00.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I read an interesting article (I think at BH) where they said that the rating system actually treats independent films different than they treat studio films and that they are enforcing the code strenuously against independents, but letting the studios off easy.

Don't get me started on the marketing. I can't tell you how many times I've watched something on a supposedly G or PG rated channel only to come across an ad for a movie or video game that would have deserved an NC-17 if they rated commercials like films. These are the kinds of things that the networks better start getting back under control or they will find themselves regulated. And if that happens, everybody loses.

Anonymous said...

Andrew - that's true. I don't remember the article but I vaguely recall some indie filmmaker complaining about the NC-17 his film received (probably for a sex scene that went on for a few extra frames) whilst the ultra-violent Saving Private Ryan was playing in theaters with an R.

And it all seems so arbitrary anyway. Two F-words = PG-13. Three F-words = R. (And I've seen exceptions to these as well.) And many people have noticed that, in this country, it's sex and nudity that the ratings people have more of a problem with whereas in Europe, it's the violence.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I think the article was a week or two ago, but I don't remember specifically. His point was that the censor board cut the studios breaks, but not the independents.

My issue is that (1) they are inconsistent and (2) they've been letting the standards slip further year after year so that now the ratings really are meaningless.

Ed said...

What a rogues gallery of idiocy. While we're at it, let's toss the Kardashians onto the pile. What a worthless family.

T_Rav said...

For me, personally, the Kardashians are at the very bottom of the heap, or close to it. The Housewives are at about the same level: I saw a few episodes of one (I think it was Atlanta), and just...gag. However, nothing tops, or I guess is beneath, Kathy Griffin in my book--the one person who's managed to combine the self-centered reality culture with the rabid left-wing politics.

Ed said...

T_Rav, Kathy Griffin is vile. How can she think of herself as a legitimate comedian when her whole career is now based on saying nasty sexist things about a politician's young daughter? If that's all she's got, then she should go back to being a crack whore.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I agree, the Kardashians are worthless. They're famous for dating basketball players and the tweeting what they eat. Give me a break.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed and T-Rav, I couldn't agree more on Kathy Griffin. I never thought she was funny or particularly likeable. Then she savaged a teenage girl with the kinds of attacks that liberals whine is bullying, and that's supposed to impress me? It impresses me the depths to which she would sink, but that's about it.

patti said...

as a mother, it pains me to hear him speak or to read a headline about his antics. he needs help, and it's a shame that folks are actually paying to watch him implode.

AndrewPrice said...

patti, I agree. He needs help, but people are just enjoying the show as he implodes.

Anonymous said...

Daily Mail had an article on his show and he spent an hour blasting his ex-wife. What an asshole!

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, I'm not surprised. Last I heard, he was attacking everyone he knew.

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