One certainly doesn’t have to look too far in this day and age for a healthy serving of the truly ridiculous, what with the countless “news” sources so readily available. Our society is inundated with them, they’re everywhere we look. We find them while standing in line at the grocery store in the form of fashion magazines and tabloids. At home, we’re bombarded with “news” the moment we click on the television or sit down at the computer. From Charlie Sheen’s continued idiotic ranting, to the current net value of Facebook, the latest Dancing With the Stars cast to whatever nonsense Sarah Palin happens to post on the Internet any given day, we’re surrounded by information that is – when you get right down to it – merely entertaining and not all that newsworthy after all.
The recent spotlight on former “Two and a Half Men” star Charlie Sheen is a perfect example of this. I’m not going to go into details here, as I’m fairly certain we’ve all heard the big news by now, but it seems that Sheen – recently fired thanks to his disturbing actions and dialogue – has now decided he’s best served by suing his former employers at CBS.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
Here’s a guy who was making approximately $2 million per episode for a television role he never even had to prepare for. All he had to do was, well, be himself, really. And at $2 million per episode, with a typical season running between 20 and 24 episodes, that’s over $40 million. For one actor. Who now wants to sue.
Even more to the point, the show (one of the few I actually used to watch) has been on the air for what now, seven seasons? At $2 million per episode and, let’s say $45 million per season (let me see here, seven times five, carry the three) that’s well over $300 million. And he wants to sue? For what, harsh treatment?
And don’t get me started on the whole Facebook phenomenon. I’ve seen “The Social Network,” I am on Facebook (multiple times, actually, thanks to the bands I perform with) and I understand that, obviously, it’s worth a considerable sum of money. Do I care? Do I really need to know just how much it’s actually worth? Not really. The same goes for “Dancing With the Stars,” I’m simply not a fan.
As for potential presidential candidate and she of Twitter fame (kind of like Sheen) Sarah Palin, well, I’ll get to her later.
You see, the problem with this particular type of “news,” at least in my mind, is the fact that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of legitimate stories out there. You know, the kind that have an actual influence on our nation and planet. It seems the fine line between entertainment and gossip – and actual news – has become blurred at best. At worst, it simply doesn’t exist anymore.
How many American soldiers have been wounded or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sheen first began mumbling and bumbling his way toward the unemployment line? How many innocent civilians, including women and children, have been killed? What are we doing as a nation to end these pointless wars?
Now that’s news, and even if it’s not good news, it’s still a hell of lot more important than how many Twitter followers and Facebook friends Palin and Sheen have accumulated. And yet we continue to eat it up, time and time again. I’ll even admit that I tend to get sucked into these stories as well. Not because I give a damn, because I don’t. To be honest, I have absolutely no idea why, and I’m sure many people out there would say the same thing.
What truly surprises me at this point, however, is that the good-old soccer mom herself, queen of the Alaskan frontier, Sarah Palin, hasn’t gotten involved with the whole Sheen farce. I’m guessing her public relations people must be on vacation because this is one of those once-in-a-lifetime media opportunities.
And the options are limitless.
Palin could denounce Sheen for his recent behavior or she could applaud him for his “honesty” and pursuit of the American dream (known these days as filing frivolous lawsuit in an attempt to get even richer). Trust me, I wouldn’t be surprised if, even as we speak, there’s a group of Palin agents holed-up in a hidden bunker, buried deep beneath the frozen tundra, who are weighing the political and social advantages the Sheen scenario might provide.
Hold up a second, here’s an idea – Palin could finally announce her bid for the presidency alongside Sheen, as her vice presidential candidate. Just think about how much they have in common. Neither one makes a bit of sense most of the time, both love to share their personal views (no matter how disturbing, misleading or downright false) via Twitter and they both seem to relish the attention their actions, no matter how self-serving or ridiculous, garner on a daily basis.
Sorry, I’d apologize for ranting myself, but it wouldn’t be an honest apology. I like to rant as much as the next guy, especially where it concerns true threats to our national security such as Palin and Sheen.
Think I’m kidding? No, not really, not at all.