Actor Charlie Sheen has been all over the media this week. He is one of those celebrities that was highly celebrated for quite some time during his career and has had people watching every outrageous move he makes. He is one of the entertainers that we build up while choosing to look the other way during his various indiscretions. However, it seems that they have finally caught up with him, prompting production of his hit show “Two and a Half Men” to be shut down early before the end of its season.
All of the drama surrounding Sheen, which cannot be avoided anytime the TV or radio is turned on, brought to mind this common cycle in America with entertainers. The media just love to build people up and put them on this idolatrous pedestal and feed their egos while practically worshipping every move they make, only to, a while later, make it the mission to tear them down to the lowest of pits.
Many times, the celebrities they build up — like Paris Hilton — should never have been elevated in the first place (although this is usually a result of public popularity). But on the other hand, there are a slew of celebrities who have awe-inspiring talent yet whose actions aside from their craft draw negative attention. Michael Jackson, Tiger Woods and Whitney Houston are a few names that come to mind. Others, such Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and even, perhaps, Christina Aguilera, who are not quite the caliber of the first category, also come to mind.
All of these people are talented and popular figures in American pop culture, but their odd behaviors led them to be media targets.
Of course, Jackson, “The King of Pop,” had plenty of courtroom troubles, but his extravagant lifestyle and extreme plastic surgeries also drew a constant media circus. Woods, one of the greatest golfers of all time, admitted countless infidelities that forever tainted his wholesome image.
Houston, America’s former pop sweetheart, let her relationship with ex-husband Bobby Brown and substance abuse make more headlines than her career accomplishments. Spears, one of the first Disney prodigies to go awry, was larger than life 10 years ago, yet has barely managed to remain afloat. A few years ago, her bizarre behavior seemed like she was on a daily rollercoaster while making the paparazzi her close friends (which they documented) after breaking-up with Kevin Federline.
More recently, another Disney star, Cyrus, was recorded and revealed to be smoking the herb salvia from a bong, thus severely altering her fairly clean teen image. And then there is Aguilera, who only days ago was arrested for public intoxication after a series of public embarrassments, including taking a new boyfriend immediately after separating from husband Jordan Bratman, screwing up the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, and nearly falling off the stage at the Grammys. Aguilera is making it easy for the tabloids.
All of these people benefited from the positive side of fame, but when their narcissism or simply human flaws came through during the down times, the media were right there, waiting for condemnation. We idolize celebrities in this country and it is ridiculous; the rise is over the top and the degradation is even more pathetic.
Entertainment is great, but we need to take a step back and funnel our energy and money into other worthy things.