Sunday, May 20, 2012

Good guys finish last because we let them

Usually I start my rant posts with an apology but I'm not even sorry for this one, because it needs to be said.

What the hell, America? I tolerated the "goofy guys drinking and having fun" phase of Will Ferrell's golden years. I put up with the Taylor Swift songs of endlessly repetitive themes. I understood the 2-month period characterized by the inclusion of acai berry in virtually every food product ever to "boost antioxidants!"

But Charlie Sheen again? Really??

Why are we doing this?  Didn't we decide that he was a loser?  Weren't we disgusted by his irresponsible and excessive parties?  Didn't all of us worry about his daughters?  Haven't we lost count of his failed marriages?

I, personally, am generally offended by crude and sexist media productions.  While it's one thing to enjoy a manufactured story line and fictitious characters, it's another for us to revel in the sleaze of real-life happenings. (This is the only reason I can conceive for people being interested in him at this point.) Sorry to be a downer, but (unlike Sheen) I think we as society need to take a little responsibility.  People like him, who wouldn't imagine doing a real day's work make a living off of the interest of other people- us.  Can we stop pretending that our votes "don't count" and our personal lives don't overwhelmingly influence the society we live in? To me, the fact that Charlie Sheen is being transformed into a media icon /personality (when every production he's been involved in for the past ten years has been truly mediocre, at best) is the ultimate proof that you don't need accomplishments to become rich, famous, and popular.

I'm not just picking on ol' Charlie boy, although his putrid antics of last year and the fact that his thinning hair is somehow overlooked when women in the media over the age of 25 are considered old hold a special place in my heart.  Ask almost any person on the street and they will tell you that they think society is going to hell in a handbasket.  But they're probably the same people tuning in to watch one of the various tv depictions of the Kardashians or some Teen Mom reunion episodes.  I'd also bet that half the people who fervently support higher taxes on the country's richest citizens are also Sheen fans- and take for granted that their entertainment comes from exactly the thing that they protest.

I can recall a conversation from childhood between two of my friends in a car; the mother who was driving asked each of us if our mother had given us permission to see a particular PG-13 movie (I think it was Kindegarden Cop??) at a sleepover. I confirmed that my mother had, and then the friend whose mother was driving confirmed that the third girl was allowed to watch whatever she wanted. The third girl responded, "Yeah, my mom doesn't care."  People don't want to believe that what they watch, play, or listen to influences real life, including the development of a child.  But I think that's an irresponsible claim; an excuse to not feel bad about monitoring and limiting their own exposure to shoddy entertainment.  Supporting media that has utterly no substance other than a cheap thrill erodes the dignity of our society and insults our collective intelligence and creativity.  (I want to comment that this category excludes works like Fifty Shades of Grey and Hunger Games, which deal with unpleasant subjects but ultimately make us ask crucial questions about we feel about these upsetting topics and what stance we will take on them in our lives.)  Giving attention and support (and thus money!) to institutions such as The Bachelor/ette (hasn't this show been making a public mockery of marriage for the past ten years?!  Why aren't so-called traditional marriage advocates protesting this??) and other Jersey Shore-esque shows that have no plot and little to no real point that survive on surprising and revolting (or exciting!) viewers endorse irresponsibility and, to be honest, smut.  I don't think that censorship is the answer; far from it.  I just think that as a society we should show our own good taste and let people like Charlie Sheen get what they have coming: a long future of unemployment.

And maybe once we prove that we don't like all the  crap being produced nowadays we'll get writers and producers that will actually make interesting shows and movies.

The Rantesse

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