Charlie Sheen in March 2009
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What Charlie Sheen can teach us

While driving to work this morning I tuned in to the local radio show. The hosts began their usual Hollywood gossip segment and of course the topic of the day was Charlie Sheen. They played a few clips of his interview with 20/20 and commented about how he was living with two porn stars. Obviously they made some pretty critical comments regarding his drug use and erratic behaviour. Most of the things they had to say weren’t very nice. But who could blame them? The guy was and is pretty out of control. Some would say he was only asking for it.

The mood shifted a little when one listener called in. “Hello, is this the National Inquirer?” she sarcastically asked. The caller told the hosts to lay off Sheen saying that they were being insensitive. Another Sheen fan phoned in to say that the actor was only “living out every guy’s fantasy” by living with two porn stars.

Finally they took a call from a lady that prefaced her comments by saying that she hoped that what she was about to say came out the right way. Like the others she had also taken issue with the way that the hosts had addressed the Charlie Sheen’s recent antics and said that the media was only exacerbating his behaviour by giving him a forum to share his opinions.

One of the hosts responded by asking, “what if Charlie Sheen were to call us right now, you can’t tell us you wouldn’t be interested in what he had to say?” The listener responded by admitting that while she once was an avid reader of star rag mags, one day she realized that if it were any of her family or friends who was in the tabloids, she wouldn’t want their struggles to be publicized.

She also made a pretty interesting point about what it says about our society that we’re so obsessed with watching people fail. Why are people more interested in Charlie Sheen and his tiger blood instead of topics of actual significance?

This really got me thinking. It is not the media that is to blame for making #tigerblood a top trending topic. Neither is the media to blame for growing Sheen’s popularity. We are to blame.

We are so fueled by watching train wrecks that our demands have resulted in countless reputable media outlets giving away powerful air time to individuals that we as a society deem “fascinating.”

I don’t know about you, but in my mind, that’s a little twisted.

The morning’s radio broadcast made me realize the power we all have to wreck our society but also the power we have to reclaim it.