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Steven Weber

Steven Weber

Posted: March 10, 2011 03:29 PM

The Sheen Screen


The Sheen Saga will inevitably run its course, on that Aristotelian dramatic trajectory with which we've become all too familiar: hero-villain-redemption-death. And when the "news" is over, there's always "entertainment": Cops, Hoarders, Real Housewives, Biggest Losers, Lock-Up, Glenn Beck.

So desperate is the need to profit that not even personal misery is exempt from having a "For Sale" tag clipped on it. And when the market is flooded with such products which serve to only distract us from our own personal struggles rather than enlighten or cure, a kind of emotional transference kicks in which threatens to undermine the essential ability to manage our individual realities. "Charlie Sheen is going crazy on TV. Things must not be so bad for me."

In modern times it began with the fetishizing of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, creating from their lives and deaths a kind of sick iconography which made tragedy hip and marketable to the masses and has devolved even from that nadir to where we as a nation literally pull up a chair to watch round-the-clock updates of the guy perched upon the ledge solely for the moment he inevitably takes flight.

But the persistent lowering of standards in sensitivity toward both "The Famous" (as well as, by extension, "The Anonymous") is a dangerous societal characteristic -- a weed -- which has been allowed to flower, permitting the soulless forces of corporatism to overwhelm our senses and our sense.

This is no accident. Looking at what has become our daily social and political diet, there seems to be a clear bias against introspection, an unabashed love of the trivial, a disdain for objective analysis and a conscious attempt at creating convenient "truths" which justify the wholesale rejection of formerly espoused attitudes like compassion, service, thrift, prudence, humility.

The corporate sponsored spectacle in Wisconsin and the other brazen attempts by those wealthy right-wing power brokers to strip the rights of decent working Americans is made possible only by the numbing up and dumbing down of people's real lives, courtesy of a corporatist-complicit media willing to dangle mollifying baubles in front of its audience's eyes -- Charlie Sheen is crazy!!! -- to keep them from seeing the real acts of madness being committed in the congressional back rooms, legislative committees and the ruinous right-wing think tanks.

If those well-heeled thugs get their way, all Americans will have is a media-provided menu of concocted realities and contrived portrayals of misery for the public to dine on, instead of the actual calamity taking place beyond the frame: a corporate mega-grab of all remaining cultural and democratic real estate. It's a Capitalist Cancer running amok, one that doesn't destroy the body as much as it transubstantiates it, transfigures it into something resembling sentient but which is really numb, crazy, desperate, deserving of real help.

Poor Charlie. Stay tuned.

 

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