No Sheen on this Morbid Deathwatch

By Jason Menard,

So who’s it gonna be?

I mean, Britney was way out in the lead for a while there. Lindsay’s been putting in solid performances for a while, and even Christina has stepped up her game as of late. Would we be surprised if any of the cast of the Jersey Shore came off the bench to do it? Although, right now, our money’s on Charlie Sheen, right?

You know what I’m talking about. Who’s going to be next to kick that final field goal?

And, more importantly, who is it going to be that finally gets this madness to stop.

I’ve caught bits and pieces of the Charlie Sheen fiasco and what strikes me most of all is that this is a sick man. This isn’t a night of drunken revelry resulting in an embarrassing blunder. This is a pattern of behaviour that seems to be rapidly descending into something dark. Charlie’s got his enablers, but it’s the so-called fans who are driving this particular crazy train.

Unfortunately, once it derails, they’ll be the ones realizing – far too late – that they went too far.

Celebrity bashing is a sport for many. The store magazine racks are filled with dozens of tabloids capturing the latest in famous follies. The very people who sit there and look down their noses at paparazzi are the same ones in line picking up their copy of People and the various publications.

It’s a monster that we’re feeding to sate our own appetites for danger. Like those who go up to the gorilla cage at the zoo and tap on the windows until that 500-pound behemouth charges at the thin layer of plexiglass, so too are we poking at these stars – only the plexiglass is attached to the lenses of the cameras capturing these behaviours.

People get that rush when the gorilla charges – that second of fear that comes from realizing you’ve pushed something too far. Unfortunately, for the Lindsays and the Charlies of the world, too far likely ends up in a casket.

And then watch the tide change. The Entertainment Tonights will get up on their soapboxes, lamenting the culture that just days before they were firmly supporting. People will swear off buying these magazines or watching these shows – blaming the paparazzi for these deaths, just as they did with Diana.

Unfortunately, that too will pass. And slowly, surely, they’ll be back in the grocery line, scanning the headlines. Maybe they’ll pick up a magazine and add it to their cart. And then the cycle starts again.

The problem is that too far isn’t an abstract in this case. It’s not about driving a monkey crazy so that it charges at a protected wall. Driving a person crazy – or enabling a crazy person to further descend into the depths of their madness – has very real consequences.

People say it’s like watching a train wreck or a car accident. The difference is that you only see the aftermaths of those two events. You’re not actively watching it happening, knowing that it’s going to come about. And most people, if they somehow knew that two other people were going to crash in an hour, would say something to prevent it.

We wouldn’t sit by and watch, waiting for it to happen. But that’s what we’re doing here.

I don’t know Charlie from a hole in the ground. From what I’ve seen and read over the years, I don’t think he’s the type of guy I’d like to hang out with – which, I guess, doesn’t make me a “winner” in his terms. But even without knowing him, I know there’s something wrong with him.

As an attention junkie, he’s revelling in the attention he’s getting. And that’s propelling him towards even more dramatic behaviour.

One million Twitter fans in a day? How many of those are just along for the ride, hoping to be there when the real crazy hits the Web? And are those people also waiting with bated breath for the obituary publication?

Unfortunately, only when one of these Hollywood stars dies will we temporarily halt our incessant fascination for this type of gallows viewing. By the time the sheen — or the Sheen — is off this behaviour, it’s going to be too late.

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