Friday, November 20, 2015

What Do We REALLY Care About?

Some of my blogs lately have been about very heavy concerns, from the slaughter in Paris to the geo-political and ethical minefield which is the Syrian refugee crisis. From the looks of my Facebook feed, these issues have had a powerful and divisive effect on my readers. Well, it's Friday, and pass time for a blog that I believe has the potential to bring us all together. After all, like President Obama, I want to be a uniter, not a divider. 

So, a couple of days ago, in the midst of the dreadfully serious refugee crisis, with the blood of the innocents barely dry, I passed through my den at 7:30 in the morning, glanced at the television and saw a frame full of Matt Lauer with a gravely earnest expression on his face. He was interviewing someone and looked to be in the midst of asking a profoundly serious question. I paused. Perhaps he had scored a sit-down with the President and was grilling him on his ill-timed "ISIS is contained" line. Or maybe somehow Lauer had managed to win an interview with the reclusive leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Babhdadi. But then my television screen was filled with the cocky face of Charlie Sheen announcing to the world that he has the HIV virus. Moreover, he had had sexual relations with upwards of 500 woman over the past four years without sharing with them this cogent fact. Now he was being blackmailed by a bevy of porn stars and other B-list actresses none too happy about his medical condition. The world is in flames and the suits at NBC thought it wise to air this interview. 

Where to begin? First, let it be known that I wouldn't wish the HIV virus on my worst enemy. On the other hand, who among us is surprised by the news that Charlie Sheen has it? 500 different sexual partners in the last four years? Let that sink in for a moment. That's a new conquest every three days! If it is true that one does, in fact, reap what one sows then Charlie has reaped the whirlwind. But what bothers me is...why does anyone care???? Listen, if it were Tom Hanks, maybe you've got a story. Or if it were discovered that Sylvester Stallone was gay, maybe you've got a story. But...Charlie Sheen?

Most of the time I feel blessed beyond measure to be an American. But honestly, there are other times when I think that we are a wholly unserious people, mired in celebrity worship and too easily attracted to decadence. Thanks a lot Today Show. Thanks for reminding me that no matter that western civilization is crumbling under our feet, you guys never take your eye off of what we really care about.