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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hollywood Lifestyles and Hollywood Dreams

Sometimes I wish Hollywood was just a fantasy. Many stars are guilty of living unfit lives and promoting their self-destructive lifestyles as acceptable, even good ways to be popular. Celebrity media coverage relentlessly fuels the adoring public with controversial stories of stars acting badly to satisfy the appetites of those who engage in Hollywood idol worship. Lost in the mix are millions of young adults who see their favorite celebrities as normal, well-meaning icons. These youth have been born and bred to fall on their knees in face of celebrity and power.

How distorted is this picture? The famous often present false ideals. Those gullible enough to believe in them take the bait and swallow without question. Bombarded with messages that suggest Hollywood is setting new social standards, young people readily accept the words and actions of stars as the better reality. Not only do fictional films promote this false conception but also paparazzi lust and intense media scrutiny of the actors and actresses incite acceptance.

In truth, fame should not equate to idealism. A person may want to view an ancient model to get proper perspective of the ideal qualities of behavior.The commonly known "heavenly virtues" made famous by the Roman writer Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (c. AD 410) were considered to protect one against temptation from "the seven deadly sins," with each one having its counterpart. 

Virtue                     Vice 

Chastity                              Lust   
Temperance                       Gluttony                           
Charity                               Greed
Diligence                            Sloth
Patience                             Wrath
Kindness                            Envy
Humility                              Pride

Too often, Hollywood mistakenly depicts vices as virtues. There is a time and a purpose for doing so; however, to sell deadly, alternative lifestyles as the norm is reckless. Not every vice is curable or instantly forgiven. And, often the price paid to help overcome these vices greatly exceeds the financial and emotional resources of someone in the general public.Still, without question, many believe "star power" is golden in terms of worth.

The time is right for holding those in positions of power and fame accountable for their influence. This culpability is reality for those unfortunate enough to lack these acquisitions. Teachers, law enforcement officers, state and federal employees -- all are held accountable for their character and its resulting impact upon others. Granted, some bad behaviors veritably escape without the application of justice. Still, accountability is critical, and deliberate damage to others results in severe penalties, fines, lost employment, and even imprisonment. This is the world of the commoner, and teaching this reality is essential to life.

Meanwhile, back in Hollywood, Charlie Sheen recently spoke during a surprise appearance at UCLA's baseball practice. Does this sound like a great opportunity for a very troubled man? Sheen, who came onto the field, told the team last week to "Stay off the crack. Drink a chocolate milk." His statements were met with laughs and applause.

It seems Charlie Sheen had crashed the Bruins' practice.Charlie had not been invited to speak with the team, the school's sports information director said. "He was hitting with some current and former major leaguers prior to UCLA practice went over to the group of our players on his way off the field and spoke briefly to them." (Shari Weiss, "Charlie Sheen Advises UCLA Baseball Players to 'Stay Off the Crack' and 'Drink Chocolate Milk,'" The New York Daily News, February 11 2011)

During a sports talk radio program, "The Dan Patrick Show," interview, Sheen elaborated about his talk with the local team. There were "rumors that I've had problems with crack, so it just came out of me like poetry," he explained, adding that staying off crack was "pretty good advice, unless you can manage it socially." Patrick asked Sheen if he thought he could handle crack socially. "Yeah, yeah," he responded, "but that kind of blew up in my face. Like an exploding crack pipe."(Melissa Maerz, "Charlie Sheen May Have Said Too Much," The Los Angeles Times, February 15 2011)

During the radio interview, Patrick asked Sheen if he had a morality clause, a provision in a contract that prohibits certain behaviors such as sexual acts and drug use. Sheen replied, "I haven't read it. I don't think it covers 'let me totally dominate and interfere with your personal life.'" (Sheen's contract is with Warner Bros., and officials declined to comment on the statement.)

Sheen maintained that he was "100%" clean, but still seemed troubled. "I was sober for five years a long time ago and just bored out of my tree," he confessed.

Ha, ha, Charlie. Laughter is the best medicine, huh? Months ago after some crazy Sheen antics, Dr. Drew Pinsky, who has helped many Hollywood celebrities with their addictions said, "I'm afraid Charlie is going to die. This is just the tip of the iceberg with him.This truly scares me. I'm saddened and scared for Charlie. Charlie is deeply in his condition." (Radell Smith, "Dr. Drew Predicts Charlie Sheen's Death, ", October 27 2010)

Even then, Dr. Drew seemed to think that Charlie probably didn't even realize the real truth because he was so self-medicated and under the influence that he couldn't see it. "Charlie needs three months of in-patient treatment. His addiction is far worse than anyone knows or realizes," said Pinsky.

If the worst does occur, will the public respond with a rousing chorus of "Another One Bites the Dust" and quickly forget any valuable lesson in the Charlie Sheen downfall? I expect so. After all, Sheen is one of those fast-living Hollywood bad boys savoring the new American Dream amidst a deluge of porn stars, hard drugs, and public idolatry.

When Charlie dies, fans all over the world will weep and debate the factors that contributed to his eventual demise. And the media will induce a mass outcry about misconduct until the next bigger story takes the place of "Poor Charlie, The Misunderstood Bad Boy."

God help us to teach others the true virtues of society. And, please, God, awaken America and especially Hollywood to the evil powers of deadly influence. Whether a famous actor or a McDonald's employee, each must take responsibility for his or her actions that affect all others. 

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