Go time: Why Charlie Sheen matters

Daniel Spielberger

Contributing Writer

In one of his most infamous interviews, Charlie Sheen stated, “I only have one speed… GO!”  Charlie Sheen has become the personification of our hyper-cultural and non stop rush for action and excitement. From stone cold sobriety to late night arrivals at the hospital after excessive night of partying, Charlie Sheen lives his at the speed of go at all times. All we can really do is watch and try to keep up. As we constantly consume updates on his downward spiral, his erratic behavior has become our own stimulant. Americans are so addicted to this substance, that his twitter account has broken a Guinness World Record by getting one million followers in less than two days.  He is the embodiment of the 21st century, an era where dictators are toppled within days of each other, where we all participate in the 24 hours news cycle and where we all can’t escape a feeling of constant acceleration.

Charlie Sheen’s status and the drama that surrounds him changes by the minute. One moment he is fired from his popular T.V show and the next his children are being taken away from him.  This chaos mirrors the current crisis of the Middle East. Within days of each other, Tunisia and Egypt toppled their leaders. These two countries’ current political struggles are now overshadowed by Libya’s unraveling situation. Just like we have shifted our attention from Mr. Sheen’s television career to his love life to his child custody battle, we have also had the same attention deficit when it comes to the Arab revolts. The current devolving situation in the Middle East also reflects the hyper culture we live in today. For example, in the 19th century, Latin America felt the political ripple effects of the American Revolutionary War a few decades afterwards. Because of the power of the Internet that has promoted a culture that moves at the pace of Charlie Sheen, it took barely a few days for the whole Middle East to rise up.

The process of me writing this article is a testament to our times. Mathew Novian, the editor in chief, insisted that I “finish the article ASAP” arguing that we have to publish it before the topic becomes irrelevant. I asked myself how could Charlie Sheen fall into irrelevance in the next week?  After thirty seconds, I recalled Ted Williams, a man that hasn’t been relevant for ages or should I say, weeks. Please open up another window and google “Golden Voice”. After a few seconds of scavenging, you will probably encounter a video of a homeless man named Ted Williams speaking with a “gifted voice”. Do you remember him? The weeks after this video became an Internet sensation, he appeared on multiple talk shows, reunited with his family on television, checked into rehab and now has fallen into obscurity. We consumed his alleged “talents”, devoured his troubled personal life and left his digital skeleton to disintegrate in the loneliest corners of the blogosphere. Therefore, do not be surprised if one day you refresh the Huffington Post’s Entertainment section to see that the bloggers have shifted their attention away from Mr.Sheen and onto other fallen starlets.

So, why does Charlie Sheen matter? Even scripted or not scripted, he is undeniably entertaining but what is his real significance? Why should we pause and analyze him? There is no way of telling what his fate shall be, what we can say though is that his “speed of GO”, is the speed shared by our generation. As his ever-accelerating rhythm becomes the monotonous backdrop to our consumption of content, we must accept that we are no different than he is. Although we may not indulge in his illicit substance of choice, we are undoubtedly guilty of getting the same high.