By Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – If you or someone you love sometimes daydream about what it would be like to be super-rich and famous, bring yourself or your loved one quickly back down to earth by considering the saga of Charlie Sheen, one of the most successful actors in television and a very wealthy man who may be one of the sorriest sights in a popular culture filled with them.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

I won’t horrify you and scare the children with the details of Sheen’s drug-addled adulthood, or his multiple brushes with domestic violence, or his off-the-deep-end political views. (Click here if you want to read about it.)

Over the past few days, you could have turned on any number of TV or radio shows and heard Sheen’s profound mental illness spewing out in a string of amazingly voyeuristic interviews, as the vultures of the media descend to consume their share of ratings flesh.

As Washington journalist Nancy Doyle Palmer points out on the Huffington Post: “In most cases someone spewing the delusional, grandiose and revenge-fueled pushback of what can only be called a cornered man would be talking this way to the Starbucks barista, the clerk at CVS, the ER nurse or the last person on his cell phone list of favorites who will take his calls.”

But because it’s a big-time celebrity melting down, Sheen’s self-destruction is being enthusiastically enabled and empowered, notes Palmer, who pleads with the press to “stop giving him a platform and a microphone. He is not well, and it’s the cruelest kind of exploitation.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Life is not a circus act; drug addiction is not a freak show. Our tabloid-infused media culture loves to document a bad train wreck, and that’s bad enough. But in this case, the media is not an observer, but an active participant, and one word comes immediately to mind – shame.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Comments (13)
  1. StanleyRamon says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I treat all the attention Charlie Sheen is getting as if it were a bad television add, click. The media is enabling Mr. Sheen to, once again, take us on his spiraling death trip. Although I enjoy his show, I will now excuse myself from watching, because it too, has become part of the problem. One can only hope that he and others, such as Lindsey Lohan, find a way out of the maze that entraps them and I will do my part by not enabling them further.

  2. AnnMarie says:

    Charlie Sheen stop get help with his Drug addiction its not a thing to mess with.
    i us to love two 1/2 men but i dont watch it anymore.

  3. KathyD says:

    I agree, Jon. Having lost a very dear family member to the ravages of bipolar disorder, Sheen’s rants, violent outbursts, and drug abuse are all too familiar to me. I’m sure that his family is heartbroken and is struggling to help him just as my family did for our loved one.

    May TMZ, et al leave this man alone.

  4. West end girl says:

    Pot, meet kettle. What’s this article about? You are doing the same thing.

  5. jaygee says:

    Why wouldn’t the same media that has made this addict one of the richest men on television not want to “exploit’ him. I cannot understand how dumbed down this country has become when his show is one of the top rated in America. Who cares what happens to Charlie. I certainly don’t.

  6. Sloppy_Joe says:

    I want to party with that guy, and the escorts

  7. macmum says:

    Charlie Sheen is a “genius” when it comes to comedic acting…too bad that too many self serving people around him profited off his talent and turned the other way while he participated in years of drug and alcohol abuse…they all just cared about what was in it for them and didn’t care about the outcome. I feel bad for him because he’s been sold a lot of lies over the years and uses them to excuse his bad choices…and I also feel bad for his cast mates that are now left to look for a job because of his down fall…it’s a sad story all over…:-(

  8. Cynic says:

    If you hadn’t written this article I would have spent my whole life never having heard of Charlie Sheen. I wish you hadn’t done that.

  9. Cynic says:

    Many years ago we all watched with HORROR as Brendan Behan destroyed himself on the Johnnie Carson Show. The world has changed since then. Now it is ENTERTAINMENT to watch some one commit Suicide.

  10. Rick S. says:

    Interesting… Charlie Sheen talking about how millions, maybe even a billion fans love him and pleading for them to show their never-ending support. Here’s a multiple choice question for you – Who said:

    “They love me. All my people with me, they love me, They will die to protect me, my people.”

    A) Charlie Sheen?
    B) Moammar Gadhafi?

  11. janet t. lapointe says:

    thank you for your enlightened response.may it not fall on deaf ears.I find tragedy”s sad.

  12. mikey says:

    Mental illness being exploited as entertainment makes me puke.

    Mr. Keller is spot on.

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