Fueling Charlie Sheen's breakdown? - "Ace in the hole" media satire by Billy Wilder
Famous ending of "Ace in the hole" directed by Billy Wilder (1951), starred by Kirk Douglas and Jan Sterling.
Unscrupulous reporter Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas) delays the rescue of a man trapped in an ancient Indian mine to grab a big story, literally creating a media circus. Tatum, the sheriff, and even the man's wife (Jan Sterling) are out to make a buck from his misfortune.Billy Wilder's acid media satire forever branded him the sometimes overstated label of "cynic". Ace in the Hole was too acerbic for 1951 movie-goers and reviled on its release. It has since garnered critical acclaim and a cult following.
"Fame is a fickle mistress. It's very deceiving. It looks really bitchin' from the outside, and then you get it and it's very confusing professionally, socially, emotionally. It's confusing because you're so worried about how you're perceived. A lot of my exploits were guilt-driven, shame-driven. And all this because one day I was a working actor, just trying to pursue something I enjoyed and trying to make a living, and the next day I was a commodity" -Charlie Sheen
Are the media fuelling Charlie Sheen's breakdown?
"Solid World Health Organisation data shows that an American is 14 times more likely than a mainland western European to suffer from the kind of personality disorder that seems to be afflicting Charlie Sheen. There are many reasons, but the media and consequent celebrity culture are significant.Natalie Kenly (goddess) and Charlie Sheen (Media Warlock)
In this culture, as Erich Fromm put it, they are encouraged to be a "marketing character". Rather than as people, they see themselves as commodities whose value they seek to increase by any means possible.
Sheen's value can be increased by "sick" behaviour. His antics have recently attracted 2 million Twitter users, from which he can make significant advertising revenues.
Sheen, son of the famous Martin, doubtless had a troubled childhood in his celebrity home.
It helps to explain why we are twice as likely as Europeans to suffer a mental illness. As long as you are rich or famous, it does not matter how desperate and miserable you are. There are shades of George Best in Sheen's comment that: "The partying has been epic – what I can remember of it. It was entertaining as hell."
Sheen's case is an extreme example of how the media peddle a toxic materialistic ideology. The (nearly all rightwing) media in America, and in this country too, have been only too happy to sell papers or broadcasting space by reporting his disturbance. But these stories only sell because people in the UK and US have become addicted to the media's continuous recycling of materialist values. There is now no doubt that the kind of person who seeks celebrity is more likely to have a pre-existing potential for narcissistic, self-aggrandising behaviour. This was proved by a recent study of 200 US celebrities, while a 2006 study showed that, as a whole, Americans are six times more narcissistic than they were 50 years ago.
Sheen's disturbance has been exacerbated by the media. That he wants the coverage is one of his psychiatric symptoms. That we consume stories about him is a sign of just how sick our society has become". Source: www.guardian.co.uk