Bloggers Note: Warning: This is a post in which I rant instead of making a thoughtful argument. Read at your own peril.
I need help here. I need someone to explain to me why the west freaks out over Burqas and Hijabs but thinks Charlie Sheen’s behavior is worth a spot on a major network. I need someone to explain to me because I’m having a cultural disconnect. I need someone to guide me through the thinking process of a nation that turns its back on Libya and it’s enslavement through a cruel narcissistic dictator, but embraces the public viewing and story of the sick habits of a narcissistic misogynist called Charlie Sheen. I am longing for an explanation from Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe on how he justifies that we deserve democracy but Egypt does not based on their treatment of women. I want him to walk me through his logic of why a country so voyeuristic that it is glued to news stories of this pitiful excuse for a man deserves democracy and Egypt doesn’t. Is it any wonder that a good part of the Muslim world when interviewed sees us as morally bankrupt?
What is wrong with us and why do we put up with it? After all, no one is making any of us turn on the television. It’s not state-run TV that forces propaganda into our living rooms – or is it? No I know it’s not state-run, but what kind of idiotic propaganda about men, women, children and life is making its way into our homes and we, desensitized to valuable news that can inform and guide, begin thinking this is worth watching? What are we, what am I, letting into our homes that has a subtle but dangerous effect on how we live our lives and what we think about?
Let’s just suppose for a happy second that a news network besides PBS would set aside major time to do an informative, substantive, non-biased interview with Muslims, or more specifically Muslim women. It strikes me that a major network show depicting women in Hijab or Burqa, interviewed, explaining their world view could actually help our nation and guide us collectively into more understanding of a part of the world that we at best misunderstand, and at worst, grossly stereotype with freely expressed misconceptions. Imagine networks that were willing to see behavior like that of Charlie Sheen’s and Lindsey Lohan’s as sick, and not news worthy.
Hundreds of people are dying in Libya, having courageously fought to bring about change. Hundreds of thousands want a society that is free of a cruel dictator and allows more freedom. And we sit around and enjoy our freedom by sitting on our couches, increasing our obesity and inactivity levels, thus raising our healthcare costs, and watch….Charlie Sheen? This is freedom? Wow America! We really do need a wake-up call.
“If there’s a symbol of everything wrong with television news, it’s the focus on Charlie Sheen. Here we have America caught in historic budget debates that could lead to a shut-down of government, and the Middle East is in the midst of an equally historic democratic uprising — and TV “news” is giving a microphone to a fallen drug user with serious personal issues? It all makes me embarrassed for the news media.” Nicholas Kristof Facebook status update, 3.1.11