hoos

(online)

Justin Jacoby Smith is an organizer, web geek, Buddhist, and poet.

Charlie Sheen, The Inane, & The Sublime

This is not some postmodern parable; this is now, period. TV's highest-paid star is essentially using mass media as his blog [...] and yet, who can resist the earthly desire of spectacle? Who doesn't want to play with this puzzle? (Is he high? Bi-polar? Shitting us?) Just like he said he did with his recent porn-star-filled bender (the one at his mansion), he's exposing us to magic. But he's also pulling back the curtain on the extent to which we are seduced by fame, falls from great heights and funny sentences.

fourfour on how Charlie Sheen, in his public lunacy, has magically mastered the way we communicate now. Kanye did it too, but not this quickly. This morning on my walk to the office I was thinking about a particularly absurd Sheen moment from the last week: on 20/20 Andrea Canning asks him with great seriousness & gravity, "Are you bipolar?" Without a second of hesitation he answers

"I'm bi-winning. I win here and there."

On most levels of comprehension that's not a statement that makes any sense, and I'm sure in his stream-of-winningness Charlie didn't intend to pack a whole lot of meaning into it, but in the midst of the tornadic multimedia spectacle that is Charlie Sheen it says something really clear: he is capable of being everywhere in our media consciousness at once. And so are you.

Charlie's celebrity certainly grants his meltdown a visibility that you and I don't have immediate access to, but that's almost beside the point. The ubiquity of thoughtstreaming has certainly brought us its inanities (I wish @questlove would tweet less about his lunch, and maybe I could stand to write fewer 140-word half-baked thinkpieces), but we're all capable of broadcasting (creating!) our identities across platforms now. We're creating a constantly rising ocean of geotagged context-sensitive targeted information, and Charlie Sheen is surfing on it.

Haven't you ever sat and watched the global Twitter dashboard live, nothing to search for and nothing to find, just letting the stream of global updates wash over you? For at least a moment, it's kind of sublime.