Charlie and the News Cycle

How long ago was it that Charlie Sheen was out proclaiming he was “winning” in the face of potentially being dropped from number one sitcom, Two and a Half Men? It seemed, at that moment, he was the center of the media universe. Did all the press coverage and social media swirl around him lead him to believe his public was so big that his bosses would have to make nice and continue with him on the show?

I don’t know.

In fact, I don’t know much these days. Well, I know what I read. Like I said, I don’t know much. But while I don’t know much, I do have my suspicions. The public loves a good drama. We like to be entertained. Entertain us for a while and we will pay attention. Stop entertaining us, see you later, bye.

Charlie Sheen and Two and a Half Men is a lot like professional football players and the NFL. I refer to the lockout. Or, for pro wrestling fans of yesteryear, Steve Austin and Vince McMahon.

I’ll break each case down:

Charlie Sheen – Forget the merits of what Sheen claimed. Forget his mental state. Forget whether he was doing his job or not. Charlie was going up against the boss man. He was standing up to the man. A lot of people can relate to that. How many folks, particularly in this tough economy, put up with less than decent treatment from their bosses? That might have made for lots of Charlie fans.

Then again, I’m sure there were a bunch of out of work folks saying, “You’ve got a job. You make millions. Are you nuts?”

NFL Players – Like with Charlie, forget the pros and cons of their position. They are now locked out by the team owners. This is a case of David versus Goliath. We like to root for the underdog. So, I think lots of people will side with the players. After all, the owners seemingly have more power.

Most NFL players make more money than most of us ever dream about. Still, they are fighting “the man.”

Steve Austin – Okay, so this was a story angle in professional wrestling, meaning it was a work, not real. But whoever came up with the angle at the WWE was pretty darn smart, because they tapped into a theme that resonated with folks.

Steve Austin was shown as the beer drinking everyman, standing up to the overbearing boss, Mr. McMahon. I don’t know if in the history of wrestling there has ever been a simpler yet more effective angle.

People love stories about employees standing up to overbearing bosses. We put ourselves in their shoes. Of course, we also have short attention spans. At first we like a story because it hits us emotionally. When that wears off, we look for something else. Off we go, asking about the latest scandal. “Did you hear about that actor’s infidelity?”

What will ultimately happen to Charlie Sheen? In wrestling, angles are frequently changed to keep the interest of the audience. Sorry Charlie.

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