Monday, March 7, 2011

Charlie Sheen vs Kim Seong-min

I feel a need to write about this…

I’m a huge Charlie Sheen fan. Well, no, I’m a HUGE Two and a Half Men fan.  And while I love the indulgence of celebrity gossip, I also believe in “live and let live.”  His life choices in no way interfere with how I live my life so they are none of my concern nor my place to pass judgment. Until now.  Because his recent antics have brought on the temporary, and likely permanent cancellation of my favorite show, I now have a few things to say about it. 

Since everyone reading this is likely familiar with his current drama, let me introduce you to his Korean counterpart. Sort of.

Kim Seong-min.  I remember reading this story a few months ago on the Korean Herald and it has stuck with me.  I’ll summarize for you… Famous Korean tv star caught smuggling methamphetamines and marijuana for his own personal use.  Caught once, confessed to the crimes and wrote letters of apology to each of the three shows that he was a part of.  His sentence? 2 1/2 years in prison (I appreciate the irony there), a small fine (about $800) and he was immediately dropped from all three shows.  His career is over.

This was Seong-min’s first run-in with the law mind you.  As the article states, “The actor’s arrest came as a surprise, given his relatively good reputation at work and in his personal life.”  We all know about both the personal and professional reputations of Charlie Sheen.  And Lindsay Lohan.  And Mel Gibson.  Not to mention the many that have overcome their drug and alcohol addictions, but also those that have fallen from the disease well before their time. 

How is it that in one country getting caught with drugs only once will ruin your career, but yet in another, the supposed “greatest country on Earth”, each time you get busted it actually increases your marketability and therefore your bank account?

I don’t think drugs in Hollywood are by any means a new thing, but I think the media has helped to glorify it and pass on to children and young adults everywhere that this is an acceptable way to live your life.  If you have any experience with addiction you know that Charlie Sheen’s recent actions are symptomatic of the disease rather than of Charlie Sheen himself.  Nevertheless, the media is ready and waiting to capitalize on what he will hopefully look back on one day as “rock bottom”.  I know you can’t tell a 45 year old man what to do and not do, but you can stop providing him an outlet with which to do it.  Many people will disagree, but I believe this is the media taking advantage of someone’s illness. And that’s sad.

I don’t necessarily agree with many of the Korean ways of life, like keeping your children in school 14 hours a day, but I think they might be onto to something here.  South Korea is a largely drug-free country (minus a few rogue foreign teachers) and there’s good reason for that. One strike and your out.  If you want people to behave properly, and if you want your laws taken seriously, then the consequence has to equal the crime.  Period.