Pop Rocks: The Black Hole of Infotainment

I wonder sometimes if we're approaching the singularity in entertainment reporting.

A "singularity," as we all know, is the point in which gravitational forces cause matter to have an infinite density and zero volume. If we define "density" as "number of stories and/or articles" and "volume" as "editorial significance" (which I'm going to do, because I had to look up singularity on Wikipedia), then it certainly appears we're approaching a time that will see an infinite number of pop culture stories containing nothing in terms of actual insight or analysis.

I'm pretty sure Us Magazine and Life and Style are there already. For everyone else, I'd like to help things along.

First we have Charlie Sheen. I wish I could say I had a more visceral reaction when it came to the guy, and to be fair I did enjoy a moment of schadenfreude upon hearing about his getting booed off the stage in Detroit, but any more when I see his name in the news, I just shake my head and go back to whatever it is I do for a living.

I appear to be in the minority, however. The Cleveland date of his "Violent Torpedo of Truth" tour was a rousing success, if getting your audience to join you in calling your ex-wife and the mother of your children a "bitch" qualifies:

For those of you at home keeping score of this train wreck, no, Sheen has never been accused of physically harming Ms. Richards, though he did reportedly use racial slurs and some of the most vile insults imaginable in voicemails recorded in 2005, and he went on Twitter just last Monday and wrote, "We must bombard with Warlock Napalm, that traitor...#DUH-neese POOR-ards. a vile kidnapper and now dog thief. hate."

Sheen and Richards have two daughters. The oldest, Sam, turned 7 this month. Before you know it she'll be old enough to watch YouTube videos and read and understand articles about her father exhorting thousands of people to chant "F--- that bitch!" about her mother.

Yeah. Is Sheen still "winning?" I suppose, though those F-18 engines are showing some signs of flaming out. Is he making money? Without a doubt. But for me it's the increasingly feeble rationalization of fans who've forked over up to $750 (the deluxe meet and greet package) for this experience that are the only amusing part of the whole fiasco anymore.

At least other Celebrities We're Sick of Hearing About, like Jennifer Aniston or Katy Perry or Justin Bieber, usually only make headlines when they have a new movie or single coming out. Sheen's media profile has only been this high for about a month, yet it seems like forever thanks to the drama around Two and a Half Men, his blowing up on Twitter, and the current "Violent Torpedo of Truth" tour (coming to Houston April 26).

Speaking of that, "violent torpedo" is redundant. And where's the truth? His ex-wife is a bitch? That seems kind of subjective. Major League 3 is happening? It actually already happened, and while I don't doubt Wesley Snipes and Corbin Bernsen could use the money, is anybody in Hollywood willing to work with this guy? And would it really matter, considering every move this grotesque person makes is reported ad infinitum by the press?

Compared to the metric shit-tonnage of "news" related to the impending nuptials between Prince William and Kate Middleton, however, Sheen might as well be Ted McGinley (star of Major League 3: Back to the Minors). It's kind of surreal, really, to watch the news in the morning and see speculation about the wedding dress designer and a detailed agenda discussed before they bother to get around to that pesky nuclear disaster brewing in Japan. Which I agree is quite a downer.

And the tone of the overseas coverage, it's just so...British. The reporters over there are so incensed when a reporter makes a crack about Prince Charles helping pick the music or joking about the length of the ceremony. It's like they think marriage means nothing over here. I think Russell Brand and Katy Perry would disagree.

So my proposal is simple. Since we're so already close to achieving a kind of critical mass with regards to pop culture/celebrity reporting, let's go ahead and send Charlie Sheen to London for the wedding.

I can't even imagine the frenzy that would ensue, both over here and "across the pond." The combination of meathead-style American tabloid journalism and snotty Brit gossip coverage would eclipse everything like, well, an eclipse. Libya? Over. Fukushima? Inert. The 2012 Presidential election? A landslide...for Charlie Sheen clumsily hitting on the Queen before getting pummeled into a coma by Beefeaters.

For Houstonians, it would be like the weekend after Tropical Storm Allison, only instead of constant overhead shots of trucks swamped on I-10, it'd be 24-7 Sheen/royal wedding coverage, squeezing out any other news item not directly related to smoking cigarettes through one's nose or speculation on honeymoon locations. At that moment, the singularity would be achieved, with TMZ, Popeater and the Entertainment section of the Huffington Post finally collapsing under the weight of their own irrelevance and disappearing into a supermassive black hole of "winning" references.

The silence, however merciful, would be brief. Interrupted soon enough by news of Angelina Jolie's latest adoption or the latest Dancing with the Stars cast-offs. It's the circle of life.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar