He's trending on twitter, he's one of the most popular searches on google, and his story is one of the "top clicks" on the ABC News website. Charlie Sheen has lost his job and -- at least for the moment -- his kids. But he's never been bigger.
I'm not asking, "Is this news?" It's not news in the "capital J" journalism sense, though as long as it's on television, it seems to fit Merriam Webster's definition (see #2a). It's happening and people are talking about it. See the examples above or check your facebook newsfeed. Heck, just say "How about that Charlie Sheen?" when you're in line at the grocery store - you'll get a reaction.
What I want to know is why many people love stories like this so much. Do we like to see famous people fail spectacularly? The Lindsay Lohan saga has been a well-publicized and popular mess. How big has the Tiger Woods story been? We love when a star is born, but we seem to love it more when a star flames out. I guess there's always the possibility of a heart-warming comeback story. America loves a good comeback.
In the Huffington Post today, Jeff Jarvis says argues that Sheen is different than those other celebs. He says Sheen is mentally ill and the media is exploiting him.
To be honest, I don't know who's exploiting who right now. But I don't disagree with Jarvis when he says Charlie Sheen needs help. Let's hope he gets it -- for himself and for his children. And let's not miss an opportunity to use this nearly inescapable story as a "teachable moment" for our own children. Have you been looking for a way to start the "drugs are bad" discussion?
Today's title: Mr. Heidi Klum's version