If you haven’t already noticed, our country is exhibiting a shocking love affair with celebrities, some worthy, but in many cases the individuals are totally dysfunctional human beings. This commentary addresses two very different concerns.
First is the excessive compensation being awarded in the entertainment industry. As an example it was reported this last week at TV Week.com that “Two and a Half Men” cast member Angus T. Jones, who plays Jake, will collect $300,000 per episode for the next two seasons. With a 26 episode season that will bring this 17 year old actor at least $7.8 million next year, and that does not include the half-million dollar signing bonus he received. If the production company shoots 48 episodes over the two year term, Jones will be paid $14.4 million for his efforts. And this does not count the residual payments he receives from the reruns telecast on stations across the country.
Now I do not know Angus to be anything but a normal young actor, but the pay levels being granted to some Hollywood actors are becoming totally beyond the level of logical compensation. At least Angus has not been arrested to my knowledge. Yes, I know that some programs bring vast financial returns if they achieve rating success, but I believe many salary levels are getting out of hand.
The second point refers to propriety. While I recognize that I am a prudish conservative capitalist, the entertainment industry is tossing millions at some individuals who have a difficult time getting to the studio on time, because they lead such dysfunctional lives. Charlie Sheen, the star of Two and A Half Men, is a perfect example. He is over-compensated as well at a shocking $1.2 million per episode! Based upon his “bad boy” conduct, especially toward women, he should be in jail, but since he is a rich “HAVE,” he can afford high-priced attorneys to get him out of jams nearly scot-free with slaps on the wrist.
The likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan should be serving time too, but they continue to get front page praise by a distorted, fawning press.
I am certain the Emily Post is turning over in her grave based upon today’s program content. The Wall Street Journal writer Steve Moore’s comment about government applies to this celebrity adulation when he wrote, “We reward vice and punish virtue.” Apparently crude behavior, bad taste, and excess are now in vogue.
I have no ax to grind against Angus, because if some dam-fool wanted to pay me more than $14 million over two years, I suppose I would take it, do what I'm told, and go quietly; but I believe we have a misplaced sense of just what is important in this crazy world. Maybe I am just becoming a complaining old curmudgeon. What happened to civility? You decide.