Budimir Zdravkovic

PhD student in biochemistry/cancer biology,


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The Nature of Charlie Sheen

He seems to be quite the phenomenon. He was one of those celebrities who I never paid much attention to after the movie Hot Shots. But suddenly the media and Internet experienced a Charlie Sheen boom. People are even gladly investing their musical talents to make songs and remixes of his interview. If internet lulz had any credible money value I project these people would lead America out of an economic crisis.

But the question is does the media create these characters we want to see has journalism become a a form of theater and drama that creates artificial stories, Charlie Sheen could be doing this for publicity, he is certainly an actor and he can convince us that he is out of his mind. Another phenomenon is Glen Beck, who simply can't be that crazy, or Paris Hilton who may not be the spoiled superficial brat we all believe her to be but who simply conforms to the expectations of her viewers.

Now these are trivial cases of course, whether Paris Hilton is a brat or not will not cure cancer. The Hilton family has provided humanity with plenty of hotel rooms, without them the worst that could happen is that young people might not lose their virginity on prom night. With Glenn Beck no one takes him seriously anyway.

But could the medias potential to fabricate stories turn out to have more severe consequences, can we know what truly happens when we are fighting a war overseas or engaging in international affairs, did this fabrication of reality play a role in the atrocities in Iraq?

  • Mar 23 2011: Two comments:

    Nobody takes Glen Beck seriously? If you really believe that, you are in for a rude surprise.

    Re Sheen, my local paper had an amusing editorial cartoon the other day that showed Gadaffi watching TV, saying "This Charlie Sheen is totally nuts."
  • Apr 2 2011: Perhaps the modern Nero is playing the fiddle why LA burns?

    PS Lindsay Lohan now wants to be known as "Lindsay".
  • Mar 23 2011: his nonsequitars cant be fake (i mean its hard to fake it) i have borderline personality disorder so i know how he feels kind of, but its definitely used to distract people but so is everything? why point out this one instance?
  • Mar 21 2011: Charlie Sheen and Paris Hilton are but insignificant specs when compared to the importance of Lindsay Lohan!

    How could you all not see that?
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    Mar 21 2011: Two videos for reference:
    Manufacturing Consent (about Chomsky)
    The Panama Deception (about Bush I managing the media before the Panama invasion)

    So Budimir, do you think the Charlie Sheens and Paris Hiltons are being purposely promoted to distract the public from the man behind the curtain? Or are people in general just entertained by these types?
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      Mar 22 2011: Manufacturing consent is great.

      I think that these personas certainly occupy people with thoughtless entertainment but they are playing their part because that's what people want to see. They entertain some aspect of the unconscious fantasy I would assume that is deeply rooted in our current cultural practices. Youth culture in general from my observation doesn't stand for anything anymore. Before art, music, literature even fashion, things youth culture tends to embrace was deeply connected and even inter wined with politics and philosophy. These days all of that is replaced by obscurely defined products that tend to produce impressions rather than ideas. The exotic and outrageous is the greater driving force of consumption than the intellectually sound.
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          Mar 22 2011: Those musicians and authors are a distant and remarkable memory. I don't think I will see another musician pull off what Bob Dylan and Kurt Cobain did, I listen to all kinds of music but I primarily listen to punk rock from 70s, 80s and 90s. As a young kid it's really what inspired me and grounded me as an individual. Gave me self confidence and trust.

          With regard to writing that's what I initially wanted to do. I wanted to go into creative writing and be a writer, but I quickly figured out that if I wanna make a living out of it I could never determine the content of my writing. I have to sell what people want to read. Most popular novels really don't appeal to me and I really like experimenting with writing. So I decided to go into science professionally and write in my spare time.
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      Mar 26 2011: Hey Tim, in response to your question:


      ten strategies for controlling the masses. Its in french.
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    Mar 21 2011: Interesting topic you have raised. I, for one, am constantly baffled by what we are subjected to in the news. In the UK we fortunate enough to have the BBC which, to its credit, provides a fairly impartial insight into current affairs.

    On a slightly different note, I can't help but find the coverage of Libya anti aircraft strikes slightly distasteful. The invention of 24/7 news seems to have placed a requirement on the broadcasters to make war into this exciting 'anything could happen' event, where you can watch planes taking off, live; and if you're particularly lucky you can watch looped footage of a missile exploding with staggering consequences! The sad reality is that war is often complex, and its not just a case of goddies and baddies. Inevitably, it is always going to be the innocent civilians who suffer.
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      Mar 22 2011: Yeah it's great to find someone who can see both sides of the story. If you watch war movies in the cinema and so on, every American war film I've seen is incredibly even sickeningly patriotic, separating the good from the bad. While European war movies tend to place emphasis on the tragedy of war rather than the heroism. This in itself is a kind of propaganda not to mention the bombing of civilian targets the strangulation of resources and support of terrorist regimes all of which America has partaken at some point.
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      Mar 21 2011: only we have to summarize and clarify what is the message of sheen's lifestyle. we can't really rely on his own words, as the recent psychosis makes his speech rather ... hard to follow.
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      Mar 22 2011: Thanks for the sarcasm. ;-)

      But yeah I felt like making an unorthodox thread. I am glad it actually received replies though.
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          Mar 22 2011: Haha, I actually get most of my news from Jon Stuart (Daily Show) and Stephen Colbert (Colbert Report.).

          Both Comedians.

          I have some general suggestions.

          I think making broadcasting completely independent of corporate structures might help.

          I think getting a wider range of intellectuals on television also might help, the ones that currently appear in mainstream politics tend to be individuals who are sponsored by the bi partisan system. You more or less get two points of view which don't differ much in areas that I think are truly crucial in global political development.
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    Mar 21 2011: ?
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    Mar 21 2011: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooBOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooo!

    I REALLY hate to even see that name here on TED conversations. The real question should be why is he never held accountable for his documented abuse against women?
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      Mar 22 2011: I wish I knew. Like I said I haven't paid attention to him since Hot Shots.