Don’t fuel celebrity fire

Sometimes, you simply can't help but like something. Maybe you're secretly a Selena Gomez fan or you love "American Gladiators." The fact remains that no matter what it is you like or why, the whole process is very simple.

Most of the time, you like it, you watch or listen to it and you're happy, end of story. Lately, however, whenever I sit in the Union and hear yet another of Charlie Sheen's many insane, intolerant comments filtering through the television screen, I can't help but think the issue of audience approval – "I like, therefore I watch" – is more complicated than it seems.

We live in an age where we have incredibly easy access to information. While the media may twist said information for interest's sake, it cannot be denied that the Internet, magazines and television have ensured that we are well informed, like it or not.

And that's great, for the most part – knowledge is power and there's nothing wrong with enjoying a little schadenfreude in a celebrity scandal – but it has a downside.

When Sheen finally snapped, no one could claim surprise. For nearly a decade, though, this man has been the highest-paid actor on television; he's a millionaire, and we helped give him those millions by watching his show.

I'm starting to wonder: Morally, is that all right?  Should we be willing to overlook major, disturbing character flaws within the people responsible for our entertainment just so we can keep enjoying ourselves? Or should audiences always react to celebrities' faults as they did to Tom Cruise or Mel Gibson in their moments of disgrace: with outrage so immediate that their careers effectively disintegrated under its heat?

I'm honestly asking here, because while I was never a fan of "Two and a Half Men," I have enjoyed the works of bigoted jerks; I think we all have.

In a way, I could say that it's not really our responsibility to judge. Nor, however, is it wrong to claim that there is a real difference between the creator and the creation, or to stop supporting the latter because the former seems unfair to everyone.

Jerks, after all, can be talented.

Still, our support is literally paying these people's bills, and that's too personal a connection to ignore.

We could just pirate everything from the Internet and enjoy it without paying, but that's illegal. Unfortunately, I suppose, I don't really have an answer to this issue. Consider it food for thought.