News+Opinion » Chris Haire

We are all drunk on tiger's blood

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It was one of those strange days.

The kind when you feel like maybe there's something truly weird going on.

The kind that makes you wonder if a coincidence is not always just a coincidence.

The kind that makes you wonder if life is something other than a snuff film, that it's a stand-up routine and somebody somewhere is busy scribbling jokes and our lives are the punch lines.

As we were proofing the final pages of the annual Best of Charleston issue, we noticed an ad announcing that Days of the New was coming to town.

Maybe you remember them, maybe you don't.

They were hacks of the first order. Hell, they were out-and-out thieves who took the essence of all that was grunge and ran it through a pop-friendly acoustic sieve and out trickled radio-ready pablum, devoid of meaning and substance.

"Touch, Peel, and Stand," "The Down Town," and "Shelf in the Room." You know the tunes. Or at least you did at the time.

Now, Days of the New has been forgotten. And rightfully so.

And while their hackery played some part in this, so did the ongoing trials and tribulations of the band's frontman and principle songwriter Travis Meeks.

Meeks is a recovering meth addict, whose most recent claim to fame was appearing on an episode of Intervention.

But now he's back on tour, and, last week, he and his band were scheduled to be in town. And Mike Starr, former bassist for Alice in Chains, was to join him on stage.

Like Meeks, Starr brought his troubles to TV, appearing on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Last month, Starr was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance.

Now, we thought this was a curious pairing, a former meth addict and an opiate fiend who was recently arrested for possession. Surely, this was a sign that all was not well with the two.

It doesn't matter now. Mike Starr is dead. His body was found in his Salt Lake City home last week. At the time, the cause of death was unknown.

And apparently, not all is well at the Celebrity Rehab house.

Last week, the police were reportedly called to the treatment facility. One of this year's stars, actress Bai Ling, was on the roof of the center. While TMZ reports that a police presence was not necessary, the fact that someone called the police to assist her is of note.

Meanwhile, it appears that at least one member of the Celebrity Rehab cast isn't what she claimed to be.

Perhaps you remember Michaele Salahi, a current cast member of The Real Housewives of D.C. Previously, Salahi and her husband were most famous for sneaking into the White House uninvited. Well, now word is out that Salahi has been kicked off the show. Why? Apparently, she's not a junkie, or so claims TMZ.

Sigh.

And then there is tiger's blood-drinking Charlie Sheen.

At first, Sheen's appearances on TV were startling. In fact, they were almost exhilarating for their full-on weirdness and shock value.

But now the shock has worn off, and the sad truth of the matter is that, well, it's all just kind of sad. We are watching a man come undone before our very eyes. And not only that, but it increasingly seems as if Sheen is heading down a road where there are only two options before him: Death, live and streaming to you on the internet, or a 24/7 feed of Sheen getting clean — the fevers, the shakes, the nausea, the temporary dementia.

And that is the story in the age of junkie chic that is all too briefly told. We revel in the excess, the tragedy, the bumbling, stumbling moments of stupidity, but we don't see the long painful recovering.

The truth of the matter is we don't want Travis Meeks or Bai Ling or Charlie Sheen to recover, at least not while the cameras are rolling and they are still finding new and novel ways to humiliate themselves for our amusement.

The blood is on our hands.

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