Opinion: Tragic earthquake the perfect distraction

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman

Mike Crissman is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Something big had to happen to take the huge amount of attention off Charlie Sheen for a minute. Unfortunately, that something turned out to be a huge natural disaster that has taken the lives of thousands of people.

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan on Friday, sending a tsunami across the mainland. The tidal waves and continual quakes have ravished the island, country and the lives of those who live there. The death count continues to grow as thousands have been reported missing.

The earthquake was the fifth largest since 1900. Its aftershocks have been significant and far-reaching. Japan’s worries are far from over. One of the tremors struck near a nuclear power plant Saturday, making the all-too-serious threat of a radiation leak now all but certain.

All of this tragedy has halted the constant focus the media has put on Charlie Sheen and his many exploits in recent weeks. While the actor’s simultaneous genius and insanity has been more interesting than anything else recently, it’s refreshing to see “real news” networks like CNN cover something that actually matters for a change.

Images and video of the aftermath of the tsunami and earthquake have been surreal, to say the least. It’s scary how much it resembles the fictional disasters portrayed in apocalyptic movies like “The Day After Tomorrow.” However, this isn’t Godzilla. This is real life. This is serious — something that’s hard to say about Charles Sheen.

As much as I love the guy and everything he does, I am afraid his overexposure might eventually burn out his relevance. I want him to survive and thrive through the current mess he has had to deal with. (That’s asking a lot more than the countless people who just don’t want to see him die.)

Everyone is struggling to find some good in the horrible tragedy that occurred in Japan. A temporary break from the narcissistic actor is a minor victory in an otherwise dark, disastrous week. After many, many days of following the now-unemployed man’s every word, it’s encouraging to see America suspend its fascination with him to turn to a more worthy cause. I am in no way attempting to make Charlie Sheen out as the victim; the true victims here should be apparent. Sheen doesn’t deserve anyone’s sympathy. He will continue winning, as will the resilient Japanese people.

In the wake of absolute catastrophe, it becomes much easier to identify what our priorities should be. In the wake of absolute catastrophe, it becomes much easier to identify what our priorities should be. We should concentrate less on the significant people with minor problems and more on the ordinary people with major problems. After watching the devastation in Japan, such philosophy makes much more sense.