Monday, March 07, 2011

What is the sound of one invisible hand clapping?

I know it’s still early but I don’t think we have to look much further for the obvious headline of the month.  From the New York Times I give you: 

Sheen Is Surrounded by a Coterie of Enablers

While bad behavior by star performers is tolerated in a number of industries — sports and high fashion, for example — Hollywood has a longer public history of aiding and abetting addicts. Doctors employed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer famously gave Judy Garland amphetamines and other drugs to combat fatigue and control her weight, setting up a life-long battle with drug addiction that she ultimately lost.

In the case of a crack-smoking, prostitute-frequenting Mr. Sheen, many people in Hollywood say there is a long list of enablers: managers and agents and publicists; a coterie of assistants and party buddies; prostitutes, drug dealers and sex film stars; and the tabloid media, which have fed on Mr. Sheen’s antics for years.

Really?  I never would have guessed that Charlie Sheen had a problem, much less that all the people sucking money off of him might not want him to change his behavior.

I don’t know if you have read Freakanomics or seen the movie, but I am reminded of the discussion of incentives

In this case the incentive for Sheen is attention.  CBS tried to change his behavior by removing his platform for attention.  Sheen broke their incentive scheme by becoming more outrageous and garnering attention in a different manner.  Somewhere a Zen Master has asked, “What is the sound of one invisible hand clapping?”  The answer is Charlie Sheen saying, “I’m an F-18 bro”.

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