I don’t really like Charlie Sheen that much — that’s the first thing I have to admit. I applied to his internship because it was something funny to tweet about in the week that everybody seemed to go Sheen-crazy. Little did I know that I would make it to the second round of the competition to be his #TigerBloodIntern. When I filled out my resume for round two, I assumed they would disqualify me after they saw that I interned for the Village Voice, what with our Twitter campaign against Sheen and all. But I received an email soon after congratulating me on making it to round three. I was one of 250 people out of the initial 8,000 or so to make it. Oh, God — they loved me!
The email asked me to make a YouTube video answering one out of three questions.
Before I made my video, I figured I’d take a look at the competition. There was the master graduate, the guy who whored out his YouTube celebrity friends, the proto-douche, the guy who says that he “moved to L.A. from Australia for the job,” and even the girl who made it all the way onto CNN.
I watched over 50 videos. The majority of the entries were rambling speeches recorded in single takes on iSight webcams. They resembled those Facebook videos that come up in your Newsfeed every night around 1 a.m. — long-winded, whiny, never interesting, and almost always too personal to be shared in public. Kinda like…Sheen’s Korner.
But in the end, it wasn’t the low production values and famewhoring that made me realize I just couldn’t do it. It was videos like Nancy Brown’s:
Brown describes herself as “a social media expert.” Seeing her explain how she would “advise a candidate to use social media to leverage his campaign” made me realize the true problem with this whole celebrity internship business. Shouldn’t Brown be working on a real election campaign, or maybe even for some greater good — instead of competing to win the honor of helping an unemployed actor tweet pictures of himself and “the goddesses” more effectively?
Interns are not a subhuman group that should be employed to do anything at the behest of the company — often for no pay (or for credit that the intern has to pay for). From Gawker to Ghostface Killah, people’s first steps into the working world are becoming a joke.
I’m not trying to say that interns should be heralded with major respect — they are just starting out, after all. But as someone who’s in the “internship age,” I was disturbed to see older people bending over backward to abandon their current jobs to start all over at the bottom of the ladder just to hang with a celebrity. Interns should be wondering how we can break the cycle of the cheap labor trap and get real jobs — not how we should help the “online presence” of a guy like Charlie Sheen.
So, I never made the round three video and won’t be working for Mr. Sheen this summer, but I’ve sent out my clips to a bunch of other places and I’m waiting to hear back. Maybe I don’t have “Adonis DNA” in me, but I do have some moral fiber — I hope that will prove more beneficial to my career than professionally tweeting for a celebrity.
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