Hey, have you guys heard? Chris Brown is a screwed up guy who did some terrible things.
Oh, you agree? You're sick of hearing about it? Good, we're starting on the same page. But I'm afraid a lot of people have yet to join us on the other side, and I want us to...not talk about it.
It seemed like the world stopped when Chris Brown knocked the hell out of Rihanna in 2009. A handsome young star with a good image and a repertoire of songs that soccer moms didn't mind their kids gyrating to, Brown suddenly embodied the violence that was more indicative of the real-world grit that parents are eager to keep their little ones away from -- the kind of grit that happens every single day in the bedrooms of normal people, people who make big, horrible mistakes.
Not to trivialize his assault on Rihanna, but average people, not just monsters, can get angry and violent and lash out at the people they love. Speaking from experience as one of the many women who's been knocked around during a fight with a romantic partner, it's a horrible and traumatic experience, but people can, and do change.
But it doesn't seem like Chris Brown is at the point where he feels like he has to, as evidenced by pretty much everything he does. I wish everybody -- pundits, tabloids, comedians and civilians -- would just ignore him for a while so he can stop degenerating into what Sasha Frere Jones so appropriately called an "overload" of "woman beating rage broccoli."
This is somebody who can't be in a sad, "Where Are They Now?" feature fast enough. Do you know how famous get people to be forgotten (aside from smoking OxyContin and having their parents drain their accounts)? The public turns its back, movie studios and record companies soon follow suit, and soon enough, they stop being celebrities.
When audiences turn against a star -- and I mean really, shitty-ex-boyfriend-who-I'm-unfriending-on-Facebook-and-maybe-I-already-put-my-foot-through-your-bongos turn against -- they don't sell as many albums, book as many magazine covers, or get hired to appear at awards shows. So let's give Chris Brown the official breakup he deserves and stop giving him the attention he so obviously craves, or interprets as evidence that he's a relevant human being.
Stars, much like millions of non-famouses, have been beating up their spouses forever, but for whatever reason, Chris Brown's attack stuck in the minds of the public. It stuck in a way that Charlie Sheen shooting Kelly Preston didn't. Perhaps because he's become a nightmarish stereotype conceived by ignorant old racists: a violent young black man who makes enough money off of young people to make his problems go away.
Many years after his assault on Rihanna, who is back to letting him get her cake-cake-cake-cake-cake-cake (at least professionally), other celebrities, whose words only serve as free publicity for the singer, are still loudly voicing their opinions of the star. None of this helps -- it's a case of Bad Attention begetting Bad Attention.
Hot on the heels of Miranda Lambert's warning to Brown at the Grammys, wrestler CM Punk tweeted, "I would like @chrisbrown [to] fight somebody that can defend themselves. Me curb stomping that turd would be a #wrestlemaniamoment," sparking yet another highly publicized Twitter war for the singer. I propose that in the future, instead of putting him on the front page of every website every time he throws a chair through a window or spends a day on the beach screaming at seagulls (seriously, WTF?), we turn a blind eye.
When a child is throwing a tantrum or dropping the f-bomb, rather than making a big deal of it, we remain calm so as not to reinforce the idea that negative behavior is a means of getting noticed (and yes, I see the irony in calling attention to Brown in this article while asking others to stop).
I'm not suggesting you burn his records in the town square. I'm suggesting you do what you do in any relationship where there's no more good to be had from talking: cut ties. We need to do whatever the equivalent of deleting his number and un-friending him on Facebook are. This is not somebody that we can stay "friends" with.
While there's always the desire to watch a train wreck or even speak badly of an ex, it's better and actually more satisfying in the long run, to refrain.
If Chris Brown is an abuser with serious anger issues, nobody should condone that behavior. However, continually giving him new attention for each violent outburst isn't going to make him a better or less angry person.
So let's drop that dead weight and instead, focus on finding someone to fill the space in our heart that made us feel like Molly Ringwald kissing Jake Ryan the first time we heard "With You." Maybe somebody who is musically talented and handsome who is really, really nice to women.