Missing the Point on Chris Brown (Again)

God, Chris Brown is such an asshole, it really is exhausting to watch. I’ve sworn off talking about him at least twice now, but then he goes and does something so terrible, again, that I simply CANNOT refrain from saying one thing more. Because Chris Brown isn’t just a plain old bad guy, he’s a guy who is bad in ways that are very illustrative of what’s complicated about batterers, and what’s wrong with the way we respond to them. So let’s discuss Brown’s new neck tattoo, and how a lot of people who’ve been talking about it seem to be missing the point.
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Chris Brown and the Uses of Compassion

Welcome back, Chris Brown! Honestly, I thought we’d finished with you when you completed your entirely inadequate community service sentence for 1. beating Rihanna to a pulp and 2. repeatedly demonstrating that you had no real understanding of, let alone remorse for, what you’d done. Though the story’s ending was unsatisfying, I was just glad when it was over. But then you went on GMA and got asked a couple of totally softball questions about your lady-smacking ways, and you threw a tantrum, and broke a mirror, and also ripped your shirt off because sometimes, when The Man is keeping you down, the only thing left to do is show him your pecs. So much for the anger management classes, and hey, good to know you don’t limit your violent outbursts to women you’re dating. Female morning show anchors: check yourselves.
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We Don’t Know Jack

And we don’t know Charlie, either. Or Mel, or Chris, or Mike, or any of the host of public figures whose Wikipedia entries contain the footnote *Also likes to beat up women he’s sleeping with. Once you start looking, you see the landscape is littered with famous abusers. And while we often know more than we care to about the details of their freak-outs and rage benders, what we don’t seem to know is what the hell is wrong with them. And that strikes me as kind of important information to have, if we want to prevent them from being violent. [Read more...]