23 July 2009

michael jackson, chris brown & raising a man

I don't often write about pop culture goings on but i had to make an exception. I usually keep such opinions to myself because I don't tend to agree with the popular opinions, but I never cared about being popular so here goes.

Michael Jackson and Chris Brown have become sort of linked in my head in the past couple weeks and it's pissing me off. more accurately, people's response to them is pissing me off. I loved Mike's music, have since childhood, but dude had obviously lost a few cogs in his mental machinery and it showed. a great deal of that undoubtedly had to do with the fact that his life was never outside of the constant, harsh scrutiny of the American public. we treat our celebrities pretty bad, basically saying that because they have a talent that we (and our children) admire they must be beyond reproach. becoming known means losing the freedom to make mistakes and that's an impossible way to live.

those who survive the American scrutiny do so by living below the radar as much as possible, often at the risk of losing their celebrity status since we only pay real attention to the scandals and dirt. Mike was a constant blip on the radar and his sanity suffered for it.

but now that he's gone the outpouring of love and devotion for him is profound! aside from the passing, light-hearted jokes most seem to have forgotten that he MAY have possibly done some horrible things to hurt children. it may have all been a big scam to get money out of a celebrity, but it may have been true. either way it seems to have been largely forgiven by the public now that he's gone.

but Chris....geez!

this young man screwed up bad! even he admits that. he's living under the same over-demanding watchful eye of the American public and he really messed up. he allegedly beat his girlfriend (another celebrity!) and now he's become as hated as Bin Laden to some folks. what's worse, the man is trying to make some sort of public apology for his mistake and we're treating him as if he's a serial killer! I've seen blog posts that wished death on him! DEATH!!

and this is his first public screw up. he's barely had a chance to be an adult and have a career and we've decided he's garbage and should be discarded. damn.

now, in no way do I condone his actions. he beat a woman and should be punished for that harshly enough to let him know that it's a behavior that WILL NOT be tolerated. but do I think he should lose his life and livelihood for it? no!

I have a 1 year old son. I am already teaching him that if he does something wrong he should apologize. he should apologize to the person he wronged and anyone else who was affected by his actions. but now I feel like our culture is saying "if you do something wrong you can try to apologize but we ain't gonna believe you and we're gonna treat you like crap henceforth!" how is that a good lesson to teach?

so many women especially are tearing this man apart and so many of them are raising men! the torrent of female anger out there right now is blazing and it's sad. It's like we're all telling our sons that because they have penises by birthright they are never allowed to err or slip, especially not against a woman, if so they will be scorned and hated forever. that sucks!

I actually know at least three men who, in their raging, hormone laden youth, raised their hand and hit a woman. it was stupid, impulsive, violent behavior and it was a mistake. two of those men are now loving husbands and fathers who have never engaged in such violent behavior again (the third I lost touch with so I can't attest to his development). if those two men had to endure the scrutiny and judgment we're raining down on Chris Brown I doubt they'd be doing so well today.

what's hurts me more is that he's so young for us to decide he's finished! we're apparently more forgiving of older men and women and their screw ups than we are of our young men. former DC mayor Marion Barry was caught on tape smoking crack and having an affair and four years later the good folks if DC re-elected him; all's forgotten. let's not mention that he recently had a woman accuse him of stalking and now he's under investigation again! Bobby and Whitney were constantly in the news for domestic issues, but i guess we forgave them both because they forgave each other...?

but Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopez (who i also loved) fought with her man publicly and eventually burned down his house! eh, no biggie. what about the popular trend of destroying a man's car if he dares to wrong a woman? who cares, it's just a car, and we're women, we're allowed to be jerk, right?

Chris Brown is being more of a man than most and is not only making some sort of effort to apologize to the woman he wronged but to everyone who will listen. is he sincere, I have no idea, and neither do you. unless you're an expert in body language and lie detection, you have no clue as to his sincerity, just biased speculation. is he reading from a TelePrompTer on his video apology; I HOPE SO!! any intelligent individual with something important to say, that's going to be on the Internet for the world to see for decades to come, should write it down so that they are clear, articulate, and they can be sure their point gets across. Barack Obama reads from a TelePrompTer, George W. Bush did not. do you get it? does reading a speech make it less sincere than making it up as you go along? no, it just makes it clearer and lessens the chance of the person sounding like the bumbling idiot that George W. always sounded like.

slowly, over the course if 50 years, Michael Jackson lost himself and drowned in the shallow pool of the American eye, and now we're holding Chris Brown's head under water while he flails and gasps for air.

I'm at home still telling my son "say you're sorry for hitting your friend." what are you telling your sons?