Sometimes I love this world, and sometimes I love its anger. The righteous anger, I mean–the kind that courses through your veins and makes you want to taste blood, not in a vampire way, but in a fighting way.
That’s how I felt yesterday when WWE wrestler CM Punk challenged girlfriend-beater Chris Brown to a fight. That whole rational part of my mind that thinks that fighting is bad? Screw that. Totally trumped by the part of my brain that grew up on G.I. Joe and Superfriends and wants to see evil people suffer, and suffer painfully and loudly. It’s also how I felt when I was a teenager and my best friend was sexually assaulted. And how I felt when I was in my 20s and this girl I had a crush on was raped. I was too mad to be all philosophical and religious and think, everyone gets what’s coming, or to help them to heal, or — as Chris Brown himself encouraged us to do yesterday–to focus on the positive. (Easy to say when you’re not battered and beaten, Chris.)
But I’m not a teenage boy anymore, and what’s worrying me most isn’t the message Chris Brown is sending to young guys but the message Rihanna is sending to young girls. I mean, I love Rihanna. She can switch between badass sexy and roaringly confessional in the space of a song. She’s amazing. I don’t even know if she writes her own lyrics, but the way she sings them, it’s like she picks up your soul and chews it up and spits it on the curb.
I know I have no perspective of what’s going on–I’m not a girl, never been one, and I don’t have the perspective that comes with being a female listening to Chris Brown–but when I look at that list of young women who tweeted that Chris Brown can beat them any day, I’m not thinking of him beating up a woman and getting away with it–I’m thinking of the woman who did the same exact thing they’re saying.
I don’t know. I have no idea what’s going on in Rihanna’s head. Like I said, I’m not a woman and I’ve never been beaten. But what worries me isn’t the precedent being set by the Grammy awards and the record industry for getting behind this guy–come on, these guys award pedophiles and crackheads and child-rapists every day. I’m scared of what a guy like this would do to my sister or my daughter. But when I start to think about my sister or my daughter going back to this guy as if nothing ever happened, when he hasn’t even publicly apologized, that freaking terrified my brains out.
Once again: I don’t know what their private life is like. Maybe he did apologize, and I hope to God everything is alright between the two of them. And maybe CB is right, and I’m not being religious enough: the Talmud says to judge everyone favorably, and I’m most definitely not. But now I’m not thinking about CB and Rihanna. Now I’m thinking about those Twitter girls, the ones who say it’s okay for someone to beat them if he’s Chris Brown, because, implicitly, that’s what Chris Brown’s ex-girlfriend said, too.