I was really reluctant to do a cartoon about Chris Brown’s abuse of Rihanna. For one thing, domestic violence is not inherently funny (duh); and there is always the risk of hurting the feelings of someone who has been abused or triggering past trauma. My little comic strip may be irreverent, disrespectful to authority, blasphemous, and rude-crude-and-lude. But it should be clear to most of my readers that mocking victims of violence ain’t my shtick.
But the “national conversation,” as it were — or, really, the media-hyped blather — reached a level where I just couldn’t take it any more. I am not sure what the tipping point was. Speculation about how her beating will affect Rihanna’s career? Kanye and Mekhi circling the wagons? The complaints by some parents and teens about Rihanna reuniting with Brown? The report that some teens blame Rihanna for her abuse? (It is no surprise that these very teens are being abused themselves. Sadly.)
So, er, yeah, if I have mined any comedy gold from these horrible incidents, it is a bitter, mirthless humor. But then, my point isn’t really to make y’all laugh this time. I really hate the way these same behaviors pop up again and again. Our celebrity culture has magnified the callous, indifferent and misogynist attitudes people have toward violence against women — and were the tables turned, I doubt a male victim of abuse fare any better. I am glad Oprah and Robin Givens are trying to get some lemonade out of this situation. Hopefully it will do Rihanna some good — as well as the thousands (millions?) of obscure women in a similar situation.
UPDATE: And let’s not forget this most important line of questioning:
A more important question: “Can he learn to control his anger and not be a violent asshole?”
How low can the tabloid press go? How about rumors of a sex tape? With celebrity gossip news, there is no bottom. Or else it’s all bottom.