Standing in line yesterday waiting for my morning bagel with cream cheese, I looked over to see the cover of the New York Post and was horrified. Literally horrified. And right now I’m alternating between seething anger and regretful appreciation. So let’s divide and conquer.
We’ve all heard about the, to use his words, “incident” between Chris Brown and Rihanna, two very high profile pop stars who have been dating for a while. Although the gossip mill spouts different details, the matter is that Chris Brown, age 19, beat the shit out of Rihanna a few weeks ago. Both of them have been MIA in the public realm since this occurred, although Brown issued the most bullshit public “apology” I have ever seen, never mentioning Rihanna by name, saying, “Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened I am over what transpired.” Transpired?! You beat her face in, you asshole! So all of this has been swirling around the tabloids with rumors over what exactly happened and how bad it really was.
Then on Thursday TMZ, the LA-based paparazzi-stalking media-whore site without a soul, somehow obtained the LAPD picture of Rihanna’s injuries. [eta: apparently they paid for the picture to the tune of $62,500.) The picture shows Rihanna’s swollen and bruised face, with contusions on her forehead, her lips puffed beyond recognition. As the LAPD vowed to investigate how the picture was leaked, it quickly made the rounds on multiple gossip blogs before showing up on the cover of the New York Post yesterday morning, which happened to be Rihanna’s 21st birthday. Celebrations indeed.
So here I am, alternating between seething anger and regretful appreciation.
I’m pissed. I am so pissed that TMZ would find and post this picture and that the New York Post would plaster it on the cover (then again I shouldn’t be that surprised since the Post fuckers used the headline “Chris Brown Apology Lacks ‘Punch'” only five days ago.) Is there no privacy or empathy anymore? First of all, imagine the physical pain Rihanna went through at the hands of a supposed loved one. Next imagine the emotional pain. Next imagine looking at yourself in the mirror and being unable to recognize yourself through the blood and the bruises and the tears. Next imagine wiping the blood away, shutting your eyes, and letting a policeman take your picture. And now that picture is on the front page. How could they do that? This is a person, a real person, whose life is now being paraded, pitied and made a victim in the public realm, in a world where this paper trail will follow her for the rest of her life and the incident will be mentioned in some form in every story of her to follow. And she asked for none of this. Nor does she deserve it. So to put her bruised picture on the front page? This lacks class, tact, empathy, and a soul.
And yet on the other hand I have regretful appreciation. Of course I hate that this happened to her. Partner violence is an issue that has personally hit close to home before and so my heart aches knowing all too well. But the fact that this picture is out there, that it is getting widespread attention—perhaps this is a good thing. Because maybe it will open up discussion. Partner violence should never happen, but even now in the new millennium it still occurs. Chris Brown, previously such a squeaky-clean golden boy, should be dragged through the public mud like the dog he is. And hopefully the media backlash will remind men and women that this kind of behavior is never acceptable and should never ever happen.
I hope this ruins Chris Brown’s career. And I hope people take notice.
But more than that I hope that this young woman is okay. Because even though this happened to a “somebody,” this reminds us that it can and does happen to anybody. And that’s, to put it bluntly, fucked up.