Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Beat Degeneration

I'll make this quick, then slip back beneath the calm waters of my self-imposed exile from reality:

Rihanna doesn't need your fucking "advice."

The couple of times I've glanced at the TV over the past 24-hours, I've been unfortunate enough to find the familiar faces of abusive relationships from news cycles past, resurfacing to throw in their two cents about the whole Rihanna-Chris Brown thing. I'm talking about a veritable hit parade of relevancy-resurrectional opportunism consisting of the likes of Denise Simpson, Robin Givens and, of course, America's expert on every form of human experience, Oprah.

These people have come out of the woodwork to offer their enlightened opinions on why Rihanna might unwisely fall back into the arms of a guy with an apparently wicked backhand, and how she's just going to wind up enduring more physical and emotional abuse if she does ("girlfriend").

The subject of domestic abuse is a very serious one, which is why it shouldn't under any circumstances be dumbed-down and put up for a national debate among the pop culture punditocracy. Oprah has nothing worthwhile to add to the discussion -- neither does Robin Fucking Givens nor anyone else whose only qualifications are that his or her own story of abuse once pruriently titillated the public. These are merely people who glommed onto this latest macabre spectacle for the sake of their own self-interest. Some took the initiative of throwing their own names into the hat of self-appointed professionals; others just happened to be the most obvious choices of the sorts of overworked (but ultimately lazy) news bookers who tend to leap down the path of least resistance when it comes time to find a way to further a story and kill five minutes of air time.

Once again, domestic abuse is a serious subject.

Which is why you shouldn't give a crap what someone who's already proven him or herself to be little more than an attention junkie has to say about it.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Domestic abuse may be a serious subject, but it's also by and large a simple one. There is almost NO reason for either person in a relationship to resort to any form of physical violence against the other (We'll leave stinging slaps of indignation as acceptable, although requiring apology later), so the most common (and almost always right) advice is always, "Leave that person."

This isn't rocket science. Serious or not, it's not complex. Violence happens, and so it's time for the relationship to end.

Also, I can't help but wonder if there's some kind of money incentive behind Rihanna and Chris Brown getting "back together", either just for this rumored duet, or for longer. We'll see if she's a moron, I guess.

Lily's Mommy said...

It is very serious. I think the reason so many people are weighing in on this, is because she's supposed to be a role model. How she deals with this could affect how thousands of other young women deal with their abusers. Or it could be a crock of shit. I'm not really sure.

At least it has people talking about it and hopefully some parents will be inspired to tell their daughters (and sons) that they don't need to take abuse to be loved. Or something. I never got that conversation but I did get a busted mouth from my dad once, which made me swear that if another motherfucker laid a hand on me, it would be the last thing he did.

So far that's worked out really well. :)

Miss C said...

Word. My only comment when people start talking about is "She's a 19 year old girl who you don't know in real life. NINETEEN. Let her be."

Benoit from Ottawa said...

You're so right. *Everybody's smart, these days* -- a tyranny of the masses...

Besides, there's a basic rule of thumb that everyone seems to forget: free advice is worth every penny paid for it.

I think, to widen this subject to webby opinions in general, that a lot of people fail to recognise the limits of their knowledge and experience -- an frequent limiting factor being their doubtful applicability to people they don't know very well.

And when you don't realise your own ignorance (after all people listen to you raptly), you lose that self-doubt that so very useful in knowing when to STFU.


Amanda said...

Oh my god. I can't agree with this more. It infuriates me that people, like Oprah, are publically giving "advice" through mediums like tv, etc.

Someone like Oprah could snap her fingers and have Rihanna's personal phone number in a second. If she really cared about Rihanna wouldn't she just CALL her? Not smother it all over her media empire

Tania said...

I agree, they should STFU. About everything, actually. I'm sick of hearing these kinds of people give their 'informed opinion' on everything that comes down the pike!
Damn right it's a serious subject.

Deacon Blue said...

For better or worse, I think it can potentially be an important springboard to discussions about abuse, what consitutes abuse, forgiving vs. leaving, etc.

But that makes it a good topic for coverage in discussion boards and blogs, where there is back and forth.

In the mainstream media, you are right, Chez: It's just a feeding frenzy.

Brite said...

Well said and unfortunately true. But... I once heard Gloria Steinem say something about how we take baby steps enacting social change, the phrase domestic abuse simply didn't exist in the popular vernacular 40 years ago.
So even if the 'punditocracy' is ineptly and assvicedly talking about domestic abuse, at least we're talking about it, which is the first teeny tiny baby step to changing it.

namron said...

Ooooh! Chez, your getting back to the old "fuck-you-and-the-horse-you rode-in-on" with this post. We like it!

Anonymous said...


Disclosure 1: I have watched really bad TV and not always been aware that it was bad.
Disclosure 2: I have called people (including celebrities) names and don't plan to stop.

IF we can discount the attention-hogging media whore factor here...and it's hard...maybe Oprah and her ilk are providing information to people who haven't had all the advantages of good genes, a decent education, or the favored longitude and latitude on the sphere.

It would seem that if we hold ourselves to be some of the more clever bees in the hive, we might understand how little we understand about the values and needs of the other bees outside our own circle.

As history illustrates, ideas are adopted by the masses for many reasons, some of which don't hold much truck with reasoned intelligence. Intransigence about our own sacred beliefs would seem to support the notion that a dumb know-it-all is just as fucking irritating and as influential as a smart know-it-all.

Shannon (Sherman to your Mr. Peabody)

kanye said...

Marxman--All About Eve

Anonymous said...


Now back to reading. I only read the first couple lines and felt compelled to say something immediately.

leovil said...

Heard on the radio this morning that, the police report read she beat him up first for having a 'sexual relationship' with his 40 year old manager, before he answered back.

lakelady said...

you know Chez I certainly hope Inara never has to deal with such abuse. Heaven forbid that she might get some insight from someone in the media if she does. Oh, and following your logic don't you dare offer advice to anyone who has a drug addiction or serious medical issue. Cause you know people who've lived through it have absolutely nothing to offer to strangers.

Look at your daughter, look in the mirror and think again about what you just said. Wouldn't you want her to get support in such a devastating situation from anywhere she found it?


glad you've been enjoying the sunny beaches and taking a much needed break. Looking forward to your return.

Anonymous said...

Having been in the same situation as Rihanna when I was her age I can honestly say that she isn't actually listening to anybody's advice anyway. He's probably convinced her he will kill himself if she leaves him, and besides, she's "in love."

The statistics on domestic abuse say 1 in 4 women have been abused. Well, I work in an office of 4 women, and 2 of us have been in abusive relationships. It's a lot more common than 1 in 4. Some of us just never talk about it.

I am not Star Jones said...

Another episode of Pundit Pimping. Sigh.

Figgylicious said...

These vultures will feed on ANYTHING to make a splash. Anything. Fuck Oprah. Feed her to the vultures.

Bill White said...

I don't have much to say here Chez other than I treat Delores like a prize. I would never lay a hand on her. She serves me as I provide life's necessites for her, Dale and Kyle.
I thought I would throw those two cents in there. Now I have to get back to watching "Stroke Ace" on VHS. This thing is hilarious Chez. Did you know that Gomer Pyle is in this? And I love Loni Anderson. I gotta go, the front of my pants are getting uncomfortable.

Jerry said...

Well if it's any consolation, the tabloids over on this side of the atlantic are giving us a blow by blow account of the impending death of a person who is famous because she didn't win a reality tv show, Jade Goody. The British PM went so far as to relax the terms of his curfew condition. So she can have a wedding that's earning them £1m in magazine and broadcast rights.

If it wasn't for the increase in the coverage for cervical cancer that this is drumming up it would be pure unabashed snuff reporting.

Deacon Blue said...

@ Lakelady,

Far be it from me to answer for Chez, but he's still getting acclimated back to chilly New York, so what the fuck, I'll answer for him...

I don't think the point is that the media cannot be a good outlet for information on domestic violence, but rather that they are turning it into a celebrity freakshow/chance to get attention for themselves on the back of someone else.

Do we need a celebrity DV case to inspire coverage of the issue? Seems so, because most of the folks covering this and offering advice probably wouldn't have covered DV any time soon otherwise.

There is also the aspect Chez mentioned about offering advice from the outside looking in. Plenty of people with no direct connection to Rhianna or Chris Brown are giving a couple of peopel they don't know (or barely know) and with no idea of the dynamics.

Again, media whoredom at work...getting THEMSELVES out there instead of giving the DV issue the seriousness it deserves.

You know, just in case it wasn't clear after Chez said a couple times that this is "a serious subject"

ian in hamburg said...

And then there are the bloggers whose smear stains the front page of the page with bullshit posts about how women get dripping wet when they're getting the tar whaled out of them by their alpha dominant mates. Google roissy in dc cuz I refuse to drop a link to such trash.

Anonymous said...

I really like your The The reference.

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Is Rhianna someone people 'look up to'? Get out of town!

If people stopped elevating insipid celebrities (including that self-righteous dipstick Oprah) to God-like status then the world would be a much better place to live.

Anonymous said...

"relevancy-resurrectional opportunism"?

Are you aware that there are 13 syllables in that? And more than 2 inches of typespace?

Stop the violence, please. Love the language.

Chez said...

Blow me.

That terse enough for you?

memphisto said...

Chez, I've loved your blog for over a year. Long time listener, first time caller.

But your last reply makes me think that you are confusing your hatred of Oprah with the fact that women constantly find themselves in these situations and don't do the one thing that they can to help themselves without a huge amount of support. I don't give a damn who tells a woman to leave such a relationship, as long as it helps them to make the only sensible decision and leave, it's a good thing.

But I had this discussion on another blog and was shocked at how many "feminists" made excuses for a woman not being able to take control of her own life and just walk out on the SOB. The idea that women can't be expected to be reasonable is so ingrained in society that even "women's rights activists" often can't see when they are arguing that women are just adult children and expecting them to do something to save their own lives is unfair in some way.

Whoever asked you about your response to Inara being in this situation hit the nail. When that day comes you'll be kissing Oprah's sphincter if she is the one that finally convinces your daughter to hit the door.

Chez said...

Memphisto --

Thanks for the comment and for reading. Your point's taken and is certainly fair, but my problem with Oprah's brand of unsolicited self-help -- or just about any of the quasi-celebrity pontificating on this or any other news event -- is that it isn't the least bit genuinely altruistic. Amanda made the perfect point: If Oprah truly cared about Rihanna's safety and only Rihanna's safety -- and wasn't interested in generating the media coverage for herself that she damn well knew would follow -- she'd have offered her advice quietly. But that's Oprah -- all bombastic philanthropy, which to me indicates that she's not half as interested in helping someone as she is in being seen helping someone. My issue is that she pulls this sort of crap constantly and gets away with it because everyone figures, as you said, that the end justifies the means.

I agree completely that maybe the opinion of someone in the public eye might do some good in a situation like this, but you can't tell me there isn't something wholly infuriating about the amount of obvious solipsism involved in the supposedly benevolent celebrity pile-on we've seen during the past week or so.

By the way, just for the record: I don't look for reasons to criticize Oprah simply because I'm not a fan; I'm not a fan of Oprah because she pulls these kinds of publicity stunts disguised as genuine concern for others.

lakelady said...

the thing is none of us can know whether or not Oprah, or any of the other celebrities on this band wagon, have made private personal calls to the parties involved. Cause if they did it wouldn't be private would it. Consider the possibility that both have been done - private calls and using a media platform to address the issue of relationship violence.

Chez said...

Who cares whether or not private overtures were made when they were definitely made publicly?

And incidentally, I try not to be so presumptuous as to counsel people on addiction, medical conditions, or just about anything else. My experience may have little bearing on anyone else's. I'm more than happy to tell my story and if you glean something positive or worthwhile from it, then I'm glad -- but I'm not sure it's ever been my intention to help people from the outset. (Call me a jerk if you'd like.)