i don’t appreciate a lot about modern pop music (i suppose a “whatever that term means” belong here), and especially not modern R&B, which i generally believe died around the time Marvin Gay, Sr shot his son for the unforgivable crime of “making all those phenomenal records.” but i have to admit there is one current artist that i have learned to appreciate: Chris Brown. not because he’s good at making records, because he’s not, but because his completely reprehensible behavior allows me to judge just how far we, as a society in America, have fallen. by my count, there’s been at LEAST 13 things that should be affecting his current success… and yet this does not seem to be the case.
granted, we do love to cut our artists and athletes and the like slack when it comes to their indiscretions on the grounds that what they produce is so worthwhile or because they represent the team we root for. for whatever reason (likely the fact that his audience is largely female and has seen… generous naked photos of him), Chris Brown seems to be one of those celebrities. so, hey, why not make fun of him for this in the form of a listicle?
13 THINGS JANKLOW REMAINS SURPRISED AMERICANS SEEM TO HAVE FORGIVEN CHRIS BROWN FOR
i am, however, giving him a pass for his crimes against awkward cartoon characters
01. wearing tights on the cover of his album Graffiti
i know many of our three regular readers probably thought i would start this off with Chris Brown’s obvious “beating a woman” offense, but let’s start with one that might be even more unforgivable to the average American: an incredibly awkward wardrobe choice for the cover of his 2009 album Graffiti. now, i know a lot of guys like the whole “skinny jeans” concept while a lot of other guys don’t (this group shall be known as “normal people), and i have to admit i have never understood the point of wearing INTENTIONALLY uncomfortable jeans… but this goes beyond that, as Chris Brown is clearly wearing tights on this album cover. TIGHTS, people. when you’re Michael Jackson, you’ve earned the right to dress however you see fit, but you, Chris Brown, are no Michael Jackson.
02. severely beating a woman
yes, the most obvious of his offenses. while i am sure that i don’t need to explain to everyone why you DON’T BEAT WOMEN, what’s more inexplicable is how an artist with a massive FEMALE fan base can get away with such things. yes, yes, as touched on previously, all these women ALSO saw that photo of Chris Brown’s exposed genitals plastered on the internet (although a colleague of mine would be quick to label Brown “a shower, not a grower,” and that is where i will leave THAT), so i am sure that there are many women out there saying, “hey, Chris Brown would never beat ME. that Rihanna girl drove him to it!” this is, however, a garbage assertion… and yet beating a woman does not seem to have stopped women from buying his albums. even R.Kelly had the decency to essentially commit a statutory offense.
03-04. wearing that awkward blue sweater and bow tie combo on Larry King to excuse himself for severely beating a woman; also, jet-skiing
all that being said, i would probably be better able to understand it if Brown had made prompt, sincere amends for his wrongdoing (especially considering his tales of being frightened of domestic abuse at the hands of his stepfather as a child), because people DO probably deserve a second chance if they’re legitimately repentant for their misdeeds. PROBABLY. however, some things do not really count as sincere amends, such as:
–allowing yourself to be photographed gleefully riding a jet ski;
–appearing on national television in a powder-blue ensemble that includes a ridiculous bow tie.
see, the former says, “i’m not even distressed about the fact that i severely beat a woman and/or possibly ruined my career,” which is not an image you should project even if you really DON’T give a shit about the former. where’s the mercenary self-interest? the latter, however, says not only do you don’t give a shit about the woman-beating, you insist we all tacitly acknowledge you’re flipping a middle finger at the concept by dressing like a five-year-old on a cable talk show to claiming you don’t even remember what we’re all talking about. IT IS INFURIATING THAT WE ALL KNOW YOU’RE LYING AND YET NO ONE WILL ADMIT IT.
the flood of tears tells us that Chris Brown is discussing how MEAN his record label is to him again
05. crying that his record label was “blackballing” his new album
part of the issue here comes from a) the fact that Chris Brown might not understand what the term “blackballing” means, and b) the fact that this generation of THOSE DAMN KIDS insists on portraying everything they’re going through as THE BEST EVER or THE WORST EVER. i would point out to Brown the artists who went through ACTUAL blackballing during the Red Menace era of Hollywood, for example, but he’d probably just slap on a powder-blue sweater and tights in order to defend himself, thereby forcing me to beat him. ANYWAY, there’s also the fact that a pop star who beats his girlfriend and STILL gets a subsequent major label release (not to mention the fact that he’s released two more albums since that time) is still ahead of the innumerable artists who have committed no such offenses and still find their projects held up in record label limbo for years and years.
06. appearing in the movie Takers
i have talked at length about this awful-to-mediocre-at-best movie (possibly in an entirely necessary listicle), but that also allows me to cut and paste what i wrote there…
“04. Chris Brown, period
one of the curses of a film with an ensemble cast full of “stars” is that you inevitably find one or two who are very famous (at the time at least) and who are clearly included ONLY because they are famous and DESPITE the fact that they are guaranteed to produce a performance that makes me want to gouge my eyes out; in Takers, we have Chris Brown filling this role.
now sometimes that non-acting star is making an effort and we have to admit, “well, he’s TERRIBLE, but we can tell he’s really making an effort, god bless him,” and sometimes, what the hell, the whole concept actually works… but, here, no, Chris Brown overacts in a manner that tells me his position was essentially, “sure, i’ll lower myself to accept a six-to-seven figure salary to appear in your film, but only as long as i am a totally sexy, totally cool bad-ass the entire time!” every time he speaks –hell, every time i see him on screen– my only thought is “why isn’t someone shooting him in the face RIGHT FUCKING NOW?!”
seriously, though, i find his voice incredibly annoying; when i hear it, i find myself considering the merits of suicide.
also, if the fact that he’s a terrible actor who should be kept away from films with a team of attack dogs does not bother you because he’s just SO CUTE or releases photos of himself naked with his junk out or whatever, and you’re thinking, “well, he’s in the film to bring in women viewers” … please remember that this IS a post-woman-beating Chris Brown we’re talking about here, so that shouldn’t work, right? right? i think there’s some gender-based commentary there.
counterpoint: Chris Brown’s character is VERY annoying, so maybe this is all intentional? and it’s a masterful job casting someone who cannot help but be annoying? counter-counterpoint: there is absolutely NO WAY that the writers of Takers are that fucking clever.”
also, he was an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER for this film, which, while certainly meaningless, is both a) insulting to actual producers and b) a possible explanation for why this film was such garbage. AND YET AMERICA HAS FORGIVEN HIM FOR IT.
luckily, Chris Brown’s douchebag tattoos reveal his true nature to us all when he forgets to cover them with a shirt
07. flipping out on Good Morning America and throwing a chair through a window
now, i already mocked Brown’s desire to not appear remorseful, but i SUPPOSE there’s a “no one knows what happened in that car where i supposedly beat a woman except me and Rihanna, the woman who was covered in bruises for some mysterious reason” argument to be made, which in turn allows a “i have nothing to be remorseful for” position: completely bullshit, of course, but logically allowable. his tantrum on the set of Good Morning America, which included a dressing room temper tantrum AND the throwing of a chair through a window, to say nothing of his actual petulant interview, however, specifically highlights two severe failings:
–not realizing that doing the EXACT thing you’re accused of (flipping out into a violent rage for no legitimate reason) is at the very least evidence in the court of public opinion that you would and probably DID beat a woman;
–not realizing that celebrities get asked about whatever’s big in the news regarding them. you were sentenced for beating another pop star, and yet you don’t understand why people bring “that past shit up?” fucking ridiculous.
also, storming out of the studio without a shirt on? way to keep it classy, Chris Brown!
08. lying about what his album title F.A.M.E. stands for
eventually, Chris Brown released another album after Graffiti; in this case, it was called F.A.M.E., and Wikipedia tells us that Chris Brown claims the title stands for “”Forgiving All My Enemies” and “Fans Are My Everything.””
uh-huh. look, MAYBE other artists would release an album titled F.A.M.E. and be able to pull off claiming one of those explanations was legitimate, but the guy who seems to have devoted his entire life to cursing out the “haters” that dislike him so much (this presumably includes me)? there’s absolutely no way that doesn’t break down to “Fuck All My Enemies.” ABSOLUTELY NO WAY.
also, i don’t understand why you wear a shirt under your jacket if the shirt’s just going to be open the entire time, but then the world is filled with things i do not understand
09. telling critics to “fuck off” because he won a Grammy
…and this just proves my prior point. you claim your album title references forgiving your enemies, and then, after winning a Grammy, you declare said Grammy to be a fuck-off to all those enemies? i’m not even mad about the fact that people don’t seem to mind that he acts like such a brat. i’m FAR more offended by the incredible logical inconsistency seen here. and again, if we’re playing the insincere mercenary card, it’s at least not a good look when it comes to repairing your image … especially considering you were just awarded a Grammy at all.
10. lamely pretending his references to someone were just general statements
i don’t want to get into the merits/lack thereof of the “slut-shaming” concept because there’s a lot more going on there than a mere debate about whether or not it’s proper to shame a woman for “being slutty,” so we’ll focus on this: if you, Chris Brown, make remarks that seem to be directed to Rihanna (also known as “that woman you may or may not remember beating”) and are interpreted by said Rihanna as being directed at her, and said remarks were NOT about her, the correct way to respond is NOT the “Assumptions! I didn’t say any names so if u took offense to it then its something you feel guilty about” route. this is what we call “protesting too much.” of course, it ALSO doesn’t help to have another thinly-veiled internet conversation later in the month that ALSO seems to include remark regarding Rihanna, but then i don’t think any of us took your denial seriously.
11. getting into a ridiculous public fight with another millionaire recording artist
…and then we have the hilarity of millionaire recording artists Chris Brown and Drake getting into a public fight over the woman they were attempting to slut-shame (okay, okay, we’re not getting into that). first off, anyone you legitimately consider a “ho” is not worth fighting over. seriously. second, you guys are R&B singers (i am including Drake in that) and as such, i have no interest in trying to see you act like tough guys. YOU’RE NOT TOUGH GUYS! you’re not hardened criminals; you sing songs to the ladies! all you’re proving with these shenanigans is that you’re stupid as fuck.
also, please note how the angle at which this is photographed gives Chris Brown sort of a douchebag expression
12. exaggerating the extent of his “injuries” after a fight with another millionaire recording artist
but let’s say the fight was justified for some reason, okay? that still does not excuse tweeting the above image of the heinous injury you received in the fight as a badge of honor. i have cut myself worse than that shaving! granted, i am not the BEST at shaving, but it’s not like i immediately demand the internet pay attention to me because blood came out of me. further, while bottles being thrown CAN result in serious injury (and may have to bystanders), is that picture REALLY showing me such a serious injury? because i have to answer my own question with a resounding “fuck no.” again, Chris Brown, you are an R&B singer. i am not sure what you think you’re accomplishing with your attempts to be a tough guy.
and last but not least…
13. still being alive
usually, when an artist does this much dumb shit, they have the courtesy to die at some point in the near future, allowing us to identify them as “gifted but troubled” and enjoy their catalog of albums without having to endorse the garbage human being that was responsible for making those albums in the first place. yet Chris Brown INSISTS on remaining alive (and apparently fairly healthy), thus denying us the ability to properly place him in the “talented but death” category of musician. this i cannot forgive.
alright, well, that’s enough unnecessary listicles for this week; next week, more of the same? that seems to be the way the summer is going.