Geese a’Laying: Money, Paparazzi & the Golden Egg

Rihanna, after the skirmish with Chris. (From TMZ)
Rihanna, after the skirmish with Chris. (From TMZ)

I’m doing my own version of the 12 Days of Christmas this year. Today, on the day lyrically celebrated by six Geese a’Laying, I’m republishing the 6th most popular post on StealingFaith in 2012.


Earlier this week I read a story titled: I’m Not OK With Chris Brown Performing at the Grammys and I’m Not Sure Why You Are. If you haven’t already read it, take a moment to click through — then y’all come back now, ya’ hear?!


I’ve gone back and forth about whether I wanted to discuss this subject on StealingFaith. Chris Brown has been a lightening rod for discussions about domestic violence and the way the entertainment industry (and our country) will react in defense — or lack there of — of victims.


I hesitate to write because I am not a Chris Brown music fan. I wouldn’t recognize him or Rihanna in a photograph if the caption was missing. So who am I to throw out an opinion? I’m far from knowledgable about their life!


As I battled my thoughts about this I realized I owe my allegiance to something more than what others may think of me or the music industry… I owe it to my philosophy about how humans should be treated and to my belief in a sense of right and wrong to have an opinion.


You see, not too long ago there was this couple. Their names were Chris and Rihanna and even though they had lifestyles that included money, paparazzi, and fame, at home they were just Chris and Rihanna.


And then, one night, they got into a disagreement just like any other disagreement in any other household but in this case that argument escalated and Chris smacked the snot out of Rihanna, so much so she was admitted to the hospital and he was arrested, tried and convicted of battery.


If this happened to your neighbors, Nate and Donna, you’d have an opinion and you probably wouldn’t be feeling very good about that Nate fellow.


I can guarantee if this happened to you in your household you would have some strong feelings about it.


But in the word of money, paparazzi, and fame everyone is portrayed as invincible. That little domestic dispute was unfortunate, but no one was actually there to know what went down. Maybe Rihanna had it coming to her. Maybe Chris was intoxicated. Maybe, maybe, maybe…. and in the world of money, paparazzi, and fame, this debacle needed to blow over and everyone needed to get their images back. Both very special, not normal humans were successful and profitable.


After all, money talks.


That money kept talking to the producers of the Grammy’s and their decision to let a felon — a man who banned from international travel to certain countries because of his potential threat to society — put on a performance. Because he’s profitable.


The world of money, paparazzi, and fame profited.


Our country lost. At the point we allow ourselves to see these humans named Chris and Rihanna as dollar signs we lose our own humanity.


By placing this man on a national, if not global stage, our entertainment industry sent a powerful message: it is OK to use violent aggression to end an argument. There are no victims if you are a profitable person.


Except it’s not OK. Remember the Natalie Holloway story? Another example of money, paparazzi, and fame contaminating our sense of right and wrong.


I’ve heard arguments that this issue of beating is in the past. “Judge not lest you be judged” and other such philosophies. I agree that I cannot know the heart of Chris Brown. (I don’t even know the name of one of his hits!)


But I do know in choosing not to be vocal in my outrage at his appearance publicly, not to be outspoken about his irrational violence, I am judging.


If I say nothing, I am judging his action is OK. But it’s simply not OK.


In some situations keeping silent instead of speaking up is a judgement in itself. Examples?


  • That gay-bashing joke that’s “OK” to listen to because there’s no one gay in hearing. (Insert any ethnicity, hair color, etc. in place of gay if you’d prefer. If it would be wrong to say in the presence of the person it offends… it’s wrong under any circumstances.)
  • Knowing your friend is cheating on their significant other but staying silent out of loyalty. (Tacit compliance is outright endorsement.)
  • Not knowing what to think about this whole “believe in God” thing, so just ignoring it and hoping it will go away. (Ignoring is a decision, not an impasse.)


Sometimes staying silent is a crime comparable to the injustice it’s designed to protect.


There are hundreds of examples that could be cited to prove my point. There’s a decent chance I’ve offended some of you with this post. But I’m not sorry.


Because, in my opinion, not speaking against this is a decision on my part to be ok with the abuse taking place at my neighbor’s house. Or getting help if violence was in the tapestry of my day-to-day living.


That’s not acceptable.


Money, paparazzi, and fame are not acceptable cloaks for injustice.


I’d love to hear your opinions about this.



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