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Gromotka: Chris Brown and celebrity worship

BY ADAM GROMOTKA | OCTOBER 30, 2013 5:00 AM

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Thankfully, for a number of years after he assaulted Rihanna, we heard relatively little of the young, successful, and violent pop-music artist Chris Brown. However, after a flash of publicity from all major news outlets, he’s back on our radar.

The singer, 24, allegedly punched a fan in the face after a show on Oct. 26, resulting in his arrest and a felony assault charge on Sunday morning. After a court appearance Monday, the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor, and, as reported by CBS News, Brown left the courtroom to scattered applause, a free man.

Wait a second. Some people were actually applauding?

The report is pretty foggy, but it seems that after a fan was attacked — reportedly resulting in a broken nose — there are still those pleased that Brown won’t be punished as thoroughly as possible. It seems that celebrity misconduct is something to be celebrated.

The bigger problem is that, despite how much societal worth we place on celebrities (even Brown), there are those who applaud such behavior or, at the very least, get excited to hear about the “crazy” lives of our pop-culture stars. Admittedly, my knowledge of the legal system is limited, but I can talk about how, if we want society to run as blemish-free as possible, we have to actively stand against those who treat celebrity misconduct as an enjoyable, acceptable part of life.

It would be naïve to assume people aren’t taking notice and acting against such negative behavior. After a series of protests in Canada against Brown’s appearance last year, his promoter decided to cancel his concert series for our friends to the north. There are countless numbers of blog posts about Brown online, slathered in negativity. So, good things are happening. But we must challenge ourselves at the more micro level.

Though it is perhaps my most impolite call to action to date, if someone begins to discuss celebrity misconduct, and the discussion isn’t soaked with criticism, feel free to take the reins and make the conversation as negative as possible. Don’t let the fear of offending someone in day-to-day interaction hold you back from sharing a critical viewpoint. Whether it’s a joke or directly calling someone out, there’s no sense in perpetuating the idea that celebrities should get away with childish behavior.

If you overhear a stranger on the bus laughing about that time Justin Bieber peed in a restaurant mop bucket or abandoned his monkey in Germany, for example, politely interject and tell that person Bieber’s spoiled-brat antics are not to be celebrated. Your involvement will surprise them and get them thinking.

Now, if the response to my piece on Brother Jed has taught me anything, it’s that there is already an army of people who actively stand against celebrity misconduct. Still, there are those who find it pleasing, enjoyable, or at least acceptable that individuals on the TV and radio can get away with being negative role models. College students are massive consumers of popular culture, which means there’s no better time to try to change some minds. Eventually, a large majority of these young adults will become parents, and if they don’t learn to find disgust in bad behavior, celebrity or not, we’re in for a bumpy ride.


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