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Earning Forgiveness is Overrated: The Comeback Concept

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrity | March 24, 2011 |

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrity | March 24, 2011 |

So, this is neat. Chris Brown appeared on GMA yesterday. Robin Roberts questioned Brown on the Rihanna “incident” (here, “incident” means “time he bit her and punched her in the head until she was almost unconscious because she tried to look at his phone”). Despite having approved these questions beforehand, Brown lost his shit, ripped off his shirt, punched out a window and left, then took to Twitter saying, “I’m so over people bringing this past shit up!!! Yet we praise Charlie sheen and other celebs for there bullshit.”

General illiteracy aside, here’s where it actually gets infuriating. Not only will ABC not press charges, thereby throwing Brown in jail for violating probation, they want him back on GMA to finish plugging his album.

I hate everything.

I don’t know if you’ve followed this whole Chris Brown shitshow, what with how very few of us are twelve-year-old girls, but there has not been a single moment of sorrow, guilt, or any attempt to actually earn forgiveness or make amends. It’s just been childlike idiocy on Twitter and complete bafflement as to why people continue bringing up that “past shit.”

The Hollywood school of thought is “everyone loves a comeback.” Some comebacks are earned by working one’s way back up the ladder until they’re Iron Man. Some comebacks are just handed over because enough time has passed that most people have forgotten they beat Carré Otis, stalked her and threatened her and her boyfriend in an on-the-record interview. The difference between those two particular examples is that some comebacks come from hurting yourself, and others from hurting someone else. And those comebacks are just as rewarded with Oscar nominations and accolades as the former.

We as a society have an incredibly short attention span. We forget so quickly. And the industry expects us to forget quickly. So as soon as the appropriate amount of time has passed, the artist in question appears in a high-visibility movie or television show and most people don’t think “hey, there’s the violent misogynist,” they think “oh, hey, that guy, where’s he been? Good to have him back.” And just because they’re talented, that’s fine.

I have long struggled with the idea of separating man from artist. Chinatown remains one of my favorite movies of all time, but I think Roman Polanski is an evil piece of shit who has cowardly avoided any repercussions for his actions. Weeks ago, I laughed at the first instance of “duh, winning” but now remember, “oh, wait, Charlie Sheen is goddamn evil (and sick, I know, I know, but the two are not mutually exclusive).”

It would seem that the only difference between Mickey Rourke and Chris Brown is that one of them actually managed to stay out of the public eye, by choice or by lack thereof. And that is the part Hollywood rewards. That is considered a good and decent act. By Hollywood standards, if you just stay out of the magazines and do your job, you are infallible. And, apparently, if you can dance reasonably well and appeared on The OC that works, too.

Comeback (n): The tiny, nothing act of being unpopular and then becoming popular again, without any change in your behavior. You will do something horrible, wait a few minutes, then be rewarded with riches and love.

Take notes, children of the world.

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