Celebrities actions should not be entertainment
The column "Why Are They More Important?" by Anna Norcia appeared in the March 9 edition of the paper. The piece discussed Chris Brown's recent charges of domestic abuse, but was more concerned with the public's response. In her article, the author asks why the public is more concerned with the altercation between pop stars Chris Brown and Rihanna than with the wrongdoings of other celebrities. She goes on to name stars like Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson and Ray Lewis, asking why she had not heard of anyone proposing boycotts on their products, as is being done with Chris Brown's products. It is her contention that because Rihanna is famous, people care more about her than the "no-name victims" of various other crimes.
The first thing I would like to say is that the author needs to work the word "allegedly" into her article. In the eyes of our country's all-knowing legal system, you are innocent until proven guilty. Charges against Kobe Bryant, Michael Jackson and Ray Lewis were all dropped. For all intents and purposes, they are innocent. It would be a crime to allow ourselves to be influenced by the arbitrary accusations of attention-seeking, money-grubbing liars. In my opinion, Michael Jackson is a great man trying to give kids the childhood he never had; my kids would be allowed to sleep with him any night of the week. This Chris Brown story seems to be a little more open and shut, as he has publicly apologized and is supposedly seeking help. However, the couple seems to have patched things up.
I am not of the opinion that a man necessarily deserves punishment after committing a given act. If Brown is truly sorry and is seeking counseling, and even the alleged victim has forgiven him, is it necessary for the consumer to boycott his music? The author seems to think that if you disapprove of the actions of an artist, you should "take the initiative to not support [them]." If that is what you want to do, it is fine with me, but if you genuinely like the music that this person creates, why should you deprive yourself of the pleasure you get from listening to it? After all, the act of purchasing a person's CD should not have to signify your approval of every decision they have ever made. All it means is that you enjoy their music and want to listen to it.
I do think that the author hit the nail on the head with her explanation of why Rihanna has gained so much support. The fact that she is famous has a lot to do with it. But it is also because the public cares more. Over the course of her career, fans have developed a pseudo-relationship with Rihanna. They feel they know her. Wanting to support her is as natural as caring more about a family member who has been wronged than about a faceless stranger against whom the same injustice has been committed. It is this human tendency that is targeted by commercials that ask for donations while introducing you to a starving child in Ethiopia; you are more likely to help a child if you have seen him than if someone tells you that there are starving children in Ethiopia. While these "no name victims" are just as deserving of help and support, they are often overlooked. Unless people subscribe to some form of utilitarianism, it is unlikely that very many will go out of their way to help those that they do not feel some connection to. This may not be just, but it should come as no surprise to the writer.
If you want to, feel free to boycott a celebrity to show disapproval for his behavior or to support a victim he has wronged. But keep in mind that we owe it to superstars to not be swayed by the groundless accusations of all the greedy wolf-criers that attempt to profit from their wealth.
Anthony Xerri is a Rutgers College junior majoring in philosophy. He is also columnist for the Johnsonville Press.