Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Turning a personal tragedy into a public sideshow

Where do you begin when a New York radio station tries to turn domestic violence into a sideshow?

New York is having a “Shred Your Ex” party the day before Valentines Day. Radio Station WBLI has invited members of Rihanna's Fan Club and other fans across the nation to join the pop star's side along with others who are “unlucky in love.”

According to Nancy Cambino, the station's operations manager, “Valentine's Day should stand for love so we find it fitting to make the Friday the 13th right before Valentine’s Day a day for revenge for those who were unlucky in love. Whether you're a Rihanna fan or not, we can all empathize with being with someone who caused love to go wrong.”

The centerpiece of this event is to be the "shredding" of Chris Brown CDs and posters. Despite, of course, that he's not actually been convicted of anything. But let's just assume - for the sake of argument - that he is guilty; is turning a woman's abuse at the hands of her partner into a radio promo really the best way to show support? Is "revenge" the correct emotional response to be stirred up in the first place? And does WBLI not understand that there's a difference between being "unlucky in love" and being violently assaulted? Given that one of the tricks used by violent partners is to humiliate their victims in public, isn't this being more supportive of Brown than of Rihanna?

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