Chris Brown and Rihanna’s Saga Headed to NBC

February 22nd, 2013

(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images; Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

By Gee King

Media vultures have been picking at the carnage of Chris Brown and Rihanna’s 2009 domestic assault case for years now. But the creators of NBC’s Law & Order SVU recently took the situation beyond overkill, shamelessly exploiting the ugly public saga for an upcoming episode that caricaturizes the young stars’ trials and tribulations.

Sticking to the “ripped-from-the-headlines” formula that’s defined the Law & Order franchise over the years, next week’s “My Funny Valentine” will dramatize the media circus surrounding the two R&B idols’ highly scrutinized relationship for the nation’s viewing pleasure. With a painfully corny trailer already circulating the web and guest appearances from gossip mongers Perez Hilton and Wendy Williams on tap, the public will have no trouble seeing through this desperate reach for viewership. But is there any hope that this episode wakes viewers up to mainstream media’s heartless habit of capitalizing off of the most painful and destructive images of popular culture? Probably not. But maybe it will spark enough conscious minds to check out of the deadly cycle and focus their energies on creating a future of love and understanding.

The Law & Order creators are only small players in a much larger game. But they serve a crucial function in the corporate machine that soullessly flips real life into artificial reality for big bucks. And since messages of hate have long been proven to make quicker returns than love, they rarely think twice about filling our collective conscious with fear and negativity. “My Funny Valentine” is just the latest symptom of this wide-reaching infection of our culture. But it is unlikely that it will truly be addressed, let alone cured, without an evolution of consciousness led by the true artists and creators of our time.

The balance between entertainment and intellectual warfare was thrown off at the turn of the millennium when technology helped corporations turn masses of fans hungry for art into addicts for gossip. The media has used this skewed playing field to justify feeding a celebrity-fueled culture that trades drug addictions, domestic assaults and felony convictions like hot commodities while rarely encouraging an optimistic perspective or positive outcome in any issue concerning humanity. Chris Brown and Rihanna’s saga has been the most high profile example of this dynamic in recent years. And NBC and other outlets’ eagerness to exploit it display little hope for change in the near future.

Talking heads will continue to vilify the very real young people that are trapped in the middle of this hopeless nightmare, but it will take an enlightened public to end this destructive cycle of pain and profit. Who else will refute their claims that their 24/7 coverage of peoples’ private pain is fueled by their disgust with the example celebrities set for children? Forget trying to explain the ironic truth that if they stopped covering Chris and Rihanna’s relationship so feverishly, children and admirers wouldn’t be addicted to obsessing over the lives of strangers. Trust, they already know the deal and have no interest in changing the terms. But if real consumers refuse to continuing paying attention to unimaginative copies of a tragic three-year-old episode, love and freedom may be able to conquer the devilish spell that is slowly dooming our spirits.

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