But most people aren’t famous…and most people don’t have Chris Brown’s past. As much as he’s known for his music, Brown is known for beating his then (and apparently now) girlfriend, the singer Rihanna. You’d think it would occur to someone with that well-known past it might not be a good idea to engage in misogynistic behavior on Twitter when you can simply ignore it. Failing that, you’d think at least once the people around him would advise him to pump the breaks on the misogyny in view of his past. But nooooo.
There are thousands of examples of celebrities acting in such a way that would have invited public scorn or shunning just a few decades ago. Think back on why we know who people like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are in the first place. It’s not for accomplishment. The life story of Lindsay Lohan is one that should shame any parent, not have them trying to out-drink their kid while playing rock, paper, scissors to see who gets the last shot of Jägermeister before last call.
As celebrity has “Jersey Shore-d” from something earned to something given, the world has more yes men. The younger any level of celebrity is achieved, as in the case of Jovan Belcher, the less likely it is that “star” has ever been told “no” on anything. Just like children raised in a “participation trophy” culture who are unprepared for life in the competitive “real world” of business, people such as Belcher have no idea how to deal with real problems when they arise because they’ve been insulated from so many of them by the people around them.
Obviously not every person has it in them to beat or murder their girlfriend, but it wasn’t known to be in Brown or Belcher until they did it. And until they did it they probably walked up to and crossed many lines of societal norms many times we never heard of.
Bob Costas, Jason Whitlock or anyone else can blame whatever they like, but until we as a society stop elevating existing over accomplishment and celebrating people for spectacles that once were shunned, the actions of public figures will continue to shock…until they no longer do. Which is the real danger.