Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why Chris Brown Is The Villain (And Charlie Sheen Is Not)

You know, life has its questions, follies, and tragedies. People are quick to question why good things happen to bad people and vice versa. Or why basketball players make more money than teachers or firefighters (that answer involves the demand of skill over supply) and things like that.
Such goes with regards to the R&B performer known as Chris Brown.

Chris Brown, for those not in the know, is a musical performer whose songs have been overshadowed by an incident where he assaulted the musical artist Rihanna.

This incident is four years old as of this blog post, and yet it continues to follow Chris Brown wherever he goes.

Chris Brown has not handled any criticism of the incident well. He thinks society will accept the few apologies he has made, and will forget everything.

And when journalists bring up the incident, Brown lashes out in anger. He breaks windows.

He lashes out. He embraces in other incidents which does not win empathy with the public.

And lately, he's been making comparisons to other controversial celebrities as a way to justify his actions. Chris Brown has complained that the media has vilified him while giving a pass to Charlie Sheen for his antics. Chris Brown also thinks that Jay Z should be given more scrutiny for stabbing someone.

Chris Brown wonders why life has treated him so unfairly.

Well, Chris, let's go over some things:

Charlie Sheen was never pushed as a role model to children

Chris, you guest starred on an episode of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody. Zack & Cody. The beginning of the high gloss artificial overacted tween sitcom. That was you. Charlie Sheen would not have been allowed anywhere close to the premises.

Now, it can be argued that Two and A Half Men is the adult counterpart to Zack & Cody. All the glossy elements are there. Except the oversexualized themes, of course.

But Chris, you were packaged and sold as a contemporary teen idol.

And maybe your brand wasn't who you are. And I get that. But there's a smarter way to go along with this.

Which brings me to my next point.

You need to be in a movie where someone beats the crap out of you.

Do you know why everyone loves Jesus? Cause he died for your sins. No, dying was the easy part. Did you see what they did to Jesus?

Anybody getting their ass kicked is instantly lovable.

Karen the bus driver got $500,000 cause she was verbally abused.

That's why Chris, you need to be in a movie where someone beats you up. 

Double points if it's some Breaking Bad conflict setup. Like, you woke up one day and found your fridge empty and your girlfriend cheating on you, and it made you angry. But now mobsters are after your newly ex-girlfriend, and they wanna kill her, so you place her under the bed where you caught her cheating. But the mobsters find you instead, so they torture you. They beat you up a lot. They wanna know where she is, but you don't say anything. You confess that you still love her.

She hears this. And yet, the mobsters aren't done. They pull out a laptop and play a video.

It's a video of her with four other guys. She's making jokes about what a sucker you are for not being there right now. One of the guys eats food from your fridge while doing the nasty. That's why it's empty. Another guy rubs himself against sandwich bread you used to make toast this morning.

You vomit your guts out. And yet, you say nothing.

And the pain continues.

Something like that makes you lovable. Same way as Charlie Sheen in Red Dawn. Or Charlie Sheen in Platoon. Or Charlie Sheen in Navy Seals. Or Charlie Sheen in something else I can't think of right now.

People emphasize with the suffering.

No one wants to see anyone succeed. So, do you know how to make someone want you to succeed? By amping up the suffering. You have to suffer like Sylvester's succotash to get the public to love you.

People love/know your victims

You beat up Rihanna. Rihanna. The pop star signing autographs and telling little girls to follow their dreams. That Rihanna.

Has Rihanna done a couple things recently to lose sympathy? Sure, late concert dates, rude behavior. All textbook rock star stuff.

But you beat her up. There were pictures. I have yet to see a picture of someone abused by Charlie Sheen, let alone one on the level of Rihanna's pic.

More people know Rihanna than they know you. More people know about the incident than they do your music.

You got angry at a woman going through a very public bout with cancer on live television. You went from guest starring on Disney to being a Disney villain. Hell, you even sing musical numbers when you talk to people. Your next album should be called "Long Live The King" with song titles like "Hyena Hype" and "Wildebeest Stampede (remix feat. Tyga)".

Sheen has been around longer. We know who he is. 

And while we're on the topic of content:

Charlie Sheen has never made clear arrogant boasts to people in his body of work

Yes, he said winning. He said he was a rock star from Mars. That didn't translate into his acting.

If Charlie Sheen left Two and A Half Men and was on a show called "Winning", everyone would say "yeah, f--- Charlie".

But he didn't do that.

If you knew nothing about Charlie Sheen, his movies would still be watchable.

Chris, you on the other hand, made an album called F.A.M.E. Not H.U.M.B.L.E. Not P.O.V.E.R.T.Y.


And you weren't talking about the musical.

Charlie Sheen never painted a sports car to match the color of his shoes.

Charlie Sheen never threatened to shoot Frank Ocean over a parking spot. He did accidentally shoot Kelly Preston, but he didn't do it in the open. These were private/personal matters. Is it detestable? Absolutely. Arguments in relationships happen all the time, and Charlie should have controlled himself.

But, do you ever think that Charlie Sheen would shoot Michael Bolton over a parking spot? Hopefully he wouldn't, that's just unstable.

To sidestep for a second, Chris Brown made recent comments about how Jay Z stabbed someone and is loved by the media.

Now Chris, this might be hard to understand, but...

Jay Z does not present himself as someone who stabs people

When Jay Z is asked about the incident, he gives a simple explanation, and he shrugs it off in his calm demeanor. Something along the lines of "things got out of control, I wished I handled it better, but I learned, etc".

He didn't explode in a couple trashed windows. That's the actions of someone who stabs people.

There's a quote by Plato that goes something on the lines of "If someone spreads a lie about you, act in a way that would make no one believe them".

It's good advice.

Chris, you went through an incident where someone you got in an accident with claimed hit and run. Now, the pictures on the Internet seem to show you exchanging insurance information, so it's in doubt. It's all he said/she said at this point, but it's not wise to explode at any false accusations. 

One day, they will teach a course about trial by media to celebrities.

Until then, these are three things you need to know for future incidents:

Everyone goes in thinking you did it

So don't act like a total psycho when no one believes you. You just have to carry yourself in a way that will make them believe you. America is a country that has been brought up on criminal procedurals. If you know you are innocent, the plotholes in the accusations will speak for themselves. 

Yoo have to be plausible/likable in your innocence

The best example of this that I can think of is Kobe Bryant. Kobe was accused of raping a hotel employee at the Cordillera in Colorado.

At first, everyone thought Kobe was guilty, but a mounting number of inconsistencies in the accuser's recollection of events didn't add up. An examiner found sperm samples from three different men during the investigation. Witnesses who saw her afterward said she seemed happy and was not in any distress.

Bryant's accuser also made various lies regarding what she did after said events occurred. That, and an attempted stint on American Idol made people wonder if this was an attempt for fame. And so, the accuser decided on a settlement.

Even with all of this, Kobe did not come out clean. This greatly damaged his career, and every team he has played against has had fans who have brought up this incident.

But, the public at large has pushed this aside because of the inconsistencies.

And so, if one finds themselves in a similar situation, it is best to act calm and let the facts speak for themselves.

Act in life with a jury mindset

You know, people will cut you slack if you play your cards right. This is America.

We are a country that was founded by people who committed treason against the biggest empire in the world.

And in this revolution, poor people succeeded and rich people failed. And we blew stuff up to celebrate this occasion. Even if the forefathers weren't as poor as they wanted you to believe.We broke the law cause we thought it was the right thing to do. And we established sets of laws where one's life is decided by a jury of his peers.

It's important to live life with a jury mindset.  Do things in your day-to-day life in a way that people will cut you some slack in regards to your unforeseen circumstances. Don't do stupid things that make people lose sympathy for you.

I really hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying this.

And if you find yourself compelled to indulge in a little arrogance, do so in a way that resonates with other people.

Superhero movies are like this. At first, it was cool that someone with a lot of power acted humble. But then, it became a little less plausible. Like, what's the point of having powers if you act like everybody else all the time?

That's why we love Tony Stark. He acts in a way that a lot of people would act if they were a superhero. He tries to do the right thing, but he also enjoys it.

He also acts the same way we would act when bad things happen to him. Or rather, he acts in a way we wish we would act if the same thing happened to us.

None of this Peter Parker crying all the time nonsense.

And while we discuss arrogance:

Tattoos, while attractive, are hateable

This one is a little subconscious, but let me explain. Tattoos are arrogant. And hateable.

They're hateable, because it means you never considered the option that you might lose your current job and have to move somewhere else. That means no one has any sympathy for your current employment troubles cause you made the gamble that you'd be awesome forever. 

It's hard to feel sorry for someone with no job and a bunch of tattoos. It's like, you've done this to yourself. It's hard to have empathy for that. People everywhere have real problems.

And face tattoos and neck tattoos are expensive. And they depreciate in value over time.

This isn't to say to not get tattoos, but to have a plan for life's unexpected things. Tattoos force you to walk the walk. And walking hurts your feet. Everyone needs to rest their feet from time to time. But you can't do that, because you said you were better than that.

I mean, Charlie Sheen got his tattoos removed at one time to show his commitment to his girlfriend once. Just saying.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Things That No One Tells You

Life is weird. I've probably said this before, but it bears repeating.

But life is downright bizarre sometimes. Like, a lot of great things happen at the same time a lot of bad things happen. And you only figure out how to do things correctly after you lose a thousand times.

This is some things I've realized:

Failure is not that big of a deal:

Look at yourself. Are you fully capable of reading this? In that case, your life does not suck as much as you previously thought.

Hell, sometimes it's supposed to suck. Financial stability is hard. Maintaining a relationship is hard. Growth only occurs when you encounter obstacles.

Is This Gonna Matter In A Year From Now?

This is the new yardstick I used when I'm in the middle of figuring out a situation: is what I'm dealing with going to matter in a year's time?

This little question has helped me weed out what is important and what is not important. Little moments of anxiety that sprinkle into life's obstacles don't sting as much as they used to when you ask this simple question.

Hindsight Must Take A Lack of Foresight Into Account 

Maybe something you thought wouldn't be a big deal a year from now ended up having huge consequences.

That can hurt.

It can really easy to beat yourself up on your biggest failures. When you blew the game winning shot and let a whole bunch of people down. The stigma can burn for a very long time. It can be easy to say "If I had made it instead of missed it, my life would be fine". But that's a conclusion you make only after everything is said and done.

Have you ever been involved in a large production? There's a lot of variables and a lot of things to worry about. No one goes in wanting to lose. They might come in unprepared, but that has nothing on the outcome they desired.

If you find yourself in the folklore of people who have messed up, understand that under the pressure you were in, a lot of people might have done the same things you have done.

Anybody can look at their past and want to do things differently when they know what exactly is going to happen. That's why we tend to idealize the past a lot. But, it's dealing with the future that's scary. That's why the future scares so many people.

So, if you ever wish you didn't do something, look at your circumstances exactly as they were. Try to cut yourself some slack if you were dealing with a landmine you didn't know about.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Lately, I've been lacking in the motivation department.

A lot of this has to do with negativity. A lot of it has to do with how the world is.

We live in a world where people have joy from making people lose their job over a stupid tweet. We live in a world where talking about someone's criminal past gets you trouble, and yet the same person can go on and perform at awards shows, and be told he is a respected member of the community.

I don't care about Miley. I don't know why anyone cares about Miley. Do these people not know how to use Google? Who the heck watches MTV? Who let's their children watch MTV? Who decided that they should let a Disney Channel teen idol be a role model for their children?

You know what I mean?

Do these people actually watch the old Disney movies? Do you know how dark Snow White is? Or Sleeping Beauty? Let alone how dark the original material was.

I want to come up with a new term. I'll call it "brand evangelism". I mean, you can call it fanaticism, but fanaticism is such a redundant term that it wouldn't explain this new phenomena.

People have this strange notion of how things should be. This notion is created when content, whether that be a film, story, album, whatever, grows into something more due to its marketing and cultural acceptance. And from that point on, all of these things become a bigger part of whatever the original material was.

Star Wars comes to mind. Can you imagine how hard it must be for George Lucas to watch a movie without someone mentioning his work. He wants to relax and watch Breaking Bad and now he has to watch Badger talk about the Death Star. An artist can feel alienated when he feels he is received the wrong way.

Or worse, he is received the right way by people he is trying to offend. I like Jackie Brown more than I like Pulp Fiction. I also like Reservoir Dogs that same way, and I think a lot of that has to do with this. Any idiot can give the Royale with cheese speech. But you can't do that with anything from Jackie Brown, so I don't have all those images of all those idiots in high school messing up the Royale with cheese thing.

Trust me, I've heard a lot of those.

So when I watch Jackie Brown, I feel like I'm watching the film as it's originally intended.

And yet, I have a fear that some of those people will receive me openly. Like, you work on things to rebel (in like a Nirvana against hair metal kind of way) and you find that all your hard work gets assimilated and it's back to square one.

A lot of times, I watch a plethora of films that have received raving festival reviews and wonder what the hell all those people were thinking. And then I remember that what I'm responding to is someone watching a film as it's intended for the first time before anyone can get their hands on it and claim it as their own.

Of course, ironically it's these festivals that have critics putting their hands all over the movie and completely ruining it before it gets out of the gate.

The only way to get the same effect from a film is to watch it many years after it has gone to DVD, and people have moved on. But that can be a long process to wait. And even though that's great as a viewer of film, it can be hard to measure successfully as a filmmaker.

A film can only be successful if other people like it. And for some reason, the general public has this nasty habit of forgetting what the entire meaning of things is.

I watch Breaking Bad and I can say that selling drugs is not fun. I would not want to put myself in the same situation that Walter and Jesse have put themselves in.

And yet, when the press junkets arrive, and when pop culture lampoons it, it's all fun and games. Every junket has some bubble headed girl who asks the question "How fun was it making all that meth?". That wasn't the point of anything that was going on lady. People have died. Come on now!

It can be hard for an artist to continue to create and promote his work due to this promotional nature. A lot of people like to complain about how evil Hollywood is. I've never seen anyone actively support it. I mean, I don't even think that Spielberg likes Hollywood. No one likes Hollywood, but everyone seems to be in such a hurry to work there.

What I have discovered is that Hollywood is much like any other business or bureaucratic group entity. There's people who do it well, and then there is a corporate back and forth where a project you have worked on for a long time is pushed aside. It's not just Hollywood that does this. The only difference is that you're dealing with people's dreams.

You're dealing with people who have fantasized about leaving a conventional dream for the flash and the fantasy only to realize that show business is a business like everything else and that your company promoting revolutionary change sells handbags at Wal-Mart.

Again, this can mess with people.

But at the end of the day, the media is just people. It's just a lot of people talking. The biggest issues with your life goals probably has more to do with you and your circumstances than any collective entity. Or maybe it can be a component, but it can be dealt with.

This also gets scary when people stop making good movies and they get thrown in the gravitational pull of other people's agendas. Like when some committee called Raiders of the Lost Ark one of the best movies for kids.

Raiders of the Lost Ark. The movie with the dude who gets chopped up by the propeller.

And then when Temple of Doom came out, every half wit wrote a letter complaining about its violence.

So, Lucas and Spielberg listened. And that's how we got Jar Jar.

No one thinks about the other implications of this stuff.

I mean, we're getting soft. It's amazing the Syrian Electronic Army hasn't just hurled a bunch of racist and homophobic tweets to make us piss our pants.

At the end of the day, these "offended" people are the reason why the prequels sucked. George Lucas and Spielberg catered to that.

I am writing this as a letter to my future self.

Tell the housewives to piss off. If they don't like it, they can wake up at four in the morning and make their own damn movie.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thursday, September 5, 2013