Let’s rehabilitate

2013-11-06 10:00

It’s generally not a good idea to read news articles containing the words ‘Chris Brown’. Your cheerfully optimistic view of humanity becomes difficult to maintain.

This week, Brown was in the news again. No, he did not give his fortune to an aged donkey’s home, or start a food garden for the poor.

He allegedly punched someone in the face outside a Washington hotel. He is still on probation for assaulting his then girlfriend, Rihanna, so he’s potentially in big trouble. Like, going-to-jail trouble.

Now there are people who take the view that Chris Brown is a vicious, dangerous, deeply misogynistic a***hole with horribly offensive tattoos and he should be in prison.

Chris Brown is not one of those people. He takes the view that he should be out and about enjoying the considerable fruits of his celebrity.

It seems he’s trying to signal his good intentions – and, cynics suspect, head off a stiff sentence – by going to rehab, apparently for anger management.

The singer’s representatives said in a statement: “Chris Brown has elected to enter a rehab facility. His goal is to gain focus and insight into his past and recent behaviour, enabling him to continue the pursuit of his life and his career from a healthier vantage point.”

Note the word ‘elected’. It has a nice ring to it compared with, say, ‘sentenced’, ‘incarcerated’, or ‘hauled away kicking and screaming’. I was going to go to the dentist today, but taking a leaf out of Chris Brown’s book, I’ve elected to go to Turn ’n Tender for ribs instead.

Even if we accept that a cushy Hollywood rehab centre is the appropriate place for violent celebrities, I’m not sure that “to gain focus and insight into his past and recent behaviour” should be the desired goal of the undertaking. Focus shmocus. Surely “to stop hitting people” should be the goal?

Rehab has become something of a get out of jail free card. If you are caught drinking and driving, or harbouring pockets full of dope, or stealing lipsticks from department stores and can see the sheriff heading over the hill, pack your bags and head for rehab.

You’ve been busted messing around on your partner? You are not just horny, entitled and lacking self-control. You’re suffering from an illness – sex addiction – and you need love and understanding, and a stint in rehab.

I’m all for rehabilitation, self-work and not being a violent idiot, even if the timing seems just a tad ­ self-serving. Let’s not be cynical. If Chris is a sober, kinder, gentler person at the end of it, shouldn’t we all be happy?

His superfans, “Team Breezy”, certainly are.

The selfsame bunch who regularly threaten death to those who diss Chris have come over all soppy, so proud of him in these challenging times, blah, blah, blah.

But before we put Chris Brown forward for a medal for his courage and optimism, perhaps we should take a moment to think of the victims of domestic violence and of violence generally.

Maybe they’d benefit from a few weeks in a comfortable, supportive facility talking to professionals about their horrifying experiences at the hands of angry bullies and abusive partners and, yes, spoilt celebrities.

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