Why “Love” Keeps Taking A Beating

On February 8th 2009, a former child star put his fists all over a budding R&B singer.

Chris Brown and Rihanna were only 20 years-old the night that their romance came to an end, and since that day both lives have been a patchwork quilt of financial successes and personal trials.

For his part Brown was arrested, booked, and eventually plead guilty to a felony assault charge.  After an initial apology and brief hiatus, he spent the next three years doing little to convince the general public that he was a person of reasonable temper and ego.

This isn’t to say that everybody hated Chris; his fans got over the incident quite quickly.  In fact Brown himself was surprised that anybody still wanted to talk about his violence towards a woman he loved; going so far as to trash his dressing room and storm off of the set at Good Morning America when host Robin Roberts dared to bring it up.

Anybody who wanted to know how Brown felt about the media “betrayal” he experienced needed to only check his twitter feed: “I’m so over people bring this past s**t up!! Yet we praise Charlie Sheen and other celebs for there b******t.”

He couldn’t seem to understand that people who didn’t need his music had a hard time forgetting that his rage sent a woman to the doctor looking like this.

While last three years have been great for Rihanna’s career, they certainly haven’t been great for her health.  Assessing personal wear with people in their twenties is a lot like buying a used car, it’s not really the years you’re looking at, it’s the mileage.

The Barbadian has put a lot of hard miles in recently.  In the last year the hard-partying singer has cancelled three public appearances and been hospitalized for “exhaustion” twice.

When your weekend leaves you in need of an I.V. you’ve clearly left reality and wandered into the dreamscape populated by Goldie Hawn, Tara Reid, and Lindsey Lohan.

Still this sort of behavior doesn’t usually make waves in the world of celebrity.  What did rock the boat was Sunday night’s personal interview with Oprah Winfrey where Rihanna dropped the bomb that she still loved Chris Brown.

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What She Needs To Believe

This summer, in a strange “life imitating art” moment, the actors involved in the film version of America’s most celebrated supernatural love-triangle found themselves caught up in a Bizarre Love Triangle of their own.  It’s still a morass of beauty, secrecy, and self-deception.

If I’ve learned anything in my 38 years, it’s that the most powerful lies that we tell are quite often the ones that we believe ourselves.  Consider the lie on display in Kristen Stewart’s recent mea-culpa regarding her relational infidelity;

“…This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him… I’m so sorry.”

You might be wondering two things right now:

Where is the lie in the above statement, and how I know that a person that I’ve never met is lying?

To the first wonderment I’d suggest that the lie probably isn’t where you think it is, and to the second I’d say this, “You don’t have to know someone to recognize a lie; you only need to have been lied to.”

But first, let’s address the truth.

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Caught Red-Handed

Pamplin Media

I live in a small suburb of Portland.  It’s essentially a collection of bedrooms, a Red Robin, a movie theater, and a bunch of teenagers with iPhones.  Last month one of those teenagers left her phone in the theater.  After getting to the parking lot and realizing this, her friend used the “find my phone” app on her own iPhone to pinpoint its location inside the theater.

The girls went to the locked theater and asked if they could go inside and get it… only to be rebuffed.

Using the app, they noticing that the lost phone was “moving around” through the cineplex; they suspected that someone had found the phone and was intent on keeping it.

They called the police.

After searching the theater they had seen the movie in, with the police officer, they finally found the lost phone… hidden behind a wall panel… in a different theater.

Apparently a worker had allegedly found the phone, tried to keep it, and when the gig was up, tried to ditch it.  Property was returned, arrests were made, and teenaged girls became local heroes for their investigative prowess.  It was like a 21st century Nancy Drew story… The Mystery of the Wandering iPhone.

It used to be that you could get away with stuff.  

I once stole an entire roll of Rollo’s just to see how they tasted.  I took the candy from the supermarket by sliding it up my sleeve.  I was with my mom, so I had to wait through the entire checkout process before I “got away with it”.  The entire time we were in the line I just knew that I was going to get caught.

The cashier kept eyeballing me.

I kept imagining that she knew exactly what I had done, and like some twisted character from a Poe story or Dogstoyevsky novel I sweated it out in the line, as terrified of getting caught as I was of succeeding.

As my mom rolled the cart towards the door, the checkstand lady complimented her on how well-behaved I was.

The store security dipped his head at her as we went through the automatic doors.

It all felt like it was happening in slow motion.

At home I ate the Rollos in the bathroom, and flushed the tin-foil evidence.

I played a quick round of Breakout to take my mind off of my malfeasance.

By the time M.A.S.H. started I’d forgotten all about my crime.

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