Chris Brown And The Yellow Peril

Warning – it’s rant time! Why was Chris Brown on Dancing With the Stars?

Here’s a guy who beat his girlfriend Rihanna to a bloody mess, received a sentence of 180 days of labor service and five years’ probation – no jail time. He dropped out of sight for a while, obviously planning a carefully staged comeback, which began recently with a new album and publicity appearances.

So on Good Morning America, Brown is given the spotlight to perform his new song. And then host Robin Roberts asks him questions about the incident and the fallout, to which Brown give increasingly testy non-answers.

After the interview, Brown goes on a rampage – really, berserk. The singer trashes his dressing room – screaming and verbally abusing the ABC employees nearby, who are frightened enough to call security. Brown then smashes a chair into a window, which shatters, sending shards of glass to the street below. He then rips off his shirt and storms out of the building in a rage.

Clearly, Mr. Brown has some lingering anger issues.

So what do you think happened? Was he punished?

Here’s what happened. GMA’s Roberts invited him back to the show. He still got to perform on Dancing With the Stars, another ABC show. The network did not press charges, despite the damage to its building, the potential danger to passersby below and the abusive behavior toward its own employees.

There was no downside for Brown. In fact, he was rewarded for his violent behavior. This says a lot to me about our cultural values and our priorities. Apparently, violence is A-OK, and right and wrong are concepts that pale in the face of profit and ratings.

OK, it’s your lucky day – more rant! And this one’s about something you’ve probably seen dozens of times by now. It’s an ad on TV put out by a conservative “think tank” called Citizens Against Government Waste. Every time I see it I get a little more irritated. In fact, when I really think about it, it makes my blood boil.

The setting: a large classroom in Beijing, China. A man who resembles every stereotype of every Chinese bad guy on page or screen lectures about the greed, the foolishness, the spending that led to the downfall of America. “Why do great nations fail?” the professor asks. As he speaks, the camera pans across the faces in the audience, all young Asians. In the end, as the lighting subtly shifts and the camera pulls tighter, the arrogant man sneers, chuckles and gloats, “Now they work for us.” Cue laughter. End of spot.

Way to go, CAGW! Way to not-so-subtly suggest the horrors of a possible Red China takeover of our precious democracy! Come on! Let’s use old, broad stereotypes of the Yellow Peril to scare Americans into rejecting the policies of the liberal Democrats – that’s who the ad is targeting, right? It hits all the buzzwords sure to rile up the base – “tax and spend,” “stimulus spending,” “government takeovers” and even (gasp) “health care!” Evil, evil, liberals!

So, CAGW, how should we point out these dangers to our red, white and blue values? Well, it’s obvious. Let’s deepen American distrust of “inscrutable” Asian culture. Let’s widen the divide between “them” and “us.” In short, let’s use fear and prejudice and race-baiting, because, you know, all that negativity works!

The ad came out late last year. It’s had its run. Time to put it to rest.

Isn’t there a better way to make a point? Enough with the xenophobia. Enough with the “us versus them” divisive tactics – at least until the next election cycle.

Give us a break!!!

(End of rant. Whew, I feel better now.)