Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: About Chris Brown

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  • Rich Lock, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The Prodigy's 'Smack My Bitch Up' is an interesting example. If you saw the play the Big Day Out you may recall that when those lines came up in the chorus you could barely hear yourself think for teenage girls screaming them back. The words very clearly did not mean to them what they meant to outsiders.

    Well, I'm no doubt in a minority, but I used to be a Prodigy fan back in the day (first half of the '90's, when they were blowing up. 'Music for the jilted generation' was a huge release that more or less completely captured both the rave and the indie kid market. 'Smack my bitch up' was released as a single a few years after that, in 1997). I'm now firmly in the 'ex-fan' camp, with 'smack my bitch up' having a lot to do with that (that, and the music getting lazy and shite).

    I'm hardly the type to call for the fainting couch and the smelling salts at the first whiff of scandal, but something about the obvious pleasure they took in using that particular wording, and their half-hearted 'no, we didn't really mean it like that' defence, really put me off. The final nail in the coffin was Liam Howlett's 1999 solo mix release, which included the original 1988 track that they sampled: Ultramagnetic MCs 'give the drummer some', which included the full phrase 'smack my bitch up, like a pimp', which he cut and repeated and brought front and centre in the mix to really drive it home. Wasn't impressed.

    I know word definitions change and have a certain contextual fluidity, but I guess I'm too old school to let that one slide.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Far out. The Chopper Read who visited New Zealand was comedian Heath Franklin playing the part of Chopper Read.

    And the West Memphis Three were, y’know, innocent.

    No-one said Willie was bright.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Beatlenerd fact: the opening line of "Run For Your Life" - "I'd rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man" - was lifted directly from Elvis Presley's version of "Baby Let's Play House", 1954. IT'S MISOGYNY ALL THE WAY DOWN.

    Speaking of which, this is the most beautiful version of a traditional song about the senseless, bloody murder of a woman. (Seriously, it is ass-kickingly great. Those close harmonies! It is also incredibly disturbing.)

    I think my larger point, which I ranted about on Twitter earlier, is: we all have to accept that we are soaking in all manner of horribleness like misogyny in ALL pop culture. Because it reflects AND inspires us, it's hard to draw causal relationships. So the only thing to do is critique and discuss and critique. And everyone has to draw the line of acceptability where that line feels comfortable for you - and maybe the discussing and critiquing, perhaps from voices outside the mainstream, changes the placement of that line for you. Maybe it changes more than once. Moreover, maybe the artists respond to the critiques and THEIR line of acceptability changes. So yeah, discussion is great; waving lyrics around, divorced from the song itself, as if they're some immutable proof of anything is... not.

    PS I do not think "a bunch of women sang along to the song so it isn't misogynist" is a particularly convincing argument. There is such a thing as internalised misogyny. Shit, I bet *I'd* sing along to that song in the right context, but I'd still know it was kinda fucked up.

    PPS Here's an example of my "line of acceptability": I'd still pay to see a Woody Allen movie, but I wouldn't pay to see Bill Cosby. Now, I know that to a lot of feminists the line is closer. Woody Allen is dead and Bill Cosby is BEYOND dead, and that's totally valid. Maybe I'm terribly wrong. But here I am with my line, my not-so-secure judgement call. Maybe I'll change it one day? I'll have to keep thinking, and reading, and re-deciding.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Musonda,

    I don’t want to defend Brown – or Turia, just to point out that it seems as though every corner of the media/political establishment has coalesced far more quickly and effectively in their opposition to Brown than would be the case if he wasn’t brown (the colour).

    I can only speak for myself, but I stand by this Tweet:

    Let’s get real that race, class (and gender) are NOT created equal in NZ, but I’m not joining Team Chris Brown to have that korero.

    And, honestly, I don’t want to derail into a discussion of hip-hop lyrics. Not because an awful lot of them aren’t absolutely fucking vile, but because an awful lot of pop culture is absoloutely fucking vile and that a whole warehouse of canned worms I can’t even start to open here without pulling the mother of all derails. I will happily argue that George RR Martin’s treatment of rape and violence against women in A Song of Ice and Fire is ghastly on so many levels (and the television adaptation is even worse) *, but I’d never say that is a reason to bar him from entering New Zealand. Because that’s not how our immigration laws work, wither you think that’s right or not.

    My issue with Brown’s defenders has nothing to do with his race, and a lot with the horrible spectacle of people who should know better just ignoring his long record of abuse, harassment and intimidation. And while they’re not my stories to tell in this forum, I also have reasons not to share Turia et. al.’s trust that Brown’s really changed his ways.

    * And I have to note here, that there are plenty of women geeks whose opinions I respect, and are in no way rape culture enforcers/apologists, who would make arguments to the contrary. It's complicated, because pop culture and the people who make and consume it don't magically exist above and beyond a society that's fucked up and broken in so many ways. As Danielle rightly says, we've all got to make our own way through that maze.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Musonda,

    Turia’s support is reflexive because there is undoubtedly a racial element here. There is just never this level of vitriol when a white person with priors tries to visit (that I recall anyway).

    And why not?Tariana is a rebel. I listened to her defiant interview with Kim Hill . The Maori Party have given their all. She is now an expert as to how to deal with Government, And why fucking not? Call to task . I have noticed that the best way to call National out is social media. She now can put the stick in. As Key said in 2009 ish, "bit 'o'stick"
    Now he gets to see how Maori do it. I'mm kinda liking her stoopid behaviour. Shit costs

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Danielle,

    Maybe I’m terribly wrong. But here I am with my line, my not-so-secure judgement call. Maybe I’ll change it one day? I’ll have to keep thinking, and reading, and re-deciding.

    All good Danielle . I'm glad you are prepared to look at yourself. I enjoy that challenge all the time. My other teaches me that. Go girl. You too Rosemary.
    PS. Cheers everyone on PAS.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I will happily argue that George RR Martin’s treatment of rape and violence against women in A Song of Ice and Fire is ghastly on so many levels (and the television adaptation is even worse) *, but I’d never say that is a reason to bar him from entering New Zealand.

    Tru' bro'

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    My issue with Brown’s defenders has nothing to do with his race, and a lot with the horrible spectacle of people who should know better just ignoring his long record of abuse, harassment and intimidation. And while they’re not my stories to tell in this forum, I also have reasons not to share Turia et. al.’s trust that Brown’s really changed his ways

    Although, I said before ',why not? Tariana in the National Party has given her all. She is an expert in how to deal with tis Govt.She’s out there.
    She knows social media is winning. Plus, don’t think it may be good she left Labour. Labour are pretty conservative. Paranoia ,not so much but, they read their emails. Little me gets to talk to them., to reason and at least have one on one conversation. have that with NZ first too but that’s a whole other story

    Your opinion (as much as I value it) is just one and democracy should dictate . It has. Take a number


    The guy is damaged. We know that. I’d like to know more personally but I don’t. Someone thinks he can have his kid back. I gotta agreee, that’s a biggie

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    I think my larger point, which I ranted about on Twitter earlier, is:

    Twitter is killing this place.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4327 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to steven crawford,

    Twitter is killing this place.

    Hopefully places like this will survive once people realise that not every issue can be condensed into a short sentence....even if enhanced by links or pics.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    fucked up and broken in so many ways.
    As Danielle so rightly says,
    we’ve all got to make our own way through that maze.

    Craig... you little hip hop lyricist you... ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    taking the pithy...

    not every issue can be condensed into a short sentence…

    Indeed, the fallacy of a 'Tersery Education'!

    Which reminds me - why was Brownlee the man to do the Preposterous Panda Proposal delivery?
    Surely Joyce, who was a zoology or veterinary major and was in China a week or so ago, would have been better suited for this...

    ...and please after seeing the pandas in Tokyo zoo, don't do it!
    Poor beasts looked despairingly bored and trapped (I know i'm being anthropomorphic), but there is little return to the animal's quality of life from our 'benign interest'.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    ...and please after seeing the pandas in Tokyo zoo, don't do it!
    Poor beasts looked despairingly bored and trapped (I know i'm being anthropomorphic), but there is little return to the animal's quality of life from our 'benign interest'.

    Tokyo's Ueno was a surprisingly horrible zoo when I was there 20+ years ago.

    A pair of pandas were exhibited at Auckland zoo as part of a Chinese diplomatic offensive in November 1988. I guess whatever goodwill they created got wiped with the Tienanmen Square events of the following year.

    The only upside I can see is the handy metaphor pandas provide for political cartoons. The pair that visited Auckland in the 1980s had spent time at Sydney's Taronga Park, where they dined on bamboo donated in response to a public appeal. A cartoon from that time showed a reluctant Hawke and Keating being forced to eat "grassroots" at a Labor Party conference, while a zookeeper stood by thanking party members for "bringing their special food".

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    fucked up and broken in so many ways.
    As Danielle so rightly says,
    we’ve all got to make our own way through that maze.

    Craig... you little hip hop lyricist you... ;-)

    That is actually quite good! They call him Rappin' Ranapia.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews, in reply to Danielle,

    I think my larger point, which I ranted about on Twitter earlier, is: we all have to accept that we are soaking in all manner of horribleness like misogyny in ALL pop culture. Because it reflects AND inspires us, it’s hard to draw causal relationships.

    Thanks Danielle. That is what I wanted to say yesterday when I got into an ill-advised Twitter discussion on this. Twitter is probably too rushed and chaotic a medium for it.

    There was a line in Andrea Vance's column about both Chris Brown and the Lorde revenge video, which is that "pop culture defines acceptable social norms". That seems utterly wrong to me. There is a place for violence in entertainment; pop culture is not a set of instructions for everyday behaviour. Sometimes that violence might be fantasy or catharsis.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I will happily argue that George RR Martin’s treatment of rape and violence against women in A Song of Ice and Fire is ghastly on so many levels (and the television adaptation is even worse) *

    I'd argue that this, among many other levels of nasty, is exactly why GoT is so popular. Medieval fantasy that "keeps it real". Everyone in it is a gangsta to some degree or other. If they weren't at the start, they are by the end.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    but there is little return to the animal’s quality of life from our ‘benign interest’.

    Isn't that how Key treats all of us? Panda, Amanda...

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    I'd argue that this, among many other levels of nasty, is exactly why GoT is so popular. Medieval fantasy that "keeps it real". Everyone in it is a gangsta to some degree or other. If they weren't at the start, they are by the end.

    I honestly can't watch it. Too much sadistic, sexual violence. (I also don't like Tarantino films.)

    Otoh, the two members of my household who follow it enthusiastically are much nicer people than me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to philipmatthews,

    Thanks Danielle. That is what I wanted to say yesterday when I got into an ill-advised Twitter discussion on this. Twitter is probably too rushed and chaotic a medium for it.

    Yeah, it is. And you come up against absolutes very quickly.

    There was a line in Andrea Vance's column about both Chris Brown and the Lorde revenge video, which is that "pop culture defines acceptable social norms". That seems utterly wrong to me. There is a place for violence in entertainment; pop culture is not a set of instructions for everyday behaviour. Sometimes that violence might be fantasy or catharsis.

    I'm also not sure about making this dividing line between one form of popular culture and another. The Lorde video is a story, with characters.

    Otoh, I do wonder if hearing Chris Brown instructing women to be "head down, ass up" in seemingly every track starts to normalise that as an attitude.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Otoh, I do wonder if hearing Chris Brown instructing women to be “head down, ass up” in seemingly every track starts to normalise that as an attitude

    I think it is pretty gross too . Many times when I hear of something ghastly in the news that someone has done to someone else ,I wonder if it is an influence from music or TV or Movies which does make it a fine line of which I don’t know where it is or how it should be determined. At the dentist the other day ,looking at the ceiling, I mentioned how sexist the music video was and asked them (through a numb face) if they thought objectifying women like that was acceptable to them. They said yeah it was sexist but that’s what the kids dress like nowadays and their children loved that sort of music. I was glad I could ignore it by requesting more Novocaine. In reality the Dentist and her assistant (who had kids) just ignored it too. They actually had never thought about it. Faux humping a scantily clad woman from behind seems to be par for the course .

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Attachment

    But Lisa, If you don't watch the violence, you'll never get desensitized.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    . It’s not that we believe and absorb violence from pop culture it’s the fact that Brown does, and has enacted it, that makes him a criminal.

    If censorship is to be avoided then artists who have lost the boundary between violent fantasy and reality need to be rejected.

    Since Mar 2010 • 379 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Say Aaaaaah....

    In reality the Dentist and her assistant ... just ignored it too.

    The barge of fate adrift in the root canal...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But when you look at the sparse crowd Public Enemy drew last time through – mostly white dudes my age – it’s pretty clear that the culture moved on.

    Turia’s support is reflexive because there is undoubtedly a racial element here. There is just never this level of vitriol when a white person with priors tries to visit (that I recall anyway).

    Yeah … but. It only really became an issue because Chris Brown had already been refused entry to other countries, which is the trigger under our law.

    Which isn’t so much a meaningful law as a coat tailing device. In 1991 Flavor Flav pleaded guilty to assaulting his then-girlfriend Karen Ross and served 30 days in jail, lost custody of his children. In August 1992 Public Enemy played in New Zealand. In 1993, Flav was charged with attempted murder and imprisoned for 90 days for shooting at his neighbor. That same year, Flav was later charged with domestic violence, cocaine and marijuana charges; his family performed an intervention and he checked into the Betty Ford Center for an addiction to crack cocaine. In 2002, Flav spent nine weeks in Rikers Island jail for driving with a suspended license, numerous parking tickets, and tardiness for probation appointments. In January 2011 Public Enemy performed at Auckland Town Hall. On May 2, 2011, Flav was arrested on four outstanding misdemeanor warrants for various driving offenses. Police said the rapper had two outstanding arrest warrants for driving without a license, one for driving without insurance, and one related to a parking citation. In 2012, Flav was jailed in Las Vegas on felony charges stemming from a domestic argument with Trujillo and threats to attack her teenage son, Gibran, with a knife.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    The barge of fate adrift in the root canal…

    Oh, very good. :)
    Just realising how it's everywhere and not just humans. I notice the bulls dry hump all the time over the back fence and the one up front clearly not enjoying himself. Sheep, not so much.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

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