So this afternoon a figure of hate came back to the focus of the internet, and therefore the world. This a highly successful and apparently popular entertainer, (whose name shall not be mentioned here for reasons which shall become apparent), famous for amongst other things, hospitalising his partner in a vicious and brutal assault.
His latest escapade was to have had a brand new tattoo on the side of his neck, a depiction of a woman’s face, one that looked suspiciously like his ex-girlfriend. Moreover, were it not enough, the picture is half stylised in dios de los muertos facepaint, which has the unfortunate effect, intentional or not, of making the image look similar to the pictures of his beaten ex-partner.
Unsurprisingly, half of twitter leapt to attack mode, barely able to contain the vitriolic and, somewhat justified, loathing for this particular “entertainer”. The general cry was that this was in fact an intentional tattoo of a beaten woman on his neck, and there was for an hour or so a period where his name was on every second post upon my feed. First, the quickest of the savvy internet readers, followed by those who had been too shocked to immediately post, and then over time, more and more posts, including many retweeets of witty comments and any comments by well-known celebrities.
While this was all nobly enough intended I’m sure, something struck me about the entire situation which seemed to be overlooked. None of this was new. This “entertainer” was lambasted both in the press and in the media in general. To be quite frank, before the assault charges, I’d never even heard of him before (I am utterly uninterested in popular music) until jokes began to appear about him on shows like Mock the Week and in comments on celebrity twitter accounts, reposted by like-minded fans across the interwebflexes.
But there was no palpable effect. Perhaps more-so in the UK than in America, this particular abusive artist has less of a following. Albeit the fanbase which he does have, are loyal to the point of insanity, another pointed noted by countless comedians. Yet still, two years after his conviction, he managed to secure his first ever #1 Album, showing his popularity was stronger than ever. Shaming the man has done nothing, because he is still seen as a hero in the eyes of the media and the less discerning public. True, he is not able to tour the UK at this time as a result of this conviction so the general grumbling is ultimately like a local sewing circle whingeing about someone they dislike, who isn’t able to hear it and is completely unaffected. Sure it might make us feel better for five minutes, but won’t lose him a single dollar or second of sleep.
So instead I’d offer up a new idea. One which at first probably seems counter-intuitive.
You see everybody knows that he is an abusive scumbag, the protestations of the ex-girlfriend notwithstanding, nor the fawning of his own fanbase. Instead of flooding our twitter streams with a self-congratulatory circle-jerk of well-meaning but ultimately futile messages, we should simply deny public figures such as this man the most important lifeblood their careers rely upon. Publicity.
If every critic and pundit in the entertainment industry refused to cover material on such people, shunned them, refused to do interviews with them or review their latest albums, they’d notice. If the radio channels blacklisted their songs and refused to say their names on air and talk about them, the studios would notice. If these people suddenly found themselves unable to get airtime or their records, or advertising for their releases, their backing would start to vanish, their multi-million dollar lifestyles and studio productions would cease and they would see the contempt that the right-minded world has for them.
Sure, what I’m talking about is unrealistic, impractical, and all but impossible in a modern internet age. Not even to mention that there are enough scumbag journalists, press agents and media zones who care less about a woman’s rights and dignity than they do a regular performance guarantee. It may be wishful thinking but it’s a suggestion that actually addresses the reality of the situation. Hollering about the shameful state of affairs at the wind does nothing against an industry which leads from the pocketbook ledger forwards.
Think a little differently, you might just change the world.