Everyday Ethics

I’m some type of strange masochist who absolutely loves reading the comments section of every news story, blog post, and youtube video I read or watch. It’s one of the reasons I love digital media — the immediate forum to hear the voices of my fellow man. And sometimes, my fellow man makes me want to take a fork and stab myself in the eye.

Case in point, Rihanna’s interview with Diane Sawyer, which airs tomorrow on 20/20. I was one of probably millions who Googled the five-minute Good Morning America clip from this morning. Personally, I am happy that she is taking her experience and letting something positive come out of it–whether or not you or I value her role in society, she does play an important role to young women everywhere. And if Rihanna speaking about her involvement in this sad situation helps one girl get out of a similar situation, amen to that.

However, from what I can glean from the peanut gallery, people are more upset that she timed this interview to coincide with the release of her new album. Also, they’re upset that she lacks humility and presumes to speak up for young girls and women everywhere. Many (too many) maintain that Rihanna hit Chris Brown and was possessive, and therefore was not a victim. Some claim that because of her fame and forture, she is less of a victim — she didn’t have to escape to a shelter, therefore her situation doesn’t count as abuse.

Now, I know that these voices really represent a small subsection of society — the most vocal bit of society. And I know I shouldn’t let my blood pressure skyrocket.

Do I think Rihanna should have hit another human being? No. Do I think that makes her less of a victim? Also no.

Do I think her coming forward now, so close to the release of her album, is a coincidence? Nope. Do I think it matters if part of her reasons for speaking out is selfish? Not at all. The speaking out is what matters — I don’t blame her for being part of the natural order of this consumer world. In this case, I believe the ends do justify the means. I don’t care if the interview is a publicity stunt — I care that someone out there listens to what she has to say and possibly extricates herself (or himself) from a violent situation.

What do you think? Will you be watching her interview? Is it all a publicity stunt, and if it is, does it matter to you?


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