Scientists may have had other ideas but I think the Internet was invented for the express purpose of circulating cultural memes. (Incidentally, that’s pronounced “meem” not “me-me” like I’ve been saying for years. You’re welcome; it is my calling in life to be a cautionary tale to others.) This is great when it comes to things like the Surprise Kitty:
Between all the fun shenanigans of “literal videos” and sharks with people teeth and Twilight Rifftrax (SO hilarious!), I sometimes forget all about the dark side. And then something like this comes around to remind me:
This clip, taken from Jersey Shore, some MTV reality show that I’ve never seen (not that I’m going to be all high and mighty about that because we both know if it were on during my a.m. treadmill time I’d totally watch it), shows a girl named Nicole Polizzi a.k.a. Snookie taking a closed-fist punch to the face from a man. The details are predictable, as MTV explains:
Polizzi, who suffered bruises and swelling as a result of the punch, said the clip is hard for her to watch, but that she’s glad MTV is including it in the series.
“It should be out there. Everyone should know that it can happen,” Polizzi told The News. “But also, a positive came out of it. It brought [the cast] closer together.”
Polizzi says the man who hit her was drunk and had been bothering her and her friends at the bar. When she spoke up to ask him to leave, he hit her.
Another day, just another example of people being stupid, right? What bothers me about the clip – besides the obvious violence – is the reaction of people on the Internet. This clip spread like wildfire not out of moral outrage but rather from entertainment. People think this is funny.
Comments on various sites range from blaming her for being an annoying “guidette” (the female version of a guido, I’m assuming) to laughing at the way her head snaps back to a more chilling general hatred of women in general. One commenter named Cletus Van Damme (martial arts for rednecks?) writes:
Well chicks want equal everything so here ya go Snookie. Equal being what it is when dudes talk a bunch of sh- they have to back it up or get knocked the f- out. Welcome to being equal Snookie. I’m guessing I won’t see you lined up to collect combat pay anytime soon.
But while Mr. Cletus is no gentleman, he certainly wasn’t the worst. In a weird twist, the men over at bodybuilding.com – a site that although heavy on the crap supplement ads has many great workouts, several that I’ve featured on this site – seem to have a particular love for this clip. ‘Roid rage, perhaps? To a one, they all conclude that not only did Snookie deserve it and it was hilarious but also that they would still bang her and she should thank them for the privilege. Then the thread degenerates into a discussion of her imagined sexual proclivities.
It frightens me that this kind of thinking even exists much less gets written in a public forum. Violence has become one more currency in the world of entertainment and I find it chilling that it is taken so lightly. Consider all the appropriate uproar a few months ago over Chris Brown’s beatdown of Rihanna. But what has happened since then? Chris Brown and his ridiculous bow-tie went on Larry King Live and stumbled through a confused apology – pretty much what I would expect from a celeb in his situation – but Rihanna has come out with a new single. Go girlfriend! Show the man he can’t keep you down! Show the world that you’re strong and resilient and you’re not going to take any crap from a man! Oh wait, her new song “Russian Roulette” is about how she gets talked into holding a loaded gun to her head and pulling the trigger by a man she’s in love with. Part of the lyrics say:
As my life flashes before my eyes
I’m wondering will I ever see another sunrise?
So many won’t get the chance to say goodbye
But it’s too late to think of the value of my life
I’m terrified but I’m not leaving
Know that I must pass this test
So just go on and pull the trigger
Um, excuse me?! It’s too late to think of the value of your life? As long as you are still alive it is never too late! Especially when you are the one holding the gun to your own head! Not to mention she appears on the cover naked and tied up with barbed wire. I don’t want to judge her but glamorizing violence against women hardly seems appropriate.
Set me straight: is watching Snookie get cold cocked funny? Is there any context in which that would be called for? Am I missing the subtle subtext of Rihanna’s new song? And what is with sexualizing violence against women?