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April 16, 2024

Chris Brown: What was he thinking with that?

By Rian Dawson | September 13, 2012

To preface this admittedly snarky analysis of a celebrity tattoo: I’m not tattoo-prejudiced by any means. Just as long as they have meaning and can be appreciated as art, I’m Okay. Maybe, then, that makes me a tattoo elitist (though I have none myself).

Some things I genuinely don’t understand, and those things I tend to stay away from. Like physics for example. Or anything engineering related. But then there’s another category of things I don’t understand. These are mostly trivial items that I can’t help but look at and wonder “What were you thinking?”  A lot of celebrity behavior falls into this category. I’ll admit, when I’m feeling in a slump from reading too much about the Salem witches, or literary theory, I’ll take a break and troll some things like Perez Hilton to occupy my mind on brighter things like Lindsay Lohan’s downward spiral of whatever it is this day of the week. And of course knowing which celeb has cheated on whom is the cherry on top of the despicable sundae. Yet, I’ve noticed a trend recently: the affinity for celebrities to get either a) really ugly tattoos b) highly suspect tattoos in prominent places or c) …seriously?

Most recently, Chris Brown comes to mind. The tattoo on his neck of what looks like a beaten women is both really ugly and in a prominent place. I mean, really, it’s a feminine face beaten to a pulp, with scratches (or stitches) on the lip, a black eye and bruises abound. Sound familiar? How does it not invite us to draw parallels to his high-profile beating of ex-girlfriend Rihanna? Somewhere, I think his management, or his handlers, or whoever, are kicking themselves for letting him do such a thing. It’s not doing anything for his public image besides reinforcing our perception of himself as a woman beater.

But no! The news has broken that apparently this tattoo is to commemorate the Day of the Dead. What? Maybe his neck tattoo is a public service announcement— a warning sign for girls to stay away from him. Seems pretty weak to me. But can that really be? After all, Chris Brown is just a misunderstood soul who doesn’t discriminate when it come to genders! Now all he needs it a tattoo on the other side of his neck of a man… with a punching glove, perhaps?  Nah, bare knuckled. Or better: brass knuckles.

And in trying to figure out the kicker— the ontology of the tattoo— I’m at a loss. It’s not even vaguely artistic, and it’s not making a worthwhile statement. It wouldn’t nearly be as big a deal if he’d gotten it on his back or somewhere covered.

Maybe it’s supposed to be ironic. But even an ironic swastika is still a swastika.

Still on Chris Brown: after his “ironic battered woman” he goes and gets what appears to be a masculine version (a fighter jet) of a tattoo of the Egyptian goddess, Isis, Rihanna got to honor her late grandmother. He’s, again, not doing himself any favors. But Isis is the friend of sinners. Who knows? Maybe he’s trying to cash in on some good karma points.

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