Oh, I wanted to write so many thoughts on the controversy that is “Ray Rice” or domestic violence. The outcry that was muted early but grew exponentially when the video came out publicly, the many sides to a complex issue that often get boiled down to talking points in the mass media, the many emotional and personal issues that bubble to the surface when a lightning rod issue like this pop up. Oh, I hadn’t the guts or the articulate skills to handle this issue here, so I have steered clear.
Now, I am shocked and chagrinned, flabbergasted even when it comes to Halloween. I guess I shouldn’t be. Each year, there are costumes that push the envelope, sensationalism strikes at the most outrageous in our society. Popular sells even if the popularity comes from a negative angle. Really, controversy sells and sells big.
A hurricane becomes wall-to-wall coverage on the weather channel even when there is still other weather to report. Outrageous trials become all that the 24-hour news channels will talk about for days on end when they are sensational enough. And in a social media/sensational driven society, we see the most incredible things, especially in the Halloween season. As long as it stirs conversation or stimulates dialogue, it is fair game.
The first side: Outrage
The same issue that incensed many, so many that the commissioner of the most powerful league in all of the United States is now sitting, maybe squirming on one of the hottest seats in executive positions worldwide. The story of Ray Rice has gained great traction, and maybe he will escape yet another controversy of public opinion. Perhaps? He is still employed, but for how much longer. Why? Because of an outcry of the public.
Now, the other side of the coin—glorification/sensationalism.
Halloween with its ever growing appetite for the sensational has struck again. Who do I blame for this, the public, individualism, the holiday, some one person, or the dark side in all of us? I have no idea, but this almost makes me more outraged than a penalty (two-game suspension) that was too light to the first guy they ever penalized in the history of the “League” for the issue of domestic abuse. Should I be outraged when a public figure knocks out his fiancé? Surely, the answer is yes. Should I be outraged for the cover-up (allegedly) that the NFL employed for a little CYA when it comes to public perception, maybe…but I am not sure. That however, is a whole different issue that this post has no time to get into. But when the private becomes public, why should the public debate the private? I don’t know, when am I supposed to judge?
Now, people are creating costumes on their own to play off the unbelievable story of Ray Rice, unbelievable that it still holds noteworthy status, unbelievable that it happened, and now, unbelievable what some people are doing to get their pictures shared all over the place.
Should I however, judge this: a costume for trick-or-treating or costume parties on this most crazy of all holidays that depicts an NFL player dragging his beat-up wife around with him? Everything in me wants to say yes. This is an outrage. I should stand up as a decent human being to say this is unjust, this is glorification of the most heinous stuff. Who has the kahunas (not sure the spelling) to go around dressed like this? Who has the gumption to make money off of this? Then again, should I as a Christian, instructed to judge with strict limitations, should I even jump into the fray. I struggle with this issue, and I struggle with where our culture has gone.
“For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside.” (I Corinthians 5:12-13)
I know we, Christians love to judge the world with condemnation, and for that I apologize on behalf of my brothers and sisters in Christ. Why we feel we should have a say over how those who do not live according to our standard do, I am not sure? Why we feel compelled to hold people to a line that they have not agreed upon, I will never understand. We’ll never guilt people into changing their behavior.
But can I step out from the little box I get put into as a Christian and make a stand on the grounds of common decency. Can I speak for all those who will not that this costume simply violates common courtesy to those who have struggled with issues of abuse? Why glorify it, why put this in the public eye even for the sake of humor or irony, or most especially to make a buck. I hope this costume remains something only seen as an image online and less as something worn out in public.
I could say so much more of my disgust for humanity over such despicable displays of crass and crude illustrations of our deteriorating society. But then again, there is too much to complain about. This too will pass, and maybe we should focus on ways to help those with internal scars from abuse rather than scolding those that mock the seriousness of this issue.
I am curious, what do you think? Of all of it?