Why Does Chris Brown Keep Reminding Us That He Beat Rihanna?

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Chris Brown, master of questionable decisions, right? I mean, how else could you explain the guy — forever villainous for beating, biting and threatening to kill then-girlfriend Rihanna — posing with a bloodied Jean Paul Gaultier at a boxing-themed fashion show? Frankly, it’s disgusting. And ill-advised, if the once squeaky clean Michael Jackson heir ever wants to return to his softer days of making mall girls moist. Throw in that clumsy, cue card YouTube apology and that regrettable bowtie on Larry King Live, he must have the worst PR team ever. Or they know exactly what they’re doing and it’s more sinister than we could have imagined.

(‘DiggThis’)Take, as exhibit A, Brown’s arrogant and undermining defiance in the aforementioned King interview. The singer has been unconvincingly repentant in every appearance since the incident, but in his first interview, he even claimed to not remember hitting Rihanna, insisting that he blacked out. “It’s crazy to me,” he said. Uh yeah, us too, dude. Then, recall Brown’s under-performing (but conflictingly good) comeback single “I Can Transform Ya,” specifically, the video treatment. It’s oddly aggressive, casting Brown as a bad boy graffiti artist/weapon of futuristic destruction. In the dance scenes, he’s wearing all black ninja-style thief gear with bondage pants. The imagery is violent, uncomfortably so.

Which brings us to this new photo of Brown grinning like an idiot next to a “battered” Gaultier. Imagine if O.J. posted a Facebook photo with his Secret Santa gift from this year: new leather gloves! It’s almost as if Brown and his team are subtly nodding to the event that will inevitably define the rest of his career. Not only are they exploiting the incident to make news (how could a celeb blog resist Brown and blood in the same photo?), but they’re quietly building Brown into a bad boy. He’s irreverent and “Hard” and he’s a man, so he can’t help bursts of belligerence. The swagger’s just out of control, ya dig? Plus, by systematically prodding at the woman-beating controversy, Brown is desensitizing the pop audience, strumming secretly, as if to seem accidental, at the same pain until it’s numb.

Despicable, obviously, but in this Celebrity Industrial Complex, not out of the question.