Not that we need any more evidence of Internet comment sections being an indication of the dark places people venture when guaranteed anonymity, but, well, we’ve got some right here for you. After all, if people are going to joke about a dead body floating in the Gowanus Canal or a fatal explosion in Manhattan or a tragic fire in Williamsburg, why wouldn’t they joke about domestic violence? Ugh. Humanity. It’s the worst.
News broke today that musician couple Paul Simon and Edie Brickell were arrested Saturday night at their home in New Canaan, Connecticut on charges of disorderly conduct. The New York Post’s Page Six reports, “Simon, 72, called police about 8:20 p.m. after Brickell started an argument that got out of hand…[but that] neither was taken into custody… but were issued misdemeanor summonses. Since they were not processed at police headquarters, their fingerprints were not taken, and there are no mug shots.” The Post also notes that “New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said during a news conference that Simon and Brickell suffered ‘minor injuries’’ and that there was ‘aggressiveness on both sides.'” It seems that no orders of protection were issued on behalf of either party, though, and the couple has reconciled, with Simon telling the press, “We had an argument which is atypical of us. Neither of us has any fear or any reason to feel threatened. I don’t feel like I need to be protected.” Brickell added, “He’s no threat to me at all.”
So, obviously I don’t know what went on between Simon and Brickell, and I don’t actually have all that much desire to speculate about the ins-and-outs of their relationship, but I will point out that domestic violence is not only notoriously underreported (and is for that reason known as the “silent epidemic“), but also very rarely leads to charges being filed due to a multitude of complicated factors not usually related to whether or not anything violent happened in the first place. However, what I do have a desire to focus on is the rapidity with which Internet commenters felt comfortable making jokes about the situation. On New York magazine’s related blog post, commenters riffed off the musicians song titles, writing things like, “What I am is what I am… what you are is under arrest, Brickell!” and “50 Ways to Beat Your Lover” and wondered if maybe Simon was just “taking ‘The Boxer’ a little too literally.” And on Gothamist, people weighed in with comments like, “Did she call him Al?” and “Bridge over troubled water, amirite?” (And, no, favorite commenter shitdick has not yet commented.)
Obviously, it is an all too human impulse to make light of uncomfortable situations, and, hey! Nobody died here, right? No charges are even being pressed! Maybe I’m just uptight and can’t enjoy a little light-hearted pun-based humor? Or maybe in a country where cases of domestic violence go widely unreported and it’s still considered acceptable to call a tank top a “wife-beater” and one-third of female victims of homicide are killed by a domestic partner it’s not actually that cool of a thing to joke about. Yeah, maybe that.
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