Do you think Chris Brown and Rihanna have their own sort of personal Chartbeat set up somewhere, that shows exactly how many tweets, reblogs and Facebook comments each of their headline-baiting antics receive? That's the best explanation we can think of for the pair's general PR strategy, which often seems like pageview culture made flesh: Piss off the haters, play into their biases just so, and you'll be rewarded with millions of clicks.
Case in point, this picture Rihanna Instagrammed Thursday night, of her tender post-concert embrace with Chris Brown, with the caption "I don't wanna leave!!! Killed it tonight baby!!!"
(Sidebar questions: Who took that picture? And what exactly is Chris Brown's body doing? It looks like his arm is sprouting from the back of his head.)
Of course, the other interpretation for all this controversy is that Rihanna and Chris Brown just really like each other, and want to do typical couple things like record songs together and Instagram pictures of themselves hugging, without worrying what anyone else thinks. And sure, that's a valid argument—and one that music writers are likely resistant to, since it means that instead of being the objects of a concerted social-media campaign, we're just irrelevant.
But then you see things like this picture, which Rihanna Instagrammed shortly before the one above. You really think there's no clickbaiting going on here?
We know, we know, it ain't nobody's business, and if we don't like it we should just ignore the both of them. But then we'd have to get new jobs, and nobody wants that. So troll on, you bright diamonds!