In slightly short of 700 published mini-essays (“Blogs”), refrained from comment on the hustle and bustle of that discrete aristocracy, known as “Show Business Celebrities.” In addition to the fact that the dissemination of the latest “skinny,” on one or the other, of that media ennobled class of entertainers and actors, is in reality, the product of their public relations person, we have continued to feel that there are a great many subjects, more conducive to useful consideration. The following writing nonetheless, deals with two members of that exalted class, essentially, because it is our view that something can usefully, be learned from the subject.
The popularized incident occurred recently, during the 88th Oscar Awards Ceremony, between the actor and Oscar winner, Will Smith, and the comedian-Master of Ceremonies, Chris Rock. It seems that the predictably, irreverent, Chris Rock, poked fun at Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, regarding the subject of her hair (or lack of it, due to alopecia). Smith, in response, and in clear view of the many hundreds of attendees, and the television cameras, rose to his feet, walked to the stage, and angrily slapped Rock. It would appear that there have been reactive opinions, ranging from admiration to condemnation, concerning Smith’s unusual public reaction and differing views on the comedian’s choice of topic. It is our own considered opinion, that both Mr. Smith and Mr. Rock, displayed abominable behavior, before the huge audience and the television cameras, and that there are useful, perhaps, valuable, life lessons to be derived from a brief discussion of the startling incident.
Chris Rock appears to be an energetic, high voltage, comedian, often irreverent, but a talented and funny, stand-up comedian, whose sardonic humor often deals with sensitive subjects, like racial, gender and social inequality. Throughout his performance, he seems to maintain an irrepressible smile, which, effectively, adds a note of not so subtle, sarcasm, to his hilarious presentation, and a mode of acceptably and permissibly, referring to those uncomfortably discussed, injustices or inequities.
However, the comedian’s substantial success in spontaneous and unedited, diverting public comment on the injustices of society, or on members of society, albeit, their possible accuracy or truthfulness, gives him no privilege, to make critical observations that are hurtful or offensive to individuals. The successful audience response, by desired laughter, does not amount to a franchise to demean or insult the target of those observations. Maintaining individual respect for the sensitive feelings of others would seem to override Rock’s flush of success at inducing laughter. Chris Rock needs to sufficiently, hone in his sensitivities for, and awareness of, the feelings of others, regardless of their potential for invoking laughter. It would seem, eternally, to be forbidden territory to make sport of (in lieu of having empathy for) another person’s illness or incapacity.
As thoughtless and insensitive as Chris Rock’s thoughtlessness and lack of awareness of the impact of his biting humor on others, it is our opinion that Will Smith was the more serious offender. It is to be borne in mind that there were several hundreds of people in the theater, and many more watching the Oscar Awards on television. The event, regardless of its context, was not one, exclusively, between Mr. Rock and Mr. Smith at some private venue. There seem to be some viewers who see this entire, regrettable event, as a pre-arranged public show or performance; a view with which we do not agree.
Just as we see the flaw of insensitivity, in Chris Rock, who, it seems, has bartered all feelings of sympathy and respect for, the more desirable, element of laughter, we are of the opinion that Will Smith was, by far, the worst offender. Albeit, we grant Smith some questionable, credibility, as to his claim that he acted in defense of his loving wife, his violent action was, at best,” poor form” and at worst, “abominable.” We would choose to characterize his crude action by the second adjective.
Smith’s highly improper action was an obvious demonstration of his insular, shameless arrogance. It was, “his” wife, that was demeaned, and his inflated ego and need for immediate retribution were personally, irresistible. Let all of the attending show business personalities and the thousands of television viewers know, that, he, Will Smith, super-celebrity, was not going to be derivatively, insulted. His self-inflated ego, even further distended by this Oscar, would not permit him, properly to discuss the matter, privately, with Chris, after the conclusion of the Oscar ceremonies. His neurotic need to visibly and immediately, assert himself, is a testament to his unquenchable insecurity and the consequent, irresistible impulse to the demonstration of dramatic public assertiveness.