The 'Oh God, Not Another Post about the Slappening' Post
Yes, I know what you're thinking: 'Can we lay this to rest yet?' Well, this shit isn't going away soon. Too many sad people love to wallow in drama, particularly when it's someone else's drama. But, I may just have a solution, which I'll detail after I finish with my rant. (Yes, this is Read-Bait, my version of Click-Bait)
And, to be clear, my complaint is less about what happened then the way the internet seems to have responded to it. So many people have been crawling out of the woodwork in support of either Will Smith, or Chris Rock. Like, it is completely beyond them to grasp that they were both wrong.
And, before we continue, I'd like to state that I respect both of these men. They both are examples of the American dream, people who came from little to have a successful life. (Although, honestly I gotta say I probably like Smith more just because I like movies more than standup. Sorry Mr. Rock.)
But yes, like them or not, both were wrong here.
Chris Rock is a damned funny comedian. When he's not making fun of the consequences of a person's medical condition, that is. I mean, honestly, that joke was beneath him. It was maybe half a step above making fun of the handicapped athletes at the Special Olympics. And, don't do that; they'll sick Arnold on ya.
However, I have to say that I was very impressed with how Chris Rock handled the situation after the fact. He was very mature in the face of a great immaturity.
Now the other side of it; Will Smith is an amazing actor. Does that give him the right to slap Chris Rock for an off color joke? No. My father taught me (yes, get used to those statements) a long time ago that one must respond in kind. Do not escalate the situation. Hurtful words should always be responded to with words. When asked by a friend, I told him that, if I'd been in Will Smith's position (and Black) I would have responded to Chris Rock's remark by stating I was looking forward to starring opposite him in a remake of Twins. And yes, I did come up with that on the fly. (Kind of proud of it, really). No, I had not just witnessed someone I cared about's medical condition being made fun of.
Ironically, the event seems to have worked out well for Chris Rock, other than having his left cheek feeling like a recently tenderized roast. He went from the guy who made an off color joke about a medical condition (I mean, do you make fun of someone for undergoing Chemo?) to the guy who took his slapping like a man. And, apparently his ticket sales have been soaring. How much of that was because he's Chris Rock, and how much of that is because Will Smith turned him into a victim, I can't be sure.
But people need to grasp the fact that you can appreciate a person's body of work, and still disagree with their actions. Neither of these people were right. Yet it seems that most people are of the opinion that if one is wrong, the other must be right. The only question is: which?
Both. Both were wrong. And if it had been just everyday people this would never have made more than a golf ball's dimple in the internet. But, sadly, so many people are like this anytime a celebrity fucks the pooch. Like it somehow justifies where they are in their lives. 'I may be a barista at the local Star Bucks, but at least I didn't slap Chris Rock!'
And none of the band-aid like actions since are going to change that attitude, or the attention that comes with it like baggage on that vacation you didn't want to take anyway. I'm sorry, Mr. Smith (please don't slap me) but a public apology for a very personal assault is not going to cut it. Nor is your resignation from the Academy going to make a difference. That's more a win for the Academy (who have now successfully distanced themselves from this drama) than a path towards catharsis, which is the opposite of drama. As an apology, I personally think Mr. Smith should go to Mr. Rock's house, and wait for him to be ready to accept his apology. It may be a while.
But, I fear that even that will not repair the damage to Mr. Smith's career. And, if his resignation was truly motivated by grief, I fear it will not actually help him come to terms with a momentary loss of self control. What he needs to do is show himself, and the world, that he can indeed take a joke. To that end, I personally think that the remedy for this unfortunateness is a Roast of Will Smith. We could even call it 'The No Slap Roast of Will Smith'.
And Chris Rock must be a roaster. Though I think he should avoid a person's medical condition, regardless of whether or not he may or may not get slapped full force across the face. I'll even give him his first joke. Ahem:
Q: What's the difference between Will Smith and a Pimp?
A: While both will defend their women, one uses baby powder for disciplinary purposes.
Okay, yes, it's admittedly bad. Still better than Rock's GI Jane joke. (Love that movie btw)