By COLEMAN HOPKINS
This past Saturday, New York Magazine published an essay written by Alec Baldwin which responded to his controversial past year with a simple, “I quit.”
Baldwin, however is not the only Hollywood star to suffer a disastrous, regrettable and meltdown-laden year. Pop star Justin Bieber suffered a series of controversies; Shia LaBeouf entered into a series of drunken bar fight
s, in which he often came out on the bottom, and ran his mouth and himself off various projects; Paula Deen saw her empire fall apart for a racist remark made two decades ago.
It has not been a good year for celebrities. However, Baldwin’s controversies are by far the most disturbing in both, his vicious singling out of his victims and his glaring lack of remorse.
The public knows of Baldwin’s has anger problems. Historically, he once spoke about stoning a Republican Congressman to death and killing his family on national television, left a vicious and well-publicized phone message to his daughter and was belligerently rude and ultimately forced off an American Airlines flight.
Yet last November, things hit their fever pitch when a reporter stated that Baldwin’s wife was texting and tweeting at the funeral of a well-regarded acquaintance, James Gandolfini.
As it happened, the reporter was in a different timezone, so when he saw the tweets, they were actually from long after the funeral had ended.
Baldwin saw this report and responded harshly. He immediately launched into a social media assault on the man, referring to him as a “toxic little queen” and threatening to do some things to him that are too horrid to repeat.
The 140-character twitter attack was a clear example of homophobia, yet, according to Baldwin, he did not know his words were offensive.
Coming from a man who has worked for thirty years in an industry inclusive to gay and lesbian men and women, and he does not have any idea of what is appropriate to say to this community?
However, Baldwin was not finished. He later accosted a photographer and was caught on camera saying horribly crude slanders to the photographer.
One would think that Baldwin would run a huge apology campaign to curry favor with those that they offended, such as Paula Deen’s massive remorseful tour on major talk shows; not Baldwin.
Choosing to do things his way as he often does, he instead took to pen in hand and wrote a manifesto of his innocence that doubled as a strike back at the long list of those who wronged him. It is worth noting that said list is long and almost exclusively comprised of LGBT people.
Throughout the essay he manages to (while explaining why he is at no fault other than being the victim of media bullying) launch multiple attacks on a number of people, in what is supposed to be an apology asking for forgiveness.
He makes a particularly creative and cruel jab at Anderson Cooper and Andrew Sullivan, two prominent gay journalists, referring to them as the “Gay Department of Defense.”
Overall, this “apology” is no more than hate-filled justification of his behavior, though he really does not even try to paint it as such. The real problem with this piece is that it offers no real apology and is essentially just a vitriolic stab at those who called him out on being a jerk.
There is no remorse. There is no admission of guilt. There is not even a shred of comprehension as to the magnitude of what he did. The essay opens with an anecdote about how he thought attending a couple of GLAAD meetings would fix him up. It doesn’t work like that. Moreover, even if it did, it does not work for repeat offenders, as Baldwin clearly is.
The most glaring example of his hubris is in the middle portion of the essay, where he lists all of the personal injustices he has suffered-famous friends backing away from him, the loss of his MSNBC talk show, and the attacks on his character. He never considers that what he did was just as injurious and harmful.
His ego makes him infallible; he cannot accept that he did something wrong because Alec Baldwin does no wrong. However, while he is a dog with “bite,” he too has bark.
He threatened to move to France back in 2004, and he has threatened to leave New York this year, never to return.
Then again, it is all about Alec Baldwin, and it looks like it always will be. There are more references to his charity, his run for mayor, his personal politics and the struggles of his life than to the considerations of how he perpetuates an attitude of hate on a group of people who have it hard enough already without a loudmouth thug throwing around slurs like a pigskin on Thanksgiving Day.
This article was never seriously about saying sorry; it was all about Alec Baldwin and how his great loss is going to seemingly ruin New York.
His closing paragraphs cover how he is departing from New York, likely to return to Los Angeles to live behind a gate, free of the spotlight and the great difficulties attributed to it, such as acting like reasonably decent human being.
What Alec Baldwin might not realize, is that this is a two-way street. People do not want someone around that acts and thinks like he does, especially one who sees himself as some sort of representative of the state.
His last portion of the essay is the most ironic; he manages to, after everything else, throw in one last jab at Shia LeBeouf, who donned a paper bag that stated “I am not famous anymore” for the premier of his most recent film.
“And there was truly a part of me that felt sorry for him, oddly enough,” wrote Baldwin.
Maybe Baldwin ought to save himself the time and trouble of writing such a long piece next time and just slide a bag onto his head that reads “being famous is hard and I am better than you.”
His behavior reflects all that is wrong with over idolizing famous stars.