The story and video came to me on a fantasy football text thread. I developed an immediate opinion. I got more information and reversed my opinion. Then I got even more information yesterday afternoon and went back to something like my first opinion.
At no time has it mattered what my opinion is. We just have them.
I have wondered whether women have found this gallant, frightening, or ridiculous. Women are not identical, so presumably there are many opinions, some mixed. I don't know what we would do with such information or whether it matters.
My opinion doesn't matter either, and I don't know what to think about the incident. I can see benefits in clobbering a few insult-comics, but risks in letting the violent control what gets said. And risks in paying a lot of attention to Hollywood fights.
I think Chris Rock is, of the three, going to leave the best impression over time.
As far as I can tell, alopecia is the preferred medical term for the colloquial hair loss. It does not indicate cause which might be heredity or hair care or hair styling practices as well as illness, and I can't find anything other than a vague reference to autoimmune disorder. Pictures of Mrs. Pinkett Smith with various hair styles seem to show a generally receding hairline even before she shaved, something Ann Althouse noted in her post on the subject.
Rock's joke might have been in poor taste but the semi-roast industry-insider-joke style is common to awards show banter and to the televised Oscar's from the very start with Bob Hope as MC. GI Jane-era Demi Moore was considered very attractive, IIRC, as well as being one of the foundational strong female characters who bested a male-dominated environment. I see the reference as more of a back-handed compliment than, say, lollipops and "Who loves ya baby?"
Will Smith appeared to be laughing at the joke before noticing his wife was not amused and rushed the stage.
After the altercation, Chris Rock neither apologized nor escalated by returning a blow or an insult or calling for security. He laughed it off ("Will Smith just slapped the * out of me") and continued on with his presentation.
Unlike our humble host and James, my opinion matters a whole lot, which is why you must hear it now.
Kidding aside, I think this situation is very intriguing as people's positions don't seem to be dividing easily along political lines as per the usual. I've had a few thoughts that I haven't noticed elsewhere. First, I'll note that Jada Pinkett Smith previously resorted to head scarves to hide her alopecia. My understanding is that it's mostly constrained to a strip of skin on her pate that appears as a scar (some claim it is a scar from a facelift, but I have no idea). In fact, if not told otherwise I would have just thought she was going for the Demi Moore GI Jane look Chris Rock alluded to.
Mrs. Smith made a point that she was going to stop hiding her condition. I watched a clip of her saying that she did so to help normalize the condition for women. I'm sure this was done to plaudits of her bravery, talk of female empowerment, sticking it to western beauty standards, etc.
Chris Rock's insult essentially amounts to him saying, "Hey, Jada, I noticed you're bald." People noticing is what Mrs. Smith wanted when she cast aside her head scarves. So, Rock's crime wasn't making a mild roast of her alopecia, it was that he brought it up with anything other than effusive praise. At least, that's my very, very important opinion.
One more thought. Usually, I'd be inclined to agree that insulting a man's wife (even mildly) is a good way to at a minimum get slapped, but considering the context and persons involved in this I don't think I can apply that standard. This is Hollywood where demonstrating one's wokeness has become the pinnacle of virtues. I have a suspicion that Will and Jada Smith would agree with the idea that observed differences between men and women are artificial societal impositions. That leaves me with a couple questions. First, why didn't Jada go up there and defend her honor in person? Second, why is her baldness* off limits from mockery while Bruce Willis' baldness isn't?
*I get the whole, "It's a medical condition!" thing, but I'm pretty sure male baldness could also be described as a medical condition. Having lost my own hair in my early 20's I can say it was suboptimal as I foolishly let it be destructive to my self esteem. Losing hair is definitely more devastating to women for obvious reasons, but the woke keep telling me that's because of sexist beauty standards.
@ Deevs - the next time we have an unimportant question that everyone is obsessed with, I will invite you to weigh in on it, because this was great. You found good things to think about even in that. That Smith was laughing until he looked at his wife has been noted elsewhere. That she is open about her deciding that the marriage is open - apparently without consulting Will - has also been remarked upon. It may have some bearing on what he feels his position is. That was some of the information that came to me later. All of that does not so much move me to an opinion as to highlight that we should wait until all the information is in, especially on fresh, breathless stories, as with Ferguson, MO
I have a lot of hair, about 18" right now. As an old hippie, its my contention that all that hair cutting makes your hair despair and give up. I just left mine, its been several decades since it saw a scissor.
I liked Will Smith before looking at this, and now I like him better. ;)
AVI, I'm glad you appreciated the comment. My main goal with comments is to not be boring, so sounds like I at least pulled that one of.
@PenGun - Funny you say that about hair cutting. I spent a couple years in Ukraine (the are Donbas region in fact) some time ago. I had pretty decent command of Russian, so I could communicate well in most things. I never figured out a good way to describe how I wanted my hair cut, though. I'd just say, "Keep it the same, just a bit shorter." That worked like a charm for about a year and a half. Then one hairdresser just buzzed my head.
My hair would barely grow over an inch on the top of my head after that, so I think your theory of hair despair has some merit.
It's likely to have been a setup. Would anyone be discussing the Oscar broadcast today, were it not for this fracas?
It's low class. No number of dance numbers or Moments of Silence or Protestations of Virtue can make such an act disappear.
If there were to have been consequences, the night of the broadcast was the time to have applied them. It is now Too Late to pretend to have standards.
Notwithstanding the above, the attacker should have been awarded the Oscar he had won. It's a separate matter.
Now, do I care? Nope. I find most of Hollywood's product nowadays low class and not worth the time and money to see it in the theaters. So, you know, it fits the product. No standards, no consequences.
Let's just leave this here...Forensics had to dust Chris Rock's face for Fresh Prints.
I denounce myself.
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