Alec Baldwin, Something of the Year

I should have known I was going to regret naming Donald Trump the Ethics Alarms “Jerk of the Year” in May. True, The Donald has only burnished his credentials since then, but other worthy candidates have charged into what would be contention for the crown, had I not rashly bestowed it on Trump, confident that nobody could be a bigger jerk than a man who sided with the birthers while using the crucial presidential nominating process as a crude promotion for his cheesy reality show.

But 2011 has been a banner year for jerks, uber-jerks, and beyond-jerks. There was Rev. Terry Jones, for example, who got people killed by threatening to burn a Koran. He blew right past jerk to asshole, so Trump was spared having to compete with him. There was Leroy Fick, the despicable lottery millionaire who kept getting food stamps after his bonanza, because of a loophole in the Michigan food stamp regulations. He inspired a whole new category for himself,  fick, which describes an especially shameless jerk.

Now, however, I am faced with a serious dilemma. What is an appropriately severe designation for actor (and alleged New York mayoral hopeful, which is disturbing on so many levels) Alec Baldwin, who in addition to revealing himself as a 9-11 conspiracy theorist earlier this year, just behaved like a spoiled child on an American Airlines flight, got himself kicked off to the inconvenience of his fellow passengers, and insulted the airline and the plane’s crew afterwards on Twitter?  Baldwin’s a massive jerk, but that prize has been designated. He’s obviously an asshole, but nobody can be a bigger asshole than Terry Jones. His refusal to apologize and subsequent blaming of the airline for not making a special exception to its rules for Big Important Movie Star and Liberal Blow-Hard Alec Baldwin When He’s Playing a Word Game On-Line That Shows How Smart He Is ( BIMSLBABWHPWGOTSHSHI for short) puts him in the fick category, but how can Leroy Fick not be the Fick of the Year?

Still, there is something that demands recognition in Baldwin’s creepy, smug, arrogant and mean-spirited routine last weekend on Saturday Night Live, in which Baldwin posed as the pilot of the plane. Asked by SNL news anchor Seth Meyers about the incident, Baldwin as the mustachioed captain replied,

“It was awful. That’s why it was very important for me to come here and on behalf of everyone at American Airlines issue an apology to Mr. Alec Baldwin… an American treasure…Would you really get on an airplane that flies 30,000 feet in the air if you thought one Kindle switch would bring it down? C’mon! It’s just a cruel joke perpetrated by the airline industry!”

Later, Baldwin, still as the pilot, said, “It was the first time in the history of American Airlines that one of our flights was delayed.”

Of course the Saturday Night Live mob, third only to Bill Maher’s claque on HBO and Republican debate audiences as the crowd most devoid of taste, judgment and discretion on TV, howled at the hilarity. Baldwin, naturally, will protest that this was just comedy, that he wasn’t using SNL to continue his ridicule of American Airlines for treating him exactly as a mega-jerk deserves, he was just, you know, being funny. That lie also adds to his jerk/asshole/fick/something credentials. Baldwin wasn’t kidding; the message of the sketch was the same message he nas been tweeting and braying from the beginning: he is the Great Alec Baldwin, BIMSLBABWHPWGOTSHSHI, and he deserved special treatment. That’s why the routine wasn’t really funny. Why is it funny to watch an egomaniac insist that his inexcusable conduct is justifiable, using rationalizations (“the airline is late other times”; “it’s a stupid rule”) and refusing to accept responsibility for his own boorishness? If Baldwin showed any hint that he knows what a jerk he is, then the yuks of the SNL audience might be excusable. But he didn’t. He doesn’t.

Meanwhile, Baldwin’s enablers in the entertainment media want us to know that this is a molehill. “It’s really time to drop this whole matter because it’s gotten beyond silly,” sniffed Jen Cheney, a Washington Post entertainment blogger. No, Jen, it’s really not time. Baldwin, who wants to be taken seriously as a political pundit and possible candidate, is championing the causes of defiance of airline safety regulations, anti-social behavior, celebrity elitism and the rejection of accountability, and a lot of people are paying attention. The incident should have been minor, but Baldwin has made it significant as well as a measure of his own character, or lack of it. He needs to be held accountable. But Ethics Alarms needs a superlative to do its part.

Alec Baldwin has proved that he was the biggest something in 2011.

What is it?

24 thoughts on “Alec Baldwin, Something of the Year

  1. Terry Jones certainly qualifies as asshole of the year, even though he’s got stiff competition. Realistically, while one might certainly accuse Baldwin of certain amounts of assholery, his doesn’t rise to the level of Jones’ – nor, indeed, that of some of Jones’ runners up. After all, due to Baldwin’s actions, people were inconvenienced but certainly not physically or emotionally damaged.

    Baldwin’s actions, however, are certainly those of a Pompous Twit, and I nominate him for that category.

  2. Wasn’t he one of the celebrities that promised to leave the country if George Bush was elected? Why is he still here? Perhaps we could nominate him for Non-expatriate of the Year, or even better , Alec of the Rectal Sequester.

  3. Uh… in Team America: World Police, the Film Actors Guild (led by Alec Baldwin played amazingly by voice actor Maurice LaMarche) were complicit in Kim Jong Il’s plot, and he said, “Whenever you see one of us, say, ‘Wow, good going, FAG.”

    Somehow, I doubt that one will work.

    “Scoundrel” would be too harsh, I think. I’m a fan of “mountebank,” but I don’t think it’s appropriate here. “Miscreant” would imply his misbehavior isn’t important. ”

    What about “blowhard?”

  4. I like Arthur’s “Pompous Twit” category, because in Baldwin’s arrogance he has shown his insignificant “twitness.” Pompous Twit is the descriptor of someone who thinks highly of himself when in fact he is just an inconsequential twit. Of course, you could just create a new category, a la “fick” — i.e., baldwin, to be used for example, “He has proven himself to be a true baldwin.”

    • Not bad, Patrice, not bad. Baldwin DOES have something of a penchant for shooting himself in the foot. Maybe he DOES deserve an award named after his own fair self.

      • There are three other Baldwin brothers, none of whom, to my knowledge, deserve that association. Maybe proper insults could be made by distilling the behavior of all the individual Baldwins.

        • I agree. One is an addict; one is a hack (and a D-movie conservative), and one, Stephen, seems like a reasonably normal guy. Besides, I went to high school with a cute girl named Betsy Baldwin, and she doesn’t deserve this. On the other hand, she never gave me the right time of day, but then again, none of the girls did.

          • If that’s not enough reason to not use “baldwin” as a term, then think of my favorite Firefly actor, Adam Baldwin. Certainly he’s the kind of guy that doesn’t deserve the negative attention?

            • Our love for him now, ain’t hard to explain.

              In truth, Adam Baldwin’s very existence negates any negative connotation that “Baldwin” could have.

              Plus I can never get enough Chuck.


  5. There’s always the delightfully vulgar “douchebag”. ( Am I allowed to say that?) ALternately, Pompous Twit works quite well.

    • Hmmm. I dunno. Twit means “silly and foolish person;” Balwin is all of that, but he is so aggressive and self-satisfied about it. He’s a twit on steroids. What’s the word for that?

      Other than “Jose Canseco”…

      • That would be “Manny Ramirez.”

        And I, like you, am a lifelong Sox fan.

        As for the “so aggressive and self-satisfied about it part”… that’s where Pompous comes in.

    • Pissant is an epithet for an inconsequential, irrelevant, or worthless person, especially one who is irritating or contemptible out of proportion to his or her significance.

  6. I’m amazed to see anyone on earth “upset” with A. Baldwin. More power to the man! I’m proud of him, but NOT pleased with American Airlines. He will make an excellent leader in politics because he has the ability to see past the illusions perpetuated by a twisted government, many twisted laws that are not based in reality, and he can stand up to abusive ‘blab,’ with a smile. MORE POWER TO HIM!!! Remember people, the greatest victory your enemy has over you is reshaping your soul into the image and likeness of exactly what you hate. Wonderful unseen realm law. Aleck Baldwin made sure to smile mentally and emotionally in the face of hate. I’m proud of him, and indeed he HAS my VOTE!!!!

    • “I’m amazed to see anyone on earth “upset” with A. Baldwin.”
      Good point! After all, all he did was defy Federal regulations, endanger passengers by defying an attendants required instructions, delay a flight, inconvenience fellow passengers, and boast about it while insulting employees who were simply doing their jobs, because 1) he’s a big shot 2) he was playing a game and 3) people like you—you know, DERANGED—wil cheer him on. Why should anyone be upset with him?

      “More power to the man! I’m proud of him, but NOT pleased with American Airlines.”
      More power to this particular man will have the United States resembling Bizarro World. But do find an airline that happily lets celebrities violate rules the rest of us have to follow. Good luck.

      “He will make an excellent leader in politics because he has the ability to see past the illusions perpetuated by a twisted government, many twisted laws that are not based in reality, and he can stand up to abusive ‘blab,’ with a smile.”
      Uh-huh. “What color is the sky on your planet, Cliff?”

      “Remember people, the greatest victory your enemy has over you is reshaping your soul into the image and likeness of exactly what you hate. Wonderful unseen realm law. Aleck Baldwin made sure to smile mentally and emotionally in the face of hate.”
      The men in the white coats are here. Please go quietly. They will help you.

      ” I’m proud of him, and indeed he HAS my VOTE!!!!”
      I never said the Mega-jerk/asshole/fick/twit Party wouldn’t have lots of members.

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