The Great Smith-Rock Rumble Ethics Round-Up!, Part 2: “We Are All Rock Now”

Such episodes are often useful as a way to gauge the ethics alarms, values, common sense and IQs of the public figures and others who comment on them. So it was yesterday. Before a survey, however, there was this provocative note from conservative site “Not the Bee”:

Will Smith’s aggressive defense of his wife on the Oscars stage occurs alongside his complete and utter spousal neglect of her off the stage. Smith has already admitted that he and his wife are in an “open marriage.” In other words, he allows other men to have sex with his wife. There are few more potent and enduring symbols of emasculated weakness—and of bad husbandship—than a man standing by while other guys hook up with his wife and make a mockery of their wedding vows. We should note that Will Smith presumably hooks up with women in his own right, but of course that simply degrades his own personal integrity even further—if you can’t defend your wife and your marriage from the impulses and the ego of your own sexual appetites, you’re not much of a man or a husband, whatever else you may be.

Getting back to the Round-Up…I believe we were up to #4?

4. The Smith’s son, actor Jaden Smith, tweeted, “That’s how we do it.” Ah! Attack people who make jokes we don’t think are funny! It looks like Will is teaching his offspring not to be the man he wants to be.

5. Of course there was a Trump connection, imagined by Trump-Deranged CNN analyst Assah Rangappa (last seen making a fool of herself here). Her tweet:

Yes, such is the quality of thought one gets from CNN analysts. In what universe would the natural reaction of an audience to Smith’s solo meltdown be to walk out of the ceremony. Did she think it was staged? How does she lay the conduct of black, progressive, Hollywood star on Donald Trump? Well, obviously, if something is bad, it’s his fault.

6. However, the standing ovation the Oscar audience gave Smith after he attacked Rock is signature significance. Their short-term memory can’t be that bad, can it? They cheered a man who had just broken the law, harmed a colleague, and scarred the Academy, on nationwide TV. I would like to see a video that showed if anyone wasn’t applauding: they would be the minority in Hollywood who know right and wrong from a box of taffy.

The proper reaction would have been the way the other jurors in “12 Angry Men” react when the bigoted Juror 10 goes into a racist rant.

They turn their back on him.

7. “Squad” member Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) tweeted this on Oscar night.

Yes, there is a member of Congress thanking someone for engaging in criminal assault and battery in public. A responsible party would censor her for that. She took the tweet down in minutes, but she wrote it, thought it, and meant it.

8.Bernice A. King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King wrote, “Anybody who thinks ‘Black people look bad’ after the #Oscars already thought Black people look bad.”

Good point, Bernice! And I’m sure you made that same point as the nation rushed to use a single Minneapolis cop to tar all cops, whites, and the United States as racist. I’m checking…

9. Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fake journalist behind the 1619 Project, tweeted that she found it incredible Smith was able to be a part of the show after his assault as if nothing had happened. See? She can be perceptive sometimes.

10. Maria Shriver tweeted, “We should never get to a place where we sit and watch a movie star hit someone on global television then, moments later, get a standing ovation while talking about love.”


Except that we are at that place, or at least Hollywood is.

11. Nasal rapper Nicki Minaj tweeted, “You just got to witness in real time what happens in a man’s soul when he looks over to the woman he loves & sees her holding back tears from a ‘little joke’ made at her expense.”

Make that a “14-year-old’s soul” and you might have a point. Idiot.

12. Kathy Griffin, she of the severed Trump head, said, “It’s very bad practice to walk up on stage and physically assault a Comedian and suggested an audience member at a comedy club may decide to “be the next Will Smith.”

Wow, a good point from Kathy Griffin! But The Daily Beast critiqued her observation, saying it ignored the personal history between Rock and Smith. That’s The Daily Beast, all right, and why I seldom visit without taking a stiff drink first. The “personal history” wouldn’t have justified Smith’s assault regardless of how strained it was (and it wasn’t so fraught anyway.)

13. Janai Nelson, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, observed in a tweet that “the way casual violence was normalized tonight by a collective national audience will have consequences that we can’t even fathom in the moment.”

Who says the “national  audience” did anything of the kind? The Oscars producers, by not ejecting Smith, and those who cheered him after the slap, are the ones who “normalized casual violence.

14. Frederick Joseph, bestselling author of “The Black Friend” and an antiracist activist,  tweeted,

“Many takes on here about Will Smith and Chris Rock, especially from people whose partners are not Black women (mainly white people). I don’t care if it’s a joke or not, the amount Black women have to endure — people are tired of it. We have no idea what Jada has gone through.”

If anyone wants an explanation of why the American black culture is as prone to violence as it is, that quote is a good starting place. A major “antiracist” figure believes that violence is justified by frustration and what individuals have “gone through” in the past. Joseph might as well have been rationalizing Chicago drive-by shootings.

This wasn’t quite the worst public reaction, though.

15. Actress-Comic Tiffany Haddish told People at the Governors Ball,

“When I saw a Black man stand up for his wife, that meant so much to me. Keep my wife’s name out your mouth, leave my wife alone,’ that’s what your husband is supposed to do, right? Protect you.” 

She then called the episode “the most beautiful thing [she’s] ever seen because it made [her] believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.”

Psst!. Tiffany, you dolt, the issue is not what Smith yelled at Rock from his seat. Try to keep up.


15 thoughts on “The Great Smith-Rock Rumble Ethics Round-Up!, Part 2: “We Are All Rock Now”

    • “Best commentary I’ve seen from a famous person”

      Agreed, but (IMO) this went in the minus column:

      “Many will be reinvigorated to continue their campaign to marginalize African Americans and others through voter suppression campaign.”

  1. Should haves: Will Smith should have just walked out upon hearing the joke about his wife. The audience at the event should have sat on their hands when Mr. Smith won the Best Actor award. But “should haves” don’t usually happen.

  2. I have no interest in the actual dust up between Will Smith and Chris Rock, but the ongoing frenzy of opinion reporting about the incident is rather fascinating. Everybody saw the same thing happen, but everyone seems to have observed something different.

    All I saw was a brief, meaningless, random act of violence between two spoiled, entitled, privileged rich people. I don’t think it means anything. It wasn’t novel or interesting to me.

    The personal opinions being injected into the event are a reflecting pool of American societal strife, though. The lens people saw what happened through has refracted the events into a kaleidoscope of personal outrage and angst. The public personas of celebrities are caricatures of socially titillating stereotypes. They aren’t real people, so everyone sees them how they want to see them, and sees the issues represented that they want to see people talk about. It’s like a work of living art, capturing the woes of a time period.

    • Decades ago, it would have been called a Rorschach test.

      To me, it was just a black guy getting back at another black he thought had “disrespected” him. If they’d been in their teens or twenties and either of them were carrying a Glock, it would have been fatal. The incident was of absolutely zero consequence. Two black guys having it out. No more significant that two white guys getting into a bar fight. Pretty darned unremarkable.

    • Not fair to Chris Rock, I think. He did nothing wrong, and his restraint at the time and so far afterward had been perfect. He’s a hard-working, fair and sometimes brilliant comedian, and if he’s been a jerk in public, I missed it.

      • Good point. Chris Rock didn’t really do anything. The joke he told wasn’t offensive or out of line. It was actually quite tame. His reaction to what happened was mature and responsible. He didn’t escalate the situation or behave badly.

        Will Smith met my expectations of celebrities to a tee though. Spoiled, entitled, privileged and narcissistic.

        My initial snap judgement was only half accurate.

      • Absolutely right!

        Chris did what we pay comedians millions to do. Makes jokes, often about others.

        Now Will Smith after laughing, has to go act like a “man” and hit a person?

        Chris handled it well but the fact they both are actors makes me wonder if it all wasn’t an act designed for something… who knows what.

        For the apparent anger Will had, why didn’t he punch him instead of slap him?

        He obviously was in some control.

        Oh well.

        • I wrote about that. using your fist to punch someone in the head is a great way to break a hand, and also to risk a serious injury to the punchee. A slap is degrading, and still sends a message. That’s also how you know it wasn’t faked or rehearsed.

  3. #13 This is a recurring theme I’ve noticed about Hollywood: Usually they feel secure enough to talk down to the rest of us and pretend to be our moral superiors. But let one of them get caught unequivocally in the wrong, in a way that can’t be covered up or explained away, and suddenly they’re just helpless products of the broader culture – even if that culture has to be invented out of whole cloth. Remember when the sordid affair of Harvey Weinstein came out, and they tried to pretend our culture taught boys it was permissible to masturbate into a potted plant in a public place, among other things?

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