There’s no excuse for Will Smith’s Oscar slap

todayMarch 30, 2022

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There are few issues extra unpredictable — or harmful — than a person who feels pressed to vindicate his manhood.

(Chris Pizzello | AP) Will Smith, proper, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage whereas presenting the award for finest documentary function on the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, on the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Sorry, however there is no such thing as a excuse.

Not that that’s stopped some individuals from looking for one. And sure, in case you hadn’t figured it out, we’re speaking in regards to the occasion that has crowded out Ukraine, the pandemic and fuel costs as the highest subject of public dialog. Which means, in fact, The Slap.

And right here begins maybe essentially the most pointless recap you’ll ever learn:

Sunday night time in the course of the Academy Awards telecast, presenter Chris Rock made a crack about actress Jada Pinkett Smith, whose scalp is shorn almost bald. ” ‘GI Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see you,” he snarked, referencing a 1997 film whereby Demi Moore shaved her head to play a Navy SEAL. In response, Smith’s husband, Will, mounted the stage, reared all the best way again to West Philadelphia, and slapped Rock within the face. He returned to his seat bellowing, “Maintain my spouse’s identify out your f—–g mouth!”

The excuse-making started instantly after. As Smith later informed it whereas accepting the Oscar for finest actor, Denzel Washington recommended him as follows in the course of the business break: “At your highest second, watch out. That’s when the satan comes for you.” Someplace, the satan is probably going consulting his lawyer a few defamation swimsuit. Pestilence, famine and Ted Cruz, sure, however Devil had nothing to do with this.

One can also be unpersuaded by Tiffany Haddish and others who’ve lauded Smith as a defender of Black womanhood. He himself tried to say that mantle in an acceptance speech the place he likened himself to Richard Williams, father of tennis goddesses Venus and Serena, whom he portrayed within the movie, “King Richard.”

“I appear to be the loopy father,” he mentioned. “However love will make you do loopy issues.”

Lastly, some have talked about alopecia, the auto-immune dysfunction that brought on Jada’s hair loss. It’s removed from sure — and appears unlikely — that Rock knew about this, however the level is taken: One shouldn’t joke about individuals’s diseases. However one shouldn’t get smacked if one does.

So no, no excuse. Will Smith undressed himself on that stage, this preacher from the gospel of optimistic considering, can-do and — ahem — “will energy,” revealing the insecurities beneath his facade.

The document will present that when Rock made the offending crack, Smith truly laughed. Then he noticed his spouse’s face go nonetheless and her eyes roll, and immediately, he was on the spot. This was not about her misery, you perceive, however about his manhood in response thereto. The common man would moderately stroll bare via the lion’s cage with uncooked steak strapped to his jiggly bits than see a girl he loves in ache and be helpless to do one thing about it.

Sadly, “one thing” usually decodes as hitting. We males are good at hitting issues. It makes us really feel manly. That’s why, from the Kremlin to Mar-a-Lago to the Academy Awards, there are few issues extra unpredictable — or harmful — than a person who feels pressed to vindicate his manhood. The weaker the person, the higher the necessity and the vaster the collateral harm.

Will Smith’s collateral harm features a tarnished night time, a banged-up repute and possibly a broken profession. However Rock declined to press prices, so a minimum of he didn’t finish the night time in handcuffs as he simply may have. A day later, he lastly apologized to Rock for his epic jackassery.

Perhaps subsequent time Smith sees his spouse in misery, his first thought will likely be to consolation her.

That, in spite of everything, could be the manly factor to do.

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald.

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todayMarch 30, 2022

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