Community: Team Will or Team Chris?

Did you see Will Smith smack Chris Rock during the Oscars? I did. I thought it was a joke at first. Wow. That was some massive inappropriate behavior. The Hollywood types are being very slow to say that smacking a comedian in the face is kinda a bad thing. Some were actually cheering him on. (Off-topic link to royal family blind gossip.) Others are totally on Team Chris and with some comedians talking about leaving the profession entirely.

Loved this line from the New Yorker’s piece: “When Smith won the award he’d come to collect, he put on yet another performance for the now totally mortified crowd. Venus and Serena, up in a box, looked as if they’d just finished watching “The Blair Witch Project” for the first time..”

Was Will Smith defending his wife against a mean-spirited joke and, therefore, justified? Was Chris Rock just doing his job and really didn’t deserve being hit in the face on national television? Team Chris or Team Will?

15 thoughts on “Community: Team Will or Team Chris?

  1. I think Will Smith has been showing a lot of distress for a number of years now, and I think he’s not OK.

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  2. I didn’t love the joke, but I’m pretty sure (based on his response in the moment) that Rock didn’t realize that Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head was due to a health problem, as opposed to a personal style choice.

    Also, it was cowardly of Smith to hit a guy who couldn’t hit back because he had a show to do.

    As somebody was commenting, you could tell that Rock could have unloaded on Smith with some jokes, but he didn’t do it.

    (That’s the infamous Red Table interview between the Smiths, where JPS is talking about her spiritual growth from an affair, while Will Smith looks miserable.)

    I didn’t realize until the slapping episode, but the Smiths have some Scientology background, which is a whole can of worms in itself. Scientology is famously opposed to traditional psychology/psychiatry.

    It’s been really distressing to realize the last few years that Will Smith, who rose to fame on charm and good humor, has a lot of pain. He grew up in a family with a really abusive father, which probably plays into his need to “protect” JPS.

    https://wearemitu.com/wearemitu/things-that-matter/will-smith-mother-abused-oscars-2022/

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  3. I grew up on ‘sticks n stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ and I still think it’s a good guide.

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    1. Cranberry said, “I think it was a set up.”

      Nah, because it’s terrible for Will Smith’s image and career.

      If it was a set-up, it would have been advisable to announce that, so Smith’s career doesn’t go down in flames.

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      1. Shall we make a bet? I bet it increases Smith’s chances of being cast in films. There is a genre of film in which a middle-aged man snaps over some incident or insult. He “stood up for his wife.” My daughter reports the mother of one of her friends feels the slap was the only appropriate response–and I bet she’s not alone.

        80% of Hollywood’s product these days glorify violence, and inappropriate responses to stimuli.

        It’s good for Chris Rock’s career, too. His performance in Boston was covered by the media.

        Everyone involved gets to claim trauma, gets to apologize, gets attention. https://www.theguardian.com/film/2022/mar/30/will-smith-oscars-slap-chris-rock-academy-announces-review-amy-schumer-triggered

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  4. Why does anyone have to be on team anyone? I, personally, am on team “I don’t really care.”

    I’m really not impressed with, nor do I really even care about, any of them.

    On one hand, Will Smith shouldn’t have hit Chris Rock. That’s the one thing that everyone should agree on.

    But on the other hand, Chris Rock possibly crossed a line with his attempt at “comedy.” But what does one expect, anyway? His sort of comedy has always mostly about mockery of somebody or other. I find it more and more tedious as time goes on and I don’t know why what was once a serious event celebrating film needs that sort of entertainment at its center.

    But on the other, other hand, Jada Pinkett Smith. She is a mediocre nothing actress (I challenge anyone to name more than two things she has done without resorting to wikipedia.) who is a professional celebrity, making her living off of “being famous for almost being famous,” as Juno Temple’s character described herself in “Ted Lasso. Her entire career is being married to Will Smith and showing up at these things so that people notice her. If Chris Rock pays attention and works her into his routine then this is (or should be) just a day at the office for her.

    So, yeah. Dgaf about any of it. Didn’t really like the choice of best picture, either, but that story got completely swept under the rug.

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    1. “But on the other, other hand, Jada Pinkett Smith. She is a mediocre nothing actress (I challenge anyone to name more than two things she has done without resorting to wikipedia.) ”

      A Different World. Gotham. And …..

      OK, you’re right.

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  5. So, I’m anti Team Will – but not exactly pro Team Chris.

    Our society sooooo doesn’t need a Celebrity (of whatever degree of fame – but Will Smith is pretty up there with name recognition) – resorting to violence because someone dissed his wife.

    Just what sort of an example is this? And do we need this normalized in society? [Rhetorical questions, to which I hope the answer is ‘no’]

    Will Smith had two perfect good alternatives: He could have used his acceptance speech to verbally tear strips of Chris, and explain in words of one syllable (suitable for a 5th grader) just why it’s not OK to make fun of people’s physical appearance. The fact that the Oscar best film was about a deaf person, would have just pointed the comment.
    Or he could have walked out. Either at the time of the ‘joke’ or when he was called up to accept his Oscar – and made his acceptance speech from the red carpet to the eagerly waiting media, about why he refuses to share a stage with Chris.

    None of this is saying that Chris’ jokes were OK (but then, I don’t particularly care for that brand of humour) – but Will Smith took it to next level out of line.

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    1. Ann wrote, “Will Smith had two perfect good alternatives: He could have used his acceptance speech to verbally tear strips of Chris, and explain in words of one syllable (suitable for a 5th grader) just why it’s not OK to make fun of people’s physical appearance.”

      You know, that’s a really good point. He had a really good platform that night for speaking to the public.

      And as you say, he could have just walked out. Like a normal person. And then Chris Rock would have been the bad guy..

      Smith had a number of good choices, and he chose none of them.

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  6. Both the Smiths could have chosen to destroy Rock in the media the next day, with picture of Jada posing with an adorable child with alopecia, and guilted him into contributing $100,000 to whatever foundation they wanted.

    Insulting someone’s physical condition is bad, but I keep thinking: a comparison to Demi Moore at her peak of attractiveness – or a comparison to a highly fit and well-trained American female soldier – is not really an insult. Jada didn’t look like she had cancer; she looked like she was making a fashion choice. Of course I don’t follow what people are supposed to know about celebrities.

    What for me was worse than the assault was the speech talking about “protection” of women. Utter garbage, excused *possibly* only by the fact that he may be dealing with psychological trauma from his father’s abuse (untreated due to Scientology? not sure if those rumors are true). Blocking a punch is “protecting”; hitting someone who insults “your” woman is not protecting. I’m on board with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s response.

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  7. There’s a good tweet somewhere about how Chris Rock has NVLD and is in therapy multiple times a week, Will has a boatload of trauma, and Jada has a lot of depression from the alopécie, which hardened my position: I’m firmly on team compassion.

    Hitting – bad. And people do bad things when they are hurting. Making fun of someone’s appearance – bad, but yeah, if someone compared me to Demi Moore at any point in her career, I’d be flattered. And if someone made a crack about something that caused me great pain, I might not be.

    None of them are bad people.

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