Celebrity Gossip: The Big Slap

Tornado, New Orleans, 2022

Tornado in New Orleans

With all the things that are going on in the country and around the world today, social media has decided to go bonkers about something trivial. It figures.

  • We have a new war in Europe with millions of refugees, deaths on both sides, the destruction of major cities, and the threat of a nuclear strike.
  • Here in the U.S., we concern ourselves with the wife of a Supreme Court Justice who sided with the January 6 Insurrection and possibly influenced her husband’s decision on a relevant issue.
  • Tornadoes just swept through New Orleans and we get wild weather alerts seemingly every day.
  • Inflation is causing problems for American families and businesses.
  • The oil companies used the Ukraine War as an excuse to jack up gas prices for as long as they could get away with it. Prices started coming down when people stopped driving. Can you afford to stop driving?
  • The Antarctic ices shelves are melting.

So, with all this and more, what are people focused on? That would be the assault of a comedian by an actor at last night’s Academy Awards.

The Big Slap

Oscar, Oscar statuettes, Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences, award ceremonyNow, I freely admit, I did not watch the Oscars. Thanks to the pandemic, we saw exactly two of the movies up for Best Picture—and we watched CODA on TV. To me and to millions of others, the Oscars all seemed like much ado about nothing.

But wait, there’s more! That “nothing” included the big slap. The audience watched Will Smith slapping Chris Rock for making a joke about Mr. Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. I didn’t see the slap, but I did watch it online and came away thinking it was no big deal. It even looked staged to me, like a publicity op between two skilled performers..

Defending Your Wife

When a man insults another man’s wife in a very public venue and the man defends his wife, well, it’s only to be expected. Unless said man is Ted Cruz, of course. He allowed Donald Trump to insult his wife, Heidi Cruz, his father, and his faith (a trifecta) and then went on to support Mr. Trump wholeheartedly.

Slap, Slapping, Will Smith, Chris Rock, Academy AwardsThis was not the first time one presidential candidate insulted his opponent’s wife, of course. In a post last year, I mentioned the kerfuffle that tanked Sen. Ed Muskie’s candidacy.

The slap fell into the “you asked for it” category as far as I’m concerned. and, by the way, everyone is talking about the slap. No one mentions the rudeness and impropriety of insulting a woman’s appearance caused by a disease in front of an audience of her, her peers and her husband. It’s all about the men. Jada Pinkett Smith was the subject of the insult but is, herself, irrelevant to the discussion.

Was it assault? Yes. Did Mr. Smith apologize to Mr. Rock? No. Have the Los Angeles police investigated? Yes. Will Mr. Rock press charges? No.

Okay, we’re done here. Let’s move on to more important things.

A Break from Life

I do understand, though. It’s so much easier to get all worked up about what happened between two multi-millionaires you don’t know and will never meet, to feel outrage about something you saw only on a screen, to get worked up about what other people ought to do, than it is to get actually involved in the world you live in.

Things happening today, right now, have affected and will continue to have an impact on your actual life. Obsessing about the slap situation means you don’t really have to pay attention to the big things. It’s like taking a Wordle break from life.

But we need to focus on the big things. They’re important. They affect what we can do with our money, whether we can vote and who we can vote for, whether you can get the health care you and your family need, whether you or your children is likely to catch Covid, and whether the roads and bridges you drive on will be safe, among many, many other issues.

Read the News

New York Times, Front Page, newspaperSo, shut off the damn celebrity gossip. Stop worrying about a small thing and start reading up about the big ones. Watching the evening news won’t help: they just skim over the major events so they can waste time on feel-good human-interest stories and grief porn when there’s a catastrophe.

Read an actual newspaper, whether in print or online. If there’s a paywall, pay. News doesn’t come free, or even cheap. How else do you think they pay their reporters, editors, photographers, and managers? They have to rent office space, send reporters and photographers out on assignment, and keep the lights on. It’s worth it to keep up with the big stuff going on in the world.

As for celebrity gossip, I ignore it. Not my life; not my problem. I have bigger fish to fry. You might, too.



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About Aline Kaplan

Aline Kaplan is a published author, a blogger, and a tour guide in Boston. She formerly had a career as a high-tech marketing and communications director. Aline writes and edits The Next Phase Blog, a social commentary blog that appears multiple times a week at aknextphase.com. She has published over 1,000 posts on a variety of subjects, from Boston history to science fiction movies, astronomical events to art museums. Under the name Aline Boucher Kaplan, she has had two science fiction novels (Khyren and World Spirits) published by Baen Books. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies published in the United States, Ireland, and Australia. Aline’s articles have also appeared on the Atlas Obscura website. She has been an active member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America since 1988 and is a long-term member of the Spacecrafts science/fantasy writers’ group. As a tour guide, Aline leads architectural and historical walking tours of the city for Boston By Foot, ghost tours for Haunted Boston and historical bus tours of the city. She lectures on Boston history and has appeared in the Boston Globe, as well as on TV for Chronicle, an award-winning television program that broadcasts stories of New England. As a lecturer, Aline has spoken at Brandeis and Tufts universities for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She has also addressed as service organizations and local meetings. She is a graduate of Northeastern University in Boston and lives in Hudson, MA.

1 thought on “Celebrity Gossip: The Big Slap

  1. Ah yes, the slap heard round the world. This story has multiple layers. All things being equal, the Oscars, for better or worse, is a large world stage. Jada was publicly ridiculed, and Will was unable to control his emotion, using his hands instead of his words. He could have made so much more of the moment. Reminiscent of a former president in many ways. Then there’s Chris Rock – the Academy got what they paid for, and if they did not vet his material, then they got what they paid for in spades. I admire him for not retaliating (assuming it wasn’t staged) and wonder if Will would have slapped a white guy? Will’s apology was orchestrated by his handlers. Such a mess, and not worthy of all the attention accept to teach some lessons. All I can say is Do Not Try This at Home (or in the office). Moving on…

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