Friday, April 27, 2007

I Finally Weigh in on Alec Baldwin

You know, I'm probably the only person in America who had a little sympathy for Alec Baldwin last week. Yes, I've heard the tape (of course), and yes, he should never have said such things to his daughter, but I've said things to my daughters that, if caught on tape, would make me look like a terrible person, plus I think whoever leaked the tape to the media surely did not have the girl's interests in mind--it's good for an eleven year old to have the whole world know her dad yells at her like that? I think not.

But my sympathy is gone at this point, after Baldwin himself has maintained this story as a media event, apologizing on television, calling Dr. Phil for advice (uh, there are other competent therapists who might keep this confidential), and pimping his book. The appropriate response to the initial leak of the tape would have been to release a statement of apology and announce that he would be dealing with this privately, which he pretty much did. The appropriate follow-up would have been to deal with it privately, doing whatever he needed to do to try and mend things with his daughter, far from cameras and tape recorders.

By contrast, this kind of behavior--the media courting, not the difficulties with his ex-wife and child--is what leaves me with pretty much no sympathy for celebrities, especially when they complain about the media. Sure it's hard to get photographed every time you leave the house, but celebrities with dignity, like, say, Julia Roberts, let the paparazzi click away, smile (or not), go on with their well-behaved lives, and, funny, seem to find ways to live a good deal of that life in private. Whereas if you're always sticking yourself in front of the cameras and trying to make your business the world's business (see: Tom and Katie, Brad and Angelina), then, yes, your life will be made hell, because you asked for it. And if you behave badly, in private, but then collude in making that bad behavior public, well, all bets are off.

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