The Will Smith Slap – A Teachable Moment
You may have heard about it…that is, unless you’re living under a rock someplace cold and miserable, a dark place where no meme can penetrate. I’m talking, of course, about Will Smith, on his way to winning an Academy Award, gansta-slapping Chris Rock. A few self-defense comments are in order. I mean, seriously, how could we pass such an opportunity? That would be like a gambler passing “the sure thing”, or an alcoholic rejecting a free drink, or a politician turning down a “donation.”
First, poor Chris Rock. He made a joke about Will Smith’s wife. It was a G.I. Jane joke, which was a movie starring Demi Moore back in the 90’s when she was at the peak of her fame for being, well, you know, Demi Moore. She didn’t really act so much as she was just good at being Demi Moore. Well, in that movie she played a woman breaking into the hyper masculine NAVY SEALS. And she had to wear a super-duper short buzz cut. That’s the joke. Jada Pinkett Smith has the same hairstyle now.
But here’s the rub: Jada’s hair style is because she has an auto-immune issue that’s causing her hair to fall out, so she cut it. Demi had to cut hers for the movie. The thing is, Rock’s joke, whether he knew about Jada’s medical issue or not, still presumes one thing that ought not to be missed: Demi was still quite a hottie in G.I. Jane. Yep, she rocked that hairstyle. So, insofar as insults go, being compared to Demi Moore (then or now) isn’t probably the worst thing one can do to a woman. (Much thanks to Jackie C. for alerting me to that angle, by the way).
But Will Smith obviously didn’t take it that way. After initially laughing at the joke, he saw his wife’s response – and she looked about as happy as any intelligent, well-adjusted person would at an Atlanta Falcons game – and he lost it. He walked up on stage, approached Rock, and then smacked him. Yep, as in slap. As in didn’t punch hm. I’ve never slapped anyone. It never occurred to me to ever slap someone. If I was going to defend my wife’s honor, it would be a punch to the beak, not a slap. Just saying.
Lesson for Rock: if you make a joke about a dude’s wifey, and that dude then starts walking up to you, prepare for impact. He’s probably not there to yuck it up with ya. He wants to give you a high-five…to your face.
The bedrock principle of self-defense is that one is only ever justified in using violence (morally speaking) if the event was unavoidable. If it’s avoidable, it’s not self-defense. Thus, Will Smith, who always plays a dude in his movies that’s as cool as the other side of the pillow, always in charge of events, was clearly wrong in losing his temper. Assaulting Chris Rock – and it was assault – was a cowardly thing to do. It was contemptible. We wonder if Will would have been so inclined if the joke had been made by the Rock (Dwayne Johnson) and not Chris Rock. Sucker-smacking the bejabbers out of a comedian hardly establishes one’s manliness.
Just like that, after three decades of goodwill and fame, Will Smith, blew a big fat steaming hole in his legacy. We should all be warned. A couple of points to ponder.
If we don’t put the time into life-management, we’re going to sail our boat too close to the iceberg.
Will Smith, it seems to me, is the latest man in history to learn something of what the mighty Samson learned the hard way. Why did Smith blow up and attack Rock and then scream at him from his seat? Methinks it was because he’s been so made a public fool of by the woman whose honor he said he was defending that he snapped. It was a classic case of misplaced rage. Will Smith, you see, is a cuckold. Not familiar with that word? It’s a dude whose wife is entertaining other dudes. Sexually.
And everyone knows it.
In his case, Jada talked all about it on some podcast or another. Imagine that. No matter what Will Smith says going forward, this looms large. He also admitted to his terrible jealousy over her relationship with Tupac and how that left him feeling horribly inadequate.
Does that sound like a stable marriage to you? Does that sound like a pleasant scenario?
And why air all this stuff anyway?
So, Will Smith smacking a little fella like Chris Rock for making a joke about his wife’s hair – even if Rock knew about the medical issue (and I had no idea until I looked it up) – considering her own admissions of adultery strikes me (sorry, couldn’t help it) as much ado about nothing. “Sure, my wife sleeps with other guys…but don’t you talk about her hair!” That’s a weird line to draw in the sand, don’t you think? You can protest that the Smiths have an “open marriage” all you want but it doesn’t seem that Will is fully onboard with that concept. And if she’s such a powerful woman and you’re all about anti-traditionalism in the first place, why not let her be the one to go up and smack Rock? See what happens when we eschew the basics in life? We can’t keep straight which rules still apply. Sexual faithfulness is a relic of the past, you say? Well, so is not making jokes about someone’s medical condition!
Ah, it’s madness. Moral rules aren’t like items on a buffet.
So that’s the point about Will. We’ve got to keep our stuff together, so to speak. When the dam breaks like it did the other night for him, it’s usually because so much pressure had built up in the first place. His were not the actions of a man who’s at peace with himself. And it’s not easy to be at peace with yourself when your personal life is so dysfunctional. A road rage incident doesn’t happen only because you were cut off, but because you feel so cut off everywhere else in life. The dude you start screaming at – or slap – is merely caught up in your little civil war.
In summary: if you make a bad joke (I don’t know what that’s like) guard your six. If your wife is publicly humiliating you, don’t take it out on the little guy with the jokes. Go for an extra run. Hit the bags more. Oh, and maybe divorce her. I highly doubt she’s happy with the other night anyway. And if someone offends you, either get up and leave (that would have been classy) or text him: “Hey, bro, that was super rude. The bride has really struggled with that, and you just humiliated her. I’m sure you didn’t mean to do that. Either way, make sure you apologize to her. I’m serious.”