Ensamples

Among the worst things about The Slap is how it has fed self-righteousness in all but the two participants, and they already had it or it wldn’t have happened.

But there is Solzhenitsyn, again, with the line between good and evil that cuts through every human heart, and there is Dostoevsky, always, reminding us via his creations how we are each and all responsible for everyone, and there are Chesterton and Eliot, because they can’t all be Russian Orthodox for Pete’s sake, with respectively, ‘You ask what is wrong with the world. I am’ and ‘Hell is me.’

I didn’t hear the joke and still don’t know it, and don’t want to. Didn’t see the altercation live, have limited exposure to what’s been said or in some few cases thought. This has been enough to form basic understanding, emphasis on basic, that Chris Rock attempted humor at the expense of Will Smith’s wife, with allusions or at least implications to the infidelities among the Smiths, and the latter dropped one on the face of the former.

Some thoughts.

It wasn’t staged. Chris Rock is a conventionally successful — rich, top-drawing — comedian. Fills halls, calls his own shots on comedy specials. This doesn’t mean he’s always funny, tho it helps.

The way one tops any profession is by absolute, utter, total commitment, to the exclusion of virtually all else, to the work. I don’t think many understand this. You ultimately must literally make it first and nearly only in your life and — again, literally — not, in the end, let anything else trump it on any given decision.

The focus is incredible — again literally, as in ‘not to be believed’ … I don’t have it, and I don’t fully grasp it. The gold medal Olympian, titan of titans of industry, U.S. Presidents, commanders of armies, founders of religions … one must be absolutely single-minded.

One tweet I saw in the aftermath of The Slap [TS] was someone noting that Chris Rock right now is most likely trying to write a second joke that’ll get him hit again. That’s the level we’re talking about here. Everything, including physical and emotional pain, for the perfect joke. I think this is where such comedians as Rock [CR] and Dave Chapelle operate.

Dave Chapelle doesn’t hate trans people. But he’s willing to sacrifice ‘em at the altar of his humor. Conventional response following comedy specials that cause ripples are ‘Aw, now, c’mon — it was just a joke.’ This is just exactly the wrong — in fact completely opposite — view of the joke-teller.

They set aside everything — family, friends, fellowship — for the joke and for even the pursuit of the joke, which is how the fame and fortune figure in as well, at least in CR’s case. He has made his own infidelities a part of his stand-up — in the recent special somewhat baffling his audience who did not know their role for a few minutes there.

Not incidentally, the allusion to his own cheating has to be part of ‘what was he thinking?!’ in pursuing the joke.

It wasn’t staged. There are other explanations for the images that clearly show CR bracing himself for Will Smith [WS] and the assault. Well, and the battery as well, since he actually did hit him. The explanation is that he expected, or at least anticipated the possibility, confirmed as Smith came stalking down the stage, as jetliner on the runway, that he’d get walloped for it.

Ever violence? Well, in honor culture, in this case two black males, it wd seem so. And who are we to judge, right? Entire riots can be justified but one man striking another can’t? Please.

Much has been made of how it was ‘on camera’ and ‘in full view’ of people, both there and electronically observing. This is irrelevant. It wldve went down the same way if it had just been the two men. I doubt either were, in that very moment, even aware of anyone else being there. Certainly for WS, no.

His non-apology after was simply the rote and ritual recitation required in all such cases. It hasn’t happened for some time it seems but at some point not long ago there was a spate of sports events of these sort, esp in basketball as it happens, with many black players — honor culture and ghetto practice, in the heat of competition and unrestrained.

Violence of course is not a ‘black thing’ — few can touch Western whites for savagery through the ages and all the guys I quoted at the start are dead white ones. But it’s asinine and absurd to be blind about how adult black males interact; it’s not infrequently capable of what happened. In fact, I wonder if a white guy wdve had the cojones to march up on stage.

Another image that cropped up in the last day or so was of WS and CR being buddies, palling it up — appearing at the same events when both are active in Hollywood! Imagine. This wdn’t keep one man from punching another and I guess one might have to be a man to understand that but women certainly do kill friendships with violence appropriate to their sex. And anyone, male, female, whatever, who’s endured a break-up or divorce, certainly knows the level of violence, of all kinds, that’s possible.

Of course we believe violence is sometimes acceptable. World War II is a good example. Dissing one’s wife might be another. In between we place a riot or twelve, the Ukraine, someone stealing our car or breaking into a home — even the law itself allows for a commensurately violent response.

Who was right? Well neither, of course. And both. That is, we can’t say. And why do we want to? So that all will again be right with the world? I am sorry-not-sorry to inform you all is not right with the world, and it will not be, and that’s an end on’t.

Which doesn’t mean we shdnt try, a’course.

Neither was right maybe bec you shldnt tell jokes like that and you shldnt in the main respond like that. Of course we will never be tops in our jobs like that, but this is OK and, more to the daily point rather than reality or ontology, we’re good with that.

Both were right inasmuch as CR is a comedian — which we pay him handsomely for so he cd be excused perhaps for thinking we were good with that. We do so not in spite of his offensiveness but because of it. Likewise WS, if he has any idea of staying married even after all of his and hers dalliances, has to pop the guy who said such a thing.

In the end, there is a sense in which the ‘who are we to judge’ crowd is a correct bunch, despite their lack of awareness and introspection, and that most of them are just parroting — as WS’s non-apology — in their role as a public morality.

If it leads to true, foot scrubbing humility, that’d be a good thing.

Maybe means we won’t be as much in the same place as our celebrities.

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