Green Room

Reason: Alec Baldwin’s real problem is the democratization of speech

posted at 11:58 am on June 29, 2013 by

Even accounting for his “Irish temper,” Reason’s Nick Gillespie believes he understands why Alec Baldwin flies into name-calling rages when crossed, and it’s not necessarily what people think.  In the days before the Internet and especially social-media networks like Twitter, celebrities like Baldwin could expound on issues without being effectively challenged.  Now, however, everyone has the power to challenge those views, and the elites don’t much like it:

Baldwin sputters that the very tools he can use to bypass “the mainstream media and talk directly” to his audience also empowers all those dim people out there in the dark. What’s more, his followers have minds of their own. They may enjoy his turns inGlenngarry Glenn Ross and 30 Rock and guest-hosting on Turner Classic Movies but not really find his views on fracking to be worth a damn. It’s a real kick in the pants for a celebrity to be reduced to asking, “Do you think I’m really changing anybody’s mind?” …

Remember the good old days, not just when there were only three national TV networks and one or two national newspapers, and when Hollywood studios could virtually completely control the image surrounding their contract players like halos on a saint’s shoulders?

Today, the whole goddamned world is Grub Street and everybody, it seems, owns a printing press. So woe is Alec Baldwin:

We live in a world where there’s no journalism anymore. I mean trained, I don’t expect everybody writing for Gothamist or The New York Times…even The New York Times I don’t expect those people to all be coming out of Columbia per se, but I expect them to make some attempt to get it right, which you can almost never count on anymore.

Well, there’s no doubt that Baldwin does have a point about the anger and the abuse that exists on Twitter.  Anyone who wishes to engage there had better have a thick skin, or develop one fast.  It’s not a system that generously rewards nuance and moderated thought; snark and attacks are usually (but not always) more quickly repeated and rewarded.

On the other hand, celebrities like Baldwin still come in with a huge advantage in this marketplace in terms of followers and defenders, who often mobilize to shout down critics of their favorite celebrities whether they deserve a defense or not.  So even on the terms of Baldwin’s argument, I’m not prepared to cry for his hurt feelings.  His problem is that his behavior was indefensible, even if the Daily Mail botched the reporting on his wife’s tweets, which they certainly did.  Baldwin could have passionately demanded an apology and a correction without using homophobic slurs and physical threats, “Irish temper” or no.

That’s what TMZ thinks, too — and they’re not buying the “some of my best friends are gay” defense from Baldwin, either:

“The idea of me calling this guy a ‘queen’ and that being something that people thought is homophobic … a queen to me has a different meaning. It’s somebody who’s just above. It doesn’t have any necessarily sexual connotations. To me a queen … I know women that act queeny, I know men that are straight that act queeny, and I know gay men that act queeny. It doesn’t have to be a definite sexual connotation, or a homophobic connotation. To me those are people who think the rules don’t apply to them.”

Alec is full of crap … and here’s why: In the same Twitter rant in which he attacked the reporter, George Stark, Baldwin included the threat … “If (sic) put my foot up your f***ing ass, George Stark, but I’m sure you’d dig it too much.”

So let’s do some math.  Queen + enjoying a foot up your ass = homophobic slur.

Er … they told me there would be no math in celebrity journalism.

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Baldwin’s free speech doesn’t bother me but I sure do find the double standard between his current speech and the destruction of Ms. Deen for remarks made decades ago. It would be easier to figure out if she was a Republican so I guess it’s just the war on women again.

Cindy Munford on June 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM

yep. We the viewing public no longer have to suffer Hollywood F**kwit’s and their stupid subversive rants quietly, except on the Huffington Post.

A new day has dawned.

papertiger on June 29, 2013 at 12:25 PM

Thanks to Mr. Baldwin’s old Canteen Boy mondo gay skit on SNL, he has forfeited the right to throw Q-bombs at even the Queeniest of Queens (warning: NSFW…or most anyplace).

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on June 29, 2013 at 1:15 PM

I don’t care one whit about this. Alec Baldwin cracks me up.

John the Libertarian on June 29, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Paula Deen’s career is over, but because Baldwin is an outspoken liberal, he’ll still be a TV star & spokesman for Capital One & other companies.

This despite his incredibly long record of bad behavior, child abuse, & public politically incorrect insults.

itsnotaboutme on June 29, 2013 at 2:12 PM

I don’t care one whit about this morals, standards, or honor. Alec Baldwin cracks me up.

John the Libertarian on June 29, 2013 at 1:40 PM

Fixed.

itsnotaboutme on June 29, 2013 at 2:14 PM

You know the world is turned upside down when Paula Deen is getting support by Paula Deen and Jesse Jackson…………… and her career is still in a tailspin.

SC.Charlie on June 29, 2013 at 2:19 PM

You know the world is turned upside down when Paula Deen is getting support by Paula Deen Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson…………… and her career is still in a tailspin.

SC.Charlie on June 29, 2013 at 2:19 PM

SC.Charlie on June 29, 2013 at 2:20 PM

Baldwin could have passionately demanded an apology and a correction without using homophobic slurs and physical threats, “Irish temper” or no.

I’m nearly as tired of PC-police screaming about “homophobic” slurs as I am of celebrity idiots. It’s embarrassing to see anyone at HA buying into the terminology and framing of the thought-control left.

whatcat on June 29, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Must be hard for the Hollywood elite..you know, being held accountable for words and deeds in this modern age..

celt on June 29, 2013 at 2:42 PM

My problem with libertarians is that too often they sound like naive pus*ies. Reason Magazine puts out a “nanny of the month” in which they feature some hideous Hydra of the Left pushing a new assault on freedom. “Nannies”? That’s the best you can do? These aren’t “nannies.” They’re totalitarians.

rrpjr on June 29, 2013 at 4:22 PM

It’s a different demographic for Paula Deen. She has to placate the women’s auxiliary of the high fallootin table manners set.

And being women they are ruthless as Caligula. Easily prompted to umbrage, foreign to forgiveness.

Paula is bucked fasicly.

WOTH Alec MC’s for the barbarian hordes who are the public personna (the face they would like to project to you and I) of Capital One, a credit card company with more money than Jesus.
Don’t kid yourself. Capital One doesn’t give a fat ruck about your opinion on manners.

papertiger on June 29, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Baldwin’s free speech doesn’t bother me but I sure do find the double standard between his current speech and the destruction of Ms. Deen for remarks made decades ago. It would be easier to figure out if she was a Republican so I guess it’s just the war on women again.

Cindy Munford on June 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Decades ago, really? By the tone across the LSM, I was under the impression she was prone to racially charged outbursts on a current and regular basis, no?

/sarc tag engaged

roy_batty on June 29, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Baldwin’s acting skills are slightly better than a cigar store Indian’s.

Flange on June 29, 2013 at 7:52 PM

It appears as though Mr. Baldwin has a “Queer Pass.” It’s like a “Hood Pass”, but the gay version.

V15J on June 29, 2013 at 8:17 PM

…I hate him for not moving out of the country as he promised…when Bush won!…so I don’t pay any attention to him…

KOOLAID2 on June 29, 2013 at 9:28 PM

Alec Baldwin’s problem is a combination of (1) a big mouth, (2) a hair-trigger temper, (3) absolutely no self-control, and (4) a rabid sense of entitlement.

Or in short form, being a typical Hollywood progressive. Which probably explains his deep resentment of people being able to “talk back” to him.

As for his career, I loved The Hunt For Red October and The Shadow, and found Mercury Rising fairly watchable.

I haven’t seen anything else he’s done since he began to resemble Elvis near the end. He’s three months younger than I am, and frankly I look better. (In a Michael Chiklis sense.)

clear ether

eon

eon on June 29, 2013 at 10:55 PM

“Nannies”? That’s the best you can do? These aren’t “nannies.” They’re totalitarians.

rrpjr on June 29, 2013 at 4:22 PM

It is derived from the term “Nanny State.” Lighten up, Francis.

As for Baldwin, I have an Irish Temper, too. I was born this way. :) I learned to control it by the time I was 15 or 16.

Kafir on June 30, 2013 at 8:26 AM

People who allow thmeselves to be offended by words are the real problem.

Ellis on June 30, 2013 at 9:49 AM

I don’t see this ending well for the Reason crowd.

This is our whole society’s problem. A fuller “participation” in our democracy is our problem too. Back when 1% of the population voted we had the likes of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to choose between.

The masses are still stupid, and they tend to vote for adamant leftists.

happytobehere on June 30, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Baldwin’s free speech doesn’t bother me but I sure do find the double standard between his current speech and the destruction of Ms. Deen for remarks made decades ago. It would be easier to figure out if she was a Republican so I guess it’s just the war on women again.

Cindy Munford on June 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Kinda like when Martha Stewart got sent to jail for taking advantage of a dinner date’s stock market tips, no?

Or when Hillary Clinton didn’t get the Democrat presidential nomination despite having the most primary votes.

Gotta keep successful women down, ya know.

talkingpoints on June 30, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Actually, Baldwin’s one real problem is that he’s an idiot A-hole gasbag.

Stu Gotts on June 30, 2013 at 7:16 PM

It’s okay: Baldwin will have a chance to poke fun at himself and at the incident during “Weekend Update,” with Seth Meyers grinning next to him.

Ever notice that Mel Gibson never got the benefit of the doubt like that?

bmmg39 on July 1, 2013 at 1:38 AM

Baldwin’s free speech doesn’t bother me but I sure do find the double standard between his current speech and the destruction of Ms. Deen for remarks made decades ago. It would be easier to figure out if she was a Republican so I guess it’s just the war on women again.

Cindy Munford on June 29, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Pretty sure she’s not. I saw a bit of an episode of her show with Michelle Obama. It was such a love fest that it made me sick to my stomach.

Chris of Rights on July 1, 2013 at 8:49 AM

Baldwin went on my “do not watch” list after his little voice mail tirade against his own daughter. The fact that he can still get work in Hollywood and New York speaks volumes about liberal views on tolerance and family.

Chris of Rights on July 1, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Chris of Rights on July 1, 2013 at 8:53 AM

Yep, I think he’s an equal opportunity verbal abuser. My father was like that to a much smaller degree, once they have lost their temper, they have no idea what they are saying, the intention is to hurt. It’s very effective and it taught me well.

Cindy Munford on July 1, 2013 at 10:24 AM