Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock on stage at the Academy Awards show demonstrated supreme arrogance and lack of self-control. While the moment was shocking, we should not be shocked. Smith simply put on display to the world what we should have already known: Celebrities are not role models and have no moral authority to preach to us as they often delight in doing.
The show started in typical Hollywood fashion with political jokes which mocked conservatives. The night concluded, of course, without a single joke about progressives. The jokes were mostly pretty funny, so did not bother me, except one. All three hosts mocked the people of Florida for supporting a law banning teachers of kindergarten through third grade teachers from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity. The hosts perpetuated the false claim that it is a “don’t say gay” law by repeating the word “gay.” I have yet to come across a parent, no matter their politics, who believes it is the role of a public-school teacher to teach their 8 year old or younger child about such matters.
But Hollywood has for decades been out of touch with regular Americans. Virtue signaling and cancel culture are their latest vices.
How could they not be out of touch? Look where and how they live. They are the one percent of the one percent. They are surrounded by people and fans constantly telling them how great they are. When this goes on for years, and decades, it has a significant psychological impact. They begin to believe what they are continually told. They are great, amazing, special, and adored.
It makes them narcissistic and eccentric. They lose the sense of regulating their own behavior, because they are adored regardless of how they behave. Put plainly, they begin to believe their you-know-what does not stink. Some who had good upbringings are able to avoid this. But most did not, which is usually what makes them such great actors. Normal people with normal upbringings usually do not act. Poor upbringing also breeds insecurity.
Enter Will Smith. He is among Hollywood royalty, indeed a (Fresh) Prince! He grew up traumatized by significant spousal abuse at home. He became a great actor and has now been living in the Hollywood bubble now for decades, having been a long been a member of the $20+ million per movie club. Like so many at his level, the adulation has gone to his head. There is nothing he thinks he cannot do, even be the President of the United States!
Yes, Smith has long signaled that he thinks one day he will be ready for the White House. He has already spent the night there, as a guest of President Bill Clinton.
He recently said, “I think for now I’ll let that office get cleaned up a little bit, and then I’ll consider that at some point down the line. I will certainly do my part whether it remains artistic or, at some point, ventures into the political arena.” Incredibly, he went on to say, “In my mind, if Ronald Reagan can become President, then why not Will Smith?”
Will, I have met Ronald Reagan (true, when working on a U.S. Senate campaign in college). Will, you are no Ronald Reagan! But I do understand why you think you are.
His acceptance speech put the narcissism on full display. Despite having an hour to consider his actions, he offered no apology to Rock. (We only got that a day later and only in a statement which was no doubt written by his PR person.) Instead, it was all about him, and his “calling.”
He said, “I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. … I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.” I am not sure who his people are, but my guess is they are better off without his help.
He is now in a class with Kanye West, who infamously crashed the acceptance speech of Taylor Swift at the Grammy’s to say who should have won. Imagine the arrogance and lack of self-control it takes to do that? It is no coincidence that West also has talked about running for president.
Smith’s move was even worse as he threw in physical violence and obscenities. He ruined the moment for the Best Documentary nominees and winner, but narcissists do not consider the consequences of their actions on those around them.
So, thank you, Will Smith, for putting on full display why we should not look to celebrities for guidance. This includes such issues as policing, when they have private security and live behind gates. Or on the climate, as they fly in private jets. Or on taxes, as they hire expensive accountants to avoid them. Or on schools, as they hire tutors for their kids.
At least for this reason it was finally an Oscars worth watching.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.