“Poor Alec Baldwin,” one might say, if one were more forgiving of outspoken, pompous, melodramatic celebrities with overblown persecution complexes. “Poor Alec Baldwin,” I’d say, just before slipping in a wink and an ecstatic, “Just kidding!!!” Alec Baldwin, as per usual, gets what he deserves (at least until we conveniently forget about what a horrible human being he is), and this time it’s ridicule for showing his continued bitterness about his canceled MSBNC chat show by subtweeting Melissa Harris-Perry. Yes, even celebrities subtweet other famous people.
This new mini-controversy begins, surprisingly, without Alec Baldwin’s involvement: last week, Melissa Harris-Perry and other panelists on her MSNBC show cracked a few jokes about Mitt Romney’s Christmas card, which featured a portrait of the former presidential candidate’s large family. On the patriarch’s knee was his adopted grandson, Kieran, who is African-American. “One of these things is not like the other,” one panelist joked, while another guest suggested that the image “really sums up the diversity of the Republican Party.”
Just a few days later, amid an internet ruckus, Harris-Perry offered an on-air apology, with a tear falling down her cheek. The next day, Romney accepted it, saying, “I recognize that people make mistakes… And the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake. And they’ve apologized for it. And that’s all you can ask for.” Problem solved! Controversy over!
Except, no. Enter Alec Baldwin, who, following Harris-Perry’s sincere apology, tweeted (and then deleted, naturally), “If I cry, will I be forgiven all of my transgressions?”
Alec. Alec! Alecccccc.
I can think of a few celebrities who believe that normal, polite human behavior does not apply to them. Folks who say things like, “Because public life now, it is just, it is horrible. It is horrible. It’s so awful,” and then go on to reap the benefits of said horrific, unlivable lifestyle by taking advantages of major platforms through which to spread the same sort of cheeky, immature, and vitriolic commentary to the masses.
I mean, you can compare Alec Baldwin and Melissa Harris-Perry, sure: they both, at one point, were employed by MSNBC. But while Harris-Perry practices, you know, journalism, Baldwin took advantage of his celebrity to book other famous people on a late-night talk show, which he then lost for calling a stranger a “cocksucking faggot” (an aggressive act that, despite being caught on tape, he denied and has refused to apologize for). Then, he blamed his show’s cancellation on the conspiratorial actions of “fundamentalist gays.” The difference between Harris-Perry and Baldwin may not be clear to him, but it sure is obvious to the rest of us.
So, no, Baldwin’s transgressions wouldn’t have been forgiven if he had shed a tear or two. Because there was no apology, no fundamental request for forgiveness. Baldwin wants to be taken as-is, and expects the rest of humanity to conform to his strange, grandiose ideas of the respect due to people who chose — chose! and continue to choose! — a life lived publicly.