THE SILLAGE OF WILL SMITH

I have the same Monday every year, frantically trying to watch the Oscars live via streaming services and failing every time. When I was a teenager, I would sometimes stay up very late in the evening to see it all live on TV in the UK and watch it until dawn : here in Japan, it is always a much more manageable time of around 9:30am, but even so, being the useless technofool that I am, all the scrambling leads to zilch, and I end up just trolling the red carpet photos and getting the news as it comes in via twitterfeeds and bleeped out press nuggets almost as they happen.

While doing this yesterday, though certainly no fashionista, I had presciently singled out Timothée Chalamet in his bare-chested girl’s tuxedo, Nicole Kidman in her lovely blue grey Armani Privé, David Oyelowo in his yellow and black suit ; and Jada Pinkett-Smith in her amazing green Jean Paul Gaultier crumpled gown (I hadn’t noticed the hair, just thought it was part of the look) as standout successes in the usual, overly tasteful sea of manicured mermaids. I am not into the sculptured goddess look as a whole, but Megan Thee Stallion looked luscious; Billie Eilish is always slightly ridiculous, but I somehow love her, and that song (when I did finally go to the cinema to see No Time To Die, a few months ago, the only time I have been in two years, my hairs stood on end when the theme song blasted out of the speakers, so great was my cinematic rapture at being back in the seat after so long. I am glad that she and her brother won).

I adore cinema, and I adore the Oscars, even if I am ‘hate-watching’ such programmes a lot of the time, in a slightly sardonic perversity I don’t even truly understand myself. Artistically, for me there is no doubt that this doesn’t even vaguely compare to Cannes in terms of merit – I am way more a Palme D’Or guy than an Academy Award Best Film winner sucko, the vast majority of which in all honesty I haven’t liked – Green Book, The Shape Of Water, Crash, Beautiful Mind, Birdman, No Country For Old Men, The King’s Speech, Moonlight, Million Dollar Baby, The Hurt Locker – for me they are nothing but meh : I sit watching them dutifully with a slightly bored film over my eyes- all fine productions in their way, and with worthy themes, but at the heart, gut and aesthetic level they don’t do anything for me. They are literally built for The Oscars. Parasite was kind of exciting; I haven’t seen Nomadland yet, nor CODA, but one of the reasons I was so eager to see the ceremony yesterday was because I really wanted Jane Campion to get Best Director, having loved her films since the first time I saw Sweetie back in the nineties as a student at an art cinema in Cambridge; An Angel At My Table, the astonishing The Piano which left me reeling in the car park it was so intoxicating, A Portrait Of A Lady, and the wonderfully erotic and langourously violent In The Cut – I am a huge fan, even if I didn’t like The Power Of The Dog at all and didn’t want it to win Best Picture. It was this news, though, that I was waiting for as I checked my phone every few minutes to find out who had won exactly what.


Prior to this, we had had our own drama during the night. At about 4:45am I had heard weak shouts coming up from downstairs but couldn’t work out what D was saying. When I roused myself and went to see, I saw him collapsed at the bottom of the stairs unable to get up; dizzy and disorientated from an adverse reaction to his Moderna third booster shot. I knew this was the cause, but it was still very disconcerting, and we had to sleep in the kitchen with blankets and duvets as he was too debilitated to get back to our room. It has taken a good 48 hours to make its way through his system – he is now fine; in irritable, manic overly meticulous Virgo housework horror mode so I know the real person is back – I think today we will spend separately – but yesterday he couldn’t move, was very tender and achey and feverish, and couldn’t do anything, so we all – the cat included. absorbing the general lethargy – lay flopped in a heap in the bedroom scrolling the internet and finding out which ‘nominees’ had triumphed or failed : for me it’s the kind of meaningless nonsense you need in these circumstances in order to think about something else (we spent the rest of the time in the evening and yesterday afternoon watching the saint-like Hollywood celebrity medium Tyler Henry talking to the dead on Netflix’s Life After Death (quite astounding and mesmerizing, actually – has anyone else seen this, and is he really genuine? ; We, as the naïve and gullible, believe that he probably is. It just feels that way. And if the family members, so obviously unfake in their reactions to being able to contact their loved ones on the other side, were acting, then they definitely deserved the Oscars more than the pugilistic people who actually got them.)

(I haven’t seen The Eyes Of Tammy Faye, by the way, much as I would like to, as I quite like Jessica Chastain and think she has been lying under the radar for slightly too long: I watched her in a violent action movie the other day, AVA, and thought she was perfect in it)

Before we get onto the ins and outs and the nitty gritty of – gasp in horror! – Best Actor…. in the Actress category, I love or admire all of those nominated and so was quite happy for any of them to win. I watched the underrated fashion art horror film, ‘Personal Shopper’, by Olivier Assayas again the other night in a state of quasi hypnosis, totally under the spell of the sheer beauty of Kristen Stewart, whose nervous tics and mannerisms can get a bit samey at times but who I am still stoked to see in Spencer (can she really get the essence of Princess Diana?!). Had she won the statuette, it would have been cool; also just to see an actress go up to the podium in Chanel shorts – which I thought looked kind of fresh.

Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz would have been great selections too, though they already have both already won one, just like Olivia Coleman, whose The Lost Daughter I quite liked in a way, although I am more likely to be head over heels in love with Madres Paralleles, which I have heard is fantastic and quite transporting- being a lifelong Pedro Almovodar devotee, I truly can’t wait to see this! )

In the Best Actor category, I actually wanted Will Smith to win. I don’t know why exactly, as I am not a fan as such, and find him quite annoying and smug at times : his jug-eared Hollywood ‘everyman’ schtick – Mr Popular, at least until yesterday – can grate, especially in dreadful films I have seen him in such as Independence Day, Men In Black, I am Legend, and the truly abominable Aladdin (watching it at the students’ requests, last year I felt a little guilty at how erotic I was finding his blue genie, though – the same thing happened with Sam Worthington in Avatar – why are naked male blue non-humans so damn arousing?). If I do find him personally visually appealing to a certain extent, on another level, I am also always quite interested in actors who manage to slough off their limiting albatross (in his case, light-hearted blockbuster action comedies), and transcend their own cliché. There is something inspiring for me in this, because I really do think that being pigeon-holed and typecast in the eyes of others is a kind of prison. I know that Will Smith has acted in serious films before such as Ali, but I have a really hard time watching bio-pics in general as I find them to be one of the worst genres of film-making and so have never seen him in any of them (the Chilean director of Spencer, Pablo Larrain, in contrast, takes artistic risks: his Natalie Portman take on Jackie O, ‘Jackie’, was flawed, but quite visually mesmerizing in a Kubrickian kind of way; taking the essence of a historical figure and then kaleidoscoping it through his own prism; getting to the character in deeper levels; not as literal (but superficial) as many of these performances that are worshipped by the ‘Academy’).

Also, in truth I don’t particularly like any of the other actors who were contenders for the trophy. Javier Bardem was perfect in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, probably the best romantic comedy I have ever seen, alongside Cruz, Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johannson – all resplendent – as a grand, but very human, (and very attractive) seducer, as well as in earlier Spanish movies such as Live Flesh, but since that time I have found him overdone and absurd, for example, as Bond Villains or psychopaths, even if I am open to whatever he got up to acting wise in Being the Ricardos (Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball is a stretch, no? It sounds like essential viewing). As for the other actors, I was almost angered by the fact that Benedict Cumberbatch got so much praise of Power Of The Dog, as I personally found his one-note repressed homo stare unconvincing and tedious. I also have some kind of hang up about Andrew Garfield, and cannot watch him (which means I will, as I always confront my own prejudices in this regard); I don’t especially like Denzel Washington either as I find him too self-righteous and ‘portentous’ in everything I have seen him in (guilty pleasures like The Equalizer: I will also definitely watch him in The Tragedy Of Macbeth as I am intrigued as how he will work with Frances McDormand). Good, though, that he had the sense to take his fellow nominee immediately aside after The Incident and calm him down before his predicted acceptance speech – things might have got really out of hand otherwise.

Which, obviously, finally all brings us to The Moment, guaranteed to become one of the most notorious in Hollywood History and viral Internet history, and which I missed seeing live by just a couple of minutes – refreshing my screen as we lay like lumpards in a pile of blankets and pillows – I almost felt like I was experiencing ghost symptoms of whatever D was having; suddenly woken up with a start, though, by the ‘OMFG’ moment of ‘what just happened?’ just after it happened- (though a large part of me was already paralyzingly, exhaustingly bored the second I saw it : as I could see, as if in ffwd, the sheer amount of gushing and opinionizing and the agonizing volume of words that will be numbingly churned out over this incident, the ones you are reading now included – the very real feeling of why do we care about this bullshit so much?! – but concurrently, very aware of its ‘cultural importance’; or at the very least, the astonishing fact of, as the New York Times so hilariously summed it up today, the world was able to witness a megastar attack someone on the same stage that he will a few minutes later receive the first, and undoubtedly last, Oscar of his life –

“DRAMA AT THE OSCARS: WILL SMITH DELIVERS A HIT, THEN LANDS A WIN”.

Yes, this was definitely a ‘wait, what?‘ thing. I quickly hit the non-censored snippet of Smith striding up to the stage like a raging bull and hitting Chris Rock in the face and then coming back into the audience, still apoplectic and shouting back threateningly, and felt my heart racing – there is enough aggression in my own personal history to make this what is called a ‘triggering’ event I suppose : the flight or fight response (god knows how Rock regained his composure): it was unbelievable. The dramaqueen paparazzo in me (Burning Bush) immediately had me cackling though and handing the phone over urgently to a still temperature-ridden and dazed Duncan as he looked at it in confusion before giving it back to me again so I could rewatch and make sure that I was actually seeing what I was seeing.

THE SHEER DRAMA! AT THE OSCARS! What a mindblowingly (self)destructive moment for Will Smith (I am imagining the whole family, including the incredibly cool fashion icon children Jaden and Willow, standing with mugs of coffee around the kitchen table still going over it together; how the actor’s moment, which everything his life had presumably been leading to, was ruined and completely overshadowed (not to mention Jessica Chastain’s, as there was a pall over everything from that moment on, including for the Best Picture). Trying to digest it all, and work out what he could next. To question his actions.

That he could lose his rag so quickly and resort to physical violence in the blink of an eye. And commit what is actually a crime: a physical assault, which logically could lead to charges by the police. And this should not be sanctioned : it should be treated seriously. But despite his huge popularity, there obviously will be consequences for Smith – I heard that there were discussions even about having to return the Oscar: there will be attorneys and laywers and interviews and contrition and all the rest of it, not to mention jokes and memes for years and years to come. He will literally never live it down. And neither will Chris Rock.

Onto the inevitable subject of whom, I am really not a fan. One reason being that his voice is harsh and high pitched and strident and irritating, and another simply that I personally can’t stand that kind of stand up comedy – because I hate comedy itself. Because I have no sense of humour. I am humourless. No, it presumably isn’t that, as I know that the odd sentence or two has ‘raised a chuckle’ among you on here over the years. But if not that then, what is it? I do think that laughter is, as the saying goes, the very best medicine. I love spontaneous humour, wit in the moment, repartee – although I also do have to say that I find the pressure to have people clutching their bellies with mirth in social situations all the time indescribably tiring (it’s very much of a male thing: in the absence of ability to discuss real emotion, we/they resort to jokes; and ‘ribbing’ and ‘joshing’ and ‘taking the piss’ and often being very cruel at the expense of other people, which is why I entirely avoid that kind of environment as much as is humanly possible). I do have one comedian friend; the US, but London-based stand-up comedienne Spring Day, who said to me that when I saw her live in Tokyo at some little comedy club tucked under a bypass somewhere in the deep womb of the city a few years ago, she immediately recognized me as the ‘asshole who was going to give me a hard time’, misunderstanding my facial expression of discomfiture as someone deliberately opposed to her or determined not to laugh. In fact the opposite was true: I was desperate to laugh, as I find the pressure to do so intensely unpleasant (when I was dragged into seeing Harry Enfield live in London once, I was dying from start to end and just praying to be let out of there I found it all so uncomfortable). In Spring’s case, she genuinely is hilarious in her self-deprecating, fiercely observant, New York kind of way, and fortunately I was eventually laughing and drinking and relaxing a bit: relieved on her behalf: otherwise, you will never seen me at a comedy night out of choice. I just find it mortifying. 

Is it also possible that I have just ‘been in Japan too long’, and have become accustomed to a more heightened level of civility? (well done to Ryusuke Hamaguchi by the way for Best International Feature with Drive My Car- a good friend of mine here with quite similar cinematic tastes said that this film is an absolute masterpiece and a must see but I need a version with English subtitles). Not being anywhere near Japanese-fluent enough (and I never will be), I am completely unable to understand the finer intricacies of the comedy here nor understand rapid-fire humorous anecdotes around me (my fault entirely): but one thing I do know is that there is a definitely a time and a place for humour; perhaps too strictly defined and compartmentalized, like a lot of this society; but while in stand-up situations in a club, or in jokes among friends almost anything goes, when it comes to ceremonies and big media events or even wedding speeches, the humour here is much lighter, less personal, less targeted and nasty; there doesn’t seem to be the same spirit of lampooning and mercilessly mocking individuals for the sake of it, probably because humiliation itself here is one of the worst things that most people can imagine. As a result, most people don’t want to publicly inflict it on others either. 

I am a person with very thin skin. Very. Put simply, I am hypersensitive. In a variety of ways, most of which I feel blessed to have been born with in the creative sense because it makes me who I am, but in terms of being insulted, I am almost psychotically reactive, particularly when it comes to being deliberately offended due to physical appearance. You can criticize my character – fine, I deserve it probably; I am so over the top and volatile and emotional, I know that – but an intentionally hurtful comment about how I look will really not go down well. Partly this is just sheer vanity and insecurity, I realize, but people do also have a sadistic tendency to go after former pretty boys who looked like Timothee Chalamet in their youth, and really make them know how dreadful they look now in fat, old comparison. This is 100% not a cry for flattery {“You look great!” etc}: I personally think I look fine for my age and that is not the point. It is other people, with their unkind and mean impulses (vile comedians like Ricky Gervais, who I detest) who are the insecure themselves villains here, but also quite often those who you encounter in daily life, people who choose to bring you down by pinpointing your weakpoints for the entertainment and grim satisfaction of others (Incidentally, I once referred to actually being bullied in this way in a piece on The Black Narcissus called Blindness; if you want an extra dose of cruelty gossip after this one please look it up and give it a click – it is about a bitter old bastard I was working with for many years who literally made a colleague of mine temporarily go blind because of the stress he caused her with his daily assaults on her self-confidence as well as giving another one stomach also ; I myself was also not immune to his sadism and was really quite emotionally and physically affected). In essence, to not look at fifty how you did at twenty is a crime in some people’s eyes. To not have the perfect face or hair. To not having long, flowing locks. To me, of course, this way of thinking is profoundly unphilosophical, immature, and moronic, not to mention horrible, and a total waste of time. Go and find something better to do instead! But for some people, finding fault with those they encounter and making them feel shit about themselves is a favourite pastime.

Which I suppose is all a very round about way of saying that although Will Smith has certainly set a dangerous precedent for free speech by hitting someone in the face whose ‘joke’ didn’t sit well with him (this is actually quite scary, when you think about it, as it means that any performer on stage has to censor themselves for fear not only of offence, which ties into the often oppressive cancel culture as a whole, but also physical violence: you say the wrong thing in the heat of the moment and get punched or worse), and can easily be described as a symptom of ‘toxic masculinity’ in general – testosterone rising quickly to the surface and resulting in a physical outburst with dire repercussions. As a volatile man myself, though, who isn’t immune to zero-to-sixty loss of temper, it almost hurts me to admit that I can completely understand why he acted the way he did. After all, this was a heat of the moment thing. None of it was planned. Probably not even Chris Rock’s line about Jade Pinkett’s hair either: he saw the couple laughing in the audience, and in the intensely spotlit, adrenaline-drenched performative anxiety of having tens or hundreds of millions of people around the world looking at you waiting to make them laugh out loud and therefore desperately using whatever available material feeds into your neurons at that given moment, Rock saw the opportunity for a cheap laugh sitting in the audience (and saying “When are you going to do GI Jane II?” is surely not the most terrible thing a person could have said: it is quite ‘light’ compared many of the jibes and barbs stand ups make in order to purposely make the audience members cringe); but then again, in that split second of using someone’s physical appearance to have a laugh at their expense, he is also not taking into account at all the feelings nor the background of the person being publicly embarrassed, harassed; someone seen to be a ‘fair target’ but who has also been through a very difficult time and is undoubtedly intensely self-conscious of their appearance; quite desperate not to have a poison-tipped arrow shot into their Achilles heel (hair loss is traumatic, and I know people that have had alopecia and the effect it has had on them: what’s next? Pointing and guffawing at people going through chemo? ). Will Smith himself, also ultra-adrenalized from the proceedings, of living inside the tension of the potential culmination of an entire life’s work and potentially winning his chosen industry’s ultimate prize, and probably also a little extra volatile from a few pre-event drinks I imagine – the bubbly always seems to be flowing on the red carpet – then heard his wife being publicly singled out for cruelty; and in that spur of the moment, he lost control.

If it was D, I can’t guarantee 100% that I wouldn’t do the same. When you love someone, you want to protect them. If you feel someone’s pain that intensely, you might react. Even physically. I am not condoning the lack of self-control, but I do understand it, as it is not necessarily my own strong point either. When riled up to the point of no return, sometimes you cross a red line, and when anger takes over your brain, sometimes a different impulse takes over and there is no turning back. This happened to me several times during the pandemic, when I was so outraged at certain things that were, or rather weren’t, in terms of safety, happening at the office, that the magma that burned through my veins until the point that I boiled over caused me to shout at loud volumes and let out tirades that really shocked people around me: once I started, there was no going back until I had let it all out. I still think that what I was furious about was 100% logical and rational – and it is all on here so I am not going to rehash it as I am managing now to put all that behind me – but the psychological mechanisms of not being able to resist the floodgates were not. It is a psychological vulnerability. Having a ‘short fuse’: I was reading an extended article recently on Will Smith about King Richard, his life, and how we was continuing battling his personal demons (as we all are), and in all honesty, I could sympathize with what he was saying. I think we expect our celebrities or role models not to be prey to the same fallibilities as regular human beings, that the price they pay for all the wealth and fame and accolades they receive is an expectation that they will behave and show the greatest mental resilience; but we are also in a moment where human beings all over the globe are bursting out of repressed boxes in all spheres of life and refusing to do what they are ‘supposed to’. Things are changing. Athletes like Naomi Osaka are admitting to mental health issues and the strains of public attention and are refusing to conform to the strictures of the media that damage them ; Simone Biles and a score of other gymnasts have come forward and talked of the deeply traumatizing effects of sexual abuse at USA Gymnastics, resulting in an inability to perform competitively at the Tokyo Olympics. Of course, there is (perhaps understandably), backlash against this ‘mollycoddling’ of the rich and famous, and insistence that they should just get on with the job that they have been paid a lot of money to do and stop whining, but the internet and social media have truly pierced the precious membrane of fame: we no longer see even the most successful personalities as static wax figurines from Madame Tussauds; or the old Hollywood stars of yore who seemed almost mythical and imaginary smiling into the flashbulbs; now, they are real life flesh and blood human beings like the rest of us, far more vulnerable than before now that so much information is constantly available to anyone with just the touch of a key. The distance between ‘us’ and ‘them’, has, to a large extent, collapsed.

So, how serious and important was this shocking infraction on the norms of an annual Hollywood celebration? In many ways, I don’t give a damn about any of it (totally contradicting the fact that I have spent a whole day writing this), because, obviously, there are much more serious things in the world to think about right now and it is all, ultimately, just spoiled, rich, celebrity culture rubbish. Nonsense, and a storm in a tea cup. It will, at some point soon, all just get swept underneath the tiger skin rug and (somewhat) forgotten. But, on a deeper level, it is also possible that what happened yesterday is all indicative of wider things that are happening in the culture, the sense that we are all exploding. That this represents something significant (in terms of aggressor and defender, for example, who is Russia and who is Ukraine in this equation, Will Smith or Chris Rock?). Smith is the one who had the childish inability to limit his own emotions and physical movements enough to avoid the ensuing ‘disaster’ that overcame him; but his wife was the one who was also being pitilessly lampooned and attacked in front of so many people by Rock (and because of something she herself had absolutely no control over; it really was a kind of punching below the belt), so can we say that her husband’s wounded and ‘valiant’ response in was any way justified? Not legally, it goes without saying, nor in terms of what should be considered acceptable as public behaviour, especially at such a prestigious event. But emotionally, I have to say to some extent it probably is. But he will pay the price for it: his reputation will never be the same again, he himself will become a joke; the extent to which his portrayal of the violent and aggressive nature of the character he played in the role that won him the Oscar – the controlling father of Venus and Serena Williams – was actually acting, or just him playing his ‘natural, bullying’ self, will also be called into question; as will what this behaviour will do in terms of racial stereotyping : a lot of people from the community that he represents as well as those outside it are understandably up in arms. It was a serious error of judgement. He will not be able to escape it. And the stink of it all – the stench of the id rising up unexpurgated into the ether – is probably, I would imagine, going to follow him around; hang around his person, for an extremely long time.

23 Comments

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23 responses to “THE SILLAGE OF WILL SMITH

  1. Z

    In an almost total aside – I had Thee Pleasure of seeing Thee Stallion in concert last weekend(as one of the only masked individuals in the stadium) with Dua Lipa. In person she is STATUESQUE. And so talented. My seats were amazing, could have ran and jumped to reach the stage. The first large cultural event I have attended in years, blessed with a negative PCR test in the week following.

    Regarding Will… Perhaps my view is in the minority, but I honestly think he has built up enough years of cultural caché to publically “get away” with such a spectacle/trespass. I also think it was a valid public response to uncalled for public humiliation. As opposed as I am to violence, it seemed almost a natural response. Something was said, feelings were hurt, it was corrected through light force, and then it was over. The actual moment, in and of itself, was cleanly resolved. Sometimes, as much fun as it can be, we don’t have to analyze a conflicf from every angle and process it to hell.

    • I love your succinct view of it all here: and ultimately I agree. It is not as if he stood there pummelling Chris Rock for minutes on end.

      And I agree about the cultural cachet – a great way of putting it: probably he will get away with it and continue pretty much as usual. But I do think that he will be tarnished, in some ways, forever.

      PS for anyone reading this, I meant to figure this into the piece, but Will Smith’s signature perfume is apparently Vera Wang For Men (just in case you cared).

  2. I watched the Oscars live on TV and couldn’t believe what I saw except it was Hollywood and I shouldn’t be surprised at all. Your epic post was actually perfection in description, photos and comments. I have watched the Oscars since I was 11 years old. For most of my life I went to the movies often, but during the past five years, I hardly ever go and resort to streaming or watching films on Netflix and/or HBO. I thought the music was one of the best parts of the show and especially enjoyed Billie Eylish’s rendition of the Bond song.

  3. Before the turn of the 20th century, a gentleman, generally of even standing, was expected to mind his tongue and not insult someone of his same caliber. Especially not challenge his dignity or class. Many people don’t remember this from the Jackson/Dickinson duel, specifically besmirching a man’s wife. It wasn’t in good taste to do so back then. It was a different story when there was proof of the woman in question’s downfall. Men had ways of handling things that often satisfied most parties, which can not be said about our court’s handling of libel/slander. (at least in most places I have been to or lived).

    Fast forward to 2022, Will Smith had no business to do something like this. Not because it was violent, but because his wife had little to no dignity to defend. Mrs. Smith openly cheated on him, even touting this in an open “forum”. She thought nothing of how he looked. I think that dogging on someone with alopecia is low, but an angel Mrs. Smith is not. I would have been forced to eat my own hand and privately chastise Mr. Rock at a later date. (Please note: I have seen little evidence of them having an open relationship, outside of janky magazine sources).

    • Wow.

      An ultra-conservative comment on here is rare but adds spice to the proceedings!

      You make a lot of moral judgements here that are slightly shocking to me about ‘virtue’ and so on, although I agree that the complex open relationship stuff could definitely roil a person up and make them more aggressive in general.

      Thank god women are not men’s ‘property’ to defend any mote

    • During my own 1980s troubled-teen years, I observed how, in general, by ‘swinging first’ a person potentially places himself (or herself) in an unanticipated psychological disadvantage—one favoring the combatant who chooses to patiently wait for his opponent to take the first swing, perhaps even without the fist necessarily connecting.

      Just having the combatant swing at him before he’d even given his challenger a physical justification for doing so seemed to instantly create a combined psychological and physical imperative within to react to that swung fist with justified anger. In fact, such testosterone-prone behavior may be reflected in the typically male (perhaps unconsciously strategic) invitation for one’s foe to ‘go ahead and lay one on me’, while tapping one’s own chin with his forefinger.

      Yet, from my experience, it’s a theoretical advantage not widely recognized by both the regular scrapper mindset nor general society. Instead of the commonly expected advantage of an opponent-stunning first blow, the hit only triggers an infuriated response earning the instigator two-or-more-fold returned-payment hard hits. It brings to mind an analogous scenario in which a chess player recklessly plays white by rashly forcefully moving his pawn first in foolish anticipation that doing so will indeed stupefy his adversary.

      I’ve theorized that it may be an evolutionary instinct ingrained upon the human male psyche—one preventing us from inadvertently killing off our own species by way of an essentially gratuitous instigation of deadly violence in bulk, which also results in a lack of semen providers to maintain our race. Therefore, in this sense, we can survive: If only a first strike typically results in physical violence, avoiding that first strike altogether significantly reduces the risk of this form of wanton self-annihilation. In other words, matters should remain peacefully peachy when every party shows the others their proper, due respect. It’s like a proactively perfect solution. ….

      It should also be noted, however, that on rare occasion (at least from my many years of observation) an anomalous initiator/aggressor will be sufficiently confident, daring and violently motivated, perhaps through internal and/or external anger, to outright breach the abovementioned convention by brazenly throwing the first punch(es).

      Perhaps with the logical anticipation, or hope even, that his conventional foe will physically respond in kind by swinging at or hitting him, the unprovoked initiator/aggressor will feel confident and angered enough to willfully physically continue, finishing what he had essentially inexcusably started. It was as though he had anticipated that through both his boldness in daring to throw the first punch and then furthermore finish the physical job he himself had the gall to unjustifiably start in the first place, he will resultantly intimidate his (though now perhaps already quite intimidated) non-initiator/non-aggressor foe into a crippling inferior sense of physical-defense debilitation, itself capable of resulting in a more serious beating received by that diminished non-initiator/non-aggressor party.

      Another possibility remains, though, that the initiator/aggressor will be completely confident that when/if he strikes first and the non-initiator/non-aggressor responds with reactor’s fury, he, the initiator/aggressor will himself respond to that response with even greater fury thus physically/psychologically overwhelm the non-initiator/non-aggressor with a very unfortunate outcome for the latter party. Regardless, it has always both bewildered and sickened me how a person can throw a serious punch without any physical provocation.

      • Thank god I have not been in such a situation (except once, when I was being chased by bullies and was forced to retaliate).

        How do you go from reading a perfume blog to this hyperdetailed analysis of the male fight? How did you find this site?

      • Or female fight. … I was scrolling through news items in WordPress.com. Sorry about the mega-space I took up. …

        I had caught the early TV news on Monday morning and was left disturbed by the assault (initially I thought it was a punch), and part of my emotional reaction was due to the unexpected occurrence being embarrassingly extremely public. For me, it was also telling of the increasingly angry times we’re living in.

      • Great comment. Irony is that a portion of this was covered in Dave Grossman’s On Killing.

      • Thanx. Where can I read Dave Grossman’s On Killing?

      • The last time I had gotten a copy my local library might have had a copy but I do think he still has a presence on Amazon. I am unsure if he has a blog but he has been on the news every once in a while.

  4. Yoshi

    Great analysis! Will Smith shouldn’t have slapped the presenter obviously, but Chris Rock is responsible to some extent as well, and I wonder why few criticize the latter ; verbal violence is no less important than physical one after all.
    Anyway that reminds me of Charlie Hebdo and terrorist attacks. It is my belief that, as Jacques Chirac said, “freedom of expression should be exercised in a spirit of responsibility.”

  5. He later apologized; I think he’ll be forgiven by the public. It seems people’s basic emotions are no different from those of schoolchildren. I’m sorry to hear that D had such a bad reaction to the booster and am glad he’s back to himself now.

    • Thanks : it was a bit of a shock !

      As for Smith and Rock, probably they will ultimately just make tons of money from it all and Smith’s macho reputation will be bolstered ready for the box office. I predict his next film will be a megahit

      • Ginz:
        Sad that the reputation is a façade of sorts. His background and life story lends against it. Issues with his parents coupled with problems with women when he was younger, etc. I feel for him. He seems stuck, without counsel.

  6. Chris

    Here’s the deeper but “politically incorrect” analysis of the Smith-Rock incident no one is conveniently talking about….

    If it was fakery it just shows again the Hollywood gang’s hypocrisy and phoniness. And if it was not it still does too…

    Smith first laughs at Rock’s joke. Then, as he see his cheating wife is annoyed by the joke, he goes to slap Rock to “honor” his cheating wife when he should have slapped HIMSELF — and ONLY himself. A typical Hollyweird hypocrite. Hypocrites who live in a luxurious fantasy world. As Gervais said to these super hypocrites at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards, “you know NOTHING about the real world!”

    Of course they don’t because they — like nearly everyone else — live in a fantasy world and they WANT to live in that word instead of the real world — https://www.rolf-hefti.com/covid-19-coronavirus.html

    Fact is they are not much different than the rest of people who feel “superior” to them by making fun of them and ONLY pointing out THEIR phoniness and hypocrisy….

    • I love the idea of him slapping himself actually. Yes.

    • One other thing though: I don’t know the exact biography of every single actor or film connected person in the auditorium, but presumably not ALL of them can have been born into this rich world totally disconnected from reality. I refuse to believe it. A lot of them presumably would have worked damned hard to get to that point : I like what you say here but refuse to believe that the entirety of the event is assholes lost in some total ‘fantasyworld’

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