Friday, April 27, 2007

Alec Baldwin - Phone Home

"Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured." Seneca

My husband has a theory about celebrities, especially actors: the better they are on screen, the crazier they are in real life.

Alec Baldwin is a perfect case in point.

Whether it's his ravings about his divorce, his over-the-top phone message to his daughter or his many other previous inappropriate antics, Baldwin is apparently a loose canon with serious impulse control issues.

On a movie or TV screen, the man's a genius. His pitch-perfect performances make us admire, respect and applaud him as a consummate professional.

But here's where I sometimes disagree with my husband's premise: maybe our admiration for onscreen talent leads to unrealistic expectations of off screen behavior.

That makes Baldwin another case in point. He's such a good actor, we expect him to be equally balanced and gifted off the screen. And of course we're destined to be disappointed. Not just with Baldwin, but with most of our celebrity-worshiping society's icons.

Yes, there are exceptions. Especially, for some odd reason, Hollywood couples. Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, Susan Sarandan and Tim Robbins. All supremely talented actors, all apparently sane, rational citizens.

But the Baldwin debacle comes with its own set of flash points and in the end, its own object lesson.

Baldwin and Kim Bassinger are involved in an acrimonious public divorce. Public or private, nobody's ever 100% right or wrong in a divorce. People say and do hurtful things. Not just to each other, but often to their kids, who inevitably get caught in the middle.

Today's culture is obsessed with over-protecting children, ironically at their own peril. Kids need to know that people--especially their parents and other family members--get angry. That actions have consequences, not always positive ones. And that the world is not always a rosy place.

Who can argue that high school can be one of the cruelest experiences of our lives? That college and the workforce test our mettle--maybe even our sanity--in stressful and sometimes bizarre ways?

Kids need to recognize that parental anger doesn't equal rejection or calamity. They need to develop defenses and coping mechanisms for the real world. To learn how to handle adversity. Get over it. Shake it off. What better way than at the hands of those who also protect them and give them unconditional love.

I think Baldwin went a bit overboard with his daughter, but I'm reserving judgement because we don't know the whole story. And it's none of our business anyway.

Kids are remarkably resilient. But I'm talking about in private, among their family, friends, teammates, schoolmates. Not in the bloodthirsty public arena.

We don't need, nor are we owed Alex Baldwin's mea culpa's. He should just stop apologizing already ... except to his own daughter.

Whoever gave a private voicemail tape to did Alec Baldwin's poor kid far more harm than her father's temporarily angry words.

That thoughtless person, whether Bassinger or a member of her publicity or legal team is the one who owes Ireland Baldwin the biggest apology.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home