17 votes

Let’s please not make “the slap” more than what it is

32 comments

  1. [25]
    rogue_cricket
    (edited )
    Link
    I didn't get involved in the other thread because talking about how much you don't care about something is of course not a good addition to a thread in progress about it. In this more meta thread...

    I didn't get involved in the other thread because talking about how much you don't care about something is of course not a good addition to a thread in progress about it. In this more meta thread I feel a little more comfortable expressing that I hope this whole thing goes away soon because absolutely everything about it is tedious.

    I don't want to give it more thought than I would if I first read about it on a gossip rag while stuck in line at the grocery store. Instead, it's everywhere. For some reason this has captured the imagination of even the people who I know who claim disinterest in celebrity culture.

    19 votes
    1. [10]
      simplify
      Link Parent
      I think it's because it truly shows how disconnected we are from them. A celebrity went on stage with millions of people watching, literally physically assaulted another celebrity, did not get...

      For some reason this has captured the imagination of even the people who I know who claim disinterest in celebrity culture.

      I think it's because it truly shows how disconnected we are from them. A celebrity went on stage with millions of people watching, literally physically assaulted another celebrity, did not get arrested or even kicked out of the event, and then later went on to win a major award and received a standing ovation. It's both fascinating and infuriating. It's a lot to process.

      8 votes
      1. [7]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        I mean I don’t think it’s that detached. I’ve witness virtually the same thing in my boring, non celebrity family. It was a wedding, a few heated exchanges later, someone straight up slugged...

        I mean I don’t think it’s that detached. I’ve witness virtually the same thing in my boring, non celebrity family. It was a wedding, a few heated exchanges later, someone straight up slugged someone else, some cooling off later, the puncher still did their role in said wedding (albeit with a very awkward air).

        No one got arrested or investigated because the victim did not press charges (same reason Smith won’t - Chris Rock doesn’t want to press charges). It was kept “in the family” so to speak.

        That’s pretty normal for altercations between people who know each other. Lots of punches are thrown every day, very few of them are reported to the police. It’s just not the escalation you need in many cases.

        17 votes
        1. [2]
          psi
          (edited )
          Link Parent
          This is a bit of a legal misconception -- the victim doesn't have to "press charges" for the perpetrator to be indicted; that's at the discretion of the prosecutor (well, and the grand jury, but...

          No one got arrested or investigated because the victim did not press charges (same reason Smith won’t - Chris Rock doesn’t want to press charges). It was kept “in the family” so to speak.

          This is a bit of a legal misconception -- the victim doesn't have to "press charges" for the perpetrator to be indicted; that's at the discretion of the prosecutor (well, and the grand jury, but you know what they say about grand juries).

          As a practical matter, you usually want the victim to cooperate with your case. However, given that the battery was televised -- and yes, this meets the legal definition of battery, whether you consider it justified or not -- cooperation from the victim isn't necessary here.

          Regardless, it's a bit too early to claim that Will Smith won't be criminally charged. But if he is, given that Smith is a first time offender, he'd only be looking at a ~$1000 fine without jail time.

          Edit: Whoops, I see that /u/AugustusFerdinand already made this point. That's what I get for not reading all the comments first. Well, I don't think anyone's covered the likely sentence if criminally convicted, so maybe this comment isn't entirely redundant.

          7 votes
          1. AugustusFerdinand
            Link Parent
            How dare you? :] I'd only just started to discuss where the victim comes in if a conviction occurs as that is when the victim does have a little influence as victim statements and...

            That's what I get for not reading all the comments first.

            How dare you? :]

            Well, I don't think anyone's covered the likely sentence if criminally convicted, so maybe this comment isn't entirely redundant.

            I'd only just started to discuss where the victim comes in if a conviction occurs as that is when the victim does have a little power influence as victim statements and opinions/feelings about the charges come into play and a judge can allow/prosecutor can request more lenient sentencing because of the victim's viewpoints on the crime.

            2 votes
        2. [4]
          simplify
          Link Parent
          I can definitely see your point of view, but I don't think the comparison of your family to famous celebrities is apt. Many people put famous people on a pedestal. Whether a person cares about...

          I can definitely see your point of view, but I don't think the comparison of your family to famous celebrities is apt. Many people put famous people on a pedestal. Whether a person cares about celebrity culture or not, most people in America know who Will Smith and Chris Rock are. We don't care about your family in the same sense (though I hope they're all well). When we see famous people behave like this on live television, it's jarring. If your drunk cousin starts a fight, well, you probably have some easy personal explanations for why it happened. A fight at the Oscars is something else entirely.

          My comment was in response to the idea that this event has captured the interest of people who claim to be disinterested in celebrity culture. I'm pretty disinterested in celebrity culture myself but I'm still trying to parse why I'm interested in this. My comment was an attempt to figure it out.

          3 votes
          1. [3]
            stu2b50
            Link Parent
            I can see that angle but it would actually be the reverse of It’s not that it shows how disconnected we are from celebrities, it shows how connected we are - they act just like we do.

            I can see that angle but it would actually be the reverse of

            I think it's because it truly shows how disconnected we are from them.

            It’s not that it shows how disconnected we are from celebrities, it shows how connected we are - they act just like we do.

            3 votes
            1. [2]
              simplify
              Link Parent
              Sure, perhaps. But I would still maintain that Will Smith should have been booted out of the ceremony when he did this. I don't share your acceptance of a fight at a wedding. If someone fought at...

              Sure, perhaps. But I would still maintain that Will Smith should have been booted out of the ceremony when he did this. I don't share your acceptance of a fight at a wedding. If someone fought at my wedding, no matter who it was, they would be asked to leave. So my original thought was coming from a place of... how can this person get away with violence so publicly and still be allowed to be there? It's his station of being an A-List celebrity that prevented him from being booted.

              2 votes
              1. stu2b50
                Link Parent
                Well, it wasn’t my wedding. But I suppose my point is that is a justifiable stance, the opposite is both fine and acceptable - it’s your event, run it like you want. That demarcation isn’t...

                Well, it wasn’t my wedding. But I suppose my point is that

                If someone fought at my wedding, no matter who it was, they would be asked to leave.

                is a justifiable stance, the opposite is both fine and acceptable - it’s your event, run it like you want.

                That demarcation isn’t “celebrity vs pleb”, it’s just a subjective difference. Some people have zero tolerance for violence, some people prefer not rocking the boat. It’s not really about being famous.

                It’s not that Smith is famous so he wasn’t booted, it was that everyone at the event knew Smith at least on an acquaintance level, just like the wedding I went to.

                Now, if everyone at the Oscars knows you, you must be famous by definition, but that’s just correlation.

                2 votes
      2. [2]
        Whom
        Link Parent
        Is it all that detached? It's not exactly uncommon where I'm at to see a squabble like this and in most cases no one would ever get the law involved. Do fights just...not happen where you live...

        Is it all that detached? It's not exactly uncommon where I'm at to see a squabble like this and in most cases no one would ever get the law involved. Do fights just...not happen where you live without someone being arrested?

        3 votes
        1. simplify
          Link Parent
          I haven't seen a fight in... I really don't know. Maybe two decades or more? I honestly can't even remember the last time I saw a fight. And I lived in Chicago for over 12 years. Where I live now...

          I haven't seen a fight in... I really don't know. Maybe two decades or more? I honestly can't even remember the last time I saw a fight. And I lived in Chicago for over 12 years. Where I live now the biggest crimes are domestic violence and drunk driving, but I don't really see any of it. The last time I saw a cop, he was called because a guy was stuck in the snow and the worry was he might be drunk or in danger, but he was sober and okay.

          2 votes
    2. [14]
      HotPants
      Link Parent
      That accurately describes me. Allow me to explain. Chris Rock contemporaneously quipped that it was the greatest moment in television history. He really wasn't wrong. We had some highly offensive...

      For some reason this has captured the imagination of even the people who I know who claim disinterest in celebrity culture.

      That accurately describes me. Allow me to explain.

      Chris Rock contemporaneously quipped that it was the greatest moment in television history.

      He really wasn't wrong.

      We had some highly offensive humor, followed by gratuitous physical violence, followed by raw emotional appeal, followed by actual good humor.

      It's the most interesting thing to happen on the oscars since 1973, when a Native American Indian accepted Marlon Brando's award. I know that isn't really saying much. But it also is.

      The slap raised awareness of Alopecia and also created interesting discussion points around beauty standards, toxic masculinity, micro-aggressions vs physical aggression, the rich and powerful's immunity to laws...

      Maybe I haven't been paying enough attention, but I actually think the most interesting thing hasn't received a lot of commentary. We are all no better than monkeys.

      On a night that is supposed to be picture perfect, with a bunch of people whose only job is to be picture perfect, the one person who was chosen as the most picture perfect person, showed us that he really is just another imperfect monkey, just like the rest of us. This entire thing is so deliciously ironic, it's almost as ironic as Alanis Morrisete's "isn't it ironic" song.

      In fact, I think our monkey brains aren't wired well to think clearly about celebrities. Intellectually, we recognize actors are strangers, but I think some fundamental part of our simian brain think of these people as part of our troop. I try to consciously reject this, but I swear there is some part of me that is shocked that one of my troop attacked another member of my troop.

      So it's interesting to watch, it's interesting to talk about, and it's interesting to think about.

      Mostly I try to deliberately ignore celebrity gossip, but this, this I find this interesting to think about. I do feel sympathy for Will Smiths' wife. But she has helped me and probably others learn about Alopecia, and she has challenged my assumptions about beauty and imperfection. I hope she embraces that.

      6 votes
      1. [10]
        stu2b50
        Link Parent
        Ok, for this specific take, I feel like it makes no sense. Will Smith did not get prosecuted for battery, because Chris Rock didn't press charges. That's not celebrity specific. I remember an...

        the rich and powerful's immunity to laws...

        Ok, for this specific take, I feel like it makes no sense. Will Smith did not get prosecuted for battery, because Chris Rock didn't press charges. That's not celebrity specific. I remember an incident in my family where a various things happened that I won't get into led to one family member straight up punching another one.

        Was anyone arrested? No, because no one pressed charges. That's not about celebrities, that's about the two parties knowing each other. Who knows why Chris Rock didn't press charges - maybe he didn't want to escalate things, or maybe he otherwise knows Smith well enough to forgive him, or maybe Smith apologized to him privately before publically doing so on instagram, or maybe he just feels bad because his joke apparently genuinely offended someone. In any case, it's his right not to as the victim.

        6 votes
        1. [7]
          AugustusFerdinand
          Link Parent
          If we're being specific, Chris Rock cannot "press charges" anyway. Media/people love this whole idea of a person "pressing charges" against another or saying they won't, but that's not how it...

          Will Smith did not get prosecuted for battery, because Chris Rock didn't press charges.

          If we're being specific, Chris Rock cannot "press charges" anyway. Media/people love this whole idea of a person "pressing charges" against another or saying they won't, but that's not how it works. If you're mugged, you don't get to decide if the prosecutor's office will go after your mugger or not.

          Now, typically it's a victim that files a police report that is sent to the prosecutor's office that then determines if there is sufficient evidence to charge the perpetrator with a crime. In this case, it seems Chris Rock won't be filing a police report for it to go through that process. However, he doesn't have to. It was broadcast to the public and the sufficient evidence to charge Will Smith with assault exists. If the prosecutor decides to charge Will Smith, Chris Rock has no power to stop it (above the board anyway) and can be subpoenaed to testify against Will Smith if the prosecutor wills it. There are no rights as a victim to not have a perpetrator charged with a crime.

          7 votes
          1. [2]
            stu2b50
            Link Parent
            That’s a fair point on the mechanics of prosecution. I’d still say it’s very normal for the police not to get involved with a minor physical altercation between colleagues if the victim does not...

            That’s a fair point on the mechanics of prosecution. I’d still say it’s very normal for the police not to get involved with a minor physical altercation between colleagues if the victim does not file a police report.

            The celebrity status is actually the confounding factor - for normal people, the police wouldn’t even know if it happened if the victim doesn’t say anything.

            5 votes
            1. AugustusFerdinand
              Link Parent
              No argument there, but that's largely (I'd say almost exclusively) a case of it not being known. Statistics show there's an estimated 2,357 crimes reported per 100,000 people in the US (7.8M per...

              No argument there, but that's largely (I'd say almost exclusively) a case of it not being known. Statistics show there's an estimated 2,357 crimes reported per 100,000 people in the US (7.8M per year), so there's easily another million (or more) that just go completely unreported. Between crimes committed against undocumented immigrants, the poor, or other populations or geographies that have no access to policing or a distrust of it. Anecdotally, there's more than one crime where I was the victim and never reported it to the police as there was no point doing so.

              I just have a fascination with law and have always abhorred the whole "pressing charges" (or a victim stating they'll "drop charges") narrative that people like to reference when it, ultimately, isn't their choice in the matter. I wouldn't be surprised if it has a TV Tropes article by now.

              6 votes
          2. [4]
            vektor
            Link Parent
            This is the one time I'm genuinely 100% in the linguistical descriptivism camp. If even police will ask "do you want to press charges", when what they technically mean is "if we press charges,...

            This is the one time I'm genuinely 100% in the linguistical descriptivism camp. If even police will ask "do you want to press charges", when what they technically mean is "if we press charges, will you provide witness statements etc.?" - fuck it, that's called pressing charges now.

            There are no rights as a victim to not have a perpetrator charged with a crime.

            Literally nothing? I'd be highly surprised. Over here(Germany), the prosecution can elect not to charge under a variety of circumstances. The most common is probably that the perpetrator is not known, but also that there's just no public interest in pursuing charges. What the victim wants can be (I suspect) counted among those. Beyond that, there's an entire class of crimes that require the victim to press charges (sic! :P) here. In the case of battery, (like here, I think), this would however leave the door open for the prosecution to waltz in in the name of "special public interest." In the case of non-special "public interest", out-of-court reparations can suffice to remove this interest.

            Of course, a DA might in all of the above simply say that this happened in front of millions, so we'll assume this special public interest. To what degree that would be acceptable, I have no idea.

            1 vote
            1. [3]
              AugustusFerdinand
              Link Parent
              Only a Sith speaks in absolutes, but barring extremely local or state level laws that have explicitly given those choices to a victim, which I'm highly doubtful exist or have any real power:...

              Literally nothing?

              Only a Sith speaks in absolutes, but barring extremely local or state level laws that have explicitly given those choices to a victim, which I'm highly doubtful exist or have any real power: Literally nothing.

              Most uncharged crimes are a matter of not being reported or lack of evidence. A victim can refuse to give a witness statement, but a prosecutor's office can force them to testify (exceptions being you can't be forced to testify against your spouse in very specific circumstances) by subpoenaing them. A victim's desires are taken into account during the punishment phase should the perpetrator be found (or admit to being) guilty, but they don't have any actual control over charges being drawn.

              That's not to say a victim hasn't convinced a prosecutor not to do so, just that a victim can't say "I won't press charges" and the prosecutor just throw their hands up and reply "Well, I guess I won't do anything with this." That's just not the way it works in the US.

              4 votes
              1. [2]
                vektor
                Link Parent
                Last I heard, the DA can throw their hands up and say "fuck that, that's not murder, I don't give a fuck", i.e. not press charges even if people want him to. Which, to be clear, is an entirely...

                Last I heard, the DA can throw their hands up and say "fuck that, that's not murder, I don't give a fuck", i.e. not press charges even if people want him to. Which, to be clear, is an entirely different thing and I understand that. But it speaks volumes of the US system that there is basically no power with the people, and all the power with officials, often times with great latitude for them, and little oversight.

                3 votes
                1. AugustusFerdinand
                  Link Parent
                  Preaching to the choir my friend.

                  But it speaks volumes of the US system that there is basically no power with the people, and all the power with officials, often times with great latitude for them, and little oversight.

                  Preaching to the choir my friend.

        2. babypuncher
          Link Parent
          Yeah this is the thing that has perplexed me the most. People are trying to twist and contort this into a story about celebrities being completely detached from reality, but this played pretty...

          Yeah this is the thing that has perplexed me the most. People are trying to twist and contort this into a story about celebrities being completely detached from reality, but this played pretty similarly to just about every minor act of physical violence I have ever witnessed among friends and family.

          That does not excuse any of their behavior. Both of them behaved unprofessionally.

          Further muddying the water is the fact that it was not immediately obvious whether the altercation was staged.

          4 votes
        3. HotPants
          Link Parent
          That's not technically true. LA prosecutors could and ‘should’ charge Will Smith: former DA Also, I don't think it's true in actuality. Aren't there lots of examples of famous people not charged...

          Will Smith did not get prosecuted for battery, because Chris Rock didn't press charges.

          That's not technically true.

          LA prosecutors could and ‘should’ charge Will Smith: former DA

          Also, I don't think it's true in actuality. Aren't there lots of examples of famous people not charged for punching paparazzi?

          1 vote
      2. rogue_cricket
        Link Parent
        Eh, "celebrities are human" is not... particularly novel from my perspective, and actually informs a lot of my lifelong disinterest in celebrity. Generally I only care about whatever entertainment...

        Eh, "celebrities are human" is not... particularly novel from my perspective, and actually informs a lot of my lifelong disinterest in celebrity. Generally I only care about whatever entertainment value their work has for me and or whether they're using their influence to directly promote toxic ideology. (Plus the base respect and care I try to have for any human in the abstract.)

        The individual social phenomena which can be tied into this interaction, sure, I can get it's interesting in that way. But the 'gossip' aspect of it heavily poisons that aspect of the discussion for me - the personal incident between them will always in some way be at the core of it. To analyze it with the personal decisions and relationships of those involved integrated into the discussion feels kind of invasive and creepy to me; to try and excise all the individuals from it or use them as props in an ideology play feels dehumanizing. I'm uncomfortable doing both of those things, so I'm happy to leave it at "two rich men I don't know were shitty to each other at their fancy gold statue party".

        3 votes
      3. [2]
        vektor
        Link Parent
        I'm not sure I agree with every point you made, but I have to say your post has a certain... lyrical quality to it. Thanks. Yeah, quick bout into almost-certainly-wrong-somewhere pop-psychology...

        I'm not sure I agree with every point you made, but I have to say your post has a certain... lyrical quality to it. Thanks.

        In fact, I think our monkey brains aren't wired well to think clearly about celebrities. Intellectually, we recognize actors are strangers, but I think some fundamental part of our simian brain think of these people as part of our troop.

        Yeah, quick bout into almost-certainly-wrong-somewhere pop-psychology tells us that our brains are still stuck in pre-agriculture times, where tribes were quite small and an implicit assumption was that someone who you know, knows you. He might know many other people, but you know most of them as well. It's very symmetric that way. Nowadays, with celebrities, it isn't like that, and sometimes one can see we're kinda still struggling with that. Also connected to parasocial relationships.

        1 vote
        1. HotPants
          Link Parent
          I'm not sure I agree with every point I made either.

          I'm not sure I agree with every point I made either.

          3 votes
  2. [4]
    cloud_loud
    Link

    Others connected the moment to racism, sexism, ableism, and even the larger breakdown in social mores in recent years. Like so many controversial events these days, it has taken on a mirage-like quality of something that might explain what’s wrong in American life, in different ways to different people.

    But as I was reminded of the Howard slap from a month ago, my main thought was just: We don’t have to take this too seriously. We don’t have to live like this, mapping complex social phenomena on something fundamentally as straightforward and unexceptional as dudes using a personal slight—or a perceived one—as a pretext for getting physical.

    Unsurprisingly, the social media response has followed its own inevitable arc, from shocked to bemused to serious to exhausting. As a sports fan who has seen scenes like this play out umpteen times, I’ve felt the familiar dread of watching relatively minor transgressions by Black men turn into a vehicle for everyone’s agendas. We can’t even gawk at a little scuffle without worrying that it’ll become a referendum on Black male anger.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      NaraVara
      Link Parent
      My favorite meme about it was just a tweet from someone saying We can all simply choose humor. We don’t need to allow college undergraduate tier social commentary to filter our perspectives on...

      My favorite meme about it was just a tweet from someone saying

      I will not allow Therapy Twitter to ruin this for me. I have decided to find this situation funny.

      We can all simply choose humor. We don’t need to allow college undergraduate tier social commentary to filter our perspectives on goings on in the world.

      12 votes
      1. TheJorro
        Link Parent
        It truly was the most entertaining Oscars moment in a long, long while.

        It truly was the most entertaining Oscars moment in a long, long while.

    2. inwardpath
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      This is a point I concurred with on the original thread, but I've been constantly internally debating whether or not it's accurate. I think a lot of things that do have complex social phenomena...

      We don’t have to live like this, mapping complex social phenomena on something fundamentally as straightforward and unexceptional as dudes using a personal slight—or a perceived one—as a pretext for getting physical.

      This is a point I concurred with on the original thread, but I've been constantly internally debating whether or not it's accurate. I think a lot of things that do have complex social phenomena backing them in the past were often ignored or brushed off as something simple, causing real social problems to perpetuate. It is exhausting that it happens to everything- that I am not arguing. But, I think the actions of many people in many facets of life that seem simple actually are complex and maybe it suits society better, even if it's frustrating, to take note of the complexity.

      I think it's almost always true that there's much more going on behind any given X than we typically see, or sometimes, want to see. Again, I don't know- because I get the frustration of every single thing in our lives these days being overanalyzed ad nauseum.

      At a minimum one could say this situation involves complexity around comedy, punching down, jokes about things people cannot change, the way society treats black women, importance of hair/appearance to black women, Chris's hypocrisy in light of his documentary, POC views on Chris's legacy in their community... there are a lot of perspectives I didn't originally consider because I was like "ugh do we really need to dissect this too?"

      2 votes
  3. [3]
    lou
    (edited )
    Link
    I take the point and appreciate it. However, I don't see a lot of value in the sports comparison. When compared to other events, physical altercations are relatively common in sports, as a...

    I take the point and appreciate it. However, I don't see a lot of value in the sports comparison. When compared to other events, physical altercations are relatively common in sports, as a consequence of the fact that sports are physical and confrontational by nature. A very formal event, arguably one of the most important and watched formal events in the world, is entirely different. What happened was unprecedented, so it's only natural for it to draw more attention.

    But yeah, sure, just leave the man alone. On the other hand, this was basically yesterday. It'll take some time to die down. There's no way around it.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      vord
      Link Parent
      I pre-apologize, but for some reason this set me off. A glorified poll is not important. Nobody is going to care about the Oscars inside of 3 months. It is an entertaining circus though. Could...

      I pre-apologize, but for some reason this set me off.

      one of the most important

      A glorified poll is not important. Nobody is going to care about the Oscars inside of 3 months. It is an entertaining circus though.

      Could somebody pass the bread?

      6 votes
      1. lou
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Well, important is what people consider important. Don't shoot the messenger! I personally don't care about awards, and lost all respect for the Oscars when the awful Crash, by Paul Haggis, was...

        Well, important is what people consider important. Don't shoot the messenger! I personally don't care about awards, and lost all respect for the Oscars when the awful Crash, by Paul Haggis, was best picture in 2006.

        2 votes