My Response to Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock

It feels inconceivable to speak about this incident with out additionally discussing our tradition of celeb worship. Each time one thing like this occurs, you see individuals dogpile on the offending celeb with a gleeful ethical righteousness, “OMG WiLl, I uSeD tO hAvE sO mUcH ReSpEcT fOr YoUU.”

Actually? The man who pretends to explode aliens for a dwelling?

I suppose I’ve by no means understood celeb idolization. Hell, I count on these individuals to fuck up and disappoint us. In any case, they’re beneath 100x extra scrutiny and strain than any of us will ever be and lots of of them come from troublesome backgrounds and battle with psychological well being points.

For years, one of many traps I’ve identified in my relationship recommendation is idealizing one other individual—to imagine that since you love them, they have to not have any issues in any way. In relationships, there’s a reputation for this: codependency. Codependency just about at all times results in dysfunctional relationships and heartbreak.

But, individuals do that with the celebrities they love on a regular basis. For some cause, we resolve that simply because a man can shoot a basketball properly, we count on him to be a fantastic businessman, a fantastic father, a fantastic husband, a fantastic group chief, to have knowledgeable and nuanced political opinions (that additionally match our personal), to have upstanding ethics and little-to-no emotional dysfunction. Oh, and he has to do all this whereas by no means complaining.

But, it’s these similar codependent varieties that spend their lives idolizing strangers on screens who then develop into shocked—#ABSOLUTELYSHOCKED!!!—that so-and-so-with-the-basketball seems to be… properly, human.

It jogs my memory of an interview with the rapper Lil’ Wayne that I noticed years in the past. The interviewer stored obnoxiously mentioning the truth that Wayne had lately been arrested for drug possession, anticipating Lil’ Wayne to indicate some kind of regret or remorse about it. But, he didn’t. Flummoxed, the interviewer lastly requested him, “However what do you say to all the younger individuals on the market who look as much as you, who look to you to know how you can stay their very own lives?”

Wayne responded with one thing like, “Man, in the event you want a rapper to let you know how you can stay, then possibly you ain’t actually livin’ in any respect.”

The identical approach you’ll be able to’t have a wholesome loving relationship with out accepting and even appreciating an individual’s flaws, I might argue you’ll be able to’t actually be a “fan” of somebody until you’re additionally keen to just accept and acknowledge that individual’s shortcomings.

So, the place does this go away us with Will? Are you able to settle for and tolerate his shortcomings? As disillusioned as I’m with what he did, I can. However I’ve additionally seen his unimaginable generosity up entrance and shut. I’ve studied the a long time’ value of great issues he has finished for the individuals in his life, his group and his trade. I’ve been round him sufficient to know that his coronary heart is in the precise place and he’s embarrassed by what he did.

In our Twitter-driven world, I consider we’re over-optimized for ethical judgment and under-optimized for forgiveness. Ethical judgment comes straightforward and is rewarded with retweets and clicks. Forgiveness is troublesome and doesn’t go viral.