Will Smith walked on stage at the Oscars and slapped Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, shaving her head.
If you didn’t watch the Oscars live — and you probably didn’t, hardly anyone does — you either saw the clip via social media or television this morning. The story is everywhere, from local news to CNN to sports-talk.
The Slap has overtaken Russia-Ukraine as the marquee story for at least today. It took a humiliated actor to finally dethrone the coverage of the war.
That doesn’t sit well with CNN correspondent Sara Sidner. Here’s what she had to say on New Day:
I have to be honest, I’m a little embarrassed that I’m even talking about this right now. We’ve got inflation that is crushing families. We have millions of refugees who are running for their lives trying to find refuge, mothers and children, and we’ve got Ukraine which is literally on fire and being bombed. This was a moment that did not need to happen. And now it’s trending on Twitter instead of a thousand other things that are far more important. So that’s where I stand on this. Watching that was really, really disheartening and disappointing.
Settle down, Ms. Sidner. Disheartening? Disappointing?
No one is arguing that an actor slapping a comedian on stage is more significant than dead civilians. What’s happening in Ukraine is horrific. However, Americans are allowed to care about something other than a war in Europe every once in a while.
Sidner believes it’s beneath her to talk about a Hollywood spat. And that’s exactly why no one likes political commentators. They view their mediocre work as so otherworldly that all other stories should take a backseat.
Media coverage is a business. Right now, Smith hitting Rock is good business. The story is fascinating. One of the country’s most well-known actors jumped on stage and threw hands at the country’s top comedian. How does that happen? It’s absurd. It’s hilarious.
It also puts a twist on the good guy vs. bad guy dynamic that drives cultural interest. Americans want to root for a hero and against a villain. But in this case, there’s a debate about who is playing which side.
On one hand, Will Smith looks like a punk. He couldn’t control his emotions and hit someone like it was fifth-grade recess and then cried about it on stage, blaming it on his love for his wife.
On the other hand, Smith played the role of the protective husband. Chris Rock joked about his girl’s alopecia, which upset her, so he defended her honor. Juicy.
I’m on the don’t slap other grown men on stage unless you actually want to fight backstage side of this conflict. Though I can see why the debate is escalating.
Honestly, the conversation is fun. It’s fresh and it’s distracting. So it’s no wonder that Smith slapping Rock is all viewers care about today. Americans need a break from war, inflation, partisanship, something called white privilege, and meaningless COVID updates.
Americans like characters, drama, and nonsense. Smith vs. Rock is the ideal viral story. It’s okay to want to read about this and not Ukraine for a change. Don’t be like Sara Sidner.