I’ve been signed in to a number of substack newsletters recently, increasingly of the sharp American type that first attracted me to blogs all those years ago now.
Dave Pell is the only thing worth reading on that Oscars slap, not just because he says something sensible about the goof show the Oscars have become, but something deeper:
Stop. Seriously, stop with the bothsidesing think-pieces about Will Smith’s slap. I’m sure Alopecia can be a traumatic condition, but this isn’t story about Alopecia. We’re not even sure Chris Rock knew about Jada’s condition, and even if he had, it’s still not an Alopecia story. It’s also not a race story. It’s not a toxic male story. There are not two sides to this story.
Here’s the whole story: Will Smith snapped and slapped and the audience clapped. The guy starting whaling on someone in the middle of the Academy Awards. Jim Carrey summed it up: “I would have announced this morning that I was suing Will for $200 million because that video is going to be there forever. It’s going to be ubiquitous. That insult is going to last a very long time. I was sickened by the standing ovation. I felt like Hollywood is just spineless en masse.
It really felt like: ‘Oh, this is really a clear indication that we’re not the cool club anymore.'” That’s it. Like the swelling on Chris Rock’s face, there’s only one side to this story. Jim Carrey got it right, and even though he’s famous for doing so, it’s the rest of the internet that’s talking out of its ass.
Now why would I bring this story up again, other than to whine about headlines that irritate news curators like me? Because this is an example of the same kind of asinine false equivalence that we’ve seen soil the media for the past several years.
There were not two sides to Trump’s habitual lying. There are not two sides to the vaccine debate. There are not two sides to the potential upside of using disinfectant on the inside of your body. There are not two sides to the climate change debate.
There are not two sides to the Jan 6 insurrection story. There are not two sides to the 2020 election results. Yesterday, Donald Trump requested that Vladimir Putin dig up and share dirt on Joe Biden’s family. At a time of war, that’s straight up treachery, the kind of anti-American garbage this criminal has been spewing for years.
End of story.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty