The latest installment in the saga of a brilliant comic actor felled by his extreme temper unfolds this week in New York magazine. The “greatest actor in the world” has declared that he is now withdrawing from public life, and eschewing “show-business” for the artist’s life. I hope he finds happiness, really hope he can do what he does best again, and I sure don’t begrudge him his utter frustration with the price of celebrity in 2014.
But he accuses me and Anderson Cooper of falsely accusing him of homophobia. He insists he did not call that photographer a “cock-sucking faggot.” Rather, he called him a “cocksucker” and some other word he can’t quite remember. And he had no idea that “cock-sucker” was an anti-gay slur in any case. Yes, he did refer to someone has a “toxic little queen” but again he was utterly unaware that the phrase had anything to do with homosexuals. He is now researching homophobia he was so oblivious to it before: “I want to learn about what is hurtful speech in your community.”
A couple things: as I said before, I have no window into Alec Baldwin’s soul and have no reason to believe he is, in some permanent or fundamental way, homophobic. So much of his public life would seem to portray the opposite. My point is nonetheless that he deployed homophobic curse-words in public against other human beings, in order to cut them down to size. All he has to say is that he has a hot Irish temper, that it got the better of him, that he realized he has some buried issues that he needs to grapple with … and get on with his life. The gay community would have welcomed him with open arms. But he cannot accept the truth of what transparently occurred, because it would dent his pride. So he still bizarrely insists his Twitter tirade against a nasty British tabloid hack had nothing to do with homophobia:
At the time, I didn’t view “toxic little queen” as a homophobic statement. I didn’t realize how those words could give offense, and I’m sorry for that.
Really? He had no idea that this was homophobic:
George Stark, you lying little bitch. I am gonna f%#@ you up … I want all of my followers and beyond to straighten out this fucking little bitch, George Stark. @MailOnline … My wife and I attend a funeral to pay our respects to an old friend, and some toxic Brit writes this fucking trash … If put my foot up your fucking ass, George Stark, but I’m sure you’d dig it too much … I’m gonna find you, George Stark, you toxic little queen, and I’m gonna fuck…you…up.
My italics. And so – drum-roll – comes the classic non-apology apology:
If I offended anyone along the way, I do apologize.
And, of course, after a non-apology will come a non-exit from public life. If you want to exit from public life, you can do it. You can stop giving paparazzi what they live for; you can let old stories die and rebuild your career with good work; and you can give to charity with total anonymity. Alternatively, you can write a long screed in New York magazine, claim that you were completely and falsely smeared, re-visit every tortured detail of the story that made life more difficult for you, detail your expansive holiness, throw barbs at lots of people who once worked with you, and loudly tell the world you’re taking your marbles and going home.
He is a good actor, isn’t he?
Update from a reader:
A Jezebel commenter nails it:
Alec Baldwin is less sad if you imagine Jack Donaghy saying the things that come out of his mouth. “I won’t be in tomorrow, Lemon, I’m being subpoenaed by the Gay Department of Justice.
Alex has apparently morphed into Jack Donaghy, or was that portrayal truer to life than we knew?