I don’t usually let artists’ personal failings stop me from appreciating their professional efforts. There wouldn’t be a lot of art left to enjoy if character references were required. I still tear up thinking of John Lennon’s murder — which happened 31 years ago today — even though many people have testified that he was not always “peace and love” guy. And I sure wouldn’t have wanted to be one of Picasso’s wives/lovers, and not just because I don’t look my best when reduced to cubes.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, and actor Alec Baldwin is my exception because his behavior reminds me of some personal experiences. Baldwin first got on my bad side when a voicemail he left for his tween daughter Ireland was leaked to the media in 2007. “You are a rude, thoughtless little pig,” he told his child. At least he knew what animal she reminded him of, because he didn’t seem sure of her age, as he went on to say: “I don’t give a damn that you’re 12 years old, or 11 years old, or that you’re a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn’t care about what you do as far as I’m concerned.”
The mother in question was Baldwin’s ex-wife, actress Kim Basinger. After the voicemail leaked, Baldwin’s spokesman blamed Basinger and said that Baldwin, “… will do what the mother is pathologically incapable of doing … keeping his mouth shut and obeying the court order.” But even before Baldwin was accusing his ex of parental alienation, there were anecdotes about his temper: when Basinger — who has her own issues, including agoraphobia — filed for divorce in 2001, her father noted Baldwin’s anger problems. Baldwin’s own brother, Billy, called him “volatile” while defending Alec.
The “thoughtless little pig” incident occurred at the end of the first season of Baldwin’s successful turn on the NBC television show 30 Rock. According to Baldwin, he told the network he wanted to quit to focus on parental alienation issues, but the network wouldn’t let him go. (He also considered suicide, he told Playboy in 2009, but didn’t want to give his ex-wife that “victory.”) Since then, he’s kept a high profile, continuing on 30 Rock; hosting Saturday Night Live three more times for a record 16 host appearances; co-hosting the Oscars in 2010; and pondering a future run for mayor of New York City. A 2010 incident, in which Baldwin grabbed at a photographer, didn’t slow him down. (Baldwin had just been released from a hospital where he was taken after Ireland called 911, reportedly saying her dad had threatened “to take some pills.” The combination of Ireland and hospitals is bad for photographers: Baldwin scuffled with one when he and Basinger bought Ireland home after birth.)
This Monday, during an appearance on Conan in Los Angeles, Baldwin was in good spirits as he joked about how Indian cab drivers in New York tell him they’d vote for him for mayor. But, as I watched him, I was thinking of certain angry and paranoid people I have dealt with who, for short periods of time, can put up a charming “hail fellow well met” facade. These people make you feel special while they tell you the rest of the world has done all these bad things to them that have caused them, in turn, to behave badly. They’ve been victimized, provoked, cheated, misunderstood and undervalued by everyone from their spouses to the plumber. I learned the hard way that these people — the ones who blame everyone but themselves for behavior that’s entirely within their control — will quickly add you to their shit list.
Considering all that, I wasn’t surprised when Baldwin’s mayoral facade slipped a day after the Conan appearance. On an American Airlines flight headed to New York from Los Angeles, Baldwin got into a dispute about turning off his mobile device. He was playing the Scrabble-like game Words With Friends. He tweeted: “Flight attendant on American reamed me out 4 playing WORDS W FRIENDS while we sat at the gate, not moving. #nowonderamericaairisbankrupt” The plane was taken back to the gate and he was removed, so he had time to issue a few more tweets, including, “United Airlines should buy Words With Friends,” before getting on another American flight. I never thought I’d take an airline’s side on anything, but I was fucking delighted when American issued a statement calling a certain “passenger” rude. (Julie Frederick from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said, “There is a difference between being funny and being mean. Flight attendants have not been the only recipients of Alec Baldwin’s ill temper.”) Baldwin reacted to the hullabaloo by deactivating his Twitter account. Does this behavior sound familiar? Temper tantrum followed by justification/blaming followed by quitting/attempted quitting? Paging 2007! I must say that I know nothing about Kim Basinger. She could be a saint, a run-of-the-mill neurotic or the father-alienating witch that Alec Baldwin says she is. But she’s not the one who keeps getting caught! And unless Basinger was the one playing Words With Friends with him, this time it’s not on her.
On second thought, maybe my dislike of Alec Baldwin doesn’t have anything at all to do with my experiences with emotional abusers. Maybe it’s just that of the hundreds of disgusting things I’ve laughed at on Family Guy, the one that really traumatized me was the image of Alec Baldwin feeding his brothers.
Going back to that Conan show, I was obviously not watching it for Alec Baldwin. I don’t even watch 30 Rock, even though everyone loves it and I know — from Family Guy, where the hell else?! — that 30 Rock‘s star and creator Tina Fey is better than Jesus.
I was watching Conan to see rapper Yelawolf perform. Unfortunately, the second Yela was on camera, he grabbed his own dick. I thought, “It would be much more interesting if a rapper would grab another rapper’s dick for a change instead of his own. I could be into that.” No, that’s not what I thought! While that scenario would indeed be more interesting to me, what I thought was, “Yela, please let go of your dick before MrB looks up and says…” At that moment, MrB looked up and said, “Why is that guy holding his dick?” Not only did I not have an answer, but, because Yelawolf held on tight for his whole performance, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. MrB’s bafflement was so palpable it affected my hearing and vision. Now I’m going to have to sue MrB for causing rapper alienation. How thoughtless of him!
UPDATED TO ADD: As always, Alec’s bestest friend, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels gave the jackhole an opportunity to get on television and make light of his bad behavior. Watch it and weep!
Mary Panjari says
I know ‘those people’ only too well. I have one that lives next door to me. Absolutely fucked in the head.
I’ve had to fire two of them. But better to have them at work than to know them personally, because the third — a friend — ruined my life for a year. That one would totally abuse me and then accuse ME of doing the abuse …??? I thought I was losing my mind.
Maybe Yela was making sure Old Yela was still attached, lest it go on a rabies-fueled Words With Friends session with fellow mouth-foamer Alec Baldwin. Yeah, I’ll go with that.
As for dealing with fucked-up fuckheads, the reason I left Tacoma to (after 29 years) finally return home was due to my ex-roommate meeting, dating, then bringing in a mother of two who could be best described as damaged goods. He kept wanting to break up with her, but never could. When he finally did, he had managed to forget to wear a condom some time earlier.
Nine months later, his first son was born. A month after that, I came home.
When are dudes gonna learn to wrap it up! Damn!
Haha! My mom always asks that question when she sees a guy grab his junk, but she does it in a highly offended slightly shocked tone. Like how dare he assault her vision like that. I don’t understand it either, but her response makes me laugh.
P.S. My bf loves to bump Yelawolf in the car because his lyrics make me feel awkward.
So the lyrics to you are like dick-grabbing is to your mom!
I guess so. I seem to be morphing into my mother a little more each day. It isn’t long now before I join her in the dick grabbing grumbling.
I felt like Yela’s dick-grabbing move wasn’t a good advertisement for whatever is there. Like I felt that he had to really search for it. He was all up in there. Not a good sign.
Misfit Sarah says
Wendy – I do watch 30 Rock and have a total love/hate relationships with myself for loving it. Not for loving Tina, obvs, but for the Alec factor. I was parented by one of these psychos, I married one and have known several others… which is why I now live alone and have been single forEVER! Sarah xxx
I’m glad you have escaped! Isn’t it crazy that once you REALLY understand their behavior, it’s so easy to spot again? It’s like you’re vaccinated against it, but it’s a very, very painful vaccine, with years-long side effects!
Alexis of NorthOnHarper says
You crack me up! I love how everything you’ve said is not only true but utterly witty…
and, as far as Alec Baldwin is concerned- he is one person I would be afraid to be trapped in a confined space with. He seems pretty frightening!
Collette Osuna says
Ive never cared too much for AB myself…I remember that comment to his daughter…..what ajerk!
That's Not My Age says
How old is Yelawolf? Maybe he needed the bathroom? I do watch 30 Rock and have to say Alec Baldwin is very good in it – even if he is an asshole.
Pam @over50feeling40 says
I think it is obvious that Baldwin hates women…his comments to his own daughter and about the airline attendants are evidence. I grew up in a household under emotional abuse and there is nothing funny about it. I never started watching 30 Rock because of him, so I have nothing to give up. I just wish he would go away!
déjà pseu says
It’s pretty classic Narcissism (Baldwin, that is, but maybe also Yelawolf grabbing his dick, who knows?). I was raised by one, can spot ’em a mile away. (A Narcissist, not a dick.) I share Mr. B’s bewilderment, BTW.
Bf is dealing with this type of person – an ex-coworker who just got fired. Everything about this guy screams spoiled brat. Nothing was ever his fault and now he’s getting lawyers involved and it could compromise the company/my bf’s job.
I can’t stand people who always play the victim. I was married to one and dated another. So quick to anger and faster to blame others. Narcissism at its finest.
Alec Baldwin…I just get “total a-hole jerk” vibes off him whenever I see him in movies, on tv, in commercials, or on any talk show. I have always got those vibe soff him, always.
This lateest issue with him being tossed off a plane for not shutting off his tech device because he was playing Word With Friends? I cannot be surprised.
He just seems so full of himself, like he enjoys hearing himself talk, and totally smug. He gives me the “If I encountered him I would back away slowly and get the heck out of there.” feeling.
Susan Tiner says
I recognize the syndrome. Sorry you had to waste a year of life on someone behaving like that.
The one good thing about it was that for a full year after I got the nut out of my life, I could make myself happy by thinking, “At least I don’t have to deal with THAT anymore!”
Amy Nievera says
I wonder if Kim Basinger’s agoraphobia had anything to do with Alec?
Well, if he was in the house, I’d definitely want to be OUT of the house!
The title cracked me up and the post is equally as funny. Oh, the thoughtless little pig incident… cringeworthy. Not as bad as, say… a Galliano comment, but still pretty bad. I can’t help but watch him though… he is so damn funny.
I can’t Alec Baldwin bash because he once, years ago, told me I looked like Angelina Jolie. Alec and the checkout guy at my college supermarket who said the same can pretty much do almost anything and I’ll still remember them fondly.
The one good thing he every did! I’ll give him this one.
I recall being horrifed by that phone call to his daughter.
Alec Baldwin is a mercurial person, and that’s being kind. I don’t watch 30 Rock either, because he grates on my nerves. I like Tina Fey, and Jane Krakowski, and a few others, but I just can’t get into that show. Probably because Alec Baldwin is on it.
Dancing Branflake says
Yeah, so grateful my guy is so even tempered. I’ve never seen him angry. Never. He’s just too rational for that.
I think it’s rich that Alec thinks that his own suicide would be a victory for his ex wife. How self centered can you be??
The Family guy photos are great by the way 🙂
Susu Paris Chic says
About Conan… I can never forget that he once came to Finland, folks were all exited, offered him the local delicacies, Karelian pastries http://farm1.static.flickr.com/175/432444423_08d3b41011.jpg
– and he said it was crap!
The Style Crone says
The emotional abusers we have known! Luckily, with experience, they become easier to recognize and avoid.
Rapper alienation! Bwah!! That last paragraph was frigging genius!!