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Smith, Chris Rock both out of line
Glenn Mollette
Glenn Mollette

In a civil, polite society we shouldn’t run around slapping comedians, politicians, radio or television personalities, or musical performers. The list goes on and includes everyone. Will Smith’s stunt of slapping comedian Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars was a bad idea. It was only by the grace of God and mainly the grace of Chris Rock that Smith was not arrested or sued. Before this is all over, Rock could still take him to court. At this point in time, it doesn’t seem likely. 

On the other hand, it was a bad idea for Chris Rock to use Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in a joke that highlighted alopecia, the disease that has been tormenting her. Diseases and disabilities are issues with which people struggle. The joke angered Will Smith. His feelings got totally out of control as he bounded on stage to slap Chris Rock. While many people understand how Smith must have felt and may have thought Rock deserved it, we still have to restrain ourselves. 

I suspect there are people who probably have wanted to slap a politician or two. You can’t do that because you would go to jail. Furthermore, that is the wrong way to conduct our behavior. What about Vladimir Putin? You couldn’t get by with that in Russia. Regardless of how evil and heinous an individual is, if you slapped him while walking down Broadway in New York City, a policeman would most likely arrest you.  This is a far-fetched scenario even though most of the free world is ready for Putin to be totally removed. 

If you have been working on your list of people to slap you might as well put it away. It won’t work. You will eventually end up in jail, in court, or both. 

We do have free speech in America. People can hurl words freer than hurling punches. Words can and do hurt. There are repercussions if you slander, malign or use your speech against others in a way that “hurts” them. However, television, radio, and political events frequently allow the rhetoric to go way out of bounds. 

An idea for us all is to control our tongues and our actions. Most of us have spoken before we thought. We may have reacted in a way without seriously considering the action. Too often a fast mouth or quick action may have brought regret. 

There are lessons to be learned from this year’s Academy Awards. Mainly, don’t act like those people. 

Dr. Glenn Mollette is an author and his column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states.