Around the Bluhmin' Town: Award spat reminds us to act with decency

Did you watch the fight last week? Oops, I meant the punch (more like a slap) that Will Smith planted on Chris Rock during the Oscars. While I don’t really care too much about award shows, it was a doozy of an altercation between two very big stars. Yikes, then there was the profanity and screaming. Not the best time for guests after getting all gussied up, going to a ritzy shindig and then having a brawl break out. It seems like too many folks are going bonkers lately. Can we just calm down?

There is something surreal about an active assault taking place at a highly televised event, no lights dimmed or commercial break taken, no police called. And then let’s hand Smith an award. It’s no wonder why people are sick of celebrities. They live by different rules.

Smith apologized after the outburst. He was evidently pushed to the edge when Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife’s baldness, a result of alopecia. Then Smith goes on to say that “love makes you do crazy things.” Well, not really. That is the rallying cry of abusers. The “love made me do it” excuse is unacceptable in a civilized society. No, unchecked anger and rage are more likely reasons to race up on a stage and haul off and hit someone. Hey, Will, you were wearing a tuxedo! Aren’t we supposed to “act better” when we are all dressed up? Geez.

Athletes (mostly in baseball and hockey) get into fights quite frequently. So what else is new? And we have read about too many meltdowns on airplanes lately that seem to suggest that Americans are collectively losing their cool. Not just on planes but in restaurants, school board meetings, any place where people gather. Hey, it’s good to have strong feelings and passion. But decency still matters.

So, there in a swanky venue, a millionaire slapped another millionaire and then proceeded to spew the F-word a few times. People were shocked. Oh, the horror. And in the end, it was just another moment in the life and times of movie stars.

My daughter thinks the whole altercation was staged to boost ratings. Perhaps. My neighbor thinks it was the highlight of the night because it is the only thing that people are talking about. Let the lawyers, pundits, politicians and psychologists analyze it until the end of time. It was one heck of a freak show, and regardless of people’s opinions about who was right, wrong or deserving, the way we act out in public can be a snapshot of our society. Can’t we do better? Children are watching!

A great philosopher once said, “As we are… the world is. To bring about order and peace, we must begin with ourselves.” My minister says we can only pray for inspiration and guidance in being our best selves. Well spoken. Words to live by. Still, pass the popcorn, take a front-row seat and watch the world’s craziness unfold. But some days, we have seen too much.