Slap Happy

Will Smith is not okay. Also: a handy Type of Guy starter pack

You all know what happened, right? As David Sims reported in The Atlantic: “Will Smith Hit Chris Rock. Then He Won an Oscar.Will Smith won the Oscar, that is. Ok that wasn’t as clear as it could have been, let’s let the pros at the New York Times take a shot: “Will Smith hits Chris Rock after joke about his wife, Jada.” Uh, Chris Rock told the joke… about Will Smith’s wife… you know what? I bet Vox can explainer it. Here’s Alissa Wilkinson:

[The Oscars have] to succeed by TV standards — not just TV standards, but network TV standards… some unpredictability but nothing that will upset any of the viewers, who can just turn it off at will.

(Admittedly, this year they got that when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage, yelled at him, and then won Best Actor minutes later. But you can’t plan for that kind of thing.)

You can’t plan for it, but you can awkwardly wedge it into the article you wrote in advance about the Oscars being boring, I guess. Her point still stands, but what readers this morning want to know is: what happened? And Vox did finally deliver a clear headline: “Will Smith hit Chris Rock live on TV at the Oscars, then won Best Actor.” That is indisputably what happened. If you were watching in Japan or Australia, you would even have seen it happen:

Eric Deggans pointed out that the Smith/Rock beef goes back to 2016. Is there always a tweet? Yes. And I can hardly criticize anyone’s emotional stability from way down here in the goblin caves of the double deuce, but Smith recently published a memoir where he wrote about extremely normal life things like throwing up every time he had sex, and how “(1) I was going to satisfy [Jada] sexually, or (2) I was going to die trying.” He began his ultimately successful Oscar campaign for “King Richard” with a GQ profile by Wesley Lowery where he talked about ayahuasca rituals and planning a harem (and carefully suggested we “defund the bad police”). So Will is already, perhaps, not planted in sandy, well-drained emotional soil right now. And the final piece of the puzzle is Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia, which led her to shave her head. Chris Rock connected the look to the middling 1997 movie “G.I. Jane” where Demi Moore looked frankly incredible in a buzzcut and tank top, but perhaps Will Smith remembered 2012, when his then-eleven-year-old daughter Willow cut off all her hair to force her dad to let her stop touring. Smith and Pinkett Smith accurately promised chaos before the ceremony on Instagram, but if you believe Wikipedia none of that mattered, and this all had one simple, obvious cause:

There were many bad tweets. Jeet Heer did the archival work of capturing the worst of them, so if you’re just skimming for that, let me make it easy:

✯¸.•´*¨`*•✿ Click Here For The Bad Tweets ✿•*`¨*`•.¸✯

S. Joel Garver laid out the approve/disapprove matrix, and reactions did generally break down this way by politics:

Hollywoo reacted. Katie found the tech angle. The LA police “released a statement saying they were aware of ‘an incident between two individuals’ at the Academy Awards” and that officers were standing by to shoot either or both of the parties involved, as needed. Everyone hunkered down for a takestorm, but aside from Matthew d’Ancona’s banger “The Will Smith Doctrine has no place in Ukraine” in the ironically named Tortoise (which I am grateful to have been spared from reading by the paywall), the “cataclysmic wife guy/comedy/cancel culture/race discourse” that Matt Bors feared hasn’t really materialized yet outside of Twitter. But you’re waiting to log into your publication’s CMS, 👏 stay 👏 in 👏 line!

Probably the best thing I’ve read today about all this was Sarah Miller’s newsletter post: “People I Punched.”

Type of Guy Starter Pack:

If you’ve read Tabs for a while you know that I’m a Camus whale. A Shamus, if you will.1 So I was excited to see the Vox Conversations podcast start its philosophy series with Sean Illing and Robert Zaretsky talking some Albert. Camus is the thinker we need most right now, and this is a nice, accessible introduction to why.

Bobcat v. Python in Florida. Crypto is still max cringe. I am extremely ready for the Grimes news cycle to end. Please? Kim Stanley Robinson says that beaches are all doomed. Or are we about to enter a golden age of brand new beaches, slightly uphill from where the cities used to be? Decapitate your Macbook. “California man caught with dozens of lizards in his clothes… According to the indictment, he told customs officials he had nothing to declare, then backtracked and said that ‘the animals were his pets.’” “I let a baby bird nest in my hair for 84 days,” from The Guardian’s deranged “Experience” column. Previously: “I found a tiny frog in my salad – now he’s my friend.” This column never misses. Molly White and company annotated Kevin Roose’s credulous “Latecomer’s Guide to Crypto” so it’s now actually informative. And “Jamie Lee Curtis Will Officiate Her Daughter’s Wedding In World of Warcraft Cosplay,” which is also known as “the Metaverse.”

Today’s Song: “1 Train,” by A$AP Rocky ft. Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, YelaWolf, Danny Brown, Action Bronson & Big K.R.I.T

~ I carry tabs of a traumatized soldier ~

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