I officially have Alec Baldwin ennui. Usually I am highly entertained by his antics (and he’s been in this raging paparazzi cycle before). The narrative is pretty much set -- once he’s baited by a photographer, a slew of creative and vulgar insults fly (“You’re as dumb as you look”), maybe a scuffle. Inevitably he ends up on Letterman to have a funny chat about how ridiculous it all is.
Last week was extra dramatic, even for Alec. Set in motion by a trial for his stalker (she was found guilty), he had several fights, including allegedly calling a photographer a “cocksucking f-g,” causing his MSNBC show to be pulled for at least two weeks. For the first time, his little outbursts have had actual consequences.
Alec’s now taking a lot of heat for his language – Anderson Cooper is pissed at him, as is GLAAD and not only is the MSNBC show in serious jeopardy, he may have compromised dozens of jobs. So, once again, he’s contrite and trying various make-good tactics: he trotted out his gay hairdresser to defend him and denied using the word f-g. You can read his full self-defense and plea for his show in his HuffPo editorial here.
Of course, Alec is completely unwilling to admit that having words with one photographer as you walk into a building ensures that a dozen more will be waiting when you walk out. Usually I have a lot of sympathy for celebs whose children are photographed on the street, as I do think this is unnecessary and invasive for strangers to physically get close to them. But it’s certainly not Hilaria and a stroller they are after, it’s him. His reaction is what is fuelling the interest. The photographers are there for the show, and he’s always good for a double matinee.
Alec gets halfway there in HuffPo, acknowledging that he always comes out of the losing end of these little skirmishes, but it’s the media’s fault (and ours), never his. According to Alec, society’s obsession with celebrity is a projection of our “spiritual bankruptcy,” amongst other things. As he says, “Occupy Wall Street, on their worst day, had more integrity than the comments page of this website ever will.”
So reading about and talking about celebrities is a tragic waste of our time. But him trading on his famous name for a talk show or podcast, or starring in Capital One commercials (he asserts he donates most of that money), or tweeting his HuffPo article to his million plus Twitter followers (@ABFAlecBaldwin), is OK. Sharing photos of his newborn in PEOPLE, who was that for? Who was he hoping to reach? Much of the same type of people who would comment on a HuffPo article, that’s who. And his wife works for EXTRA, a tabloid news program.
Alec’s sanctimony and tumultuous, somewhat deluded relationship with the media has always been part of his charm -- he appreciates fame when it delivers the kind of attention he wants (like when he promotes his wife’s yoga video) and is always good for a caustic soundbite. But enough of this middle aged raging puffball that spews out inappropriate things and then blames the media for his offensive language. We have Rob Ford for that.