The Intersection of Liberal Elitism and Social Media
The media has been awash with the crazed antics of Alec Baldwin of late. This is nothing new, but there are some features of this odyssey that make the Baldwin story somewhat more meaningful than the average grimace-inducing stumbling of a Hollywood starlet into their rock bottom.
Baldwin, more than most celebrities, is very outspoken about his liberal politics, and even cradles the hope of a political career in his future. He has also been rather dexterous in his use of social media, and the intersection of these two habits coincided to provide much fodder for Conservative jeering.
Baldwin had been known most infamously for the highly public spectacle of a telephone message he left for his 12-year old daughter where he tossed invectives in defense of his pride for his treatment at her hands. This was after a long battle for visitation rights with his ex-wife Kim Basinger, and the airing of this private message caused him so much grief, that he said he had contemplated suicide. What kept him from taking his life is the knowledge that his ex-wife would consider it a victory.
He does not restrict himself to making offensive comments to his family, but is known for spouting off shocking insults that he later apologizes for. On the David Letterman show in 1998, he publically opined, "If we were in another country ... we would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families, for what they're doing to this country." He apologized later.
Baldwin went so far as to attempt to testify in front of congress for the sake of funding the National Endowment for the arts, saying that if it were up to him, the government would fund it to the tune of a billion dollars. This meeting was cancelled and he met personally with some legislators later. He also advocated for campaign finance reform in congress, saying that legislators don't want to waste their time raising money, so the government should fund every campaign.
It has been lately that Baldwin has been vocal in a way that has left him open for the kind of criticism that the leftist elite just cannot stand to bear. He started opining on the social media network Twitter, and thought he'd take on some of the right wing nutjobs he hates so much.
At the same time, he began to visit Occupy Wall Street in full support of the movement, even as he was appearing in commercials for Capital One. So long as none of the pot-numbed protestors saw the obvious hypocrisy of this and drooled out slurred, droopy-eyed accolades, he could bask in his smug self-assurance that he was doing good for the world. This is what made him such an easy target.
I had the misfortune to intertwine my social media experience with Baldwin after sending off a few messages mocking his participation in Occupy Wall Street. When he responded back and we got into a short debate on Twitter, he seemed to take my comments poorly. The next day he went into a rant against Conservatives where he mocked the apology about the Henry Hyde comments. This was the spark that incited his rather irrational twitter meltdown, and received some headlines in the Conservative blogosphere, made it to Fox News, and onto the show,the Five.
A few days later, he threw a tantrum on an American Airlines plane that forced the pilot to have him
escorted off, and onto a different flight. As the stewardess and other passengers related, he was upset that he was forced to stop playing the game "Words with Friends" on his iPad, and the stomped off to the bathroom, slamming the door loudly enough to alarm the flight crew. He tweeted defiantly about the incident, claiming that the next stewardess seemed much "smarter". After receiving even more ridicule, he threatened to delete his account. Finally, a few clumsy iterations later of trying to figure out how to do this, he unceremoniously left social media.
Since then, American Airlines released a statement in which they tried to set the record straight, making it clear that he had acted threateningly and irrationally. Baldwin fired back in a non-apology posted on the Huffington Post, where he ridiculed the airline industry and their employees. At one point, he compared flying to being forced to ride a Greyhound bus. Immediately, of course, Greyhound released a statement inviting him to actually ride their buses, saying that the wireless connectivity would spare him the embarrassment of being kicked off the bus for playing Words with Friends.
Finally, he struck back after collecting some comedic writers to add some sorely lacking wit to his
gibes, while appearing on Saturday Night Live. He acted as the pilot of the plane, and had the gall to portray the pilot apologizing to himself. I made a reference to how similar this public act of onanism was to that of the Occupy crowd. I'll refrain from breaking Ricochet conduct rules and leave it at that.
I would like to elaborate on a few observations from my clash with Baldwin.
First, the personal attacks. Alec immediately responded with calling me a liar, even though all of the claims I made about the Occupy movement were easily proved. When I tried to provide evidence for each, he came back with insults about my sources. I am not claiming that I didn't insult him back, I most assuredly did. However, I also provided arguments, facts, and supported my claims when he questioned them. He did none of these in either exchange.
He also seemed very obsessed with looks. Before he deleted his account, he would post pictures of people who would challenge him on twitter for his liberal views. He chose to send the most rustic of pictures - that of normal Americans, not the glittering beauties stuffed with silicone and botox that he's so used to. During our argument, he approved a message by a supporter which read, "Don't attractive people ever criticize you?" That is, only the most attractive of people have opinions worth having, but that seems like an axiom a Hollywood starlet would have to hold. After all, why else would we value their opinions?
He also seemed bent on proving he's smarter than everyone. He pointed out immediately after the airline incident that the stewardess on the second plane seemed much smarter than the previous one. After all, a smarter stewardess would know that the rules don't apply to Hollywood liberals. He described himself as playing "a game for smart people" when ridiculing the pilot on Saturday Night Live. Apparently, there is an IQ minimum to upload the Words with Friends app. Had he been playing something more common and vulgar, like "Angry Birds", certainly they would have been more justified in shutting it down.
There were a few mentions he made of the Mexican wrestling mask in my avatar, which people took to be racially motivated. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he was floundering for an insult, as the mask obscures whether I'm deserving of aesthetic mockery.
Odder still was his many references to my dry cleaning of my supposed costume. Is this somehow an insult to the elite? Do only the proletariat deign to have their clothing dry cleaned? I'm honestly befuddled by this one.
He also made a surprising criticism of the people who were joining me in my crusade against his smug hypocrisy. At one point, he referred to a conservative on twitter, saying, "I love how all these [people] write "mom" in their profile." Again, to be proud of being a mother is something to mocked in Alec Baldwin's world. He later thought he would further deride motherhood by changing his profile description to, "Conservative, Christian, Gun Lover, Mother." Many people pointed out the irony of a man so well known for being a terrible father in disdaining motherhood.
What strikes me most is the reciprocal and complimentary nature of the entitlement of the two parties involved. These childish whining Occupy protesters at once demand the conditions of prosperity that their earlier brethren enjoyed up until the crash, and also decry the institutions that caused all that prosperity. Alec Baldwin and the Hollywood elite he typifies sit back, enjoying the wealth they've gained from entertaining a populace with enough disposable income to toss into the vapid maw of Hollywood, while spitting on those institutions that make us prosperous enough to do so.
Both of these suffer from a fatal dearth of perspective that at once prevents them from appreciating their favored position among all the denizens of the Earth that now exist or have ever existed, and also forces them to blame and seek to destroy that which makes them so comfortable.
Now in order for limousine liberals like Alec Baldwin to cling to their smug sense of moral condescension, they must have drooling sycophants to fawn over them, approving of their compromised, hypocritical morality. The Occupy protesters are only too eager to serve him. Similarly, the protesters need some kind of approval from on high to let them ignore how incoherent and breathtakingly stupid their demands are. Their sense of self-worth is as thin as their grasp of economics and politics.
Simple mathematics will help us separate the men from the boys, or rather, the conservatives from the liberals.
As mentioned previously, Alec Baldwin has advocated campaign finance reform. He also strongly supports Barack Obama, even if he received the most campaign contributions from Wall Street than any other politician, and is on course to do so again in his historic billion dollar presidential campaign. That most of the bundled campaign contributions to his 2008 election fund came from the financial sector is inconsequential to those like Alec who think they are so much brighter than the rest of us.
Alec Baldwin also acts as spokesperson for Capital One commercials, while patting the filthy hipsters at Occupy Wall Street for demanding the destruction of Capitalism and screeching against bank bailouts. Is it hypocritical for him to advertise for a bank that received $3.5 billion dollars in bailouts? Of course not - his appearance at the Occupy Wall Street protest reassures anyone who has not the breadth of thought beyond a sliver of a mote.
Meanwhile, his slack-jawed glassy-eyed fans make incredible demands beyond any reason. One, specifically, the forgiveness of all student debt, comes to a price tag of one trillion dollars. How will they pay for these? Tax the rich of course! No matter that if the government took every cent that the 1% earned, it would hardly make a dent in the yearly deficit, much less the national debt. Math is an obstacle to true enlightenment.
Finally, I challenged him many times with a simple demand. If he was to say that rich people don't pay enough, and that he is not the 1% because he sympathizes with the Occupy protesters, then he should be willing to produce how much he makes, how much in taxes he pays, and what he gives to charities. His defense against the Capital One hypocrisy charge is that they give money to charity - that is, they give contributions to the arts in the Hamptons. I can't imagine many of the 99% get to make use of such charity. He never responded to this challenge.
What makes Alec Baldwin such an irresistible target is that he exhibits so many of the stereotypical vices of the left. He is able to excuse his own hypocrisy and moral shortcomings merely by supporting liberal causes, even when they go counter to his stated political positions. His sneering attitude extends past mere conservatives, but the very things we stand for - family, faith, and self-determination. In his smug condescension, he assures himself of his superiority merely on the account of the abundance of underlings willing to worship him.
I expect with his vehement need for attention that we won't have heard the last of Alec Baldwin's public disgraces and outlandish outbursts of anti-conservatism.
And I'll be there to mock him for it.