Have I No Heart?

All right, America, I have to ask you the kind of question that, just by me asking, reveals me as some kind of thoughtless, horrible person.

I’ve listened to the tape of Alec Baldwin yelling at his daughter and I just have to ask, “What the the fuck is so outrageous about this?”

I mean, don’t get me wrong. I get that you’re not supposed to call your kid names and you’re not supposed to talk to them in a vaguely menacing tone. But I swear to god, last night on MSNBC, they were analyzing this thing like he was threatening to fly to L.A. and beat the shit out of her.

You see what I’m saying? I get why what he’s doing is wrong; I just don’t get why it’s outrageous.

He sounds pissed off and hurt and he executed very, very poor judgment in calling her a pig.

And I don’t want to sound dismissive of that, but please. I’m related to people whose dad knocked them down the stairs for fun. Anyone who knows kids in the foster system can tell you horror stories about what parents do to their kids.

Those things rarely make the news.

And yet, Baldwin loses his temper with a kid who’s across the country from him, who won’t even talk to him, and we’re all supposed to sit around and tut tut over how he’s doing irreparable damage to her?

Maybe this just tells you something about how I was raised, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why the news thinks I should find his behavior worth gasping in shock over.

Do people really have families where the parents never majorly fuck up?  Where this kind of behavior is utterly foreign to them?

20 thoughts on “Have I No Heart?

  1. I think his anger was meant for his ex-wife, but because he has no verbal relationship with her (only his daughter) he took his frustration out on his daughter. I too felt the way you did, in that I don’t think he was so much threatening her physically, he was simply frustrated in the situation that he can’t get his message across because he’s on the other side of the country.

  2. It’s a crazy world B. I’m so thankful that I’m not a celebrity. But to have the entire world scrutinizing your every move good or bad… I could never do it.

    I agree with you. Some lines were crossed, but it’s far from the outrageous stuff that happens in everyday life with everyday people.

    I find it more upsetting that what passes for news these days is more closely related to celebrity gossip than real news.

  3. I would say this though, the line about, “I don’t care if your 12-years old, or 11-years old”, was kind of funny…perhaps he should have had taken notes before making the call :)

  4. I expect there is an element of “those folks in Hollywood moralize about wars and global warming, but they’re not so saintly themselves.” Not what was said, who said it. Generally speaking, I think it is healthy that the press actively humbles anyone famous or powerful who attempts to use their influence in a public arena, regardless of their political persuasion. Distasteful, but an essential antidote to sanctimony and demagoguery. (Newt’s affairs during the Lewinsky scandal, anyone?)

    For the record I also think this reflects just as badly on Basinger & co for leaking the tape.

  5. You mean…there are more important things going on? Like what? What can be more important than Alec Baldwin yelling at his kid?

  6. Besides, as a real live parent, I can tell you…it’s important that your kids think you’re a little bit crazy. When they do dumb stuff, you WANT them to think, “My mom will kill me.”

    It only takes one episode of insane, disproportionate rage to convince them that beneath the benign exterior of a loving mother beats the heart of a psychopath.


  7. I had pretty much the same reaction although my FIRST reaction was “who the fuck cares, how can this be news?”. He yelled at his kid, not exactly “best practice” but pretty much common practice methinks.

  8. It’s not really news that Alec Baldwin is a prick, so I don’t see what everyone’s bitching about. People yell at their kids, it’s not like he pimpslapped her upside the head.

  9. I’m from the “and we should care about this because … ??” camp.

    Why in the HELL is this news? Big fancy-pants celebrity acts like an idiot. And this means what to the general public? We should be up in arms because why? Only the parties involved — and the judge — need to worry about that stuff.

    People are suffering and dying every day from hunger and illness and domestic violence and poverty and war and crazy people running up to them with guns while they sit in language class. I cannot bring myself to give a small sweet-smelling fart, much less a sh*t, over what some allegedly famous dude says to his kid in a voice mail.

    (I pretty much got over the “celebrity dick father” after the Bing Crosby revelations. I just don’t want to hear or see about any of their private affairs — or their privates, for that matter — ever again.)

  10. P.S. — Your observation about the “fly to L.A. and beat the shit out of her” makes me laugh, because when I heard it — before I changed the channel and subsequently turned off the TV because it was everywhereEVERYWHERE — I said to The Roomie, “Dude, that is so ‘I’ll come out there and give you something to cry ABOUT, missy’ that it’s giving me flashbacks.”

    Advice to abusive celebrity parents reading this blog: Don’t threaten your suffering-from-teenageritis kids via voice mail. Just show up, glare at them and watch them crap their pants. Heh.

  11. They should watch Louis CK’s last HBO special and hear what he has to say about his daughters . . .

    Comment by Mark — April 21, 2007 @ 4:23 pm
    Wasn’t that the MOST HILARIOUS comedy special!?!? I’m usually more of a “Carlin” type fan, so I was a little skeptical…in the end I was ROLLING IN THE FLOOR laughting my ass off (I typed that out for a reason, you need to know that I was LITERALLY ROTFLMAO)!!! I was beating the carpet with my fists, I was laughing so hard.
    **back on topic, grandefile…I’m w/you, these celebrities have so much damned clout anyway, ALL they would have to DO would be give me a hard look and I’d be thinking, “Aww, shit, I think I just got myself cut from the will.”

  12. Ah, thank you! Someone finally said it! Let’s do something about the kids that are really being abused!

  13. I was shrieking, I was laughing so hard at Louis CK! And total word on the “I’ll give you something to cry about!” Was there one person in America who took that tape seriously?

    It sounded like … like … like a pissed-off father. Which none of us has ever had in our lives, oh no. And I’m sure that no other parent of a pre-teen child has ever felt that way, oh my, no.

    Enough with the sanctimony. Baldwin’s tape evoked a certain amount of eye-rolling from me, but I thought a whole lot less of the Basinger camp for having leaked it.

  14. This whole thing has opened my eyes! I just found out that I’m traumatized! If Alec Baldwin is going to be burned at the stake for getting angry and yelling from a thousand miles away, my parents should have an even worse fate! Anyone else here remember the era of the wooden spoon? That was my parent’s best discipline technique,and boy did it work!

  15. The problem with dismissing this incident is that an abuser who calls their preteen daughter a pig, calls her mother a bitch, and informs her that “you answer or you get hit with a brick” isn’t going to stop there.

    So we should focus on kids who are really being abused? When is a child abused enough for you to be outraged? Is it a black eye, is it a broken bone, is it a crushed skull? Is it only abuse if she’s physically injured? Or was he just not mean enough for it to count?

    I suppose I am a bleeding heart crybaby, thinking that treating other people like shit is OMGSERIOUSBUSINESS, but it scares me that this is totally acceptable to you & your commenters. That you should be ‘over it’ when people abuse their children. That your parents abusing you makes it acceptable behavior.

    I’m sure there are “more important” things going on than the fact that some little girl’s father treats her like shit. But I wish that we could all have a little more compassion to the fact that it is probably very, very important to her that her daddy treats her like that.

  16. Jay, let’s read carefully before we flounce around the internet weeping and moaning about how cruel people are. No one is saying that how Baldwin treats his daughter is acceptable. No one. Baldwin treats his daughter in a way that is unacceptable. Period.

    However, what we are discussing are two other things. Why is this the public’s business? And why does the media think that this abuse is so shocking that we must talk about it for days and days?

    We are not the authorities. We are not even people in Baldwin’s community who can be encouraged to keep an eye on him. We’re some folks who seem to be using the evidence of his poor treatment of his daughter as a way to amuse ourselves.

    That seems weird to me.

  17. I have a teenage son. I have thought much worse than “rude little pig.” I have said “rude” and “pig” out loud, although not in the same sentence. “Pig” usually refers to his room or the state of the kitchen after he has made himself something to eat in there. “Rude” is pretty much a given when the child in question is 14.

    I have not heard the tape (perhaps the only person in America who hasn’t), but I understand from the internets that Baldwin lost his temper because the kid wouldn’t talk to him. Who among us, besides the robotic automatons, the medicated, and the people who don’t actually have children, would not get at least a little bit pissed?

    Anyhow, thanks Aunt B., for saying something I’ve been thinking.

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