March 31, 2022

“Love makes you do crazy things.”

Image below (possibly only viewable on desktop): “‘Loyal’ and ‘Cheated,’ in one sentence.”

Love makes you do crazy things, Will noted in his messy, uneven, non-apology acceptance speech. Yes, none of us are perfect. Yes, we need to learn to work with our emotions as men, as humans, to bring awareness to our need to White Knight “for” women, to work with affairs and communication and gaslighting and, perhaps, to move on and/or seek therapy.

“Love makes you do crazy things” is something people say when our relationship to our relationship is…not healthy.

Today, Jada Pinkett Smith “broke her silence” and…said nothing, really.

“Taking to Instagram this afternoon, she shared a post which read: ‘This is a season for healing and I’m here for it.'”

It’s PR 101.

“Okay, then,” as a friend just said.

I replied: that’s the reaction she/publicist want. A shrug, and we move on. Nothing to see here. No accountability, no depth, no vulnerability.

Her statement is vague to the point of being safe and meaningless, when hearing from her could have been powerful and needed.

Another friend said, “maybe we could all just move on.”

I replied: I moved on yesterday, in this article, “Things on my Mind other than Will Smith.

But I also noted that paying attention to one thing doesn’t mean we need to, or should, forget about other things. It can be both/and, not either/or:

To be fair, there’s a lot to unpack and learn societally from this moment. For men. For those affected by men. For those who don’t know about alopecia, but now do. For those curious about learning more about anti-racism, and gender dynamics, and communication in relationships, and emotional abuse, and how to deal with temper/anger in the full spectrum of real human emotions. ⁠

I think it’s fine to move on if you’re ready, but for many men (I did an interview with a men’s coach on @elephantjournal on Instagram, yesterday, check it out) it’s a powerful moment for anger, temper, toxic relationship to masculinity, being cheated on, how to apologize. I won’t speak for women, or those of color, but there are many dynamics here we can learn from.

But yes, move on from the entertainment aspect of it all, I agree with that wholeheartedly.

As no less an activist and a hero than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar just noted, this episode does matter:

“With a single petulant blow, he advocated violence, diminished women, insulted the entertainment industry, and perpetuated stereotypes about the Black community…

By hitting Rock, he announced that his wife was incapable of defending herself—against words…This patronizing, paternal attitude infantilizes women and reduces them to helpless damsels needing a Big Strong Man to defend their honor least they swoon from the vapors…

…One of the main talking points from those supporting the systemic racism in America is characterizing Blacks as more prone to violence and less able to control their emotions…Smith just gave comfort to the enemy by providing them with the perfect optics they were dreaming of.”

Needless to say, the online cesspool that is, too often, Twitter, is giving voice to this toxic reaction right now.

So what can we learn from this? We’ve offered many differing takes, including this one by Nicole, and this one by Michelle. Both thoughtful. Both from women who have deeply lived, considered, felt the many dynamics at play, here.

So yes, as I’ve noted, I do think examining anger, masculinity healthy & toxic, temper, relationships, affairs, open relationships, our relationship to our idols, and dialogue and learning from this painfully dramatic, live moment are all important.

No one’s perfect. Many good humans in good, but hard relationships have affairs. But with their son’s friend, 20 years younger?

Folks have been sharing a video where Will makes fun of a man’s baldness. A sharp comment on that: “I mean, he laughed at Chris Rock’s joke too. The issue isn’t the joke, it’s Will Smith’s [need for therapy] and/or anger issues that kicked in immediately after (triggered by seeing his wife’s reaction).”

“Right, and it’s possible it wasn’t even that joke that set him off but the, “Come on, I could have been a lot worse” comment from Rock. Some people took that as a sly reference to Jada’s infidelity.”
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