Alec Baldwin: Country’s Obsession With the Private Lives of Famous People Is Tragic

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Nov. 16 2013 2:36 PM

Alec Baldwin: Country’s Obsession With the Private Lives of Famous People Is Tragic

187760088
Actor Alec Baldwin leaves Manhattan Criminal Court after testifying against accused stalker Canadian actress Genevieve Sabourin on November 12, 2013 in New York.

Photo by STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

After MSNBC suspended Alec Baldwin’s show Up Late With Alec Baldwin following claims that the actor shouted a homophobic insult at a photographer, the former 30 Rock star took to his blog in the Huffington Post to defend himself and insist he’s willing to give everything up to get his privacy back. The whole controversy began Thursday, when TMZ published video of Baldwin yelling at a reporter. The website insists Baldwin called the photographer a “cocksucking fag,” a charge the actor who has gotten in trouble in the past for his far-from-gay-friendly language vehemently denies.

In a post on his Huffington Post blog on Saturday, Baldwin insists he “never used the word faggot,” only saying that “what word is said right after the other choice word I use is unclear.” The actor goes on to write that whether his MSNBC show “comes back at all is at issue right now.”

Advertisement

Baldwin also gets personal though, writing that he is “concerned for my family,” adding that paparazzi can “make life miserable for my neighbors” and there’s nothing that authorities can do about it. Photographers “provoke me, daily, by getting dangerously close to me with their cameras as weapons, hoping I will react,” writes Baldwin. “When I do, the weapon doubles as a device to record my reaction.” He goes on to offer a theory as to why Americans are so interested in celebrities:

This country's obsession with the private lives of famous people is tragic. It's tragic in the sense that it is so clearly a projection of people's frustration about their government, their economy, their own spiritual bankruptcy. You have no voice in Washington. In Washington, or in any statehouse, no one actually cares what you think. So you post online, you vote with a Roman-esque thumbs up or down on the celebrity debacle of the day. That is your right. It's also fatal misdirection of your voice and need to judge. Occupy Wall Street, on their worst day, had more integrity than the comments page of a website ever will.

In the end, he may just have to call it quits: “If quitting the television business, the movie business, the theater, any component of entertainment, is necessary in order to bring safety and peace to my family, then that is an easy decision.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

The World

How Canada’s Shooting Tragedies Have Shaped Its Gun Control Politics

Where Ebola Lives Between Outbreaks

Gunman Killed Inside Canadian Parliament; Soldier Shot at National Monument Dies

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Paul Farmer: Up to 90 Percent of Ebola Patients Should Survive

Is he right?

Science

“I’m Not a Scientist” Is No Excuse

Politicians brag about their ignorance while making ignorant decisions.

Technology

Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

In Praise of 13th Grade: Why a Fifth Year of High School Is a Great Idea 

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 22 2014 9:19 PM The Phone Call Is Twenty Minutes of Pitch-Perfect, Wrenching Cinema
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.