A Simple Rule
Violence for any reason, is not okay. Making fun of someone dealing with a medical issue, is not okay. It really is that simple. It is not about being triggered. It is not just about having empathy or understanding for someone else.
I was not watching the Oscar’s the other night when the slap heard round the world was thrown. And I really do not care who was involved. I have seen my share of the videos and memes going around.
Many responding to the incident, are doing so in reaction to “news” or newer information about prior history between Chris Rock and Will Smith (who for the record, I do enjoy watching both). I get confused however by the logic some are using not just for needing to choose a side as to who was right, but why?
It really is simple. Both were in the wrong. I can put myself in both positions to see if either could have been right. I can make the excuses on what I saw, and what possibly I would have done had I been in either of their positions.
Yes, there is a history between both, with Rock having the obvious upper hand, having more public opportunities performing stand up, whereas Smith has no reason to go after Rock in any of his movies. With comedians typically having no mercy or filter, that is not to say, they do not have the ability to sense when something might not be right. Even facing hecklers, comedians must know how to de-escalate a situation. And Rock knew when he crossed that line.
You could see there was an unspoken warning after the “GI Jane 2” crack, and Rock saw it too. And had he improvisationalised (I realize this is not a word, but I did not want you think I meant “improved”) away from that situation, things would have turned differently. And I do not believe Rock meant it to go any further and genuinely felt badly when he saw the hurt reaction. It was his need to explain that left Smith, feeling that the assault would continue which it did not, especially from Rock. I do think things could have and would have ended much differently had Smith remained in his seat. Hell, he could have even shouted his comments without assaulting Rock, and that could have been understood.
But I know, how quickly I would respond, were either of my daughters, or anyone that I am close to, were attacked in a similar or worse situation. And it would likely be on that same level. No, it is not okay. That is what emotions can do.
I also know what it is like to be made fun of, when struggling with an illness. Especially when we cannot hide the fact that we are dealing with it. This is most obvious when it comes to someone fighting something as serious as cancer. Hair loss from treatments is one of the most devastating side effects for both men and women. It is not just about how it looks, but we know that it also lets everyone know that we are sick. And that is likely to affect how you react around us, that is, if you remain around us. So yes, I can see both sides of this altercation, and neither were in the right. It does not matter if the person being mocked has made light of their situation in the past, we do not have the right to pile on to it. That person has their reason if they quip about their own situation, as a defense mechanism.
My world does not change by what happens next between those two. And my attitude does not change either. Violence to resolve anything is wrong. And mocking anyone who is dealing with an illness or handicap is wrong. It is that simple.