Will Smith Chris Rock honor vs. comedy

Almost couldn’t believe what happened at the 2022 Oscars ceremony, live broadcast a few hours ago. Chris Rock presenting the ceremony as a host. Will Smith as a nominee and audience member. Both Rock and Smith are Academy members — knowing that there are rules of conduct to uphold, in order to convey the overall public image of the Academy. Because of last night’s unscripted, spontaneous incident, the whole public relations nightmare is about to run wild! My opinion is that there are two major issues involved: the idea of what is acceptable comedy. And the notion of defending one’s honor. These two issues are interconnected, making its unraveling more complicated [but isn’t that how life really is, in the air of confusion].

When it comes to comedy, what is considered taboo — hands-off topics? This would be according to social mores (pronounce like “morays”), which are gradually shift over changing eras of history. For example, it had been acceptable to speak in terms of the lower status of women, when they were not allowed to work or vote or many other privileges. Nowadays, that status of women in the world has improved, especially since the role models of Eleanor Roosevelt and F.D.R. (President Franklin D. Roosevelt). The status of the female gender will always be a universal and basic topic of discussion, but joking around about it has become a more delicate procedure. This is what Chris Rock was toying with, the joking around about the ways of womenfolk and also pointing out a question of beauty and hair self-esteem. He made-up a hypothetical movie G.I.Jane 2, which he said Jada Pinkett Smith could replace Demi Moore as the shaven or bald headed heroine. Even though it’ a bone of contention, I don’t think it is as major as the other two issues raised.

When it comes to the other issue, honor is a notion that is perhaps old-fashioned and chauvinistic. This perhaps is the more complex of the two issues. There is a fog about how men should act and react towards anything involving women. This is an intentional fog, I think, because the human race is going through a transition lately. But men will be men, regardless of the fringes of this foggy era. Why else would Will Smith fly into a rage? Why would any husband act out in such a violent and angry manner? I wonder why? Do we feign innocence? Does this society misunderstand the ways of men and the ways of women in this day and age? Are we all in that much denial of human nature? Back in the old days, this type of situation, which we have just witnessed at the high profile Academy Awards show, could have led to a duel. Yes, a duel, to the death. This would have been the only way for a man to preserve his honor.

Indeed, Chris Rock and his joking on stage could have been construed to have caused damage. This sharp remark dishonored Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith and their whole family. The only way to recover the honor is to duke it out. This is the raw manner in which Will Smith played it, without the rules of a proper duel though. Sans rules, we still do not have the bona fide result to know that the honor was recovered.

It leaves a lot open to question and that’s why the rest of society, the public at large will have to examine this specific case and dig deeper into our overall human nature to resolve this. Even so, it will probably never be perfect in an open and democratic society. Some comedic routines will always offend, if there is an offend-able subgroup. And some dishonors will always be immediately handled with a public lashing.

Tasciotti previously has been published in this internet rag and here’s their take on the whole shenanigans — https://scallywagandvagabond.com/2022/03/could-will-smith-lose-his-oscar-after-hitting-chris-rock/

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