This Baldwin piece is a pretty amazing artifact about what it’s like to be a celebrity: his critique of the toxic combination of the internet and judging each other by our worst moments; his lack of self-awareness (does he really not know that the “some of my best friends are gay” argument is more a punchline than a logical fallacy people still use); and his admission that maybe this is the game he entered into when he became a celebrity.
And although he flirts with forsaking celebrity and returning to being an artist, he wants to utilize his celebrity one last time as a megaphone to lash out and have the last word and then disappear–like Woody Allen he said he’s never coming back to the media, yeah right–like a little boy who leaves the room in a huff and doesn’t want to argue anymore because he knows if he stayed there might be two sides to the story.
Everyone else is so wrong here: his costars, his bosses, his director, the cameramen, the media, people who read the Post, even the city of New York itself. And because of this he laments how we may have to wait more than five years for Baldwin the great politician, whose big plans include getting the police to stop the cameramen from taking pictures of his family.
I was thinking about Shia LeBeouf’s performance piece on the impossibility of a genuine celebrity apology while reading this–and then there it was, footnoted at the ending, as if it somehow excused just how terrible a bridge-burning move this is. To be fair, maybe this wasn’t even an attempt at an apology, since Baldwin spends a lot more time maintaining that the word he doesn’t remember saying that sounded like the word ‘faggot’ on tape but knows couldn’t have possibly been–than actually apologizing. It is always surprising to see the people we elevate to the clouds reveal themselves again and again to be so human.