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What will you slap a person for?



On the day I'm recording this it is Monday, March 28th, 2022. Apparently last night during the 2022 Oscar ceremony Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after Chris rock made a joke about his wife.


I watched the video, as I'm sure many people have a number of times. And I gotta admit it really got the gears in my brain turning. I was both conflicted and convicted, wondering whether what Will did was correct or not.


Was it accurate? Should he have done that? Was it appropriate for him to defend his wife's honor in that regard? Where are we as a society when it comes to what our response should be when our loved ones are dishonored or disrespected in some way?


Granted this was from Chris rock. It's a joke. He's a comedian. I think that has some context to it. If it were someone else who's not known for cracking jokes, who is not known for being a comedian, that might be different. Maybe that's the question. Does the fact that it was a comedian excuse use the joke? I don't know.


Was his handling of that? Correct? Was it appropriate? Probably on balance it is probably not.

Would you say that the assault was unprovoked? Maybe not, but if everyone who was ever joked about, or if everyone who had felt or who has felt that their loved one has been the victim or the target of a joke performed accordingly there'd be a lot of assaults going on all over the place. Cause we've all been the target of jokes and we all, we all have targeted folks for jokes.


There's a side that says he is defending his wife, his loved one, the woman he loves. He is defending her honor. And I say I'm convicted because part of me wants to believe that I might have been bold enough to do the same, if my wife were the target of a joke like that. Bold enough to go up some steps and slap another man in his face for disrespecting my wife.


There's a primal thing in me that wants to believe I would be capable of doing that. That I would be bold enough to defend my wife's honor. I think there's something honorable about that. And I think that's why I'm convicted. If that's the measure of a man to be able to do that, to defend your wife like that, do I measure up? Do I have the nerve to?


Would I uphold the value and the principles by which I live in the face of public scrutiny, in the face of backlash and do what I think is right? I'm convicted cause there's a part of me that says I may not be cut from that cloth. Do I have it in me to, to rise up like that? And I'm not certain that I do. And that's why I feel convicted. I might be a little short of that measure- if that's the measure of how a man should respond in those circumstances.


Since seeing the video and reading one or two articles, I haven't gone to the social sphere to see what the prevailing commentary seems to be on what he did. I'm quite sure there are probably a bunch of opinions on both sides of the spectrum. I think in his speech, he apologized for his behavior. He didn't necessarily apologize to Chris Rock, but he did apologize for his behavior. And I think it was appropriate to do that.


Also in his speech, he described what he wants to be. I think his portrayal of King Richard and how King Richard was passionate about his defense of his family and where he wanted to go and what he was willing to do for them, and the abuse he was willing to take, and how he was willing to become a villain in order to fight for what he wanted for his family... some of that got to Will.


The part that I take away from what he did is this: As you are moving into the second half of life, what are the things that you might be willing to slap a man or slap a person for? What are you willing to take a stand for?


What do you truly value? Clearly Will's actions, for better or for worse, really is a huge signal for what he values and what he truly is most important for him. And apparently that's his wife and he's prepared to slap any person who takes a shot at his wife in the way that Chris rock did. And the question that I'm left with having watched that occur is this: Is there anything in my life that I'll be willing to slap a man for (metaphorically speaking)?


As you're going to the second half of life, there's a shifting of what's important. What do you want to take a risk for? What's so important to you that you would be willing to defend the honor of or value so much that you'd be willing to go to war over it.


I'm reminded of Jesus overturning the table of the money changers. That was a moment. He said, "Look, this is what I'm about. And I'm not about to let this go down in my presence." And he went in there and went to overthrowing their tables in the house of God.


One of the ways you can know what you truly value is to figure out what do you want to go out there and fight for? One of my favorite movies is from Fight Club. Brad Pitt's character asks the other guys' character if he has ever been in a fight. And other guy says no. And then Brad Pitt's character says, "How you ever gonna know anything out yourself if you've never been in a fight?" It really defines what you value and what you hold in high esteem.


And as you go into the second half of life, I think we're becoming confronted more and more often with that question - where pursuing some of the usual trappings of life is no longer the motivation, but we still have a purpose to our life and it can come out in certain times.


I'm not sure if Will's response was the right response at all, but it was definitely a demonstration of what he valued and what his principles were at that time. Would we be willing? Would you be willing? Would I be willing to make a similar demonstration if the moment called for it? That's the question I leave with you.


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