What Alec Baldwin and My Kids Have in Common

baldwinHave you heard the news? Alec Baldwin is retiring from public life. He’s been burned by the paparazzi too often, he says, and it’s not worth it for him to engage anymore.

In a very long interview with Joe Hagan, Baldwin summarizes and defends the unfair portrayal of himself in the press as homophobic. Baldwin admits that he is not perfect — the publicized phone call of him yelling at his daughter stands as a painful reminder of his temper — but he’s had enough. He is considering moving away from New York and has abandoned plans to one day run for public office.

Baldwin believes public life has changed. Fans are more demanding, carrying phones with them at all times to capture and record everything he does. And photographers have gotten more aggressive. The last straw for Baldwin was when photographers got dangerously close to his wife and new baby.

He says: “Now, everyone has a camera in their pocket. Add to that predatory photographers and predatory videographers who want to taunt you and catch you doing embarrassing things. (Some proof of which I have provided.) You’re out there in a world where if you do make a mistake, it echoes in a digital canyon forever.”

While it’s hard to have sympathy for actors who arguably choose the lifestyle that subjects them to this kind of harassment, I think Alec Baldwin has a point.

It’s getting cray all up in here. My kids, who aren’t famous actors, have their own version of “public life” through Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. And the pressure to capture, record, and constantly present an image instead of just being or doing things is huge.

Alec Baldwin shares some wise words from an unexpected mentor, Warren Beaty:

“When this whole thing happened, Warren Beatty, who is mystifyingly intelligent and wise, said to me: ‘Your problem is a very basic one, and it’s very common to actors. And that’s when we step in front of a camera, we feel the need to make it into a moment. This instinct, even unconsciously, is to make the exchange in front of the camera a dramatic one.’ Perhaps I fell for that.”

Perhaps we’re all falling for it. Social media makes us feel like everyone’s watching us and when everyone is watching us, sometimes we feel the need to put on a show — dress your kids a little hipper for that Instagram shot, garnish your dinner plate a little fancier before you snap it and upload it to Facebook. We all do it to a lesser degree than Alec Baldwin, but we all do it. I don’t worry about myself — or Alec Baldwin — so much. I’m an adult. I have learned to be deliberate about my actions and my brain is developed and trained to consider consequences. But children are given these tools before they have enough sense to understand the consequences of an insensitive tweet or an inappropriate photo. I’m glad I didn’t go through my teen years with the ever-presence of social media where mistakes “echo in a digital canyon forever.” Yikes.

It seems wise for Baldwin to step out of the public eye. As social media makes a grab for even more of our time and attention, maybe we all need to build in breaks for ourselves — and our kids — so we can maintain our perspective/grasp on reality.

After all, it’s still a great meal, even if no one sees a picture of it on Facebook!

Photo Source: Pacific Coast News

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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