It's the voicemail message from actor Alec Baldwin to his 11-year-old daughter. This is very unlike me to even know about this; I don't read People, or Us or watch E! or know which Hollywood celebrity is shtupping whom. But the item caught my eye -- or ear -- and moved me deeply.
For one thing, there is the question of public shame. Presumably, Baldwin will be widely judged as unstable, dangerous and parentally unfit.
Could be. But I see something else. I see an Arthur Miller play.
Based on circumstances I can divine only by his description of events (his kid repeatedly, intentionally turning her cell phone off to make herself unavailable for his phone visitations) I'm pretty much on his side.
I've buried parents and young friends, but never experienced such pain in my life as when my daughter decided to despise me. It was temporary. It was adolescent. But it was unbearable.
Powerlessness, humiliation and betrayal are not a happy combination. In my mundane case, there was no bitter ex-wife involved, but add to Baldwin's predicament a sense of victimization. Who knows? Maybe the guy's violent and serially abusive. But he sounds to me like a man who loves his child, and can't bear the cruelty of her disdain.
Secondly, my God, what a Faustian bargain celebrity is. Half the world will hear this man reduced to rage and humiliation by an 11-year-old girl. What a splendid argument for obscurity.
Finally, though I was admittedly sucked in, my greatest contempt here is dedicated to celebrity "journalism." What a grotesque way to make a living.
It's sewage processing -- minus the dignity.