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Daily Journal
     April 5, 2022      #98-95 KDJ

A man is no longer a 'work in progress' at

By Ron Jackson

Of all the fallout from the slap heard around the world … wide web, the absurdity of a 53-year-old man slapping another man then claiming he is a work-in-progress has been ignored.

The last time I watched the Oscars award show, I think Charlton Heston may have been up for an honor. But I saw “the slap.” Thanks to technology and friends who thought it necessary to share it. I saw Will Smith slap Oscar presenter comedian Chris Rock. Initially, I assumed it was staged. I am still not sure it wasn’t. But for sake of continuing the Oscar’s buzz, it is being reported as an authentic assault.

I also heard the comment by Chris Rock about Jada Smith, a fellow entertainer and Will Smith’s wife. Rock, noticing Jada Smith’s beauty and baldness, referenced the movie, “G.I. Jane” starring a beautiful bald Demi Moore. “Jada, can’t wait for ‘GI Jane 2,’” was his actual comment. It was not funny. It was complimentary.

Why that was interpreted as an insult, especially when Jada Smith said a few days before the Oscars, “I don’t give two craps what people feel about this bald head of mine”? But, the entire audience laughed — except Jada Smith. Followed by her husband’s quick change of demeanor that went from laughter to protector of wife’s honor. And from typically funnyman Will Smith to Juwan Howard thug-like assaulter.

His machoism continued after the slap with a couple of expletive inclusive warnings to Rock. To his credit, Chris Rock maintained his composure and was able to resume his duties. The show must go on, which ironically included Will Smith receiving an award and giving a speech.

During his acceptance speech for winning the best actor award, Smith had tears, (real or contrived) rolling down his face. However, he failed in his effort to justify his previous actions.

He tried to blame the devil. He tried to blame love. He said he wanted to be a vessel for love and an ambassador for love and care and concern.

And he apologized to the Academy and fellow nominees. But never to the man he assaulted. Although realizing his error and refusing to leave this year’s event when asked, he hoped to be invited back to the awards show. It was not until the following day that Smith extended an apology to Rock via a social media platform. He did not call Rock directly.

Smith wrote, “Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive.

My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable. Jokes at my expense are part of my job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.

“I would like to apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line and I was wrong. I am embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.”

He also apologized again to the Academy Awards, fellow nominees, producers, audience members and viewers around the world before concluding with, “I am a work in progress.”

What? Not indicative of the man you want to be? That’s what many people say after their real character has been displayed in public and captured on video or audio.

Politicians are wonderful examples of this act.

And a work in progress? The Fresh Punk is in his mid-50s. His character is well-established. There ain’t no changing of spots or learning new tricks at 53. Will Smith is who he is and has been, a pompous, privileged jerk. He knew what he was doing. He knew he could assault Chris Rock, a 5 foot, 10 inches, 168-pound man. He would not have done that to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or even Kid Rock. Bullies know their prey.

Violence other than self-defense is inexcusable. A fully grown man justifying his bad behavior as a work-in-progress is unacceptable.

Ron Jackson can be contacted through the Daily Journal at editors@daily-journal.com.

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