ByKen Anderson, writer at
Ken Anderson

Sunday evening, February 23, 2014, Oscar nominated, multi-Emmy Award-winning actor Alec Baldwin contributed a roughly 5,000 word essay to New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, to vent frustration at a recent series of unfortunate public and professional events, and to tell all of us (in essence) that we won’t have Alec Baldwin to kick around anymore.

Read full article HERE.

In an obviously heartfelt, very well-written piece detailing the whys and wherefores of his mounting disgust with America’s paparazzi culture and the chew-‘em-up/spit-‘em-out celebrity machinery- Baldwin cites multiple reasons and targets many assailants for his throwing in the towel. There’s his being fired from his talk show by MSNBC; his disgust with Harvey Levin and the trolling business that is TMZ; his bouts with being labeled (wrongly, says he) a homophobe and/or racist; and basically just being a whipping boy for anyone who wants to make life miserable for the famous simply because, in our current culture, they are so easy to target and have so few defenses and avenues of recourse. (This is, of course, Alec Baldwin's perspective. Many of us non-famous people tend to think the rich and famous are afforded undue privileges and special treatment in our society, sometimes allowing them to literally get away with murder...but maybe that's just us non-famous folks being envious.)

The article, titled Alec Baldwin: Goodbye Public Life, makes for fascinating reading of an abstract sort, and I can’t deny that Mr. Baldwin provides insight into the kind of public hell few of us will ever know. That being said… On a personal level, I understand that Mr. Baldwin’s pain is as deep and real for him as anyone else’s, and that the fact that he is among the rich and privileged classes shouldn't play into whether or not his “problems” are perceived as being all that problematic. It shouldn't play into it, but it kinda does.

Baldwin recounts in detail how he has been misunderstood, mistreated, misrepresented by the press, employers, and a public that treats celebrities as disposable property. But I have to ask myself...who was intended audience for the article? Because, if it’s a black man who is capable of being shot any day of the week merely because his appearance is threatening; a woman being legislated to that her body isn't her own; a person with HIV unable to afford medication; a gay couple unable to wed; an elderly person on a fixed income trying to pay rent and feed herself…my guess is that THEY think life is pretty unfair, too. And each and every one might gladly trade their daily, anonymous travails, for just a small bit of what Alec Baldwin has: a life of options.

“I just can’t live in New York anymore. Everything I hated about L.A. I’m beginning to crave. L.A. is a place where you live behind a gate, you get in a car, your interaction with the public is minimal.” Alec Baldwin in his New York Magazine essay.

Cast of 30 Rock
Cast of 30 Rock

Life is horribly unfair and unjust for a great many people trying to make a way for themselves in this world. So many people live in so much spiritual pain (granted, part of being human) that’s compounded by things like hunger, poverty, illness, racism, sexism, homophobia, and the kind of heartwrenching, institutionalized tortuous injustice of the Treyvon Martin/Jordan Davis variety.

I hope Mr. Baldwin will forgive those of us with little choice beyond, ”get used to it or fight it,” if we perceive his life circumstances (suffer the indignities of fame or go and live a private, gated existence in a swank section of Los Angeles) as an enviable blessing afforded very few.

Nobody likes to see anyone in pain, but I don’t know if I have many tears to spare for a millionaire actor with a thriving, international career, a lovely wife and child, several roofs over his head, no fear of ever going hungry, and the opportunity to actually choose what he wants to do with the rest of his days, and the money to make that happen. And he’s lucky enough to even have the dreaded press afford him an outlet to vent his hatred of them!

I like Alec Baldwin a lot as an actor, but sometimes things are problems and sometimes things are annoyances. The real world today (outside of show business) is full of far too many people suffering genuine, profound life difficulties, many of which have no easy solution. While I have never walked a mile in Alec Baldwin's no-doubt expensive shoes, in a world with children starving, women's bodies legislated, rampant hatred, and innocent young men being shot; I don't think i'm going to lose much sleep over what amounts to be the problems of how very, very hard and unfair it is for the rich and famous in America. I should have such problems.

It was lovely Mr. Baldwin. I hope you enjoy your privacy.


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