A lot of people died Sunday night at the Academy Awards.
The Talmud teaches us that embarrassing someone is akin to killing them because when we are embarrassed, we want to die. Other people’s feelings are so important, the Rambam points out that we can even lie to protect them.
We know that comedic humor today is often laced with cheap shots at others, and for some reason, people think that is hilarious. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Very successful comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan are funny in a much more intelligent and clever way—teaching us about our own foibles, and all without needing to use the F or N-words in every sentence.
On Sunday night, Chris Rock did not swear, but he did “Talmudically” kill, as he took that cheap shot at Jada Smith’s lack of hair, caused by alopecia.
Her husband Will…to the rescue…? Was his physical attack on Chris, live, in front of a billion people, an act of chivalry, protecting the wife he loves?
The jury is still out, but we know that physical violence provoked by words is a no-no, and if Chris had defended or retaliated, could have escalated into a brawl on the stage. Grown men, hitting one another, like children in a schoolyard.
And Jada, not only embarrassed by the “joke” at her expense, has her husband embarrassing himself in the false name of chivalry. It seems to me he may not have been protecting her for her sake, but for his own, as he felt embarrassed that his wife was upset and how would he look if he didn’t do anything about it.
His heroics did not protect her, they disempowered her. Jada is one tough gal. Her reaction of disgust at the joke said it all, and I am sure could have been followed up with a tweet or a red table discussion that would have called out the issue in a more mature, dignified, and effective way.
We were all embarrassed for Will, Jada, Chris….and now for us, as now this is all we are all talking about.
One slap and a distant war with millions of refugees is no longer discussed. Eleven Israelis were murdered in cold blood. Those people are also dying, and no apology can bring them back.