Chris, Jada, Will, and Oscar
I didn’t watch the Oscars. I don’t watch the news. And yet, I heard about the fiasco that completely eclipsed the 2022 Academy Awards and every incredibly remarkable story of the evening that I should have heard about instead.
I Youtubed the clip, to see for myself.
About a minute that had so many possibilities, so many outcomes that could have been spectacular global memories, so so many choices that could have gone down in history as a moment that marked an entire societal shift.
But that’s not what happened.
What happened was something that has to be one of the top ten worst-case scenarios, all things considered.
Here are some of the opportunities that were missed.
Chris Could Have Skipped the Joke
Blame the writers, blame the comedian, but the fact is, that joke was a low blow. To make fun of someone for something they have no control over (Jada Pinkett Smith is suffering from alopecia), something that is known to cause the person considerable personal distress, and to do so publicly, in the name of humour is disgraceful.
Shame on anyone who thought otherwise.
The buck stopped with Chris Rock on stage. He could have skipped the joke altogether. He should have. It was mean.
Comedians using the veil of comedy to hurt people has always rubbed me the wrong way. You can be funny without leaving scars. And if you can’t, you’re just not funny.
And yet. The joke itself had such great potential.
To compare Jada to G.I. Jane, one of the baddest asses to ever appear on screen, could have been an outstanding compliment.
Jada Could Have Owned the Joke
Imagine the outcome had Jada Pinkett Smith dug deep for those keen acting skills of hers, squashed down her emotions, stood up, pointed a challenging finger at Rock, and flexed her arms in a stance Arnold would have admired.
A la G.I. Jane.
She could have stood up for women, black women, and every person with a disability by rising above the insult and turning it on its ass. A gesture that would have said, ‘hell yeah, bitch!’