Yes, like many of you, I did shake my fist when I saw video of Ukraine attack helicopters taking out that fuel depot on Russian soil. Yes. I shook my fist in solidarity.
But I also shook my head. It may have been a victory for the soul. But it was a strategic mistake. Most U.S. military and geopolitical analysts appear to agree.
You are correct in observing that I have not written or said one word about the Will Smith fiasco on this website or social media. I have been 1) disgusted by the whole thing, and 2), I wanted to gather my thoughts before expressing a view. OK. Here goes. Will Smith committed criminal assault and battery and should have been arrested on the spot. The fact that Chris Rock elected not to press charges is irrelevant. Smith committed a crime against the State of California. Reportedly, Smith was asked to leave the building, but refused. Uhhh…we’re not asking, buddy.
But here’s my larger takeaway. I don’t want to hear Smith apologists excuse his actions by saying, “He was trying to defend his wife.” No. Look at the video, starting with Rock’s “joke” and extending all the way through Smith returning to his seat and screaming expletives at Rock.
Smith was NOT “defending his wife.” This had nothing to do with chivalry. Smith was merely advancing his own toxicity and mindless machismo. He was defending no one’s honor. He ultimately succeeded only in displaying his lack of honor. That wasn’t about her. That was about him.
We can debate the appropriateness of Rock’s “joke.” But after it “got real,” Rock displayed truly amazing restraint. His instant mental analysis of the situation was almost astronaut cool.
I’m not trying to bury Will Smith. I’ve frequently enjoyed his work and wish him no ill. I believe in atonement. I believe in forgiveness. But I also believe in consequences. It is proper that he has resigned from the Academy, and further professional and legal disciplinary action should for now remain on the table.
That was criminal assault.
And then there’s Herschel Walker. Full disclosure. I spent a not inconsiderable time around Herschel during his days with the Cowboys, particularly during training camps. I found him to be engaging and cooperative, and possessive of a much more sophisticated sense of humor than he publicly projected.
But, alas, it turns out he’s a liar. He’s a lying liar surrounded by lying liars who not only do not deny that they are lying liars and do not apologize for being lying liars, but apparently are proud of being lying liars.
Herschel, after dabbling in bobsledding, martial arts, ballet dancing, law enforcement and spousal abuse, now wants to play U.S. Senator.
Walker has frequently claimed that he graduated in the top one percent of his class at the University of Georgia.
Wrong…and wrong. Walker did not graduate in the top one percent, because he did not graduate at all. The jaw-dropping thing to me is that everyone knew that he did not graduate. I knew that when I was interviewing him in Thousand Oaks, California in the 80s.
But at the time, he wasn’t CLAIMING that he graduated, let alone with honors. And then…
Oh, and he also claimed to be his high school’s valedictorian. He was not.
Yes. Herschel Walker is not the first person, and certainly not the first would-be politician, to lie about their credentials.
However, remember when lying carried at least a slight degree of shame and stigma?
Here is the reaction from his campaign communication director. “There is not a single voter in Georgia who believes that whether Herschel graduated at the ‘top of his class’ or as valedictorian 40 years ago has any bearing on his ability to be a great United States Senator.”
Gee. That doesn’t say much about the voters in Georgia, does it? If Walker didn’t think these false claims aided his campaign, he wouldn’t have made them. So, clearly HE thought it matters.
And now he’s busted. The issue is not the significance of graduating in the top one percent of one’s college class, or graduating at all, or being a high school valedictorian.
The issue is lying about it. And surrounding oneself with sycophants who not only tolerate the lies, but defend them and even get defiant about them.
No wonder Walker carries the endorsement of The Orange Prevaricator.
This stuff…right here, folks…is why we do Radically Rational.