April 20, 2007

What Alec Baldwin said to his 11-year-old daughter.

I wasn't going to write about this, but now I see Stephen Bainbridge is talking about it, so that must mean it's not too tawdry to mention. An audio clip of a phone message from the actor Alec Baldwin to his daughter is now immortalized on the internet. Bainbridge writes:
If Don Imus deserved firing for what he said about the Rutgers' womens b-ball team, doesn't Alec Baldwin deserve to be fired from 30 Rock for calling his eleven year old child a "rude, thoughtless little pig"?
Yes, if only we could somehow get an audio clip of the meanest sounding tirade each parent has ever unleashed on a child, we'd have grounds to demand that we all get fired. And kids, don't answer the phone, tempt that parent into leaving a recorded message. Because with the internet, you can have sooooo much fun with recordings. Or do you think only a rude, thoughtless little pig would make such a damaging recording public?

Alternate take, from one of Bainbridge's commenters: "Awww, c'mon why don't you just man up and say that you think what Imus said was no big deal?"

111 comments:

Roger said...

I thought Alec Baldwin was going to move out of the country after President Bush was elected and then reelected. No? What happened?

That said, this tawdry story is NOT news, it is between the Baldwins, separately and individually, and their daughter, and should NEVER become something put out on the public forum for other people's discussion. This really violates the boundary of good taste (and media judgment).

Oligonicella said...

I just listened to the mp3. I heard a very upset man berating his kid for acting like a spoiled brat in regards to his limited visitation.

In context, the phrase "rude, thoughtless little pig" is not something that could be equated to "nappy headed ho's". One difference, the team didn't do anything to Imus before the comment.

Should he have called her that? Don't know. Can an eleven year old be a RTLP? You bet'cha. I have a daughter. When she was eleven, sha commonly was a RTLP. Telling her what she's behaving like ain't abuse.

Hear the part about how the phone isn't even turned off when he calls her and she doesn't answer? He's being baited.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well there is a difference in berating your kid and demeaning them in such a way as he did. Then again, considering the type of person Baldwin is, I'm not particularly surprised.

Should he be fired? For what? Being an a$$hole? I think this country has become too 'fire' happy. There is hardly a week goes by when someone isn't demanding another person's head on a platter from some real or perceived grievance. As John McCain said, get a life.

Jennifer said...

Well, I can't stand Alec Baldwin and would usually enjoy any opportunity to sneer at the self-important cow. But, Ann's right - take the worst things any parent has ever done and we'd all look pretty bad.

This probably isn't a regular occurrence or she'd have a whole stable of embarrassing audios to share with the world.

al said...

Coming from the guy who wanted a member of Congress stoned to death - well this seems kind of mild.

As for me it just reinforces my impression of Alec as an ass.

zzRon said...

I can't think of a time when Alec Baldwin opened his mouth and garbage didn't come spewing out. Nuff said.

ShadyCharacter said...

Alec Baldwin is an ass. I can't stand his politics. I used to wish he had left the country as promised when Bush won.

Then I started watching 30 Rock. That is hands down the funniest show on television and he's a big part of its success.

So let's be careful with all this talk about firing Alec from the show. It's not Alec who'll suffer most, it's America. What, you don't like America?

Meade said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathy said...

This is ridiculous! He yelled at his kid, she ticked him off and he lost it. What parent doesn't? What parent doesn't regret something they did to their child when they were growing up? What has this world come to? He's a celebrity and so he can't show emotion? He has to hide who he is, he has to hide his feelings because he's a celebrity. It isn't fair. That mp3 should have never been made public. That is the real crime here, not that daddy yelled at his little girl. Maybe it was a little on the harsh side but we all make mistakes, it's just that us normal folks don't have it broadcasted all over the internet and on the news! Tsk tsk on Ireland and her mother for going public with this. What will it solve but putting more distance between father and daughter.

And...he better NOT get fired from 30 Rock! It's the best show on Thursday nights!!

trogdor said...

Right on, Ann: I think the fact that his daughter (or her mother) released the tape to the media in the first place pretty much proves his point.

al said...

30 Rock! It's the best show on Thursday nights!!

Alec Baldwin is the reason the show isn't watched in our house. I'd rather watch American Chopper.

SteveR said...

I am among the many who think him an ass. But this is not a fireable episode, much less one that a responsible parent (i.e. the mother) would have allowed to be made public. So Kim you were really hot in 9 and 1/2 weeks but otherwise I'm seeing a failure. You married this idiot (and he is funny).

Meade said...

"Or do you think only a rude, thoughtless little pig would make such a damaging recording public?"

Only a rude, thoughtless pig would make such a damaging recording in the first place.

The phone message was wrong for Baldwin to make just as it was wrong for Bassinger to let it become public. Neither parent was acting in the best interests of their child. And yes, adults who verbally demean children in this way should be put on notice. There is no excuse for such psychological abusiveness. None.

The comparison to Don Imus's insult doesn't make sense. More apt would a comparison to the Virginia Tech madman. This line from Baldwin's abusive voicemail is strikingly similar to something the Va Tech murderer put in his own pathological recorded rant: "You've made me feel like shit and you've made me feel like a fool over and over and over again." Poor me. I've been injured and insulted and it's your fault. The only difference is that Baldwin was addressing his own child.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I'm suspicious of Ms. Basinger and what she allowed to be communicated to the outside world regarding her child. There seems to be a big manipulation going on here: of the media, of the child, of her ex-husband.

James Wigderson said...

Could be worse. Her father could be Ryan O'Neal.

Galvanized said...

I certainly wouldn't ever want to be called onto the carpet for every parenting mistake I've made or have random bad moments made public. This should have stayed private. It's sad when exs are more into hurting one another than considering what the public humilitation does to the child. The mother's letting it leak shows just as much cruelty as the father's insults.

Galvanized said...

As for firing him like Imus was, Imus' remarks were publicly made on his show, and he knows himself to somewhat shape public opinion. Baldwin's remarks were made in the context of a private message. Also, Imus' blunder dealt with "isms" -- racism/sexism, while Baldwin's verbal abuse was in the context of a personal relationship. Apples to oranges.

yashu said...

shadycharacter & kathy OTM-- I *love* 30 rock. Plus, Alec Baldwin plays my favorite TV-sitcom-character-who-happens-to-be-Republican ever (heh he dated Condi!)... one of my favorite characters on TV period. He's magnificently hilarious on that show. (Incidentally, anyone else surprised by Tina Fey character's shameful confession (along with other 'weird secret stuff' like vacuum cleaner phobia & a pants-pooping incident & sexual fantasies about Gopher from the Love Boat & eating five donuts that day etc.) that 'there's an 80% chance in the next election I'll tell all my friends I voted for Obama but secretly vote for John McCain'...? Heh just like me.)

Anyway, I now forgive Alec Baldwin everything-- viva Jack Donaghy.

Zeb Quinn said...

As the father and grandfather of nothing but girls let me say that there is no excuse --none-- for a father to ever call his daughter a pig in any context, no matter how much he may have "lost it."

Baldwin is a mean and abusive hothead with the personality of an Irish drunk. And none of that has anything to do with his politics. And, yes, he's a talented actor too, for what that's worth.

Internet Ronin said...

I have never heard anyone I know, or of anyone know, say such things to their own child and I was disgusted. Talk about verbal abuse.

yashu said...

As to the point-- yeah it's despicable for a father to say that, but it's personal behavior that has nothing to do with his job. The Imus analogy (saying something racially offensive publicly, on the air, on the job & as part of the job) is just nutty.

Jeff said...

The keyword here is PROJECTION.

Baldwin has gone on and on about how Bush and Cheney are "hate-filled," but it seems like Alec might be the one who needs therapy...

vet66 said...

parents are roll models for their children and the children they come in contact with. Baldwin's verbal abuse to his child is inexcusable.

Where are the adults in our society? Grown men, and women, don't insult their children, period. Enough of that goes on in the child's daily life among peers. The home is supposed to be a haven of love, acceptance, and guidance.

This is what happens to spoiled adults who don't have a clue about responsible behavior. In the entertainment industry, the multiple divorces, affairs, adultery, drug use, mug shots, is indicative of a bunch of juvenile delinquents who never grew beyond the nihilist, self-absorbed, narcissists they truly are.

They leave a trail of disasters in their wake and expect thier 'people' to face the music and pick up the pieces as they go merrily on their way with nothing leading the way but their beyond white, capped teeth.

Pathetic!

Moira Breen said...

Uh, am I the only one noticing how pathetically, disgustingly, this adult man sounds for all the world like one of his daughter's puling, spoiled 11-year-old peers in his manner of expression? It's not the anger, it's the puerility. I can't recall Dad ever interpreting his paternal duty to demand civilized behavior from his pack of savage adolescents with an invitation to indulge in a slobbery, out of control therapy session about his feeee-wings. Way to inspire respect, dude.

But in principle I have no objection to fathers' informing their rude, thoughtless, piggish daughters that their behavior is rude, thoughtless, and piggish.

Mike said...

It's been clear for years that Alec Baldwin is one of the biggest assholes around. No news there. But fired from 30 Rock? What's the connection? I don't read Bainbridge. Is he always this much of a dope?

Bissage said...

Stress tends to make us forget the things that matter most. My advice to Mr. Baldwin is to bear in mind that the words he speaks to his daughter might be the last words he speaks to his daughter -- FOREVER. It's trite but true.

That said, things could have been worse. At least he didn’t take a page from the playbook of Moe Szyslak reacting to one of Bart’s crank calls: “Listen, you. When I get a hold of you, I'm going to use your head for a bucket and paint my house with your brains!

Alcibiades said...

I bet that call left his daughter, whose age he appears not to be sure of - whether 11 or 12 - an emotional wreck for several days. It's hard to blame her for not wanting to speak to him - who knows what the prior conversations he held with her were like if he is this wound up in this one - and notice how upfront he is about his feelings of being humiliated. That excuses all.

And if this is the kind of emotional abuse that Alec Baldwin leveled at his wife during the time they were married, and I can't think why it wouldn't be since it seems to be his behavior pattern, who can blame her for wanting to keep her daughter away from it.

I've yet to see Kim Basinger behave like an ass, except for her bad judgement in marrying Baldwin.
And by the way, she was great in LA Confidential, too.

Drew W said...

The Baldwin/Basinger apartment was at the end of our block when we lived on the Upper West Side, and you would sometimes see Kim, Alec and the kids at local restaurants. I remember thinking that theirs must be one of those celebrity marriages that actually work.

Granted, the entire episode shouldn't have been splashed all over the media, but if any parent I knew addressed their daughter like that -- no matter how mad they were at that daughter or how bratty the daughter had been -- I'd still think that parent wasn't playing with a full deck.

I love Baldwin's comment "I don't give a damn that you are 12 years old or 11 years old, or that you are a child . . ." Was he really fudging his daughter Ireland's age? (Does he ever mistakenly refer to her as "Iceland . . . um, Iowa . . . I mean Idaho . . no wait . . .")

Honestly, this man sounds like he's firing an assistant, not talking to a child. Poor kid. Rich, of course, but poor.

Maxine Weiss said...

Is "tawdry" the same thing as "lurid" ?

Peace, Maxine

Mark Daniels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

This has nothing to do with his job, and firing him would be out of line.

This should not have been leaked.

I listened to the entire thing. It's longer than you'd think. There was absolutely plenty of time for him to stop and think, but instead he essentially egged himself on until he came out with the "pig" line (more than once). There are a lot of disturbing things along the way, and there's almost a calculated quality about it. Early on, he tells the girl she doesn't have the "brains and decency of a human being" (what's with the "brains" part, huh?--to me, that's telling) and then works himself up as he rants me, me, me until he gets to the pig part.

He does NOT put it in terms of "piggish" behavior. He called her a pig, with great, plosive sharp emphasis, twice.

He emphasizes he's going to fly out LA to straighten her ass out about the phone thing to make sure she REALLY gets it and then fly right back to NY. It's in this context that he comes out with the pig stuff. He's going to fly out on the 20th, just for the day, to "make sure" she understands what a rude, thoughtless little pig she. That's what he says, and in that context.

I came from a household of a lot of anger and very harsh and demeaning words and insults, and listening to this left me feeling a little shaky, frankly. I'm probably biased due to my own filters, but this doesn't strike me as just one of those things. Well, except for "one of those things" I work very hard to avoid, being a bit of a yeller myself (but not of insults; even when I'm that angry I'm CONSCIOUS of the words I'm using, so I don't buy that excuse. I just don't.).

Words DO matter, and some things parents say resound for a lifetime.

You know, this was an 11-year-old***, not a 15- or 16-year-old (I'm not saying this would make these words good, but there is a difference). Sure, kids can be manipulative, and they're excellent button-pushers. But he's supposed to be an adult. And if she's manipulating him, where do you think she's learned it? From BOTH of her parents.

No loss of job, and shame on the Basinger camp leakers. But Baldwin is a disgrace in this call. Both parents have clearly turned their child into symbol of their anger with each other. Poor kid.

***In the recording, Baldwin says, "I don't care if you're 12 years old, or 11 years, or a child, or that your mother is a pain in the ass..." Weird. Apparently, the call took place in the morning, or otherwise I'd wonder--which I at first did--if this was one of those semi-controlled rants people go on when they've had a couple too many.

reader_iam said...

Oh, and I heard the story and listened to the tape before I visited Althouse this morning, so I've had some time to think about this.

reader_iam said...

I wonder if I'm finding it more disturbing than Mark does because I was once an 11-year-old girl who had some pretty terrible things to her, who remembers what she felt like then, and knows, now, that while most things may fade away, some things do not. This could be why I'm having a stronger reaction.

I recognize it may be an overreaction, and I'm not saying that's a good thing. But I also think hearing things like that as a kid tends to create adults whose instinct is to overreact to certain types of speech and tone.

Oligonicella said...

Anyone who says they've never 'demeaned' thier child is, I believe, being untruthful. The grandios posing of moral outrage at what he said is no more than that -- posing.

Add to that, this man is undoubtledly being jerked back and forth by both his ex and his daughter. His daughter may not fully realize how much she's being manipulated by the ex, but then, that's why she was told in no uncertain terms how she was behaving.

Equating it to Imus is bad enough, but equating it to Cho is... Oh hell, I dunno, beyond stupid and reprehensible.

This whole notion that people are somehow supposed to always be in complete control and never allow certain others to see their unpleasant emotions is promoted by people who are themselves incomplete in their emotional control and on occasion display their unpleasant ones.

The phrase does not read "let he who thinks they are without..."

Meade said...

You've made me feel like shit and you've made me feel like a fool over and over and over again. And this crap you pull on me with this goddamn phone situation that you would never dream of doing to your mother and you do it to me constantly and over and over again. I am gonna get on a plane and I'm gonna come out there for the day and I'm gonna straighten your ass out when I see you. Do you understand me. I'm gonna really make sure you get it... You are a rude, thoughtless little pig, okay?

Okay?

Why do so many boomer parents use that question to punctuate the things they say to their children?

We're going to go to the grocery store and then we'll go to the park to play. Okay? I want you to stop hitting your little sister. Okay? These grades are not acceptable. You need to change your attitude, stop being a disturbance in class, and hand in your homework on time. Okay?

You are a worthless, stupid, reprehensible subhuman being. Okay?


Oligonicella: I am the father of a twenty year old daughter whom I have never once demeaned, abused, nor disrespected. Ever.

I am not without sin, but are you calling me a posing liar?

reader_iam said...

I'm OK, you're OK, okay? We're all just working on our erroneous zones.

reader_iam said...

Haven't thought of those two books in ages.

Internet Ronin said...

Oligonicella: I have NEVER said anything REMOTELY resembling that crap to a child. Sounds like you have, however, and that you have visitation rights issues that you cannot deal with. Probably for a good reason.

Internet Ronin said...

These were private comments, not public, like those of Imus. They hardly seem disturbing.

Wow.

Jeff said...

Oh, wow.

I finally heard the recording of this on the radio, and if you've only read the transcript, you're missing a lot.

The man is literally throwing a tantrum at a little girl.

The whining, angsty dramatics and weirdly harsh voice reminded me of another loser ex-dad who has issues dealing with his shared kid:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirk_Van_Houten

"Milhouse, you pig!"

Meade said...

Audio some will find disturbing at link:

Mark Daniels said...

I need to clarify.

I have no idea what I was doing with the sentence that said Baldwin's comments weren't disturbing. THEY ARE DISTURBING!

I think that what I was going to say was that while Baldwin's phone message is disturbing, they're not warrant for his being fired from '30 Rock.' Imus made his comments insulting women and blacks on air, as part of his job. Baldwin's message was from a private phone call.

While I was posting my comment, the phone rang. I lost track of my thoughts, hit the publish button, answered the phone, and then took off for an appointment. When I came back, I was horrified to see what I'd "written." This is doubly humbling because I normally check and re-check the things I post before publishing.

So, this is what I really think: While Baldwin's words shouldn't get him fired, I think that the judge made the right decision to keep him away from his daughter. He made a huge mistake parents should strive to avoid: He attacked his daughter as a person, rather than dealing with a behavior he doesn't like.

He also did what no divorced parent should do: He attacked the other parent, effectively asking the child to take sides. This is terribly irresponsible.

Behind his message seems to be the idea that he was humiliated and embarrassed in the eyes of some unnamed people when he called his daughter and she didn't answer. He seems to be more concerned with feeling humiliated before others than with his daughter's "offense."

Mark Daniels

Jeff said...

Eh. I heard the recording. Other than when he called her stupid, it sounded a lot like an exasperated parent. I dont know how you go thru life without hearing worse. I also think he's an idiot, but he has a nature gift for light comedy and I try to catch 30 Rock.

Jeff said...

Different Jeff than the one above my last comment.

Revenant said...

Yes, if only we could somehow get an audio clip of the meanest sounding tirade each parent has ever unleashed on a child, we'd have grounds to demand that we all get fired.

My parents never, ever behaved that way towards me. Not once. So I don't buy that "sometimes parents say mean things" argument at all.

I heard a very upset man berating his kid for acting like a spoiled brat in regards to his limited visitation.

He berated her for avoiding him. No SHIT she's avoiding him -- who wouldn't, when that's his idea of parenting?

Mark Daniels said...

Jeff:
He called his daughter an ass and a pig, among other things. Those aren't the words of a parent who has lost it. Those are the words of a grown man using his power to attack the self-worth and identity of a child. There's a huge difference.

Of course, we have all lost it, on occasion. And we don't have our private messages put on the Internet. So, while a little slack should be cut Mr. Baldwin, this recording is really disturbing.

Mark

Internet Ronin said...

Thanks for the clarification, Mark, because I was really wondering about that.

As for 30 Rock, or Baldwin being fired, I don't care either way. Don't watch the show.

Internet Ronin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
michael farris said...

"So I don't buy that "sometimes parents say mean things" argument at all"

So you think paren'ts _don't_ say mean things? Or only bad parents ever say mean things?

The big difference between this and Imus is that people were paying Imus to say amusing things and he screwed up.

No one's paying Baldwin for parenting advice (last I knew) and good thing too judging from this little spectacle. On the bright side, I guess we know where that awesome performance in Glengarry Glen Ross came from.

But, I feel sorry for the kid with a rageholic dad and mother who doesn't know to keep private problems ... private.

Internet Ronin said...

Michael: Do you know for a fact that it was the mother who released this recording? I missed that. It seems far more likely to me that it was an employee of an attorney.

Revenant said...

So you think paren'ts _don't_ say mean things? Or only bad parents ever say mean things?

My point is that you can't excuse wanton cruelty by saying that parents are mean sometimes. If Baldwin had blackened his daughter's eye we wouldn't say "well, most parents have to physically discipline their kids sometimes", would we?

michael farris said...

No, I'm just speculating. I would assume an attorney for the mother would realize that the initial bad publicity for baldwin would morph into bad publicity for her too.

I think it was either the mother or an employee (with low ethics and/or bad judgment).

Beth said...

I am the youngest of seven. Once, when I was about 12, I endured a long, loud tirade from my dad that included some of his signature angry declarations. Our dad had a temper, and a dramatic streak, and the Baldiwn recording actually sounded a lot like one of his rants. After about 10 minutes the tirade ended, and I was probably sniveling and upset. I then heard a click from behind my door, and the whole thing started again. My brothers had stood outside my room and recorded it. I hated them! But it was a bonding moment. We still share stories about spectacular Dad fits. It's one way we deal with having had crazy parents.

Beth said...

By the way, Alec Baldwin has a penchant for these kinds of ranting phone messages. I listened to one he left for an acquaintance of mine who was involved in a production and did some minor thing to piss him off.

AlphaLiberal said...

This is so much nobody's business.

AJ Lynch said...

Don't agree with his politics but Baldwin can flat out act and 30 Rock is a really funny show based on the two episodes I have seen.

Rich said...

Baldwin is a champion of liberal causes, so the libs defend him to the death; is that what's going on here? I honestly cannot understand why one would defend his tirade against a young girl.

There is a much more likely leaker of the voicemail than Kim; a divorce court clerk.

This incident is not unlike the grammer school principal in Illinois caught on DVD having sex in his office with the teachers. He blames whoever planted the video camera in his office, they hurt his family. He's really a hard worker, never did anything wrong until the camera was there. Besides, it was private!
(http://preview.tinyurl.com/325w2w)

peter hoh said...

Once again, I wish to go on record as being opposed to giving full marriage, adoption, and procreation rights to celebrity couples.

Mindsteps said...

I am defeated by my own children on a daily basis and I am a child psychologist. Wisely, my wife purchases books on parenting for advice rather than consult with me.

John said...

Personally, given his position on global warming, I am most distressed by his threat to fly across the country and back in the same day just to discipline her. Is he trying to drown the polar bears she finds so cute to punish her further? The beast!

Anthony said...

Heh, John.

That's the way you talk to another adult, not a child. One can argue, as many here have, that such behavior is commonplace and that therefore we shouldn't be so prudish, but that doesn't make it right by any stretch.

Joe said...

I think Alec Baldwin is a smug ass and can't personally him as an actor. However, I empathize with him on this issue. I can see exactly where he's coming from. For all those passing negative judgment, I assume you didn't have a daughter to realized at birth that she could call your bluff.

My scenario is quite simple because I've been there--Alec's daughter gives him the brush off and when asked she says "I forgot, after all I'm only eleven." (And, as she ages, later uses "twelve".) I am so confident in my scenario, I'd put money on it. Again, been there done that.

(For the record, my bitch child from hell is now nineteen and is almost normal. Still stubborn and has her old man twisted around her finger, but also can still infuriate me. Thank God her little sister is the very epitome of goodness, even if a little overly sensitive at times.)

reader_iam said...

Idle curiosity:

I wonder if some of the people who think Baldwin's rant is no biggie were among those who took issue with Althouse's show of emotion a while back. Just generally, I mean--not any one here in particular.

Harkonnendog said...

What in the fucking world makes you think that's the meanest tirade he's ever unleashed on her? What that little girl did is NOT ANSWER HER PHONE. She didn't lie to his face, didn't repeatedly tell him no, didn't steal or hit somebody or do something awful. She missed a friggin' phone call...

She's ELEVEN. Maybe her battery ran out. Maybe she misplaced her phone. Maybe she accidentally had the ringer turned off. Maybe she's one of these 11-year-old kids who is well meaning but forgetful.

Oh no, lets all assume she's a rude little pig, because that bastion of stability, Alec Baldwin, says so... ROFLMAO!!! While we're at it, how about we falsely claim an eleven year-old "recorded" this message, rather than assume she heard it and then let her mother hear it? Let's go farther yet, let's paint this 11-year-old gilr as an evil temptress, a demon who purposely lured her saintly father into a terrible trap which no father could have escaped...
By not answering her phone at a designated time she FORCED a good, patient, understanding daddy into saying some things he could not help but say.

Maxine Weiss said...

Alec Baldwin telephone rant

equals...

Althouse's contrived (delayed) outburst.

Could be. Although both events will surely be subject to one of Althouse favorite hobbies:

Judicious Reappraisal.

Peace, Maxine

Internet Ronin said...

Harkonnendog: You remind me that, for all this fine, upstanding, patient and concerned father knew, his daughter could have been struggling for her life in a hospital somewhere because of some accident. No concern that something might be wrong, only anger and vindictiveness. Given what he said, it sounds to me like he made a huge scene in front of others in New York about calling his daughter and was humiliated because she didn't answer. For all we know, he didn't call at the agreed upon time, either. In fact, it rather sounds like it.

Harkonnendog said...

IR,
Yeah! ;) It is one thing to say we shouldn't harshly judge Baldwin because we don't know the context or whatever, but to go after the kid is disgusting.

Joe said...

Harkonnendog,

You don't know a damn thing about their kid. For all we know, she had a long history of lying to her parents. Like I said, it sounds to me like she's a smart girl who's playing both sides and if you don't think an eleven/twelve year old can do that in a way that would make Machiavelli blush, then you don't know a damn thing about kids.

This is NOT saying that all kids do this, but it IS saying that your knee jerk reaction to treat the kid as innocent is simply nuts.

reader_iam said...

Maxine: I don't equate them.

I just think it would be interesting if someone who thought Althouse was outrageous had relatively less problem with Baldwin's.

Oligonicella said...

Internet Ronin -- Thank you. You have demonstrated exactly what is being done to Baldwin. You pretended that you understand what has happened to me in the past. What it sounds like to you and what is reality are pretty damn different.

I do not believe anybody who makes claims to perfect control. I've never met anyone with it and I doubt I ever shall. So, when someone claims they've always or they never -- I don't believe it. If that offends, sorry.

Ya don't have to have used the same language. Also -- context.

Internet Ronin said...

Sorry, Oligonicella, I was being flip and sarcastic because I thought your comment was as off-base as my reply. Then again, I never expected to see someone else refer to their own daughter as the "bitch child from Hell," so I really should reconsider.

Revenant said...

Joe,

The problem with your argument (well, there are many, but this is one) is this:

We don't know anything about you as a parent. You could be physically and emotionally abusive. Your children could hate you. The "good" daughter you mention could simply have been so emotionally destroyed that she meekly does what you say, the way children of abusive parents sometimes do. The "bad" child could simply be the one who has managed to maintain her own personality in the face of your violence.

The fact that you think this sort of verbal abuse is merited for the terrible crime of not answering the phone at the time her father had ordered her to makes me strongly suspect this is, in fact, a lot closer to the truth than your tale of being a great father with a horrible, disobedient child.

Maxine Weiss said...

11-year-old girls are made of sugar and spice, and they never scheme and connive.

Anyone been to the Mall lately and seen some of the skanky teen trash lurking....Harridans all!

Oh, shame on me, it's the paucity of self-esteem. These girls are so fragile, how dare we crush the spirit of these withering damsels. Is there nothing more delicate than the precarious self-esteem of the adolescent girl?

Love, Maxine

Revenant said...

Let me follow up with this: my youngest sister put my parents through hell -- she cursed at them, did drugs, refused to study, had to switch schools three times due to poor grades. But they were firm with her, and disciplined her, and she learned, and she became a better person. Today she is a good, solid citizen.

At no point did my parents ever act to her the way Baldwin acts to his kid. At no point did they speak of her they way Joe speaks of HIS kid. This is because my parents are good people who love their children but realize that the child is not an accessory to the parent's ego. A lot of parents don't understand that.

Maxine Weiss said...

'The Great Santini'

Col. Bull Meacham:

""you are different. You are Marine kids and can chew nails while other kids are sucking on cotton candy. Marine kids are so far ahead of other kids that it's criminal. Why? Because of discipline. You've had discipline. You may resent it now, but one day you're going to look back at your ol' Dad and say I owe it all to him. If he had kicked my butt a few more times no telling how far I could have gone in life. You hogs have one more advantage that I have not mentioned, but I will mention at this time. It gives you the edge over even Marine kids and that advantage is this: you are Meechams. Now a Meecham has got more goin' for him than any other animal I know. A Meecham is a thoroughbred, a winner all the way. A Meecham gets the best grades, wins the most awards, excels in sports, is the most popular, and is always found near the top no matter what endeavor he undertakes. A Meecham never gives up, never surrenders, never sticks his tail between his legs, never gets weepy, never gets his nose out of joint, and never, never, under any circumstance, loses sight of the fact that it is the Meecham family that he represents, whose honor he is upholding. I want you hogs to let this burg know you're here. I want these crackers to wake up and wonder what in the hell just blew into town"---Pat Conroy's 'The Great Santini'

http://www.mtsu.edu/~socwork/frost/god/santini.htm

Harkonnendog said...

Joe,

You've completely missed the point. It if is wrong to assume Baldwin sucks, because we lack context or info or whatever, it is EVEN MORE WRONG to assume the girl is in the wrong.

ALL WE KNOW ABOUT HER IS THAT SHE DIDN'T ANSWER THE PHONE WHEN BALDWIN CLAIMS SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO... Based on that you've decided she's a manipulative bitch.

On the other hand we know for certain that missing a phone call was enough to set Baldwin off on a disgusting tirade. But oh no, we must not judge him at all... wtf kind of logic is that.

And I NEVER said the kid is innocent, what I said is that we don't know what kind of kid she is, and that assuming she is NOT innocent is disgusting. And it IS disgusting. You have absolutely no evidence warranting such a conclusion.

There is at least SOME evidence (based on this recording and other episodes in his life) that Baldwin is a douche, there is none that Baldwin's daughter is the manipulative bitch you and a bunch of other posters are saying she is.

Joe said...

Revenant,

At no point did they speak of her they way Joe speaks of HIS kid.

Bullshit. I simply don't believe your parents never spoke an ill word among themselves or to a confidante about your sister. I'm equally sure they said things to her that many people here would consider horribly harsh.

The fact is that at her worse, my daughter could be a total bitch. Pretending that wasn't so is to lie about the facts of that behavior.

You (and Harkonnendog) also completely fail to understand my larger point; how a parent deals with a child is based on a history with that child. Baldwin's tirade actually very much supports this--he wasn't simply reacting to a phone not being picked up. This doesn't condone or condemn the words he used, but to explain that damning him in the manner than many here have is absurd, unfair to Alec Baldwin and wildly hypocritical.

Harkonnendog said...

This doesn't condone or condemn the words he used, but to explain that damning him in the manner than many here have is absurd, unfair to Alec Baldwin and wildly hypocritical....

The above applies to those damning the daughter as well. Again, there is more evidence to damn Baldwin than to damn the daughter. I've no problem with the idea that people shouldn't judge him because we don't know what's going on, but to demonize her is disgusting.

Revenant said...

Bullshit. I simply don't believe your parents never spoke an ill word among themselves or to a confidante about your sister. I'm equally sure they said things to her that many people here would consider horribly harsh.

I had a conversation once with a guy who couldn't believe I'd never wanted to cheat on my girlfriend, because he wanted to all the time.

All I can say is that it is human nature to believe that everyone shares your character flaws.

johnstodder said...

The man is literally throwing a tantrum at a little girl.

While the things he says are disgusting, I have a hard time seeing this episode as a fair opportunity to dump on Alec Baldwin.

*Parents are human. We all have buttons that our family members can push, even our kids.
*What kinds of things were said to Alec Baldwin when he was growing up? Let me guess...Long Island, Irish-American, family of boys, alcohol in the house...I'm thinking he got smacked around pretty good a few times, as I was. It wouldn't excuse what he said, but it explains the behavior.
*The divorce between Baldwin and Basinger was extremely nasty, and apparently remains so. Meaning, there is a context into which this behavior falls. We don't know it. Again, it doesn't excuse anything in his behavior, but we shouldn't judge him on this soundbite alone.
*How the hell did this become public? Doesn't whoever made it public realize they've intensified the damage?
*What do Baldwin's politics have to do with anything? Or his job? When it comes to being a parent, he's just a schlub like all of us parents. If we could lose our jobs or have our politics discredited because we lost our temper with one of our kids, the economy would come to a crashing halt.

Again, not excusing this! You shouldn't call your kid names. I don't call my kid names. But I do get angry with him, and I'm not always nice. That's part of being a parent -- sadly, to be human in front of your kids.

Maxine Weiss said...

Hey, it worked for the Great Santini.

Alec Baldwin, call me !!!

Revenant said...

What kinds of things were said to Alec Baldwin when he was growing up? Let me guess...Long Island, Irish-American, family of boys, alcohol in the house...I'm thinking he got smacked around pretty good a few times, as I was. It wouldn't excuse what he said, but it explains the behavior.

From the point of view of a scientist viewing a lab specimen the explanation for Baldwin having grown up to be a schmuck is potentially interesting.

As a person, I couldn't be less interested in what the root causes of child abuse are. People should the right thing no matter what their inner demons tell him to do. I'd also like to point out that while most abusive parents were themselves abused, most abuse victims do NOT go on to become abusers themselves. If you abuse your kids it isn't because your parents abused you -- its because you're a bad person, and being abused just brought that to the surface.

How the hell did this become public? Doesn't whoever made it public realize they've intensified the damage?

Who, aside from Baldwin himself, was damaged by the release of this tape? I suspect that when Ireland googles this incident later in life she'll take heart from the fact that most people thought her father was being a dick.

Bissage said...

You know what? I’m completely unimportant to Althouse’s blog, but I’m going to say this, anyway.

I used to do family work and I represented a drunk who: (1) hated his wife (for cheating on him); (2) hid income (so it wouldn’t get calculated for child support); and (3) called his fourteen year old daughter a “f*cking b*itch” in my presence.

Long story short: I talked him into giving up his custody battle.

It was the right thing to do.

Joe, you remind me of him.

I hope I’m wrong.

John said...

FWIW, I agree with Revenant who observes that experience shows that when people can't believe to be true what you say you have observed to be true, it is oftentimes because they haven't observed the same thing. To put it more simply, people read a lot of their own experiences into what they believe to be "obviously true."

I have a pretty reasonable, pretty liberal roommate who shocks the hell out of me once in a while. Being a mid-30s white guy from Vermont, when I told him my parents wouldn't have a problem with my marrying a black woman he told me that I was full of [bologna] because any white parent would have a problem with their child marrying a black spouse. I couldn't believe the words coming out of his mouth. I think the difference is that my parents grew up in New York City in the 60s and he grew up in rural Vermont where people still jump up and down at the chance to talk about how inoffensive they find the nice colored fellow down at the Grange Hall.

I remember a number of moments when my mother expressed her profound displeasure with both my siblings and me but never in a million years can I imagine any of those words coming out of her mouth. I think Joe is missing a bit of the point when he says he doubts "[Revenant's] parents [ever] spoke an ill word among themselves or to a confidante about [Revenant's] sister." This is hardly "an ill word" and it is certainly neither between themselves nor a confidante. Granted, there's the whole 'why-would-mom-release-this-question' aspect of things but ultimately, I think it doesn't matter when it comes to the idea that there are a lot of people who cannot even imagine these words being spoken to an 11-year old.

Fire him? Meh. I don't care. Just let me think of him as a schmuck in peace.

johnstodder said...

Who, aside from Baldwin himself, was damaged by the release of this tape? I suspect that when Ireland googles this incident later in life she'll take heart from the fact that most people thought her father was being a dick.

I'm just wondering if you have kids. I can't imagine someone with kids asking this question seriously, or going on to make the summation statement.

Kids want to be proud of their parents, even when they don't goet along with them. Kids are horribly embarassed when their parents fall short publicly. I cannot imagine this child is happy that her father is being put on display this way. She might think her father was being a dick, but if she's like most kids, it's nobody else's business, and it's mortifying that it's now the world's business.

The rest of the debate we're having here is just philosophizing. But the one thing I know for sure is whoever released this publicly did not have the girl's interests at heart, and has done a cruel thing.

Revenant said...

Kids want to be proud of their parents, even when they don't goet along with them.

Children do not always know what is best for them. That's why we call them children.

It used to be accepted that child abuse just wasn't something you let be publicly known -- it was a family secret, never spoken of to strangers. I don't think that is the right way to handle it. If Ireland really wants to be proud of her daddy no matter what, the right thing to do is teach her that it is okay not to feel proud of him when he acts this way -- not to quietly smile and nod, and leave the little girl to be verbally abused by the man she wants to love and respect. The latter option is what messes people up emotionally.

Kids are horribly embarassed when their parents fall short publicly.

So we're equating embarrassing children with harming them now, are we? Interesting.

mrs whatsit said...

Bissage, from one family lawyer to another -- I wish there were more lawyers like you.

As for everybody else, this discussion about whether or not an eleven- or twelve-year-old child is a bitch, based on absolutely no information whatsoever other than the fact that her father chose to call her names and somebody else chose to make that public, is disgusting and shameful. I have spent many years representing children in divorce litigation. Let me just say that parents who need to schedule phone contact with their children have great big huge problems that predate anything so picayune as whether or not the child answers the phone. If a court-ordered schedule is needed, there's already something profoundly wrong. And it isn't the child's fault.

In this conversation, we had two people: an adult, and a child. The people who are so determined to blame the child for the adult's behavior, even though they are ignorant of all of the rest of the history that led up to this conversation, really, really, REALLY need to stop and think about the nature of responsibility and the concept of maturity. Not to mention, the nature of love.

Harkonnendog said...

"this discussion about whether or not an eleven- or twelve-year-old child is a bitch, based on absolutely no information whatsoever other than the fact that her father chose to call her names and somebody else chose to make that public, is disgusting and shameful."

Mastery of the obvious.

mrs whatsit said...

It doesn't seem to be obvious to everyone here.

Harkonnendog said...

"It doesn't seem to be obvious to everyone here."

Mastery of the obvious, again. :)

Meade said...

johnstodder said...

...whoever released this publicly did not have the girl's interests at heart, and has done a cruel thing.

Absolutely right. Equally cruel is the person who recorded those words to a child.

Apparently, now that it is public and "although [he has] been told by numerous people not to worry too much," he is sorry for his behavior - a welcome small step in the right direction.

Meade said...

Bissage said...
... I’m completely unimportant to Althouse’s blog...

I respectfully disagree.

Internet Ronin said...

No, it sure doesn't! And thank you for pointing it out, mrs. whatsit. This child is only ELEVEN YEARS OLD. Probably a sixth grader.

Before today, I would say that almost everyone would agree that everyone loses in contentious child-custody battles such as this, and the biggest loser is usually the child. But not now.

How sad.

Internet Ronin said...

Bissage: I meant to say in my last comment that you sure aren't unimportant to this blog.

Internet Ronin said...

I saw that, too, Meade. Earlier today. For some reason, the message and the apology remind me of a couple of abusive drunks I've known. Always sorry afterwards.

Harkonnendog said...

Good apology. It started badly, it tailed off a little in the middle and the less said about the end the better, but apart from that it was excellent.

Johnny Nucleo said...

I do not have children, but I do have parents.

From the moment I was born, I was a selfish and wicked little bastard. My parents yelled at me many times about my wicked bastard behavior, but they did not do so in a crybaby pussy manner, like the big crybaby pussy Alec Baldwin.

My parents were adults. They were not Baby Boomers - The Crybaby Pussy Wicked Bastard Generation That Destroyed The West. They did not think "cool" was cool. They thought "cool" was stupidity perfected. They did not obsess about being young forever. They obsessed about "forever." They did not presume that they discovered the world and that it would end with them. They knew it would go on, and on, and on, and on, long after they were gone.

Their generation was, like most generations before them, imbued with a certain sense of humility.

The demonic Cho. The splenetic Baldwin. What's the connection? They are both Big Crybaby Pussies Who Are Wicked Selfish Bastards.

A stretch you say? Of course. I'm riffing here.

reader_iam said...

11-year-old girls are made of sugar and spice, and they never scheme and connive.

Anyone been to the Mall lately and seen some of the skanky teen trash lurking....Harridans all!

Oh, shame on me, it's the paucity of self-esteem. These girls are so fragile, how dare we crush the spirit of these withering damsels. Is there nothing more delicate than the precarious self-esteem of the adolescent girl?


Even if one were to give every single drip of your sarcastic (sardonic? satirical? ironic?--whatever) comment full credence, it does not change the fact that we're talking about the power of a 49-year-adult pitted against an 11-year-old child, and expressed, on the part of the adult, in terms of an aggrieved child, even as that adult is assailing that child for not acting like an adult.

Take the gender out of it. Take whatever else out of it. Add in the fact that humans do lose it. Etc.

Still:

[W]e're talking about the power of a 49-year-adult pitted against an 11-year-old child, and expressed, on the part of the adult, in terms of an aggrieved child, even as that adult is assailing that child for not acting like an adult.

What's so hard to grasp about that? Even if many parents--even if all parents--screw up similarly, that does not change the content of the previous paragraph one damn whit.

Age is not just a state of mind, no matter how often or by whom the opposite is stated, when it comes to issues of responsibility. It's largely a product of years spent on earth.

While it's true that any particular adult might not have reaped the benefit of many years so spent, that in NO WAY makes equivalent that person's actions to that of someone who has had just over a mere decade's worth of experience on earth, and in this world--and experience largely circumscribed, defined and determined by that child's parents.

What, for the sake of pete, God, rationality, logic, perspective, and whatever else, is so damn hard about grasping those fundamentals?

johnstodder said...

It used to be accepted that child abuse just wasn't something you let be publicly known -- it was a family secret, never spoken of to strangers. I don't think that is the right way to handle it.

Right. Of course. You think I disagree with this?

However, there's a big difference between telling the appropriate authorities and telling the whole frickin' world through a gossip outlet!

If this was Alec Nobody, an allegation of child abuse based on this tape would be investigated and, if proven, action would be taken to protect the child. But the child's privacy would also be protected by the courts, the police and social welfare. There is no theory of dealing with child abuse that holds that public shaming of the abusive parent is a good thing for the child. Sometimes it happens unfortunately, but Rev you're the first person I've seen applaud it.

The courts can do whatever they want to Baldwin if it's in the best interests of that girl. But I repeat, putting this tape out was cruel -- not to him, but to his daughter.

reader_iam said...

johnstodder (etc.): For the record, I condemned the leaking of the tape, many hours earlier, in this same thread.

"And" not "Or."

Freeman Hunt said...

Because some people disbelieve others who've already written it, I'll join the chorus:

My father would never, ever, have said anything even approaching that to me.

Of course, I was a pretty easy kid to get along with, and my father's a pretty unflappable guy, so take that for what it's worth.

If Baldwin were going to leave that message for anyone, he should have left it for his ex-wife. Why is she not ensuring that their daughter remembers and is available for his scheduled visitation phone call? I imagine that when he was leaving that message, he was likely thinking of his wife, not the daughter.

Dogwood said...

No matter how frustrated I get with my two daughters, ages six and two, I would never, ever verbally abuse them in such a way.

Yes, I turn on the stern fatherly voice to correct their behavior when necessary, but demeaning them in any way is unthinkable and unloving. Anyone who believes they have to demean to discipline a child has serious unresolved issues.

What we have here are two narcissistic parents using the child as a weapon in their divorce, and its pathetic behavior, regardless of who they are.

Bissage said...

Meade,

Thanks. That means a lot coming from you. I’m one of your biggest fans.

And Internet Ronin, too! Wow. Thanks. Again, a big fan.

[ Group hug! ]

Heh.

hdhouse said...

I was in a mall last holiday and a man was with what looked like his son and wife. He was being a pill and at one point, while in line, lashed out at his son in a similarly hurtful and simply mean spirited way. The kid looked like he wanted to die but after about 30 seconds he looked cold and just plain angry inside..as in "i'll never forgive or forget that".

i wonder what this kid thinks. he obviously has a shitforbrains jerk for a father and a mother who checked in her better judgment some time back.

now the entire world can revel or grovel in their family dirty linen.

isn't the true measure of a civilized country not in how we treat the least amongst us but as in how we treat our children....that might be a tie.

Jennifer said...

If Baldwin were going to leave that message for anyone, he should have left it for his ex-wife.

I agree with that.

Why is she not ensuring that their daughter remembers and is available for his scheduled visitation phone call?

Because she has spent years actively defying court ordered visitations. In fact, she's being brought up on contempt of court charges for that very reason.

I guess, given this message, you could make the argument that maybe her reasons for blocking his access to their daughter aren't bad reasons.

But, as far as I know, the court hasn't found that to be the case thus far.

Look, I think he was horrible to his daughter in this message. He doesn't appear to be a great father, maybe not even a good father. (Although, he *has* fought long and hard to remain a part of his daughter's life when it would be a whole lot cheaper and easier to just give up and walk away.) But when the hell did it become the case that we all gain audience to someone in their worst moments and pass judgments as if we were experts on their entire reality.

This reminds me of the frustrations of a friend of mine who has an autistic daughter. Her daughter acts out horribly sometimes, and people often make snide comments to her about what they perceive as a badly behaved child. They, of course, have no idea that she has severe autism and you don't just discipline that out of a child. But, they view a snippet of her reality and are convinced they have insight.

I was a horrible teenager and my mother did in fact speak to me this way on many occasions. I needed incredible amounts of discipline and I was very, very good at pushing her limits. Admittedly, she was not the most patient person and when she lost her temper she did so in a way that most people would not be proud of. But, on the whole, she was a very good mother. And, while I could have done without the verbal attacks, we can't all have perfect parents.

So, what exactly are we calling for here? Yes, he is an asshole. Yes, he was out of line in this message. And? What would you like to see done about this?

FWIW, he has filed against TMZ to attempt to find out who released this tape.

If it is found that in fact the mother did release this tape to the media, will that change anyone's opinion? Will that give you more insight into the ways that he has been pushed to his limits? Will you be willing to accept that when dealing with incredible frustration people sometimes lose control and unleash in ways that even they know they shouldn't?

I can't beleive I'm defending Alec Baldwin.

Jennifer said...

I forgot to add to my novel that it is my opinion that Ms. Basinger would not have withheld this type of evidence from the court in their very intense legal battle. So, it seems likely to me that this is the very first time he has lost it on a voice mail. And according to the court reports, this is nothing even approaching the very first time his scheduled calls were not received.

Meade said...

Bissage,
Thanks. The feeling is mutual.
I'd like to nominate this line of yours as Best-of-Thread:

My advice to Mr. Baldwin is to bear in mind that the words he speaks to his daughter might be the last words he speaks to his daughter -- FOREVER. It's trite but true.

Excellent universal advice.

zzRon said...

Dogwood said......"What we have here are two narcissistic parents using the child as a weapon in their divorce, and its pathetic behavior, regardless of who they are."

Yes, that sums up the situation very well, except I dont think "pathetic" is a strong enough word (though I cant come up with a better one). As smart as these Hollywood types like to claim they are, one would figure they'd have the brains to understand the emotional damage this type of behavior can do their children. But then again, most self centered, spoiled rotten egomaniacs don't think very logically most of the time.

rhhardin said...

There was nothing wrong with Imus's remark.

It was an amusing way to say what was going down, which was he was watching a clip of a heavily tattooed women's basketball team, and it was amusing because he expressed it in the same dysfunctional and narcissistic black culture idiom that the tattoos expressed.

That said, it wasn't particularly inspired, but more reassuring in showing that the road to truth wasn't yet blocked in America. Imus is a relief from the media, to his million listeners.

It was a completely average insult, among the dozens he issues each day , to fat people, to managers, to listeners, to black people, to celebrities. Each one keeps a road open.

A difference from Baldwin is that Baldwin is working from hate. Imus is working from a love of truth via amusing observation.

What's maddening about the Imus affair is the inability of people to read the situation, and their inability to care about the failing. It's surely a fault in Eng. Lit. 101, but maybe even that is gone today.

Whatever the MSM puts out as interpretation is true, with no Imus to contradict them. You'd think the blogs would step in on it.

Imus didn't come off well in caving to the pressure. He took the right stand on Thursday after Nappy Wednesday, telling the complainers to worry about something important, but reversed himself by Friday and was all apology. Somebody really got to him, and his own love of truth disappeared. Then they fired him anyway.

damozel said...

I heard a heartbroken, frustrated father saying the sort of thing that parents say in moments of extreme frustration. He also said he would fly across the country to straighten her out and then fly straight back again. That's love.

Plus: Maybe she IS a rude, selfish little pig. If so, she needs to hear it. No wonder kids today are so thin-skinned if this has created so much uproar or if they must never be "demeaned" by parents.

It's really none of my business, and no one should have been privy to this conversation, but things are all over the shop now, and I adore Alec Baldwin AND his politics, so...

Meade said...

http://www.paawareness.org/default.asp