Actor Alec Baldwin was on 60 Minutes last night discussing the infamous voice mail in which he called his daughter a "thoughtless little pig." Baldwin said his behavior was "totally wrong," but also offered so many excuses for the outburst that it made me wonder if he isn't going to lose some of the public goodwill he's built up in the year since the call surfaced. Here's how my own thinking on Alec Baldwin has evolved (along with a video except of Baldwin on 60 Minutes):
First I was aghast at the call and thought Baldwin was an awful person, despite having loved a lot of his work hosting SNL (Bill Brasky sketch! Canteen Boy's scout master!). Then after the subject came up with friends a few times I decided I was probably being too judgmental, since divorces can be emotionally torturous and since Baldwin seemed remorseful. Then I saw 30 Rock and was officially a fan.
But this clip kind of takes some of the luster off the guy again for me. Why can't he just say "it's totally wrong" to berate your 11-year-old daughter that way and then leave it at that? He talks about how terrible the divorce and custody fight was, how terrible it was that the tape leaked, how all these other smart people he knows lose their tempers with their kids, and how the media made things so much worse. And then he said a key lesson in the whole thing is to be nicer to his daughter on voicemail.
Baldwin's behavior, in this one case, was appalling. By pointing fingers and sounding less than entirely repentant he makes it harder to laugh along with his often-incredible moments as an actor.