Alec Baldwin is hot right now. He is an outspoken Hollywood liberal beloved by the media and cultural elite. But in his private life, he's a bit of an asshole. What are we going to do about Alec?
His career hasn't been this hot since he came off The Hunt for Red October and was chasing Kim Basinger in the tabloids. He costarred in It's Complicated which made a bunch of money, he keeps winning awards for Emmy bait 30 Rock which has a solid audience and is a hit with the smart set, and he is about to co-host the Oscars next month. Busy guy!
But in the midst of this he was taken to the hospital after threatening his teenage daughter, Ireland, that he was going to kill himself after they got into a fight. Then, on the way home from the hospital he attacked a photographer. All this pales in comparison, however to the infamous voicemail tirade he left his daughter three years ago calling her a "piggie" and other horrible names.
Sure these aren't on the same level as some Hollywood meltdowns, but Baldwin clearly has a very troubling approach to parenthood. Why doesn't Hollywood and the scolding celebrity industrial complex care that much that he yells at his daughter and manipulates her with death threats? Maybe it's because they like his work and he's a liberal. After all, the film-making establishment and Oscar voters forgave Roman Polanski for raping a girl in the '70s because he's such a "genius," why not overlook the fact that Alec Baldwin likes to cuss out his kid?
The culture isn't so forgiving to other stars that it doesn't like or who are too conservative. Crazy cult member Tom Cruise jumped on one couch and everyone is ready to write him off. And that wasn't even that crazy, he just wanted to profess his love for a contractually-obligated lady. Still, we saw it everywhere with massive dissection about how he was mentally unstable, and it is continually brought up when assessing his declining box office draw. Even though he seemingly treats his daughter very well—letting her wear lipstick and high heels aside—he still faces the scorn. Many have given up on his movies not because of their quality, but because he's a creepy, furniture-jumping Xenu-lover of the highest degree.
God-loving über-Christian Mel Gibson went on a drunken rant about how Jews control the weather or some shit, and he will never ever ever again be an insider in the biz (though the $17 cajillion bucks he made on his Christ-torturing movie still make him a power player). That's because his work is schlocky, he's way too conservative, and he pissed off the wrong people. Granted he is still a raging prick, so maybe it's best that we keep ignoring him.
Baldwin isn't nearly as bad as Gibson, but it seems like his personal life can't affect his professional life. Why? Because everyone fawns over his work and he is such a supporter of liberal causes that the conservative Page Six has forever labeled him the "bloviator." Welcome to the party, darling, treat your children however you want! The success of million-dollar enterprises such as movies and television programs are based on something as intangible as whether or not the audience likes the star. And the power firmament's decision whether or not personal behavior will affect career performance is just as fickle—it comes down to the fact of whether or not you're in favor. But if a star is in favor, his personal failings will fall by the wayside in the hope that his professional successes (which stand to make a lot of people a lot of money) won't be affected.
What are we going to do about Alec Baldwin? We're going to keep watching of course, knowing that as soon as he falls from the industry's good graces, he's toast.