the death of Celebrity- ramifications of The Slap

tw: sexual assault

in the aftermath of The Slap, many celebrities have been called out for their revilement of will smith’s actions, and their problematic histories have also been called out. for example, zoe kravitz’s instagram caption of her at the oscars derided The Slap (somewhat) implicitly, and what unfurled on twitter was… enlightening to say the least. she was (and i use this word lightly) “exposed” for having an inappropriate relationship and allegedly grooming a 14 year old Jaden Smith (see tweets below)

indeed, there are many other actors who have been “exposed” in the backlash to The Slap:

  • jim carrey- sexually assaulting a 19 year old alicia silverstone at the oscars in the 90s & perpetuating ableist anti-vaxx propaganda in the 2000s
  • andrew garfield- defending mel gibson despite all of the shit he’s done, wearing a durag {author’s note: i know this is racist but i still find the image hilarious}
  • judd apatow- letting known sexual predator james franco harass people on the set of freaks and geeks

but that is not the main focus of this article (the discourse about The Slap has rapidly accelerated to self-parody and bad tiktok recaps, and so doesnt really need a direct response from me). the main focus is how famous people now do not exist like they used to- instead of commanding unwavering adoration and having all negative press removed in favour of the a-list, very few celebrities pass by without a blemish on their record- be that a bad tweet from the past, support of somebody who is infamous for being problematic, or engaging in amoral, legally reprehensible actions themselves. how has this happened, what does it do for the Discourse, and why does it seem to happen far more often now?

of course, the obvious root cause of this is social media- specifically, the “stan” culture of the late 2010s that has been cultivated and grown from niche community to renowned, thinkpiece-provoking (ironic, i know) bastion of the internet. no one can merely like anybody anymore- they have to be revered or reviled. you cant find someone attractive online without devoting oneself to them or justifying it with a reason- usually linked to an intense cultivation of one’s Main Character Syndrome (once i saw someone say that they should be left alone for liking mark wahlberg because their dad left them at a young age- not ironically). this is much more linked to the fact that one cannot like or dislike anything anymore without an intense justification- but that article can be written up at another time. however, there are many other reasons for it. indeed, there are positive aspects to the increased amount of cancellations. people feel more comfortable voicing their experiences with sexual assaults/predatory, and especially in the wake of the MeToo movement, people feel far more comfortable raising awareness about horrible figures in their lives. in addition, it is a breath of fresh air to see discrimantory behaviour called out for what it is- the scourge of early 2010s online culture (extremely and unabashedly pejorative) seems to have finally dissipated.

in the wake of The Slap, many different takes were “discussed”. they were many, they were brain-rotting, and they stopped being fun within a day. sigh. here are a few of my favourite takes (short read, good article). this discourse was interesting as it was such an odd intersection of all Discourses- race discourse, toxic masculinity discourse, cancel culture discourse (metairony, i know), and wokie discourse. everybody on my side of twitter (sad, post-ironic, leftist agitprop spreader, meta-commentary twitter) seemed to come to the conclusion that the slap was somewhat justified, and people were taking it far too deeply. however, whenever people went against will smith, everybody seemed join in on the “cancelling” (not actual cancelling, but for the sake of semantics). it seemed like people just enjoy other people being dunked on, and have an innate desire to join the group! let us be in your show! who cares that people knew about these before and were merely holding onto these for a pileon!

no one can be a celebrity anymore. for better or for worse, everything that comes up must come down. everybody is somewhat problematic, and anything that becomes popular eventually causes something else to become popular in return. everything has a side. join one. the internet is a hell of our own creation. a mere purgatory, pure tribalism behind a facade of high-tech horseshit. apathy is a revolutionary ideal. all famous people are unlovable.

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