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Was Will Smith really to blame for that Oscars slap — or was it the fault of his “vile feminist thug” of a wife, Men’s Rightsers ask

When a man resorts to violence to “defend the honor” of his wife or girlfriend from rude comments from another man, it’s worth asking if the violence really has anything to do with the woman in question.

Immediately after Will Smith whopped Chris Rock upside his head on live television Sunday night he yelled to Rock, who had made a quick joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, to “keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth.” But I don’t think the slap had much if anything to do with Rock mocking Pinkett Smiths hair — and implicitly the alopecia that led to her shaving her head in the first place.

No, I think what was really bothering Smith was the constant barrage of jokes about his admittedly complicated, and perhaps open, marriage. He was tired, I think, of being called a “cuck” because of his wife’s alleged infidelity (which may have only taken place during a time when the two were separated). After several jokes on the subject from the main stage at the Oscars, it seems he wanted to punch someone, and when Rock made his mean little joke he became that someone.

Smith wasn’t protecting his wife, who responded to the joke with an eye roll and nothing more; she didn’t tell him to do anything on her behalf. No, it looks to me like Smith was trying to assert his masculinity after having it questioned for years. Rock’s hair joke was the excuse, not the reason, for the slap. But if Smith hoped this show of “toxic masculinity” would convince people to stop calling him a “cuck” and worse, he was wrong.

Indeed, the insults flew faster than ever — especially among those who blame Pinkett Smith’s “infidelity” and Smith’s acquiescence to his alleged “cuckold” status, as the real reason for the slap. And that brings us to the Men’s Rights activists of Reddit, who came up with an explanation of events that is almost the polar opposite of mine — and in which Jada Pinkett Smith is the real villain.

Many of the commenters on the Men’s Rights subreddit took a perverse pleasure in calling Will Smith a “cuck,” a “simp” and a “punk ass bitch” who felt compelled to defend the honor of a woman who didn’t deserve either honor or a defense.

“What kind of man would try to defend his wife’s ‘honor’ when this same wife publicly cheats and humiliates him,” asked ninodelumbre.

I … think C. Rock was just trying to help W. Smith by showing him that he could do so much better then being attached to baldy the cheating wife.

“You cannot defend the honor of a woman who has none,” agreed asura227.

You accomplish nothing but making yourself look stupid. Will Smith – cuckold of the year 2022.

“I didn’t even realize they were still together,” snorted Jbr74.

I lost more respect for him staying with that sexually promiscuous, adulterating, philandering low-life piece of trash, gaslighting, narcissistic human being.

“She can take a dick but she can’t take a joke,” laughed kamenghost.

After quoting Smith, who yelled to Rock to “keep my wife’s name out of your fucking mouth,” TAPriceCTR declared “Man, keep other men’s cocks out of your wife’s damn mouth.”

Never mind that as far as we know, Jada had one relationship, with one man, during a time when she and Will were unofficially separated.

The cuck jokes never ended.

“Did Will get to fuck Jada last night, or only watch?” joked pushing-rope.

“Impotent cuckold rage was on full display,” added YourPillsAintWorkin.

Others argued that Smith was the real victim — of Pinkett Smith’s cuckolding.

After describing the two as “Hollywoods premier feminist couple” (?) , thread-starter NeoNotNeo declared that “Will proclaiming he was defending his family is BS. He hit a man because of his wife’s fragile ego.”

“I think Will Smith is pretty clearly in an abusive relationship.,” offered a DIY psychologist called Scrubadubdub82 in a comment that got nearly 300 upvotes.

I think this is what feminist abuse in a relationship looks like. Men being made to look foolish for the wife’s ego. Men feeling obligated to do their wife’s bidding. Being told you’re toxically masculine if you ever stand up for yourself, but told you’re not a real man if you ever let your wife have to deal with even the smallest slight herself.

One commenter wondered aloud why “a wealthy and successful male actor who has access to some of the most beautiful girls in the world [would] stay with an old bald female that cheats on him?”

“Don’t victim blame,” responded someone called Omz-bomz.”

There can be lots of reasons why.

Being in an abuse relationship doesn’t always allow you to take rational decitions, or to see how bad the situation really is. From what we know she is manipulative and abusive and gaslights him into thinking it’s his fault.

We know nothing of the sort. We know that their relationship is complicated, and that it has sometimes been bad. And that’s about it. But calling her all these things is classic Men’s Rights “activism” at its worst. Leave it to the MRAs to blame the only person in this triangular standoff who didn’t do anything wrong — just because she’s a woman with her own ideas how relationships should work.

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Elaine the witch
Elaine the witch
1 month ago

I’ve slaughter chickens with more intelligence the squack.

He’s now taking his ball and going home! Bunch of mean ol hag bitches lol

contrapangloss
1 month ago

I dunno, if he can keep out of the gendered profanity, I’m kind of okay with the whole “Squack Presents: Rejected Verses from You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” aesthetic for a bit.

I mean, at least he’s trying?

Well, not trying to have reasonable conversation because I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t have lead with the verbose version of “y’all dumb” and would have actually bothered to do things like define over-socialized when Alan demonstrated knowledge of the academic meaning if he’d had that intent, but trying in other areas.

And trying in multiple senses of ‘trying’ too, for good measure!

contrapangloss
1 month ago

Anyways, don’t take my vote too much into consideration: I’m just a drive-by skim reading commenter at the moment.

Life, it is busy.

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
1 month ago

Hey, with any luck, in a couple of years Squack will look back on this little episode, cringe, and be grateful that maturity finally kicked in.

Gaebolga
Gaebolga
1 month ago

@Victorious Parasol

Your optimism is refreshing.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
1 month ago

pokes head in

Is it clear now?

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
1 month ago

@Vicky P: you have my sword red pen for the Oxford comma. (And parentheses) (And yes, Spanish ruins the surprises with the ? and ! up front)

Jazzlet
Jazzlet
1 month ago

The Oxford comma is an esential part of clear writing (mind I have to say that having been bought up, and therefor schooled, in Oxford where I was taught to use it many years ago). Although a f^cked up laptop keyboard and the medicines conspire to wreck my writing however much I proofread, so these days I’ll only rag on people who citicise others punctuation, spelling or grammar first. Going soft in me not quite old age.

Will Squacklette stick the dismount? I do hope so.

@Elaine the witch I should think you’ve slaughtered chickens with fewer sqawks than the Squacklette

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
1 month ago

@Quack:

This is a motherfucking weekend, I am not wasting it on school work.

No, it seems you prefer wasting it on run-on sentences.

So many run-on sentences …

Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
Kat, ambassador, feminist revolution (in exile)
1 month ago

@Squack

You lack respect, you lack culture, you lack art, you lack vertebra.

The word you want is vertebrae.

You all have problems, deep-seeded problems, I’m here to say.

The word is deep-seated.

Happy to help a troll.

Lizzie
Lizzie
1 month ago

My fave misunderstood phrase is “doggy dog” instead of “dog eat dog” – We live in a doggy dog world! By the way, Andrew Cotter’s twitter feed about his dogs, Olive and Mabel, is worth a look for dog lovers.

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ kat

you lack vertebra.

Maybe the French lingerie shop ran out of green items⸮

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ lizzie

worth a look for dog lovers.

I also recommend Pixie and Brutus; for all your dog and kitten needs.

comment image

(Brutus is one of my role models)

Victorious Parasol
Victorious Parasol
1 month ago

Pixie has the same personality as our beloved Monsieur FLOOF. He was very floofy and very sweet.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
1 month ago

I believe that Pixie and Brutus exemplify a dynamic known in shipping circles* as “the grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one” 😏

*my research is not rigorous. It is devoid of rigor. It is so slapdash as to be indistinguishable from rough-cast plastering, and is in fact confined to “things I have stumbled across and fallen over pretty much at random or at least without any sensible organising principles whatsoever”

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
1 month ago

This is a motherfucking weekend, I am not wasting it on school work.

Yes, we can see you don’t waste much time on school work no matter what day of the week it is.

No shape in geometry can capture the horrors of whatever you Iscariots see in the mirror each morning

Are our faces supposed to be perfect hexagons, as opposed to…uh…face-shaped?

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

There was a legal case about Oxford commas. Nice summary here…

Jazzlet
Jazzlet
1 month ago

@Alan Robertshaw

As you say, nice summary.

GSS ex-noob
GSS ex-noob
1 month ago

@Alan: See? Justification! Millions of dollars might ride on an Oxford comma. Or maybe just an inadvertently-amusing sentence.

I personally used to occasionally catch up on homework on weekends, but what do I know, I only had a scholarship to one of the country’s premier engineering schools and an active social life.

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
1 month ago

@Alan – Have you heard about the Case of the Defamatory Missing Australian Apostrophe? https://www.abajournal.com/news/article/missing-apostrophe-in-facebook-post-leads-to-defamation-suit

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
1 month ago

At least it’s only money. A missing ten-cent thumbnail-length cotter pin cost dozens of lives one time. Long story short, for want of a cotter pin an airplane was lost…

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ buttercup

I hadn’t; but thank you. That was an interesting read; and got me pondering.

I was wondering how it might be interpreted in the English courts. Over here the defamation judges are developing quite a bit of case law on social media posts. The general approach is that, although technically libel, the fast moving and spontaneous nature of social media posts means they should be treated more like slander. The idea being they just engage, at best, transient thoughts.

It’s a feature of defamation practice generally that judges explicitly say not to approach words as lawyers would. It’s what the average reader would think at first blush, without too much analysis. (In cases, judges read the offending article/post first, before considering any of the legal pleadings. So they form a first impression, without the possible influence of other parties’ argued meanings.)

But how does that apply to grammar? Is there a hypothetical standard of average literacy to be applied?

I’m not aware of any cases here on that (and I pretty much have read all of them).

Surplus to Requirements
Surplus to Requirements
1 month ago

I’d say that’s a good reason to have all defamation cases tried with a jury, picked to be representative of the audience before which the contested statement was made, and to have the jury read or hear the contested statement first and give a ruling on whether they took it seriously as damaging to the plaintiff or whether they saw it as satire, laughable, obviously-false, or non-damaging, or something, instead. A (possibly different) jury would subsequently rule on the other elements — evidence that the statement was false-to-fact, and evidence that its originator made it knowing it was false, or with reckless disregard for its accuracy. Plus any possible aggravating factors (racial bias motivation, say).

The distinction you draw between slander and libel is interesting. It seems to me that there are three salient factors here that differ between “traditional slander” (spoken) and “traditional libel” (in print, as in dead-tree-and-gooey-ink):

  • Slander, as you noted, is likely to be “off the cuff” whereas libel, under traditional conditions of scarcity and expense of getting a substantial physical print run distributed, tended to require some premeditation, and often willing accomplices too. So, there’s a difference here not unlike that between second-degree and first-degree murder.
  • Slander tends to be more ephemeral … at least as long as it doesn’t become established via rumor-mill. It could also still be spoken into the one ear that actually mattered, e.g. the victim’s boss or other person in a position of power.
  • Slander usually comes from a source, and in a form, that gives it little imprimatur of authority. Libel, traditionally, at least had to have money or substantial resources backing it, and often had the weight of authority of a New York Times masthead or equivalent behind it. Even anonymous pamphlets wafting down onto the rooftops and streets of a town came from an organization capable of getting a chunk of time on a) a printing press and b) a helicopter or airplane, lending it more weight than one random drunk in a bar mouthing off.

Social media kind of throws these things into a cocked hat. Posts can be anywhere from off-the-cuff to carefully planned and calibrated to maximize the chance of “going viral”; and most social media platforms provide some way to pay for extra exposure, which doesn’t necessarily clearly mark the affected posts as paid advertisements. The ephemerality is intermediate between traditional print and spoken: on the one hand, the post is likely there-and-gone in the never-ending river of your newsfeed; on the other, if someone saves the permalink or screenshots it then it can resurface and lose that ephemerality. And of course the source can be a verified account of a prominent public figure or organization, or it can be a default avatar with no checkmark and a username like “sockpuppet4882331”, so the authoritativeness of the source can run the full gamut as well.

My verdict would be that the distinction between slander and libel is more-or-less useless in the social media context; that distinction would need to be replaced with a continuous impact-severity spectrum based on the ephemerality vs. persistence of the comment (with a persistent viral meme being more severe than a comment that quickly sank and never resurfaced) and on the apparent authoritativeness of the source (tweeted or retweeted by prominent public figures or trusted organizations, vs. just anons and nobodies, and the cumulative recognizability and trust those public figures and organizations have), and a maliciousness-of-intent scale that captures two more axes: off-the-cuff vs. premeditation and careless bullshitting vs. brazen lying. One of these already matters in determining “actual malice” when deciding if a public figure has been defamed, which suggests one final axis of impact severity: where the victim lies on the prominent-figure-or-org-vs-random-nobody scale. The former are both more able to self-help and weather these things without serious consequences, having a strong platform from which to launch rebuttals and typically a better line of retreat as well (if Elon Musk loses his job because of a malicious lie he retires to some privately-owned tropical island full of chocolate trees, coffee plantations, and naked women; if you lose yours you might find yourself living in a cardboard box and drinking rainwater), and are more important to subject to public criticism, as their choices are more consequential for us all than are those of Joe Schmoe.

Of course, prominence is not the only factor in determining if it was “punching up” or “punching down”, as all of the non-class axes of oppression must be taken into account as well.

Once any such new, generalized system were applied to social media, though, there wouldn’t really be any reason not to extend it to everywhere else. For example, if a spoken slander becomes the basis for a persistent rumor, it’s stopped being ephemeral, and if that rumor subsequently passes the lips of a CNN anchor on-air, it’s stopped not-being-backed-by-an-authoritative-source as well. At that point it may as well have been print libel as far as impact is concerned. The reverse can also happen: a nasty rumor handwritten on notepaper and passed in grade school before being confiscated by the teacher, crumpled up, and tossed in a wastebasket is unlikely to have the impact typically associated with libel.

Alan Robertshaw
1 month ago

@ surplus

a jury, picked to be representative of the audience before which the contested statement was made

We no longer have juries in defamation cases here; but that is the exercise the judge undertakes. The idea is to interpret the statement as would ‘the man on the clapham omnibus’. Hence the deliberate ‘don’t think like lawyers’ approach.

Of course sometimes you know who the statement was made to; and you can ask them how they interpreted it. That crops up for example with references. At the other end of the spectrum there’s a publication to the world at large. That’s when you try to imagine the completely average reader. This is the definition we use:

“The hypothetical reasonable reader is not naïve but he is not unduly suspicious. He can read between the lines. He can read in an implication more readily than a lawyer and may indulge in a certain amount of loose thinking but he must be treated as being a man who is not avid for scandal and someone who does not, and should not, select one bad meaning where other non-defamatory meanings are available. A reader who always adopts a bad meaning where a less serious or non-defamatory meaning is available is not reasonable: s/he is avid for scandal. But always to adopt the less derogatory meaning would also be unreasonable: it would be naïve.”

With social media though it’s somewhere in between. You might not know exactly who’s online; but you can get a feel for the demographic. And judges can take that into account.

For example, imagine a highly polarised bulletin board. Someone from Side A posts a derogatory statement about a hero of Side B. You could argue that Side B supporters wouldn’t believe it, and Side A supporters already have a low opinion of the subject. So, as the test for defamation is ‘lowers esteem’ no harm has been done; as no-one is likely to change their opinion.

It is also now necessary to show ‘serious harm’ was actually caused or likely to be caused (for businesses that’s serious fiscal harm). And you have to show that with evidence. There’s generally no presumptions of harm now (with a few exceptions like allegations of serious crime, or disparaging someone in their trade or profession).

But it’s interesting that the points you make about the nature of social media very much reflect how the judiciary approaches such cases now.

The current standard advice from judges if someone tweets something bad about you is just to tweet back.

Fred B-C
1 month ago

Squack is great! He’s done “nothing” to deserve bad treatment, except insult the intelligence of the entire commentariat, call people “really dumb”, and calling someone a “Hag!”

How hilarious that his utter lack of personal responsibility is displayed in a thread about men refusing to hold Smith to account for his own behavior.

And the claim that MRAs never turn on each other, despite this site being riddled with examples of manospherian backstabbing? Even better!

Last edited 1 month ago by Fred B-C
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