Tetmeyer: The Oscars prove that we are all humans


Courtesy of Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Columnist Grant Tetmeyer discusses how we are all subject to human impulses — even celebrities like Will Smith. 

Grant Tetmeyer

God, the Oscars were amazing.

No, not all the lavish decorations or sets that were used. Or all the ridiculously expensive attire that will only be worn once but needed to be created because you can’t wear the same thing twice to a yearly event.

It wasn’t even the in memoriam, where we all get to see the few people we actually know that died so the Academy can tick a box. No, the only memorable moment came during the smack heard round the world. Or at least around the American European bubble we live in.

And I agree with Chris Rock. That has got to be one of the greatest moments in television history.  

Unless you live under a rock or don’t go on social media, you know that Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s head, which is shaved clean because of her struggles with alopecia. After cracking said joke, Will Smith proceeded to laugh then stand up. He walked up to Chris on stage. And then he smacked the entire taste out of his mouth. And I mean, it was a good smack.

You can hear it clear as day on any recording of it, and I’ve seen a number.

Of course, with anything like this, the first question everyone had is why. Why would Will do this? Why did Chris crack that joke? Did Jada tell Will to smack him?

The speculation began almost immediately, and I’m sure it became even more elevated after Smith won best actor, which seemed like a forgone conclusion. It then became about how he will respond and how the Academy will respond.

Once Will slapped Chris, the whole world went into question, and we missed probably the most important part of that event. We witnessed a human moment at one of the most staged events in the world.

Motives and jokes aside, what we all witnessed was the messiness of being a human.

If you strip all of the glitz and glamour away, what you have is a man with very public relationship issues whose wife is being made fun of by a comic on stage.

I know by those metrics, this is just another day. I’ve seen enough small comedy shows where people get up and confront or even try to assault a comedian because of what was said on stage.

The only difference here is that the three people involved all happen to be extremely rich and famous. And it’s a testament to human nature that even some of the best people at manipulating that nature are, in the end, still subject to human impulses. Like smacking someone for putting your wife’s name in their mouth. 

This will undoubtedly lead to higher viewership for the awards, which is always good for everyone who profits off of it. But don’t expect another moment like this.

This is just a rare glimpse into the power that human nature has. But, as I said, these are the people who are best at hiding it.