The Oscars were on last night, too. As the three or four of you know, comedian Chris Rock made a joke about Jada Pinckett. Her husband, Will Smith, got out of his front row seat and slapped Rock across the face.
"Keep my wife’s name out your f— mouth."
Today, Will Smith apologized.
Last week, Indiana senator Mike Braun questioned the wisdom of Loving vs. Virginia, the landmark supreme court case that legalized interracial marriage across America. Braun was asked (twice) - Do you support “leaving the question of interracial marriage to the states?"
"Yes," Braun said.
A few hours later, Braun apologized, saying he didn't understand the line of questioning.
Over the weekend, our president gave a speech about the war in Ukraine. In an off-the-cuff comment at the end of the speech, Biden said of Russian president Vladimir Putin:
“For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power."
Today, Biden said he was expressing "moral outrage," not calling for regime change... and that he is not "walking back" his comments.
Two men - Smith and Braun - apologize. One man - president Joe Biden - does not. What gives? What are the rules? When should a man apologize? Here's the dangers for each man.
Braun - racist
Smith - violent
Biden - ?
With Braun and Smith, it's at least partly about money and career. Braun cannot be seen as a racist. He may run for governor of Indiana. As a matter of speculation, he may actually switch places with current Indiana governor Erik Holcomb. Indiana, for all of our faults, won't elect a white man seen as a racist by the rest of the country. A lot of black people live within a few miles of the governor's mansion.
And Smith? He's a darling of the moviemaking business. It would hurt his career immensely to be seen as an angry, violent man... an angry, violent black man. He's the Fresh Prince of Bel Air turned serious actor. Bill Murray of a different race. You can be pissed and protect the honor of your wife... but you can't attack a man on international TV and expect the world to hug you as you win an Oscar. His apology was needed and inevitable.
But what about Biden? He won't back off his comments. He's not Senator Braun. He's no Will Smith. Is Biden sending a dog-whistle to the Russian people that they gotta get rid of the whacko at the top? Is it a threat? Is it a mistake?
We may never know. If the war in Ukraine escalates - chemical weapons, tactical nuclear bombs - some will blame Biden's reckless comments. Me? I figure it really doesn't matter. Putin's gonna do what Putin's gonna do. If anything, a little strength helps.
Where does that leave me? I say thousands of words a day on radio and TV, and I write thousands more to the three or four of you in this ridiculous blog. A lot what I say or write is stupid. I pay the rent with stupid. But eventually, I'm gonna say something so stupid that I'm gonna have to do what Mike Braun and Will Smith did. I'm gonna have to apologize. I hope you'll accept it. I mean it in advance.