Weasel Words

By now, everyone’s heard about Alec Baldwin’s profane rant at his daughter via voice mail.

And a good chunk of America – including some who’d claim to know better – has taken sides; Baldwin is the bad guy, according to much conventional wisdom.  And of course, calling your daughter a “pig” is very, very bad form, to say the least; don’t do it, Dads.

And yet. 

In most of these divorce squabbles, it does indeed take two to tango.  And while venting at his daughter was a very bad thing, the fact is that Baldwin’s ex, Kim Basinger, is providing ample grounds for anger:

Basinger is facing trial on 12 misdemeanor counts of criminal contempt for allegedly disregarding court orders concerning Baldwin’s visitation rights.

 I’ve known a lot of divorced dads in my day – guys who don’t have publicists, who can’t even afford lawyers to go to court over things like their ex-wives keeping their kids from them (although they’re happy to cash the child support checks).  For most of these guys, guys who don’t have Baldwin’s resources to fight endlessly in court, the anger turns inward; depression, self-destructive behavior, booze.   The simple fact is – as Basinger’s record shows – there are very few serious consequences for interfering with a father’s visitation in this country.

Once you get past the flagrancy of Baldwin’s tirade, the question you might ask yourself is – “Who’s the pig?

“Kim Basinger did not release the voice mail. Additionally, the voice mail was not sealed under a court order,” said publicist Annett Wolf.

Catch that?  “We deny releasing it, but there’s nothing saying I can’t, so it’s not illegal even if I did!”

Baldwin’s voice mail was stupid.  And I make no claims to clairvoyance; I don’t know that it was the result of pent-up anger and frustration over Basinger’s apparent sabotage of his relationship with his daughter.  But, Baldwin’s politics aside (way aside), I’d like as a father to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Because it might seem he’d have it coming.

23 thoughts on “Weasel Words

  1. That was a bit ugly of him. I can’t help thinking how obnoxious that whole family must be, though – kid included. He’s probably lucky that “pig” is about the worst he let fly out of his mouth. Also, if you think about his scene in “Glengary” – I bet he really nailed that call with his daughter – I bet he really put his heart into that line.

  2. Sorry, Mitch. Any parent who talks that way to an 11-year-old should be horse-whipped. The fact that his ex is a nut does nothing to change that.

  3. Sure, horse-whip Baldwin.

    But Basinger should certainly get the same. Interfering with visitation is below scummy.

  4. “But Basinger should certainly get the same. Interfering with visitation is below scummy. ”

    Then write a post that tears into Basinger exclusively instead of including lots of “Baldwin was wrong of course, but…” language.

    “Sure, horse-whip Baldwin.”

    follows…

    “I’d like as a father to give him the benefit of the doubt.”

    Which is it?

  5. Mike,

    Which is it?

    Both.

    Seriously. I’m aghast that anyone would talk to his kid that way – taking out his frstrations with Basinger on the daughter. And I think the frustrations of the divorce industry, which allows “people” like Basinger to endlessly get away with alientating (allegedly) the daughter from Baldwin, would be enough to drive anyone around the bend.

  6. I’m not sure what’s more disgusting – a father who leaves an angry voice mail calling his 11 year old daughter a “pig” or a mother who releases it to the media so that the whole country can hear it repeated over and over again.

  7. Thorley,

    Exactly my point.

    That, and those who are piling on Baldwin and giving Basinger a moral walk on this are misguided.

  8. I was all set to rip into AC but, but, damnit, she got this one right.

    Criminy, that’s twice in less than a month. What’s up, AC, you been listening to Rush or something?

    .

  9. Thorley,

    Baldwin didn’t just call his daughter a name.

    It’s shitty when one parent tries to turn a child against the other by blaming their ex for everything. Baldwin tells his (11 year old) daughter that SHE’s the source of her parent’s troubles. That’s exponentially worse.

    Basinger sounds like a real piece of work too.

    Child protection agents should have stepped in the minute Alec and Kim announced they were naming their daughter “Ireland”.

  10. Angryclown is the only rational person in America, nate. When you agree with Angryclown, you are on the side of Truth.

  11. angryclown: It must be very ronery being the “only rational person in America”, making great prans, but nobody ristens, nobody understands…

  12. I hate to agree with angryclown, AGAIN dammit. I guess I would put this in the same general neighboorhood as hitting your wife/girlfriend. Yeah, I can understand why a woman could drive you crazy, BUT you should never have hit her. Kind of like that Chris Rock line from years ago. It must be crazy frustrating to deal with a vindictive spouse who plays around with your visitation and turns your kids against you and the courts do nothing about it, yet you just cant take it out on your 11 year old kid. Go back to irrationally taking it out on Bush and/or us evil Republicans, like he has for the past 6 years or so. Not the kid.

  13. It’s shitty when one parent tries to turn a child against the other by blaming their ex for everything. Baldwin tells his (11 year old) daughter that SHE’s the source of her parent’s troubles. That’s exponentially worse.
    I don’t disagree but as exponentially worse as that may be – how much worse is it for Mom to put that out in the public so the whole world knows that Dad may have said that about his daughter? One parent may have told the child that she was the source of their troubles (I didn’t hear that part but I’ll assume its true for the sake of argument) but another was willing to publicly hurt and humiliate the child even further just to get back at the other.
    It seems to me that the judge issued a gag order for a pretty good reason – one of which was to prevent either parent from dragging the kid through this crap. Whatever value the voicemails have in showing whether Baldwin is a fit parent or should have custody or even unsupervised visitation can be accomplished by playing them in a sealed courtroom or the judge’s chambers. The only reason to put them in public – which only increases the pain and humiliation the daughter must be going through by having a public record of it to follow her around for the rest of her life – was for Mom to hurt Dad even if their daughter has to suffer more in the process.

  14. Thorley,

    For the record, here’s the bit I’m talking about.

    “I don’t give a damn that you’re 12-years-old or 11-years-old, or a child, or that your mother is a thoughtless pain in the ass who doesn’t care about what you do.”

    “This crap you pull on me with this goddamn phone situation that you would never dream of doing to your mother,” screamed Baldwin, “and you do it to me constantly over and over again.”

    I don’t disagree with your point about Basinger’s subsequent actions.

  15. We don’t know how bad things are chez Basinger, behind the scenes, but this has every earmark of being very bad, of the classic divorced Mom using the kid as a flail to beat up the divorced hubby, regardless of the damage done to the kid.

    Doesn’t justify Baldwin’s bozo behavior, of course.

  16. My own theory is that the daughter was (rightfully) pissed at the message from Dad, and SHE put the message in the public domain to expose Dad’s actions and embarass him to better behavior.

  17. AC,

    You think the daughter of 2 A-list hollywood types can’t find this? Better go back to your coma.

    Both mommy and daddy have people who have that on speed dial. Or have talked about the gossip pages and rags in front of Ireland. I have no doubt that she was aware of different gossip outlets. Even given her parentage, she probably has at least average intellegence, and can use a computer.

  18. In fact, I bet Ireland orchestrated the whole thing to get publicity for her upcoming Girl Scout Cookie sale.

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