Friday, April 27, 2007


Where do I start?

There is nothing unusual or surprising about this story, about 49-year old actor Alec Baldwin:
Baldwin to apologize for calling daughter a pig
Not the story itself, nor any of its details, nor the fact that it blares off the web page of CNN, nor the fact that my internet explorer homepage, the Dell default page, listed it as one of the top three stories of the morning.

Nothing in the least noteworthy. And yet I have to comment.

Here's the lead, right off the wire of the respectable Reuters news agency:
Actor Alec Baldwin will apologize to his daughter on national television on Friday for calling her a "thoughtless little pig," according to excerpts from a pre-taped ABC interview released on Thursday.
Apparently, Baldwin is in a raging custody battle with his former wife, Kim Basinger, over this self-same TLP (thoughtless little pig). When Baldwin's ranting voice mail message calling the 11-year-old a TLP wound up on the internet, this thing blew up. Was it Baldwin's publicist, or his divorce lawyer, or both who recommended that he apologize to TLP on The View?

Baldwin certainly is not to blame for a social system in which celebrities' personal heartaches are national news, even though he chose to make up with his daughter indirectly, by speaking to 11 million of their closest friends.

But what pushed me over the edge, from eyerolling to a guffaw, was this one additional detail. When a fading, one-time A-list megastar is upset by a bitter custody battle with his one-time mega-babe A-list ex-wife and then calls their daughter, over whom he's trying to increase custody rights, a "thoughtless little pig," furthering his own feelings of alienation and emotional pain, what shrink does he turn to?

Why... Dr. Phil, of course!

I guess it stands to reason that a movie star figures that only a media-star shrink will really understand his problems. Dr. Phil and Baldwin had "an intense, far-reaching conversation" (Dr. Phil's words) about the situation between Baldwin and his daughter. How do we know this?

Well, in the highest traditions of psychologist-patient confidentiality, we know this because Dr. Phil himself announced the fact on Larry King Live.

Dead on sir, but I do have a soft spot for Alec based on his role on Thirty Rock, which is a very fine 30 minute sitcom. It was a little poor the first few episodes, but really found its stride and is a very fresh, funny and non-formulac venture.

Kim Bassinger is no longer A list.
The whole thing is ridiculous. I haven't been paying attention at all to it, except for the conversations it's sparked on my stepmother support groups (where many of the members have been in custody battles at least as onerous as this one).

And I am angry with 30 Rock because it survived while Studio 60 didn't.

The only Baldwin I like at all is Adam (and he's not of that family).
"Where do I start" is the perfect opening.

The story is a target rich environment, too rich! When ever a big fat juicy target appears--before even a full thought can be formed--boom! Another bigger, juicier one looms into view.

30 Rock is good though. Hopefully Mr. Baldwin won't get sacked over this, the show won't be as good without him.

Why would Baldwin get sacked over this? This happens constantly in broken homes - especially when non-custodial parents are continually frustrated in their attempts to make contact with their offspring, and when the custodial parent is busy alienating that child from the other parent. He just said out loud what many are thinking.

It happens so frequently, there's a entry for it in the DSM-V (the Big Book of Psychological Disorders). It's called "Parental Alienation Syndrome" or PAS.

And Basinger should be concerned about Baldwin's ability to earn money because that will directly affect her child support income.
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