My Photo
Location: Manchester, New Hampshire, United States

Saturday, April 21, 2007



(CHICAGO)(April 21, 2007) lists Alec Baldwin
as one of last week's biggest losers. His tirade left on a voice-mail for his daughter has been broadcast around the world. But perhaps Alec Baldwin is going to be the long-term beneficiary of his unfortunate misstep. My thought: we may be ignoring the real reasons behind his angst; he had to endure a Norma Desmond moment from his former wife Kim Basinger.
Over the years I have casually followed the Baldwin-Basinger divorce. And no, for this column I did not go back and do extensive research on the minutiae of what happened and when. It was/is a divorce. Two big egos battling for their child.
And yet, I think in the long run society will cast a more sympathetic eye on Baldwin.
First, here is a man whose career is on the rebound (busy, busy, busy), and who nevertheless religiously and meticulously makes time to call his daughter. He is to be commended for struggling to stay in his daughter's life. His outburst was prompted by the extreme frustration he felt because his daughter was ignoring his efforts to keep in close contact.
Some day, long after this latest episode has blown over and is forgotten, Mr. Baldwin's daughter will feel sad about the way she treated her dad when he was struggling to stay in touch. Ross Werland made this point in the Chicago Tribune (April 20) when he noted, "a lot of non-custodial parents sure know what he's feeling."
After all, in most divorces there are two parents, a custodial parent and a non-custodial parent. Divorce lore is littered with episodes of harassment by the custodial parent, which results in tragedy inflicted as revenge by the non-custodial parent.
At least half of the divorced population will sympathize with Baldwin. Here is a man struggling to stay in touch with his daughter-just as she's on the cusp of an age where she will need "dad" more than ever—and he is being blown off by daughter and vengeful mother.
No one can condone Mr. Baldwin's outburst. It was unfortunate. But, as Jesus might remind us, all of you perfect people round up your stones and get in line.
So, if this was merely another round in a custody dispute we wouldn’t be writing. This newspaper, after all, is called Contrariran ("non-custodial?)
No, what I found interesting, and obviously ignored by the national press, was the Norma Desmond aspects of this parental slap shot.
"Norma Desmond" is the star of the movie "Sunset Boulevard."
By all evidence, Baldwin's career is doing fine. His TV show has been renewed; he's in the movies. He is aging gracefully.
Kim Basinger may not be doing so well. She's still making movies but her career is not "talked about." She is in slow decline. And so, she unleashes what I call her Norma Desmond moment.
Everyone agrees Baldwin should have been more tactful with his daughter. No one should speak that way to his or her child. But he has obviously experienced extreme and continuing provocation. And he didn't leak the tape to the world's media, Kim Basinger did.
Her Norma Desmond moment.
Baldwin might be doing well, but she might not be doing quite as well. She wanted to remind Alec that "I am [still] big. It's the pictures that got small." In other words, even as his star rises and her star declines or remains steady, she is still in a position to cause emotional chaos for Baldwin with his daughter. This is a very common kind of divorce tactic. You see it all the time. Rising parent harassed by the declining parent. Greed and revenge at their rawest.
But Basinger's slap shot may be a dirty trick that backfires. Clearly, the leaker of the tape put the emotion welfare of daughter second and revenge foremost.
Unlike the poor, unemployed, usually minority group schlub who is being pummeled by the federal and state government because his ex-wife wants revenge in divorce court, Baldwin has the resources to fight back and strike back. Thus, taking a shot at him might make the leaker feel good in the short run, but it is sure to cause a headache in the long run.
And so, while Kim Basinger might have had her moment or moments of Norma Desmond satisfaction when Baldwin was embarrassed around the world, in the long run she may be the real loser.
She received bad advice, and she acted on bad advice.
A slap shot that may end up slapping her in the face.
Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers regional, national and world news with forty years of personal experience. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639 Web site:


Post a Comment

<< Home