The World According To Alec
Alec Baldwin published an open letter on New York Magazine's Vulture blog where he renders an opinion on everything from Shia LaBeouf to New York City to MSNBC (and naturally the paparazzi). At the end of the "Gone With the Wind" missive, he resigns. Kind of. In case you don't have a half hour to read the piece, here are the high notes.
Reaction to being labeled a "homophobe"
Speaking to a gay rights group in Hawaii: "I want to learn about what is hurtful speech in your community. I want to participate in some programs about that. Or underwrite one. And then, like you, I just want to be left alone."
"And I'm trying to understand what happened, how an altercation on the street, in which I was accused — wrongly — of using a gay slur, could have cascaded like this. There's been a shift in my life. And it's caused me to step back and say, This is happening for a reason."
On the paparazzi
"[Add to that] predatory photographers and predatory videographers who want to taunt you and catch you doing embarrassing things. (Some proof of which I have provided.) You're out there in a world where if you do make a mistake, it echoes in a digital canyon forever."
"I'm self-aware enough to know that I am to blame for some of this. I definitely should not have reacted the way I did in some of these situations. I don't have these issues with waiters, traffic cops, store clerks."
"They say this is what comes with stardom — I don't agree with you. A journalist isn't supposed to write a lie about you. If he was in New York, I might have had the impulse to beat the s*** out of the guy. At the time, I didn't view 'toxic little queen' as a homophobic statement. I didn't realize how those words could give offense, and I'm sorry for that."
Words of wisdom from Warren Beatty
"When this whole thing happened, Warren Beatty, who is mystifyingly intelligent and wise, said to me: Your problem is a very basic one, and it's very common to actors. And that's when we step in front of a camera, we feel the need to make it into a moment."
On 30 Rock
"People loved 30 Rock. And I loved 30 Rock. I mean, sometimes you do a show that's a hit show and you hate it. As my agent used to say, you don't want to be walking down an alleyway with a flashlight in your hand for ten years, doing some police procedural. We had a ball. And everybody was funny. And I'll never laugh that way again. And I miss that show terribly."
The truth about Shia LaBeouf (according to Baldwin)
"There was friction between us from the beginning. LaBeouf seems to carry with him, to put it mildly, a jailhouse mentality wherever he goes."
"You could tell right away he loves to argue. And one day he attacked me in front of everyone. He said, 'You're slowing me down, and you don't know your lines. And if you don't say your lines, I'm just going to keep saying my lines.'"
"So I asked the company to break. And I took the stage manager, with Sullivan, to another room, and I said one of us is going to go. I said, 'I'll tell you what, I'll go.' I said don't fire the kid, I'll quit. They said no, no, no, no, and they fired him. And I think he was shocked."
On his brief stint with MSNBC
"My goal was always to take a talk show to the network. I never wanted to be on MSNBC."
"Morning Joe was boring. Scarborough is neither eloquent nor funny. And merely cranky doesn't always work well in the morning. Mika B. is the Margaret Dumont of cable news. I liked Chris Jansing a lot. Very straightforward. I like Lawrence O'Donnell, but he's too smart to be doing that show. Rachel Maddow is Rachel Maddow, the ultimate wonk/dweeb who got a show, polished it, made it her own. She's talented. The problem with everybody on MSNBC is none of them are funny, although that doesn't prevent them from trying to be."
"I wasn't out to get anybody or make anybody look bad, because I know what that's like."
"They said, Rob Lowe's going to be in the building. Do you want to interview Rob? I said, 'Not particularly.' Rob's a famous star of films, TV. He's Rob Lowe. He's famous. But there's no shortage of outlets for him. And they looked at me like, You really don't get it."
On the media
"MSNBC, in its own way, is as full of s***, as redundant and as superfluous, as Fox."
"If MSNBC went off the air tomorrow, what difference would it make? If the Huffington Post went out of business tomorrow, what difference would it make?"
"[Harvey] Levin (of TMZ) has so little regard for the truth, which is odd, knowing he was once a legal correspondent for the CBS affiliate in L.A."
On his charitable works
"When 30 Rock went into syndication, I sensed that I was going to be on TV for a bit, so I crafted my arrangement with Capital One Bank to fund my foundation for charitable giving. They paid me $15 million over nearly five years. After taxes and accounting fees, I will have given all of it, $14.125 million, to charity. After the TMZ event, Capital One did not renew my contract, although it politely said the two things were unrelated."
America and politics
"I think America's more f***ed up now than it's ever been."
"The heart, the arteries of the country are now clogged with hate. The fuel of American political life is hatred. Who would ever dream that Obama would deserve to be treated the way he has been?"
"I had dreams of running for office at some point in the next five years. In the pyramid of decision-making in New York City politics, rich people come first, unions second, and rank-and-file New Yorkers come dead last. I wanted to change that."
"As progressive as I've been in my politics, there are other things I don't think of as liberal or progressive, just common sense. Of course, another thing I would have done — and this will not surprise anyone — is change the paparazzi law."
"There was a time the entire world didn't have a camera in their pocket — the first thing that cell phones did was to kill the autograph business. Nobody cares about your autograph. There are cameras everywhere, and there are media outlets for them to "file their story." They take your picture in line for coffee. They're trying to get a picture of your baby. Everyone's got a camera. When they're done, they tweet it. It's … unnatural."
"I want the same thing everybody else wants. I want a happy home, and for the first time in my adult life, I have one. I love my wife more than anything in the world and I love my child more than anything else in the world and I don't want that to change in any way."
On quitting show business, kind of
"I started out as an actor, where you seek to understand yourself using the words of great writers and collaborating with other creative people. Then I slid into show business, where you seek only an audience's approval, whether you deserve it or not. I think I want to go back to being an actor now."
"I've lived this for 30 years, I'm done with it."
"And, admittedly, this is how I feel in February of 2014."