Colleen's thoughts on writing, directing and coaching, and her unique take on life itself!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Alec's reprehensible rant

This hurts.


I am a huge fan of Alec Baldwin and his work.

He is an extraordinary talent and person. I interviewed him last year - his personal warmth, sense of humor, professionalism and desire to help others succeed in this business were clear; the words of wisdom he passed on to movieScope readers profound.

But with the release of the recorded horrific tirade against his 11 year-old daughter, Ireland, he is facing the personal trial of his life: whether to maturely take full responsibility for his actions and make a determined effort to grow up - or not.

To change how he deals with the misery that has been his spiteful divorce proceedings with ex, Kim Basinger - or not.

The PR nightmare resulting from the public airing of the abusive recorded message to his daughter has only been compounded by his reaction.

On his website, he makes an apology and tries to explain his behavior, in part saying that he regrets the words he used (like calling her a "pig") and that his anger was the result of six years of essentially being kicked around through custody battles by his ex-wife.

Here's the problem: there is no acceptable reason, explanation or cause for a father to verbally abuse his child. As in, ever.

If his gripe is with Kim Basinger, that is where he needs to direct his feelings - and has for six years, as she has directed hers against him - with Ireland caught in the middle.

As a parent, his role is to protect his daughter from people like him. To step in between people who for whatever reason personalize and attack children for something over which they have no power.

As a parent, his role is to let go of any feelings other than love, support, care and protection for his child.

The fact that he is attempting to explain his behavior tells us that he's trying to make himself somehow right or that his response would make sense if only we knew more about what *he* is going through.

Alec, that is the point.

It doesn't matter what you are going through. Your role is to protect your kid. Support, nurture, care for and about her.

I know he didn't come up with this abusive behavior in a vacuum. I have no doubt his own childhood and background play a role in his outrageous outburst and that the past six years have worn on him.

But the most important lesson a parent must learn is to stop making himself or herself the center of attention (he and Basinger have both failed to do this); the child should become the most important center of attention for parents the moment she's born.

I hate to think of Ireland being "brainwashed" by Basinger against her father, but he doesn't help his case by portraying himself as a victim rather than suck it up and be a responsible parent.

He spoke to his daughter as if she were knowlingly abusing him - as if he were the target of abuse - while he was in fact abusing her.

He does not seem to comprehend that his role as a parent is to try to understand why she does what she does and help her learn problem solving skills to avoid hurting other people - including him.

What a sad state of affairs for his child.

Who released the tape and why is a subject for the courts to decide. That has nothing to do with his daughter or being a good parent.

I join the chorus of people who care about him, who cry out that they wish he would get counseling to learn how to be the most effective, loving parent despite what he is going through in his divorce custody battle.

His behavior is inexcusable, as is Basinger's.

I join another chorus of people who wonder why these two 49 year-old chldren can't stop making the case against one another more important than the welfare of their child.

Adults can tell children over and over again that they did not cause a divorce. Even if they intellectually understand that - kids still feel and believe that it is their fault.

Kids may even feel at fault for a parent's personally abusive tirade directed specifically at them, when, in fact, it's all about an adult who is incapable of behaving like a responsible parent.

Whoever released the tape doesn't seem to understand that Ireland will suffer from knowing that the public heard her daddy belittle and abuse her so vehemently; reliving those vile, hurtful words along with millions of adults and kids who not only knew that he treated her this way, but heard it for themselves word for word.

Messages left on machines never go away. As in, never.

One of Baldwin's punishments for abusing his child will be that he will have to listen to this tape played in media over and over the rest of his life. The stories they air will have no relation to it, but they will play the message, nonetheless.

I believe it will also cost him jobs.

But all of this should pale to the punishment he suffers minute after minute, forced to live with the fact that he actually spoke to his child so abusively, using those hurtful words, that spiteful tone, with the unmistakeable motive of threatening and trying to scare her into behaving the way he wanted her to.

When we go to war, the first thing each side does is dehumanize the "enemy." That is what Alec and Basinger have done to one another. Now that duo is triangulated to include their innocent daughter, who is only guilty of being born to two people who now clearly and destructively hate one another.

The result, as in any war, is that a child grows up with a certain understanding of hate, enemies, an unfriendly world, believing it's them against the world, hating themselves for "causing" the war, and the probability of being abused by people he or she chooses to love, because that is how they interpret "love."

There's still time to turn it around. Grow up. Both of you. Find out how to deal with your feelings. Love your child enough to stop putting her in the middle of your adult idiocy, using her as a weapon to get revenge against one another.

The sooner you do this the sooner you'll stop being a punch line on late night TV - and the subject of blogs like this one! You have made this private affair the public's business - because we have witnessed a little girl be verbally abused, no matter the "cause" or who is to "blame"!

Divorce lawyers - how about earning your huge fees working in the best interest of the child; stop dividing these people any more than you have; help them become the world's best parents - and positive public role models for couples who are undergoing equally venemous divorces.

Only because of its already public venue, I suggest that Alec and Basinger get together with Dr. Phil to understand how to relate to their child in the most healthy way before it's too late. It would be a public service because there is no longer the possibility of privacy; show others how to save their kids from the hell this infamous couple has already put their daughter through.

Dr. Phil, take the wheel.

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