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Last Night At The Oscars Will Smith Reminded Us That Behavior Modification Still Rules America

That was something I would never, ever expect from an actor I love and respect.

4 min readMar 28, 2022


I didn’t watch the Oscars last night. I don’t watch enough movies anymore to really get into it. I might if life was not constantly calling to me to participate in it. Life imitated art last night at the Oscars when Will Smith walked up to Chris Rock and slapped him after he crossed a line with a joke.

I was surprised that Will Smith was offended by some words uttered by Chris Rock enough to walk up and slap him. We can hear the slap in the audio. And Rock avered that “Will Smith just slapped the shit out of me!” I just happened to catch that on Twitter last night. I played the video again on YouTube this morning and heard the audio very clearly.

I saw a few tweets expressing admiration for someone so chivalrous as to “defend” his wife by slapping someone else for their words.

And yet, I’ve seen and heard Will Smith telling us to move beyond the words of criticism by others. I’ve seen him on TikTok talking about how punishing other people doesn’t work and that we should learn to just talk about our differences and deal with them. I’ve seen Will Smith talk about forgiveness and punishment in the same context, together.

That man who slapped another is not the man I knew from his words promoting kindness and understanding.

For those of us who noticed, that incident tells us a lot about the mental state of our country. It reminds us that there are still many, many people out there who think that punishment is an appropriate response to a mistake. “Dude, he knows better than to talk that way about someone else’s wife.”

If Chris Rock knew better, why did he still do what he did?

Was it a lack of knowledge, skills, or capacities? I know that if it were me, I’d be sweating up there on stage. I’d be thinking more carefully about how to handle everything until the next commercial break, or for the rest of the night. I’d have been shaken to my core if someone I loved and respected had slapped me in the face.