Alec Baldwin has popped up in my inbox twice this month: first in this New Yorker profile, followed shortly by a copy of his new book “A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce.” Both times I’ve been struck by how into himself he is. Consider this passage, in which Billy Baldwin describes his brother’s plan for a movie starring all the Baldwin siblings:
“Basically, it was: Daniel’s the outlaw; I’m the riverboat gambler who [is good with women], the shallow, good-looking sap; Stephen’s the village idiot; and [Alec]’s the [freaking] hero! He’s the one who saves the day at the end; he’s the Clint Eastwood. If you’re looking for how my brother thinks about his brothers, and how he always felt about his brothers, that’s it. That ’s the movie he wanted to make with his brothers.”
There’s another little vignette that sheds some light on Baldwin’s personality; for much of the piece, he complains about how he never gets to see his daughter, how she’s being kept from him and how much it hurts. And then, in the telling of the New Yorker’s Ian Parker, he is approached by Marci Klein, a senior producer of “Saturday Night Live”:
“[Klein] had been pressing him to host again. He has hosted the show thirteen times. At fourteen, he would draw level with Steve Martin, the record holder. ‘Nobody does the show better than Alec,’ Klein said to me. ‘Nobody.’ Baldwin said there was no time. They argued back and forth.
“‘Seriously,’ Klein said.
“‘It’s my daughter’s spring break! It’s my only vacation! With my daughter! It’s my daughter’s spring break!’
“‘She’ll have fun!’
“Baldwin’s resolve was slipping. He said to his assistant, ‘Do me a favor, give me the phone. I’m going to call Ireland. I’m going to see what she says. The not-so-little Ireland. Five feet ten. Five feet ten!’”
I’m sorry, Alec, you can’t have it both ways. You don’t get to whine and moan about not seeing your daughter then blow her off when SNL comes knocking.
But the coup de grace comes in the introduction, when he writes “To be pulled into the American family law system in most states is like being tied to the back of a pickup truck and dragged down a gravel road late at night. No one can hear your cries and complaints, and it is not over until they say it is over.”
So, just in case you missed the analogy, getting a divorce is akin to one of the ugliest hate crimes in the last decade. Seriously, Alec: get over yourself.