Financial Mirror (Cyprus)
A slap at the Oscars and for the Kremlin
It took a slap at the Oscars to divert world attention away from the war in Ukraine, with some secretly wishing that Will Smith could do the same to someone in the Kremlin.
Shortly before being awarded the Oscar for best actor, Will Smith took umbrage at a joke that presenter Christ Rock uttered about his wife, Jada.
The GI Jane joke was not one of his best, but Will Smith first seemed to smile, then quickly decided the jibe went beyond the pale and walked up to his fellow black celebrity and slapped him.
Chris took the assault like a rock and navigated his way expertly through one of the biggest moments in Oscar and broadcast history.
We later learned that the joke was close to the bone, as Jada suffers from the incurable hair loss disease of alopecia, which is why her head is shaved army style.
And the usually likeable Smith has set an unwanted precedent of assaulting a comedian who tells a joke you don’t like.
The essence of humour is always at somebody else’s expense; that’s not to say that comedy should be vindictive, nasty or hateful.
Needless to say that Chris Rock’s stand up shows are now sold out on the back of this infamous incident.
It was also announced by the motion picture academy that Smith was asked to leave the Oscar venue after his violent altercation but refused to exit.
Although how he was told isn’t quite clear, seeing as he was allowed to pick up his award and give a tearful ‘I love everybody’ speech.
Smith, who won for his portrayal of tennis dad Richard Williams in King Richard, began his speech with, “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family,” a coded explanation for the incident with Rock.
He apologised to the Academy and his fellow nominees, with no mention of the elephant in the room – Rock.
Afterwards, there was an apology on Instagram — “I was out of line. I was wrong.”
But Smith’s five-minute acceptance speech concluded with: “Art imitates life. I looked like the crazy father, just like they said about Richard Williams. But love will make you do crazy things.”
Understandably, we all lose our cool at times, but it’s usually in the supermarket or with a call centre but not live at the Oscars.
The ‘outraged’ Academy could go hardcore and either strip Smith of his Oscar or ban him from being a member.
Rock hasn’t said much and is still ‘processing what happened to him, although video footage after the slap shows him looking dazed and confused.
Warmonger Putin could also be feeling the same way after he tried to smash Ukraine into the ground but got a heavy slap in the face back.
Putin’s venture into Ukraine is pointless, unprovoked, and brutal in its callousness, but a propaganda war is being fought just as hard.
Russian soldiers in Ukraine believe they are there to fight the Nazis and liberate the Russian-speaking population from genocide.
They quickly discover that Ukrainian Russian speakers do not want to be saved, there is no genocide, and the Nazis were defeated in WWII.
There is also an intelligence narrative in the West that Putin’s inner circle are afraid to tell their paranoid leader the war is going badly.
According to the experts, there is turmoil in the Kremlin, with Putin feeling misled by Russian generals about conscripts being deployed in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Red Army wasn’t told it was invading
Hardline Russian generals are said to be reluctant to tell Putin the truth about the invasion going pear-shaped with mutiny in the ranks.
It is also claimed that Russian forces have “accidentally” shot down their own aircraft while others refuse to take orders.
To be fair, prewar Western intelligence has been proven correct.
They forecast Putin would order the invasion of Ukraine and attempt a quick victory by encircling Kyiv and other major cities.
As progress has slowed, Putin resorted to his sledgehammer tactics of bombing cities into the ground and starving their inhabitants into surrender.
The Kremlin misjudged the Ukrainian appetite for a fight, and they will not surrender, no matter how heavy the bombardment or hardship.
Ukrainian forces have managed to push back the Russian advance or hold the line while the West tries to tread a thin line of helping with military equipment but not getting involved.
So, if they can’t fight the good fight, they are giving Russian propaganda a run for its money.