Matt Welch on Alec Baldwin’s latest Twitter meltdown:
Baldwin’s core issue with new media – he slags Tumblr, Vine, MySpace, Facebook, and more – is that they level kings and queens and even celebrities into a mosh pit of direct, unmediated exchange that is hard as hell to control. It turns out that there’s really no red carpet or champagne room when it comes to the way that stars (read: world leaders, sitcom heroes, famous authors, former child actors, you name it) are treated.
Baldwin sputters that the very tools he can use to bypass “the mainstream media and talk directly” to his audience also empowers all those dim people out there in the dark. What’s more, his followers have minds of their own. They may enjoy his turns in Glenngarry Glenn Ross and 30 Rock and guest-hosting on Turner Classic Movies but not really find his views on fracking to be worth a damn. It’s a real kick in the pants for a celebrity to be reduced to asking, “Do you think I’m really changing anybody’s mind?”
Celebrities also exist in bubbles, which social media pops without hesitation. Baldwin first starting making real money around the time of The Hunt For Red October, which is almost a quarter century ago now. In that time, there have probably been very few people — if any — who could tell him No. And I don’t mean to single out Baldwin. This applies to pretty much anybody above a certain income/net worth/celeb status.
Then they go on Twitter and get told a lot more than just No. That has to be a painful experience. Shocking, too. And in your third decade of being told how brilliant and handsome and talented your increasingly-bloated ass is, maybe it will make you lash out.
Baldwin can’t trust himself to behave properly in the social media realm and should stay far, far way from it — but who is there to tell him he shouldn’t?
That’s why he’ll be back, and that’s why the cycle will repeat itself yet again.