Did you ever read something or have a conversation that made you look at long held assumptions in a different light?
An excerpt from his self-penned arrivederci in NY Magazine.
“ “I spent 25 years working hard for the issues I care about. When 30 Rock went into syndication, I sensed that I was going to be on TV for a bit, so I crafted my arrangement with Capital One Bank to fund my foundation for charitable giving. They paid me $15 million over nearly five years. After taxes and accounting fees, I will have given all of it, $14.125 million, to charity. After the TMZ event, Capital One did not renew my contract, although it politely said the two things were unrelated. AT&T had booked me for a paid speech in Orlando—and then canceled. WNYC lost funding for my radio show. Bill de Blasio, who apparently gets his news from TMZ, too, distanced himself from me.
Now I loathe and despise the media in a way I did not think possible. I used to engage with the media knowing that some of it would be adversarial, but now it’s superfluous at best and toxic at its worst. If MSNBC went off the air tomorrow, what difference would it make? If the Huffington Post went out of business tomorrow, what difference would it make? Arianna Huffington accomplished what she wanted to accomplish. She created this wonderful thing. And what have they done with that? They want clicks, I get it. They’ve gotta have clicks for their advertisers, so they’re going to need as much Kim Kardashian and wardrobe malfunctions as possible. The other day, they had a thing on the home page about pimples. Tripe. Liberal and conservative media are now precisely equivalent.
I’m aware that it’s ironic that I’m making this case in the media—but this is the last time I’m going to talk about my personal life in an American publication ever again.
When this whole thing happened, Warren Beatty, who is mystifyingly intelligent and wise, said to me: Your problem is a very basic one, and it’s very common to actors. And that’s when we step in front of a camera, we feel the need to make it into a moment. This instinct, even unconsciously, is to make the exchange in front of the camera a dramatic one. Perhaps I fell for that.
In the New Media culture, anything good you do is tossed in a pit, and you are measured by who you are on your worst day. What’s the Boy Scout code? Trustworthy. Loyal. Helpful. Friendly. Courteous. Kind. Obedient. Cheerful. Thrifty. Brave. Clean. Reverent. I might be all of those things, at certain moments. But people suspect that whatever good you do, you are faking. You’re that guy. You’re that guy that says this. There is a core of outlets that are pushing these stories out. Breitbart clutters the blogosphere with “Alec Baldwin, he’s the Devil, he’s Fidel Baldwin.”
Broadway has changed, by my lights. The TV networks, too. New York has changed. Even the U.S., which is so preposterously judgmental now. The heart, the arteries of the country are now clogged with hate. The fuel of American political life is hatred. Who would ever dream that Obama would deserve to be treated the way he has been? The birth-certificate bullshit, which is just Obama’s version of Swiftboating. And all for the electoral nullification that seems like a cancer on the American system. But this is Roger Ailes. And Fox. And Breitbart. And this is all about hate. It’s Hate Incorporated. But the liberals have taken the bait and run in the same direction—and it’s just as corrosive. MSNBC, in its own way, is as full of shit, as redundant and as superfluous, as Fox.
I think America’s more fucked up now than it’s ever been. People are angry that in the game of musical chairs that is the U.S. economy, there are less seats at the table when the music stops. And at every recession, the music is stopping.
Am I bitter about some of the things that have happened to me in the past year? Yes, I’m a human being. I always had big ambitions. I had dreams of running for office at some point in the next five years. In the pyramid of decision-making in New York City politics, rich people come first, unions second, and rank-and-file New Yorkers come dead last. I wanted to change that. I wanted to find a way to lower the cost of the city government and thus reduce New York’s shameful tax burden. I would have decentralized the schools. My father was a public-school teacher. He always told me that although you could encourage a child to work hard, you could only go so far; that half the goal had to be achieved at home. As progressive as I’ve been in my politics, there are other things I don’t think of as liberal or progressive, just common sense. Of course, another thing I would have done—and this will not surprise anyone—is change the paparazzi law.”
“Christians are being persecuted. (sniff).”
“We are being denied 0ur freedom to discriminate. It says so right here in the Bibl…. I mean owners manual”.
“Oh, it’s not so bad. You can discriminate all you want! But if one of my cousins has a hissy tizzy, you won’t be able to use my Dad this time to get out of trouble. Remember what we talked about?? But not to worry, remember who’s by your side! But from now on, you need to be discriminating in your discrimination, OK?”
“OK. (sniff.) Can I go back to writing my science book now?”