There's a teenager inside all of us.
Is your inner teen a bully?
By now everyone on the planet has seen Angelina Jolie's right leg. If you were watching the Oscars, you couldn't avoid it on the Red Carpet or the stage. And if you missed the Oscars, you've no doubt seen some version of her awkward leg pose photo-shopped just about everywhere. I did see the Oscars so I was privy to the pose as soon as it happened. Angelina strode out on stage to the microphone, placed her hand on her hip, thrust out her now infamous right leg, tossed back her hair and gave a throaty laugh. She was a movie star presenting an award for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Was it weird?
Did I think, Wow, what the heck does she keep doing with that leg?
But that's not the whole story.
Let's fast forward to Jim Rash & friends (Nat Faxon and Alexander Payne) receiving that award. Rash came up on stage, accepted his coveted Oscar from Angelina Jolie and then proceeded to mock her in front of the entire world. The audience laughed. Alexander Payne, who was speaking at the time, wasn't sure why anyone would be laughing at what he'd just said so he turned to his left and saw Rash in the "Jolie stance." You don't have to be a body language expert to know he was miffed. Payne finishes the speech and the guys all leave the stage. That's where most of the "hilarious" accounts and videos you're seeing of Rash's mockery end.
Here's what happened next.
Rash, Payne and Nat Faxon left the stage; Angelina was still there. She had another award to present. And she did. But she was very different from the Angie who had strutted so confidently across the stage. Her demeanor changed entirely. Her voice lost its power. She was no longer smiling. Her right leg? Well, that remained covered up. She was humiliated. Her pain was palpable. Can someone please tell me, what is funny about that?
Rash later said he was paying homage to Jolie, a "loving tribute." Nice try. I've no doubt that's the spin he came up with after the tongue-lashing I'm guessing Alexander Payne gave him on exiting the stage. It was obvious that Payne thought Rush's mockery was inappropriate. And it was. It was also downright cruel.
Angie's right leg thrust was very, very weird. I think we all agree on that. But here's the thing: She was on stage standing beside him when he made fun of her ... in front of her peers, her friends, her family, and pretty much, the world. This was the Oscars not SNL. Not only that, but Rash had the gall to make fun of the very person who handed him his Oscar. Most people kiss or hug or otherwise acknowledge the presenter. How many times have you ever seen someone mock their presenter? Zero. And that's not because Rash is the only "comedic genius" to ever win an award, it's because it simply isn't cool.
Rush is the teenage bully, the mean boy who makes fun of the Prom Queen on stage. The guy who gets a laugh at someone else's expense. What's so genius about that? So what if you dislike Angelina Jolie? So what if she posed in an awkward over-the-top way? That doesn't make what Rush did funny or right or something to be celebrated. Anyone who is dubbing him a comedic hero should be ashamed, especially you women. Way to cut down a fellow female who's feeling beautiful and proud. She had a slit and was making the most of it in her own style. Way to rip her apart, ladies.
Think of the teenage boy who favors wearing makeup and flamboyant scarves or the little kid who picks his nose on the playground or the "freaky" girl who wears "freaky" clothes to school or the woman with the "bizarre" tattoo who thinks she's all that. Aren't we constantly telling our children that they shouldn't mock or bully them for being different? Sure they may be doing things that others think are "weird," but that doesn't give us or anyone else license to humiliate them in public. Why does everything think it's okay to do so to a mega star like Angelina Jolie? Just because she's gorgeous, rich, famous, and hanging out with Brad Pitt doesn't mean she isn't vulnerable or that her feelings can't be hurt.
It's true that Angelina is a celebrity and that she's put herself out in the public eye so she's fair game for the press, the twitter account that was set up in her right leg's name, all the memes going 'round, and so on. She's famous. She made a Bjork swan dress move and, unfortunately, she's gotta face the music. The aftermath of her Oscar pose isn't the issue.
The thing that broke my heart for her that night was what Rash did on stage. It was uncalled for at that particular place and time. And all the bullies and mean girls who think it was funny really need to watch a video of a humiliated Angelina presenting the award AFTER Rash's cruel behavior. I'd love to show it to you, but there isn't one.
Bullies don't stick around to see how their actions affect their victims.