Update: according to CNN: “It is an awful and disgusting lie,” Smith said in a statement Monday provided by his publicist. “It speaks to the dangerous power of an ignorant person with a pen. I am incensed and infuriated to have to respond to such ludicrous misinterpretation. Adolf Hitler was a vile, heinous vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet,” read the statement.
What I want to know, now, is what he actually did say. I suppose we’ll never know.
will smithScottish press, who quoted him saying, “Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today. I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good’. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming. I wake up every day full of hope, positive that every day is going to be better than yesterday. And I’m looking to infect people with my positivity. I think I can start an epidemic.”
I’ve gotten a dozen emails about this, and I’ve seen it reported in an assortment of blogs, and what I want to say is: STOP!
I mean I’m not going to record a youTube of me crying hysterically to leave him alone or anything, but seriously, folks, what he said was kinda stupid, but it was also out of any context. I, myself, have been quoted in the media saying what appear to be totally inane things, which when they asked me the question wasn’t actually a stupid response to the question they asked; the reporterjust didn’t see fit to either include the question or the context or even the full statement that I made, leaving me sounding like I was from Mars.
What Smith said, from what little context given, was clearly not malicious. It wasn’t anti-Semitic. I’m pretty sure that what happened was the reporter asked him about something relatively innocuous and the quoted response was part of some longer statement. Even in the article, it’s clear that there’s something being left out. I mean from this whole long article whose focus was about Will Smith’s incredible drive to succeed by working his a** off, this completely unrelated comment is introduced by one line: “Remarkably, Will believes everyone is basically good.”
All the guy is saying is that he thinks that people don’t do evil because they want to do evil, but because they think that what they’re doing isn’t evil. I think there are some exceptions to this, but here, I’ll back the guy: I think what he says is true. Most people don’t do evil because they’re evil, they do evil because they’re too wrapped up in something else -whether that’s money or a political outlook, or something else entirely- to see that what they’re doing is evil.
I’ll even add to that: Smith is making the counterclaim to evil being inexplicable. Evil being inexplicable is too easy. If evil can’t be explained, then we ourselves have no obligation to do anything about it, because hey, who knows what the hell motivates people like that? But if evil comes about because of overzealous pursuit of something which in itself might not be evil, then whoa! it’s possible that we ourselves might be doing something evil because it’s not just crazy people outside the ken of human thinking who are evil. Furthermore, we then have some responsibility for producing the people who believe that whatever it is is so important that you can do anything to achieve it or pursue it. And y’know what? I think that that’s true.
Yes, there are sociopaths. But that’s the least of it. His point wasn’t really about Hitler anyway, he just chose an unfortunate example to his point.
SO, before this goes anywhere, let’s just drop it. Smith: this is to you. What you said was kinda dumb. Hitler was evil, but I don’t think you’re a bad guy. I wish you luck in conquering the world through more lightweight movies. You all seem like nice people in your family. Keep working hard, guy.