Alec Baldwin was up to his old tricks. He somehow got himself arrested for riding the opposite the direction of traffic. Shots of him riding on the sidewalk the day after his arrest are making the rounds through the entertainment media. Given his pattern of behavior over the last few years this latest incident should not surprise anyone. Perhaps so much time in the limelight has altered his perception, and without the fame of 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin is simply breaking down.
This writer commuted on a bicycle through New York City streets for two years. The writer may have ridden the occasional block on a sidewalk to spare her fancy racing rims the horror of a street under construction. And she might have gone the wrong way once or twice. It is seen as a step above jaywalking to some riders. There seems to be an understanding that as long as a rider is not ridiculous about it; riding in the opposite direction of traffic for blocks at a time or driving riders going the correct way into the street, no harm no foul. But to be clear, it is illegal.
If the police simply warned Baldwin about the law and he responded with snark, then it is not surprising the two female officers gave him a hard time. It is unclear exactly how many words it took during this interaction to broke down to the point where Alec Baldwin, a New York fixture ended up handcuffed for a ticket-able offense. Perhaps the officers had never seen 30 Rock, or Miami Blues. Perhaps they had, and wanted to teach him not to mouth off to police. What is clear is that Baldwin is making enemies in the New York Police Department and that is not a good thing. With the star’s habit of lashing out, it is likely he will have another interaction with the NYPD eventually, especially if he keeps pushing the rules when he is riding his bike.
Readers, see the moment: Baldwin rolling the wrong way down Fifth Avenue looking painfully average in his visor and shorts. The cops roll past him in their squad car and point out that he is breaking the law. He stops and, as is typical in these situations, the officers ask for his ID. This is the moment when he could have turned things around. He could have laid on the charm and might have ended up walking away from this. If talking his way out of the ticket proved impossible, he at least was unlikely to end up in handcuffs. Yet, according to witnesses, he spewed and sputtered and dropped the F-bomb, allowing his terrible attitude to drag him down. The average citizen, if confident that the police were not going to turn their car around, would probably just smile, apologize profusely and keep going at the same steady pace to turn off that street as soon as possible.
There is the question if the resulting storm from this latest debacle will make him think twice before flying off the handle again. It seems unlikely, since every time he makes a scene in public the tabloids latch on and follow him for a while, blowing his every move out of proportion and further shortening his fuse. His public fits are sweet honey to the media swarm. If Alec Baldwin continues like this, eventually the media will completely break him down. Although, now that 30 Rock is over it is not likely anyone cares.
Opinion by Aliya Tyus-Barnwell