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Okay, one more thing…

One more thing about Will Smith’s assault on Chris Rock at the Oscars:

Over the past couple days, I’ve heard people posit aloud and online that Rock’s response could’ve been more nuanced that night.

He could’ve taken a moment to apologize to Jada Pinkett Smith.

He could’ve denounced violence of any kind.

He could’ve provided a better reset for the event.

I suspect that the people suggesting these things have never been hit in the face.

As someone who has been punched in the face more times than he can remember, I can report that being hit the face is not fun. It’s disorienting, especially if you don’t know it’s coming, which was the case with Chris Rock. It’s oftentimes painful and can sometimes be confusing and panic-inducing and rage inducing.

You also immediately wonder if damage has been done. Am I bleeding? Are my teeth okay? Is something broken? Because you can’t actually see your face, you worry that something might be seriously wrong.

Stephen Colbert, who has been hit in the face at least once, was trying to explain this to Chris Wallace during an interview. He said, “Have you ever been punched in the face? It’s not pleasant. It’s terrible. Completely disorienting. I’m surprise Chris Rock remembered the English language.”

Colbert is not wrong.

And remember, Rock was on onstage, on live television, being watched by millions. No one has ever found themselves in that scenario before.

Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

In this case, I think some people are criticizing Chris Rock’s plan because they’ve never been punched in the mouth before.

In a perfect world, Chris Rock could’ve done more, beginning with refraining from that stupid, unamusing, hurtful joke. But the world gets is decidedly less perfect immediately after you’ve been hit in the face, and particularly when the person hitting you has about 6 inches and probably 20 pounds on you.

Given this set of circumstances, I think Rock respond to Will Smith’s act of violence and cowardice quite brilliantly.