Alec Baldwin has quit Twitter. Again. It’s unclear how many times Baldwin has quit Twitter or taken a break from Twitter or sworn off Twitter, but he always comes back. The irony here is that he quit Twitter with a 9-minute Instagram announcement, which is to say: He quit talking out of one side of his mouth so that he could spend more time talking out of the other side of his mouth.
In terms of pushback, this time it was a snide comment about Gillian Anderson, who was born in Chicago but lived in England until the age of 11 before moving back to Michigan. She has, however, been living in England for the last 20 years, and she alternates between accents, which is to say: She is bidialectal. Still, though she was born in America, she identifies London as home, and her accent adapts to the audience the same way, I suspect, people in French Canada will switch languages depending on who they’re speaking with.
Meanwhile, when Gillian Anderson accepted her Golden Globe award this weekend and delivered her speech with an American accent, Baldwin tweeted, “Switching accents? That sounds … fascinating.” Twitter piled on him for equating Anderson’s situation with that of Baldwin’s wife, Hilarie, who did spend a lot of time in Spain growing up (though she was born in Boston). She, however, seemed to adopt a Spanish accent much later in life for reasons that appear to be disingenuous, although Salma Hayek — a friend of the Baldwins — did recently come to Hilaria Baldwin’s defense. “Her parents still live [in Spain], and the kids are speaking Spanish. They’re bilingual. Who is she hurting? She’s not selling tapas in the corner. She’s not an actress pretending to be Spanish to take roles meant for Spanish people. She is hurting no one. Why are they so mean to this person?!” (In this same conversation, it should be noted, Hayek compared right-wing conspiracy theories to religious views — something we don’t have to believe in but just have to accept from the people we love).
In either respect, Baldwin didn’t appreciate being called out for the false equivalency and decided to take his marbles and leave … to Instagram, where he complained that “you can’t do irony in the United States anymore” because the country is “such an uptight, stressed out place.” I don’t disagree with Baldwin in that respect — you can’t do irony anymore, although I don’t know that this was irony. This seemed more like Baldwin whining, “Gillian Anderson has two accents. What’s the difference between her and my wife!” Well, Twitter let him know what the difference is, that that is what he didn’t like, not issues with “irony.”
The point is: Anderson comes by her accents honestly, and Baldwin is a thin-skinned baby whose hiatus from Twitter probably will not last through the month.