Volume 92, Issue 47

Thursday, November 26, 1998

permanent cast


Slater offers Stone poor excuse

Actor Christian Slater may have just turned in his most convincing role yet – that of an innocent man.

After an assault this summer incited by a tequila and cocaine binge which left three people injured, the actor spent 59 days in a jail cell. A small punishment for substance abuse, repeatedly punching a female friend, biting another who tried to intervene and attacking an officer who arrived on the scene. Nevertheless, he paid his dues, did his time – which was cut a bit short for good behaviour – so all should be forgiven, right?

Maybe, but there's a difference between forgiving and forgetting.

In an article in this month's issue ofRolling Stone magazine, Slater attempts to come clean with the media and the public in an interview which focuses on his recent stint in jail. While the article may be meant to shed light on Slater's side of the story, it allows the facts to be dismissed and the event blurred. What's left is Slater's account, along with an abundance of excuses for his behaviour.

The interview consists of extensive questions concerning the night of the incident, his time in the slammer and his philosophy of why trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes. The article itself is presented in question/answer format, allowing for Slater's input to dominate every question.

Slater speaks openly of his battle with alcoholism and goes on to say he's blanked out the events of the assault. While he takes full responsibility for the incident, he then credits his struggles with substance abuse to feelings of being lost and insecure, emotions he inhibited at the age of nine with his first drink.

By employing this strategy, the blame shifts to the effects of the chemicals and not Slater himself. Slater also repeatedly refers to a "beast" inside his head who tells him he's no good and manifests itself in different forms of abuse. He is a self-proclaimed victim of his own self-doubt.

Newsflash Slater, everyone has some measure of insecurity, but not everyone handles it by abusing any and all substances followed by a dangerous rampage. By allowing Slater full content control of this interview, the reader is manipulated into feeling pity for Slater's troubled psyche instead of remaining objective about the events at hand.

The article's visual layout also contributes to the misrepresentation of the situation. Photos of Slater leaning against barren concrete walls and playfully holding his hands in the shape of a gun only make light of a very serious predicament.

The fact is, Slater has in the past been detained for carrying a pistol and now has a documented history of assault. The image in the magazine is not a picture of someone convicted for a crime, it's a picture of a Hollywood star whose two months in jail were merely a formality, not to mention an inconvenience to his movie schedule.

If Slater wants to counter his bad press with good press, go ahead, but approach it as a grown-up. Instead of focusing on his life after jail, not to mention his soon to be released movie aptly titled Very Bad Things, this article is only a vehicle for a half-ass, selfish defence of his actions.

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998