4 Awful Truths the Smith Kids Interview Revealed (About Us)
By now, you've probably read the Willow and Jaden Smith interview that triggered a worldwide giggle fit and united us in our derision of rich teenagers. We may not agree on how to handle ISIS, but we all believe that kids who think they understand philosophy are the WORST. If you didn't read the interview, Will Smith's progeny said things like:
At which point the interviewer stopped the conversation to hunt for hidden cameras and Ashton Kutcher while the Smith children kept themselves busy by creating shadow puppets across each other's auras. When no hidden cameras turned up and no one from The Onion gave the interviewer a knowing wink, the kids stopped hovering in the air long enough to continue with their hard-earned wisdom.
Thanks to this interview, readers have generated so many heavy sighs and eye-rolls that wind gusts from our faces have triggered the 2015 hurricane season six months early. With the vocabularies of perpetually high heroin addicts and the self-awareness of potatoes, the Smith kids have delivered enough comedy gold to get us through the holidays, which is certainly a Thanksgiving Miracle if there ever was one. Thank XENU for some much-needed levity in between Broad City seasons.
Now that we've ingested and pooped out our best jokes on the greatest (Pulitzer Prize-winning?) interview of the year, I'd like to step back a moment and remind everyone why kids like Willow and Jaden aren't so bad. In fact, I wish we had more of them.
We're Way Too Obsessed With Entitlement
Every time the child of a celebrity or rich person tries to do something in this world, we're quick to poo-poo their efforts, as if the very fact that their parents are noteworthy negates everything the kid will ever do. But that's not our job -- life itself will grind every one of us into the saddest version of ourselves before it's all said and done. Nobody needs public opinion to do that for them before they've even gotten out of the house.
Here's the thing that Jaden and Willow will find out on their own, as every human in the history of ever has also found on their own: you can't fake being good at things. Being rich or well-connected doesn't make you a good performer, and the second either one of those kids fails at their endeavors THE WORLD WILL MAKE THEM HURT FOR IT. Just ask Sofia Coppola. Or, for that matter, all the Coppolas.
There are so many Coppolas to choose from.
When Sofia Coppola was woefully miscast as Mary Corleone in The Godfather: Part III, the entire universe threw up on her face and made her eat it for ruining an otherwise mediocre movie. We weren't mad that they cast a bad actress, we were mad that they cast a bad actress who was the director's daughter. Does anyone mind that Talia Shire (aka Connie Corleone and Adrian Balboa) is Francis Ford Coppola's sister? No, because she's a good actress. And her son, Jason Schwartzman, is a good actor. No one is mad at them for existing as actors who happen to be Coppolas.
So, if it turns out that Jaden Smith is a terrible actor with zero charisma and negative 30 likability, we won't be seeing Jaden Smith joints for very long. "Entitlement" doesn't actually exist when it comes to talent and convincing audiences to spend money on your work. True, the Smiths have resources other people would kill for. ALSO TRUE: Jaden Smith is absolutely stellar in The Pursuit of Happyness, and Willow's "Whip My Hair" is maybe the greatest song of all time. Maybe.
Show us on the doll why you're mad at children who aren't half bad at what they do, Internet.
We Collectively Forgot Our MySpace Accounts
Have you ever fallen so in love with a philosophy that you would stake your life on it? No? Are you sure? Do you need me to pull up your message board activity from 1998 to 2001? Was there ever a time in your life when you were 100 percent sure Atlas Shrugged had all the answers and everyone who couldn't see that was a complete idiot? Again, before you answer, remember that LiveJournal, Blogspot, and MySpace are still things that exist, and everything you've ever said on the Internet is findable.
Using the coordinates where you buried grandma as your Pinterest login wasn't the best move, grandpa.
One of the joys of being a thinking human over being, say, a fart, is that you can absorb ideas, process them, outgrow them, and move on to the next thing. Thank God we move on, right? Otherwise, I'd be living on a Libertarian island trying to figure out how to build a toilet from scratch and wondering why I was so mad at taxes in the first place. And, unless you've been immersed in the ideology of Libertarianism, as I was in my 20s, the previous sentence about moving to an island because of taxes probably makes zero sense.
When Jaden and Willow talk about Prana energy and pulsating baby heads, they're finishing each others' sentences like they're coming from the same place. That tells me there are snippets of real philosophy there and these two made the mistake of assuming we've been reading the same books and speaking the same language when, duh, we haven't.
Actually, I take that back. Some of the stuff they were spouting sounded a lot like phrases that were calmly intoned in my direction while I was at a yoga class in downward dog. And not by 14- and 16-year-olds, either. Also, please don't act like you never wrote a poem about the "melancholiness of the ocean," because I know you did. I had it transcribed to Sanskrit and then tattooed on my ribcage.
We Get Mad at Things We Don't Understand
Let's play a game. I'm going to give you some quotes. You decide if the quotes were said by one of the Smith kids or by Matthew McConaughey's character in True Detective.
Breathing is meditation; life is a meditation. You have to breathe in order to live, so breathing is how you get in touch with the sacred space of your heart.
But on the level of being here on Earth, if you are aware in a moment, one second can last a year. And if you are unaware, your whole childhood, your whole life can pass by in six seconds.
You know that their sensory experience constituted a unique individual with purpose and meaning. So certain that they were more than a biological puppet. The truth wills out, and everybody sees. Once the strings are cut, all fall down.
It was all the same dream, a dream that you had inside a locked room, a dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams, there's a monster at the end of it.
This is a fragment of a holographic reality that a higher consciousness made.
If it ain't that piece of paper, there's some other choice they're gonna try and make for you. You gotta do what Randall Pink Floyd wants to do man. Let me tell you this, the older you do get the more rules they're gonna try to get you to follow. You just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N.
You're going to have to do your homework to find the source quotes. Warning: I threw a wild card in there for fun. Did you spot it?
It turns out Jaden and Willow are hurling out snippets of big ideas that actually have real-world philosophy behind them, according to this anonymous philosopher who dissected the interview for Vice. The holographic reality Willow mentions, for example, is a well-known hypothetical scenario that goes back to Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Rene Descartes' dream argument. If you can't tell that you're dreaming when you're dreaming, how do you know we're not dreaming all the time, in other words. I flunked philosophy, so it's all gibberish to me.
What I think is really happening is that Jaden and Willow are living in their heads, as teenagers often do, and aren't aware that their words aren't resonating with ... anybody. So they're Detective Cohle and we're Detective Hart in this True Detective scenario. They've immersed themselves in books we don't have in front of us, so nothing makes sense. But that doesn't mean there's not a real green-eared spaghetti monster pulling the strings.
The Real Story Is What You Don't See
Jaden and Willow Smith are pulling off something most parents of teens would kill for -- they get along together. I can't drive my kids to school in the morning without one of them pulling a gun on the other, and Willow and Jaden are collaborating on multiple projects on a Hanson brothers level. I don't care who you are or what you believe in, that's good parenting right there. Good parenting or good acting, and either way, KUDOS to Jada and Will for pulling off that neat trick.
Another story you get reading between the lines is that the Smith kids are on fire for education, just not going to school. Which, as a former homeschooling parent, I can get behind. And as a mom to kids who spend six hours a day at school and then two, three, four, or more hours a day on homework, I know there's something kind of heartbreaking about the education system that we've set up for our kids. If you're not careful, those 12-hour days will shred your soul, and for what? A diploma? A high school diploma? If I could hire world-class tutors and pull my kids out of the grind, I would. Especially if my kids were world-famous and faced a school environment that is probably more of a nightmare than most of us have to put up with. Jaden Smith is a little guy who reads philosophy books for fun. History tells us high school isn't a walk in the park for boys like him.
Am I going to buy the new Willow Smith album? No, I haven't bought an album since 2002, and that's why Taylor Swift hates me. Will I listen to it on Spotify? Sure, if it's good. And probably if it's not good, because I don't have great taste in music. I do have great taste in humans, and I'd let those Smith kids come over for dinner if they wanted. On Fridays we serve unapple pie for dessert, so I know we'll have a lot to talk about.
Kristi is a senior editor and columnist for Cracked. For more from her, check out past articles here and follow her on Twitter or Facebook.
For more famous people who are a bit off, check out 4 Respected Celebrities Who Are Slowly Losing Their Minds. And then check out 20 Insane Facts About Famous People They Want to Keep Secret.