Most people know Mark Wahlberg as a Hollywood hunk who shot to fame as a rapper, model, and, most recently, actor. People associate him with roles such as David from Fear, Dirk Diggler from Boogie Nights, and the non-CGI male lead from Ted. What people don’t associate Wahlberg with is racist brutality—which is odd, considering the facts.
When Marky Mark was fifteen, he had civil actions placed against him for hurling rocks at black people while screaming racial slurs at them. One year later, in a single day, he knocked Thahn Lam—a middle-aged man of Vietnamese descent—unconscious with a stick while calling him “Vietnam fucking shit” (assumedly he brushed up his wordplay skills in the Funky Bunch) and, on that same evening, punched Hoa Trinh—again several years his senior—in the eye, permanently blinding him. After being brought to the scene on the first charge, Wahlberg told officers, “You don’t have to let him identify me, I’ll tell you now that’s the motherfucker whose head I split open” and apparently made several remarks regarding “gooks” and “slant-eyed gooks” during police proceedings. For his crimes he spent 45 days in a correctional facility.
It’s hard to believe, right? I mean, he’s so good-looking! While everybody deserves a second chance, Mark Wahlberg seems to have had several, which can only mean that he’s now going through other people’s second chances at their expense. After all, he makes around $11-15 million per movie, had relationships with countless beautiful women before settling down and having kids, and even narrowly avoided being killed in the September 11th terror attacks by deciding at the last minute not to board one of the doomed flights and opting instead to visit Toronto for the film festival.
He even had to apologize after claiming, “If I was on that plane with my kids, it wouldn’t have went down like it did,” which, if you were still on the fence about whether or not the man has a serious personality disorder, should pretty much sell you completely. Or maybe the following quote regarding the man that he blinded will do it:
You have to go and ask for forgiveness and it wasn’t until I really started doing good and doing right by other people, as well as myself, that I really started to feel that guilt go away. So I don’t have a problem going to sleep at night. I feel good when I wake up in the morning.
In his defense, he did think about tracking down Hoa Trinh to do right by him but admitted that he hadn’t gotten around to it yet. None of this has made so much as a dent in his success, and while I’m sure that things could be going better for him somehow, I can’t imagine how.
The man seems to be a living challenge for proponents of karmic retribution, a fly in the ointment for justice enthusiasts everywhere. So why the total lack of outrage? If Paula Deen deserved to be crucified for saying that black people would look cute dressed in old-timey costumes and serving her dinner, then surely Mark Wahlberg should be slowly dipped in a vat of acid for lobbing rocks at black kids and waging a one-man domestic campaign against the yellow menace.
Sorry if that last line offended you, but seeing as I’m not the one with a leading role in any upcoming Transformers movies, maybe you should be directing your vitriol upward. Wahlberg is a chink in the armor for social-justice warriors everywhere, who loathe inequality but love the arts, who spend half their Tumblr time on privilege-policing and the other half reblogging movie gifs and stills, who want social revolution to transform reality but still buy into the Hollywood dream one movie ticket at a time. They hate the man’s crimes, but they’d love to lick Hershey’s syrup off his chest. And who can blame them?
The obvious counterargument to the idea of his present accountability is that he was a kid when he did those things and therefore didn’t know any better. Well, Paula Deen and Donald Sterling were old when they shot themselves in the foot; if age is an extenuating circumstance in the deliberation of guilt, is it only people between the ages of 18-60 who should be held accountable for the injustices they perpetrate? Wait, wouldn’t that be ageist? Maybe we should order a full medical competency assessment when rearing up to light our torches and grab our pitchforks, but then again that could let a few crazies slip through the cracks, and what’s a good old-fashioned media circus without a lunatic or two?
At any rate, while Mark Wahlberg doesn’t deem it necessary to seek out Hoa Trinh and check up on how he’s doing, I certainly did, which is why in advance of writing this article I jumped on the first flight to Boston I could afford with a friend of mine who speaks Vietnamese, just in case I needed a translator. After sitting down at a coffee shop with him I carried out the following interview:
W: First off Mr. Trinh, I’d just like to thank you for taking part in this interview. I realize that you’ve already been through a lot, but hopefully your input here will provide a source of comfort and support for other victims of violence, especially that of a racist nature.
T: *no words, just silence and a haunted look in his one functional eye*
W: Uhh, yeah. So, how do you feel about Mark Wahlberg at the present time? Do you hold any grudges, or is it fair to say that you’ve moved past everything he put you through and are now leading a positive life?
T: *Trinh slowly buries his head in his hands without saying a word*
W: Right…well, look. Here’s a picture of Mark Wahlberg during the 1991 Calvin Klein underwear ad he took part in. Tell me, how does this make you feel?
T: *Sobs uncontrollably, starts shaking so violently that he knocks over his coffee cup*
W: Waitress! Can we get some more napkins over here, please?
He seemed pretty down, so I left him a copy of The Other Guys and left. Life goes on, I guess.
Editor’s Note: The only “satirical” part of this article is the “interview.” Everything else about Mark Wahlberg is documented and true.