Wednesday, December 20, 2006  

The Penn that roared

Sean Penn has has some very interesting things to say recently. Take this speech, for example, before the Creative Coalition on Monday:

They tell us we lost 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Is that enough? We're about to match it. We're within weeks, if not less, of killing 3,000 Americans in Iraq. I ask Speaker Pelosi, can we put impeachment on the table then? Without former FEMA chief Mike Brown being held accountable, post Katrina (scapegoat though he may have been) we'd have had the same chaos and neglect when Rita hit Houston. Think about it. And, the same people who trumpet deterrence as a justification for punishment when we speak of "crime and punishment," will boast their positive thinking when dismissing the deterrent qualities of an impeachment proceeding.
(read the rest)

The mixing of the profane with the unerring call to national and cultural accountability is very interesting. Penn is often maligned by the Right as a Hollywood do-gooder, in terms of the war, but Penn has been right on since the beginning- and I think hs is right on again as he calls for the people to bring the government to account. He is also right about the positioning of TV programming and films to bring about positive change(favorable towards a position)- athough this is nothing new. Currently, The Force, for example, is a romanticized look at secret ops forces with the right blend of macho force, solemn responsibility, wives who stand by their man, blah, blah, blah. More subtle and more entertaining (to my mind) is Casablanca- which is again a romanticized notion of a place and time but which was made to prick American conscience and get it to support action in WWII in the European Theatre.

Again, Hollywood- or at least some of it, is starting to beat to a more conscious drum. yes,I know, they wax and wane, first aware, then hyper consumer chic. It is nice to see Penn developing into an actor of conscience, since, if Robert Novak was right when he told a group of interns (of which I was one), that Reagan saw politics as one big sound stage and himself, the eternal and constant actor (no Richard Burton, he), there are precious few, if any, on the national stage.
It is we the people who need to bring down the curtian.

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