Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Intense, man: The Sean Penn School of Rhetoric

The intensity of Sean Penn often has impressed us. Few boomer/Gen X sorts under 50 or so could forget intense Penn classics like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" or "The Falcon and the Snowman." His interactions with the media also have been intense--as was marriage with like Madonna. Whoa! That's like real intense. Sean lately has morphed into a quasi-romantic marxist writer of sorts--another John Reed iteration, in a sense (a slightly less intense thespian, Warren Beatty, played the part of Reed in "Reds", and was nearly believable for a few scenes). Sean doesn't care for the Iraqi war, or for most American politicians, GOP or Democratic. That's somewhat understandable ( we don't support Bushco). Penn also travels across the world (who's footing the bill, tho? SF Cthulicle? That's zionist capital, man) and writes up little reports on the good people in those distant locales. He parties with communists and disses the yokels back in Amerika who don't understand the sublimity of marxist insurrection. Marxism is itself intense, dude, according to Penn. (Marx may have simmered, but was rarely intense. He described the supposed failures of capitalism in cold and precise terms (even Marx's errors, like the Labor Theory of Value, are impressive in their precision).

"His mind moves upon the Silence"

Here's Sean on the Constitution, and some other intense political stuff:

""""But I was talking about the Constitution. Most importantly, our own. And what an odd week it has been. Our culture is engrained with a tradition that blurs the line between what is right, what is just and what is constitutional, with what is a scam. That tradition is the cult of personality. What can TV sell, what kind of crap will we buy. And at what point are we buying and selling our rights, our pride, our flag, our children, and succumbing to meaningless slogans that are ultimately pure titles for un-Americanism. How do we know what’s American and what is not? Because John Wayne tells us so? Because Sean Penn tells us so? Susan Sarandon? Bill O’Reilly? Michael Moore? Senator Bull? Or Senator Shit? Ann “my bowel expenditure” Coulter? No. It’s our Constitution. We don’t use it just to win. We depend on it because it’s the only “us” worth being. And because it’s our children’s inheritance from our shared forefathers and the traditions that really do speak best of our country.""""


Not exactly John Kenneth Galbraith. As with a powerful five- minute reading at say a Bay Area espresso joint, it's meant to shock a little. The Constitution. Cult of personality. TV crap. The Bowels of Ann Coulter (OK, I agree there, Seanie. Ann the man's not merely with the Orangemen, but Vichy. Like most real Vichy sorta talented in her own sinister fashion: as even a Bukowski would have granted). All way intense, man. Sean Penn does some representin', for the Peeps.

The real question, though, is this: who the phuck is Sean Penn anyways? He's another actor: not a politician, nor a political theorist, nor philosopher, scientist, or even pro-muckraker like Daddy Cockburn, nor belle-lettrist (ala Buk. or beats, like). Penn's not a grand shakespearean sort of thespian, nor somewhat noirish sort like Beatty, but more like an actor as rock-star. Pop culture icon, really. We don't have his CV here, but it's unlikely he ever earned ye olde sheepskin (even some history or econ. courses might have helped. Start with like Mao and work backwards).

As academic snobs say, there's really an agency issue with the Penns and the Sarandons (and with the Reagans and Thompsons, as well). The celebrity actor-politicians (regardless of flavor) are the Alcibiades--not the Socrates; they start from Pathos, not Logos. They produce oratory (typically intense, and emotional) if not marketing plans, instead of thoughts: even when slightly correct (i.e. supporting a secular constitution), they pitch something, play a part, strike a pose. We barely hear "Sean Penn": we hear.....the Snowman.

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