Wednesday, 15 February 2012
In a series of pugnacious speeches during his tour of China this week, the famous cartoon animal Mickey Mouse called upon the Dalai Lama and his supporters to denounce their absurd, outdated and colonialist view that Tibet is a sovereign nation with a right to self-determination, and instead to accept that the country is a legitimate Chinese territory.
Wearing his trademark white gloves, yellow shoes and red shorts with two big buttons on the front, the popular animated rodent accused those who campaign for Tibetan autonomy of stoking the fires of war, and clinging to ludicrous and archaic notions.
None of this is true, of course.
But why should it be less absurd when it's any other Hollywood pillock doing pretty much the same thing?
When I first heard that Sean Penn had condemned the British occupation of the Falkland Islands in a series of frank and confrontational public statements that imply a willingness on Britain's part to let its soldiers die rather than relinquish outdated colonialist sensibilities, my first thought, if my memory is to be trusted, was something along the lines of "so what?"
In fact, if once again my memory is not betraying me, I'm pretty sure that "so what?" was my thought the second, third, fourth and twenty-seventh time I heard it too.
It was only when I realised that not everyone was laughing as hard and hearty as I was about the very idea that this little pipsqueak thinks he has the right to speak out about any subject at all, much less a serious one that he doesn't even understand the first thing about, that I realised there was a point worth making here.
You see, my curse is to belong to the last generation who not only don't automatically look to our minstrels and tumblers whenever we're short of an opinion or two, but who specifically rule such individuals out of the grown ups club, in the certainty that anyone who chooses to earn their money by leeching off people who work for a living and need a little entertainment once in a while are pretty much guaranteed to know nothing about anything. That's why they don't have real jobs in the first place.
And so it proves once again, as the popular wife-beater, star of the film Shanghai Surprise and several others I haven't seen either, and proud possessor of the world's least impressive moustache, has been hitting the headlines by opining that a country that has no historical connection with Argentina, is not in Argentinian waters, and has been a British territory since before Argentina even existed, is in fact called 'Las Malvinas', and is, somehow, a territory that British colonialists seized from the Argentines, before Argentina existed.
As such, he's been brownhatting the Argentine leaders this week and issuing a series of increasingly bizarre and illiterate statements ("there are clearly nuances of negotiations that have to be beneficial and understood between both parties"), all the while accepting the gracious hugs of those who invaded the country and instigated a war in which 255 British soldiers were killed, and many more maimed and wounded, at roughly the same time that Penn was earning more money than they did by making the film Fast Times At Ridgemont High like a big girl.
When it was pointed out that his description of the British interest in the islands as "colonialist, ludicrous and archaic" was meaningless, as the islands were uninhabited when the British settled there (unlike Argentina when it was colonised), he responded: "My oh my, aren't people sensitive to the world colonialism, particularly those who implement colonialism."
You need a very particular kind of moron to loudly espouse a meaningless opinion in a high moral tone on a subject of which they know literally nothing, but it takes a hero of Sean Penn proportions to stick to it even after they've had the truth patiently explained to them in whole sentences and words with as few syllables in them as possible.
Penn (centre) at roughly the same time that 255 British soldiers died defending the freedom of the Falkland Islanders
Well, I know, it takes all sorts and all that sort of thing, and yes, it may even be that the world would be the poorer without a few idiots like Penn around, for colour and what have you.
Just so long as nobody takes them seriously, or keeps a straight face whenever they show their scowling puss in public.
After all, my opinions do not make news, nor do yours, or for that matter Ronnie Corbett's. So why should this dingaling be any different just because he laughably styles himself 'actor and activist'?
Beats me, but here's a picture of him getting all kissy-kissy with Hugo Chavez.
Penn loves Chavez, as well as Castro, Ahmedinejad and the IRA. He's not so keen on Bush and Cheney, having called for the imprisonment of both, along with anyone who calls Chavez a dictator.
In fact, my favourite Penn moment ever was this beautiful essay he released to the world media a while back, having presumably written it, read it back, perhaps read it to a trusted friend or two and then, somehow, thought to himself: "Yep, that's good enough to publish."
It's simply magnificent. No two sentences in a row make sense. Even the very first sentence is not actually a sentence at all. Even Chavez must have read it and thought "what is this maniac talking about?"
It's got everything: big laughs ("This is not a dictator supported by the wealthy classes, but rather, a president elected by the impoverished and at the service of the Venezuelan constitution, a document not unlike our own", "President Chavez and Venezuela have demonstrated a will toward diplomatic harmony"), stylish prose ("The current environment of passive U.S. citizen response provided by this lack of understanding and misleading information is one where the essential oversights of public opinion are effectively defaulted upon, and in exchange, a predisposition to accept U.S. intervention in Venezuela exists") and brilliantly original linguistic formulations ("enormously shared interests", "a systemic barrage of misreporting and context-shifting", "while our own cultural and constitutional conditioning would lead us to serious concerns in the powers of his office, there must be an informed adjustment to give our analyses a context that may extend beyond our borders").
I urge you to follow the link and wallow in its heroic guerrilla resistance assault upon the colonialist English language.
The pen is mightier than the sword indeed - except when it's Penn's pen.
Then it's just weirder.