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Rod Liddle

Oh joy! Sean Penn has tried to crack a joke

The stupidly PC actor has put his foot in it and is being called a racist by the moronsphere

28 February 2015

9:00 AM

28 February 2015

9:00 AM

What a pleasure it is to see the Hollywood actor Sean Penn neck deep in PC ordure. The rodentine thespian was handing out an award at the Oscars to his friend the Mexican film director Alejandro González Iñárritu, for his film Birdman. ‘Who gave this sonofabitch a green card?’ Penn quipped about his mate — at which point the moronsphere went into overdrive. There was splenetic fury and deep sadness and heartfelt outrage and condemnations at this racism, online and beyond.

Some demented loon called Stephen W. Thrasher, writing in the Guardian (natch), said: ‘Racism from friends assumed to be benign can be the worst kind, especially at an awards show.’ No kidding, Stevie. Far worse than slavery and the KKK and the Holocaust etc. Thrasher went on to explain that this was just fascist Hollywood treating ethnic minorities and women the way it always does, in a totally unacceptable and entirely exploitative fascist way, before a nurse came along and administered a few hundred ccs of Barbiturol and Mr Thrasher was escorted back to his ward. But by now, the deranged liberals were venting their equal opportunity spleens on Twitter and Facebook.

‘I will never watch another Sean Penn movie again,’ screamed one harridan — me neither, sugartits, but for different reasons. And some bloke posted: ‘The struggles people endure for immigration justice are not punchlines.’ No indeed, you person of unfathomable sanctimony. In your world there are no punchlines at all — even that famous story about the chicken and the motive behind its decision to cross a road is lamentably chickenist, slighting not only to all domestic fowl, but also to any other creatures who perhaps identify with domestic fowl.

Other dingbats brought up the actor’s supposedly abusive past, to show he had form — the usual fervid, screeching, cyberhell nonsense; apparently Mr Penn once tied his former wife, Madonna, to a chair and gagged her — something which, quite frankly, many of us may have wished to do these last 25 years — so all power to Sean’s elbow, and his roll of gaffer tape. Meanwhile Snr Iñárritu seemed bemused by all the fuss and pronounced Penn’s joke ‘hilarious’. Well that’s stretching it, amigo, but fair enough in the circumstances, I suppose.


If I were being consistent I would rally to Penn’s support — his joke was not racist and not remotely offensive. But this is Sean Penn we’re talking about and I’ve always found consistency to be a much overrated virtue, if I’m honest. This is the most blindingly stupid and PC of actors (in a pretty strong field, you have to say), a man who once wrote an article for the Guardian (natch) demanding that the UK renounce its claims to the Falkland Islands. His piece was so surreal, ignorant and pretentious that at first I thought it was heavy-handed satire. It made no sense, it was simultaneously verbose and meaningless: here’s an excerpt, a sort of trailer:

‘This is not a cause of leftist flamboyance nor significantly a centuries-old literary dispute. But rather a modern one, that is perhaps unveiled most legitimately through the raconteurism of Patagonian fishermen.’

Nope, me neither. The whole thing, insofar as one could discern, was a fashionable and achingly self-conscious genuflection to the thoughtless supposed ‘anti-imperialism’, which is very prevalent among those Hollywood luvvies with chipboard between the ears. Well there’s your petard, Sean. Up you go on it, my good man. That will teach you for siding with the Argies and — for that matter — Sinn Fein. This cool and hip attitudinalising demands that you stick rigidly to a party line which is forever changing, and remember — you must never, ever, make a joke. Not about anything. Even with a close friend.

There is good news to be divined from this ludicrous spat, though. A time will come when all the competing tribes within that hideous thing ‘identity politics’ tear one another to pieces, and we can all get on with our lives and snigger at the carnage taking place stage left. The truth is, they really hate each other; within that dead-headed milieu there is an endless battle for the greatest sense of acquired victimhood. The paradigm may well be that they are all similarly oppressed by straight, male whitey’s cultural imperialism and horrible hegemony, but this is not how it actually works out in practice.

In practice it is a seething mass of people desperately trying to whine the loudest. The radical feminists loathe the trannies — or transgendered community, if you wish — and some of them are not too keen on homosexual men, either. Interlopers! Pretend wimmin! How dare you claim to have suffered as we have suffered? You do not know the meaning of suffering, you bed-wetters and screaming mimis. Check your privilege! The trannies, meanwhile, hate everyone with a sort of psychopathic rage. And then, when Labour talks about all-wimmin shortlists, it is the party’s ethnic minorities who complain that their people are, as a consequence, being hard done by (rightly, as it happens). Nor do the radical Muslims have much time for the LGBQT communities of course — or, for that matter, the radical feminists.

Attempts to find common ground founder time after time; there is always someone, somewhere, being terribly transgressed, being affronted, their sensibilities infracted and their human right to be a genuine victim, more of a victim than anyone else, made light of or just ignored.

So credit to Sean Penn at least for inadvertently exposing this spiralling lunacy. You follow that line of identity politics, you are holier than thou when it comes to every fashionable concern — well, watch what you say. Watch everything you say, all the time. In the end there will be nothing that you can say which doesn’t in some way condemn you.


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