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Monday, January 12, 2009

As A "Friend To Gays" Sean Penn Is Milk-toast

A Friend to Gays and Antigay Dictators Alike
It’s not surprising that Sean Penn, thanks to his star turn as Harvey Milk, is becoming a hero of the gay community -- likely to be showered with acting prizes, and deservedly so. But his outspoken admiration for the Castro and Chavez regimes should make everyone think twice. [...]

“There isn’t a single individual that is taken seriously in the human rights community -- whether you’re talking about Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, or Freedom House -- that would describe the Castro brothers and their regime as anything other than a police state run by thugs and murderers,” says Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation, which focuses on Latin America. “That Sean Penn would be honored by anyone, let alone the gay community, for having stood by a dictator that put gays into concentration camps is mind-boggling.” [...]

Why should anyone care about an actor’s politics? The bloviations of Hollywood stars tend to be ignorant and irrelevant to those interested in serious debate about the issues of the day, but Penn’s grandstanding matters due to both his role in Milk and the film’s political relevance in the context of Proposition 8 and the nationwide campaign for gay rights. Gay rights are human rights, as Milk said, and Penn discredits both when he rationalizes illiberal ideologies as “anti-imperialist” and rushes to the defense of thugs who posture as victims of the West. Penn’s ignoble political side projects taint a noble cause.
Ignoble and mind-boggling doesn't even begin to describe it. Penn is a perfect example of Lenin's "useful idiot" - willing to excoriate the very nation that gives him voice in order to defend people that would at best lock him up, at worst use him and then dispose of him.


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