Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sean Penn: The Very Picture of a Useful Idiot

Mountain of Snakes:
As Americans, we are citizens of a complex society, and the aspiration, at least, is to think with the complexity that will match it. In the best of times, in my life as an American, there have been several Americas. There is the America of the wealthy and corporate elite. An America of the middle and lower middle-classes. And there are the millions of poor, plagued by joblessness, inadequate education, inadequate or no healthcare, racial prejudices, and a trickle down philosophy of economics, where what trickles is caught and recycled before it ever reaches bottom. It is what, in my first meeting with President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, he referred to as "an unsustainable society." Should our country fear socialism, while blindly advocating capitalism? Are there models of sustainable societies? Do we prefer unsustainability to change if any aspect of that change could be defined as "socialist?"
Just your first meeting? I'm sure he wants to talk to you because you are a talented, sober-thinking intellectual, and not an influential useful idiot or anything.
Enthusiasms. I'm enthusiastic about exploring socialism. Personal achievement. Well, in this case, I hope to achieve the reader's continued interest.
Castro had read pieces I had published in the San Francisco Chronicle from my trips to Iraq and Iran. We talked for three or so hours, and the passion of this dynamic figure of walking-breathing history had intensified my growing interest in Latin American history. Before we parted ways, we all took a few pictures together, and with Fidel standing in his signature green fatigues and cap, one arm around my son and the other around my daughter with their beaming smiles, I said, "Commandante, when people see this picture, they're going to joke that I'm raising my children to be revolutionaries." He said, "This is the second best thing you could do. The first best is to put them into the white coats of doctors." I chose not to write about that meeting until the puzzle of my own interest became clearer.
Oh, and you met with Castro too? What a sensitive, far-sighted individual you are! Able to see the murderous inhumane thug Castro as a "dynamic figure of walking-breathing history." Yay, socialism!

This is very, very long. It is truly valuable evidence of useful idiocy in its most obvious form: a naive celebrity who thinks he is important and intellectual being received by murderous heads-of-state and used for propaganda purposes. And here the idiot writes at great length an account of what he think are his heroic and even-handed travels and thoughts, which surpass the simple-minded and bigoted cliches believed by ordinary Americans with their phony patriotism and American values.

To a half-learned half-bake like Penn, the truth, that he is a useful idiot and an intellectual traitor to America, and that those simple Americans he disparages are right to distrust and dislike charlatans and murderers like Chavez and Castro, is just unfathomable.
Cubans are particularly warm and hospitable people. Our hosts took us around the city. I noticed that the number of 1950s American cars had diminished even in the few years since my last trip, giving way to smaller Russian designs. On a sweep by the invasive-looking U.S. Interests Section on the Malecon, where waves breaking against the sea wall shower passing cars, I noticed something almost indescribable about the atmosphere in Cuba. The palpable presence of architectural, and living human history on a small plot of land surrounded by water. Even the visitor feels the spirit of a culture that proclaims, in various ways "This is our special place."
What the hell is he talking about? Who are these people? The spirit of a culture? Yes, with its backs broken by the murderous ideology of Communism? This, somehow in the perverted mind of Sean Penn, is a rustic and charming vision of a life with meaning, not this empty consumerist American life with its obsession with celebrities! Oh wait...
Still, as a proud American, I'm infinitely aware that, were I to write such an article as this, with as many dissenting opinions as a Cuban citizen speaking of Cuba, as I have the US in these pages, I may well be jailed.
No, you won't. You will be celebrated by people even more idiotic than you. You fucking moron.