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Penn interviews Chavez and R. Castro
December 1, 2008 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Mountain of Snakes: Sean Penn interviews Hugo Chávez and Raúl Castro. (Part ii of the interview, and an excerpt, for those of you pressed for time.)
posted by louigi (32 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nothing against Sean Penn but he needs an editor who isn't averse to slicing out vast portions of text.
posted by substrate at 6:47 AM on December 1, 2008


Nothing against Sean Penn but he needs an editor who isn't averse to slicing out vast portions of text.

That would require him to admit that he needs editing.

I can imagine that the radioactive egotism eminating from a room containing Sean Penn and Hugo Chavez would contain enough energy to power a small country.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:02 AM on December 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


The military hotline that Castro mentions seems like a gigantic scoop for Sean Penn. It also seems like Raul is pretty open to establishing more direct communications with the U.S. (which I think everyone can agree is a good thing).
posted by cyphill at 7:30 AM on December 1, 2008


Editors of the world! Thank you for the work you do! It matters!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:26 AM on December 1, 2008 [6 favorites]


Nothing against Sean Penn but he needs an editor who isn't averse to slicing out vast portions of text.

I have everything against Sean Penn (most of his movie performances and some of the pernicious crap he said about Katrina. I saw an interview he gave when he said there was nothing wrong with community leaders deliberately fibbing about some of the horrors inflicted by the government's appalling handling of Katrina - because lies in the service of truth were justified.)

However, I'll try to read this fairly (and I've also heard he's really rather good in Gus Van Sant's movie about Harvey Milk. Hmmmmpf!)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:27 AM on December 1, 2008


Highly recommended Frontline documentary on Hugu Chavez. Spoiler: he comes off as one crazy mofo.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:12 AM on December 1, 2008


Here are some other pairings I came up with for celebrity journalists...(it's a blog post that I wrote).
posted by cal71 at 9:16 AM on December 1, 2008


Vanity, your name is a Sean Penn puff piece written in the first person.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:19 AM on December 1, 2008


Sean Penn Vs Bono
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on December 1, 2008


For balance against the frontline piece, you should also watch The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. I'm not a fan of Chavez' recent moves, but you can start to see where the paranoia comes from

Spoiler: American backed oil companies attempted a coup against a lawfully elected president.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:52 AM on December 1, 2008


The disadvantages of being an actor, who thinks he can write, include the improper use of commas.
posted by diggerroo at 11:03 AM on December 1, 2008


American backed oil companies attempted a coup against a lawfully elected president.

he comes off as one crazy mofo


I don't see how these are mutually exclusive. Chavez can be both one crazy mofo, power grabbing wanna-be dictator and the victim of an attempted overthrow by American backed oil companies. Can he not? I don't really see the fact that people are out to get him gives him some sort of legitimacy even if I do think the people out to get him are evil fucks.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:11 AM on December 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


To sum up Sean Penn: I remember somebody once asked "What does it mean when you watch all of Dead Man Walking and you still want them to execute the sonuvabitch?
posted by jonmc at 11:18 AM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't really see the fact that people are out to get him gives him some sort of legitimacy even if I do think the people out to get him are evil fucks

No, you're right. It's just that a lot of the stuff that seems crazy to us makes perfect sense in the context of having a super-rich, extremely powerful cadre of people inside his country who have kidnapped him once and are just waiting for him to fuck up once so they can make another power grab.

For instance, he's famous for these long giant rants that he does on tv weekly. They get incoherent at times and it feels weird to have a leader take up that much air time.

However, what reports of that leave out, is that there is a tv station openly owned by the oil companies that broadcast screeds against Chavez 24-7. Not just political attacks, but bizzare rumors about his personal life and outright insults. So, in that context you can see Chavez as trying to take back some of the media attention and deflect some of the personal attacks.

Again, I'm not a fan of his recent moves against the free press and his attempt to become president for life. But keep in mind that this all happens in the context of elections. People elected Chavez and continue to. His opponents think elections are a waste of time and want to move right to having tanks decide elections.
posted by lumpenprole at 11:24 AM on December 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Highly recommended Frontline documentary on Hugu Chavez. Spoiler: he comes off as one crazy mofo.

"Por Ahora". Yeah, that was a great episode of Frontline.

As for Sean Penn, well, never mind. I read the article with Jeff Spicoli as narrator. "Aloha, Mr. Castro, America is bogus!"
posted by mrducts at 11:46 AM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is probably a question MeTa, but it looks like "we' don't like Sean Penn, and "we" don't like Sarah Palin" and "we" don't like Maureen Dowd." Outside of Obama, who do "we" like? Anyone?
posted by Xurando at 12:17 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cats?
posted by Artw at 12:21 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like you.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:25 PM on December 1, 2008


This was really interesting. Thanks!
posted by stenseng at 12:29 PM on December 1, 2008


Sean Penn VS Bono VS Cory Doctrow VS Hillary Clinton VS Jenny Garden VS Tony Blair... who would win?
posted by Artw at 12:33 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


(I suggest the battle be held here.)
posted by Artw at 12:36 PM on December 1, 2008


The shame of Sean Penn is that he really wants to be a very serious, sober, responsiblke adult. He wants to make movies that mean something. He wants to examine the politics of the world, and contribute to it in a meaningful way.

But what he's really, really good at is stuff that verges on trash. Oh my God, how I miss the Sean Penn that played Jeff Spicoli, and was in Bad Boys and Carlito's Way. He can really turn in a weird and genuinely fun performance when he wants, but mostly he wants to scowl and shout and squint and make movies about people who are in pain and can't communicate and struggle and make the rest of us feel bad.

At least Harvey Milk was a really weird guy, so Sean Penn couldn't fairly represent him without getting a little weird himself. It's the first time I've njoyed a performance from him since Sweet and Lowdown.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:57 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


It is exactly for this that I miss Chris Penn, by the way. There was no pretense to him. He obviously didn't mind doing trash, and he was just so expressive at it. God, Chris was great, and I don't think his greatness has really been recognized yet.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:02 PM on December 1, 2008


This is probably a question MeTa, but it looks like "we' don't like...

What "we" white man?

I don't think it's a matter of mob mentality. I'm personally not a big fan of Penn. I find him at best misinformed, at worst either blisteringly ignorant or maliciously working with a dangerous scum-bag dictator. His rambling, incoherant screeds are tiresome and the fact that he feels that he is some sort of expert is laughable and demonstrates his great ego.

No matter how many times he and Chavez say it, my dislike and distrust of Chavez is not because of his "socialist" bent, it is because of his tyranical bent and fears that he will become another Stalin or Saddam or, at best, Castro. Contrary to Penn, I'm actually "enthusiastic about exploring socialism." Penn unfortunately somehow equates this enthusiasm for support of totalitarianism and I find this illogical, daft, and the more he repetes it, tiresome.

That and I thought I Am Sam was really patronizing and his best work was in the extremely shitty Shanhai Surprize.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:04 PM on December 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


“Nothing against Sean Penn but he needs an editor who isn't averse to slicing out vast portions of text.”

I’ll loin ya to take muy pitcher...er, to edit muy voibage! *smack!*

Actually I think Penn’s an excellent actor.
And I like the “so what’s going on over here?” sort of thing. Going and seeing for yourself.
...of course, accurately relaying what’s going on doesn’t necessarily follow.
‘lies in the service of truth,’ man, did he actually say that?
I liked him better when he was slugging photographers.

Anyway, the only way to counter a mountain of snakes would be with a prairie full of badgers and a forest full of mushrooms.
...ok, maybe I didn’t read the full article.

“Spoiler: American backed oil companies attempted a coup against a lawfully elected president.”

That would presuppose such a thing was not the staus quo.
Spoiler: Sun to rise in East tomorrow.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:04 PM on December 1, 2008


I'd probably like Chavez more if not for the whole messing with term limits thing - that's never good.

A healthy distrust of the US, from someone in South America, just seems natural.
posted by Artw at 1:06 PM on December 1, 2008


His opponents think elections are a waste of time and want to move right to having tanks decide elections.

I would hazard a guess that the majority of people who oppose Chavez do not in fact want any more government repression.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:30 PM on December 1, 2008


I suspects that's rue of people who DO support Chavez as well, and there's a lot more of them.
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on December 1, 2008


his best work was in the extremely shitty Shanhai Surprize.

He was good in Bad Boys, too. For a Hollywood Brat, he's surprisingly covincing as a street thug.
posted by jonmc at 3:04 PM on December 1, 2008


re: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

there's also Our Brand Is Crisis; btw, oh and here's a naomi klein profile in the new yorker, cf. The Shock Doctrine...
at the heart of this book she pinpoints the discomfort that free market advocates have with democracy. You can go the non-democratic route, you can claim that markets should stand above democracy, or you can reinterpret libertarian ideas as a general framework for social analysis and a program for gradualist democratic reform. Either way, for all her mistakes, Klein has yet to lose this debate
viz. tellingly remarked, "I believe people believe their own bullshit. Ideology can be a great enabler for greed."
posted by kliuless at 4:06 PM on December 1, 2008


However, what reports of that leave out, is that there is a tv station openly owned by the oil companies that broadcast screeds against Chavez 24-7. Not just political attacks, but bizzare rumors about his personal life and outright insults.

WTFBBQ? Is that true?

If it is true, FFS, that needs to be changed. Where's that Obama guy, I wanna have words with him.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:40 PM on December 1, 2008


fff, yes it is true as far as I know.
It is estimated that 95 percent of the Venezuelan media is in opposition to President Chávez, and on a daily basis produces vitriolic ‘news pieces’ as well as editorials against the government.[xiii]. The private Venezuelan media includes five major television channels –Venevisión, RCTV, Globovisión, Televen and CMT – which control at least 90 percent of the TV market, with smaller private stations controlling another five percent.[xiv] In addition all of the country’s 118 newspaper companies, both regional and national, are held in private hands, as are 99 percent of radio stations.[xv]
---
RCTV was an active participant in the imperialist sponsored April 11, 2002, attempted coup against democratically elected President Chávez. During the days leading up to the coup, RCTV intentionally reported false information and lies meant to destabilize the Chávez government.

RCTV’s repeated false news reports broadcast on April 11, 2002, of Chávez supporters firing into unarmed crowds were cited by many of the coup leaders as the reason for their participation in the attempted overthrow. Those news reports have since been completely discredited and have been proven to have been intentionally planted in an effort to stir up support for the coup.

While the coup was underway, RCTV broadcast nonstop coverage and interviews with the coup leaders, lauding them as heroes of the Venezuelan people even as they attempted to illegally oust the president whom the vast majority of Venezuelans had freely voted for.

One of the leaders of the coup, Vice Admiral Víctor Ramírez Pérez, prematurely proclaiming success on the night of April 11, 2002, said, “We had a deadly weapon, the media, and now that I have the opportunity, let me thank you.” RCTV gave no news coverage to Chávez’s reinstatement as president after the coup failed, opting instead to run old U.S. movies and cartoons.
More details on RCTV's role in the coup, including a transcript from 'The Revolution Will Not Be Televised'.

Chavez is under a continuous media bombardment in Venezuela, the like of which is hard to imagine. The perpetrators are anti-democratic, but unfortunately it seems that Chavez is lowering himself to their level in order to fight back.
posted by asok at 7:48 AM on December 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


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