Monday, February 23, 2009

Oscar Night: Jackman, Delightful...Penn, Frightful

Every time I start to feel better about Sean Penn in response to his acting chops, he chops my opinion of him in half by making some half-baked comment that I find offensive.

Last night, I was enjoying one of the best Oscar nights in recent years (Hugh Jackman was divine!) and was even moderately happy for Penn that he had won the best actor award over my own favorite. Then he stood up and started to speak. For the first part of his diatribe, I was hanging in, reminding myself that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion...But when he felt the need to "explain" to gays everywhere that "no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you" [arrogantly inferring that supporting Prop 8 = believing God does not love His gay children], when he moved beyond expressing his own convictions and started sermonizing about how the grandchildren of those [evil-doers] who voted their conscience for Prop 8 would in future years be looking at their [heartless, right-obfuscating] grandparents with shame in their eyes, he lost me. And not just me, but my respect. Again.

Why is it hard for me to maintain a reasonable level of respect for Mr. Penn? Because he has no respect whatsoever for me, or for others like me. Surely we are entitled to our views and beliefs as well, whether he happens to agree with them or not. And his heavy-handed assignment of "shame" to those who differ with him reminds me all too clearly of the extremist right-wing religious zealots who seem to be the bane of Penn's existence (and are not exactly my favorites, either). Rather a case of the pot calling the kettle black, I should think.

The point is, zealotry is unattractive coming from either side, Mr. Penn. And your remarks last night were more rash than reasoned, more poisonous than persuasive. 

In America, all kinds of diversity of belief are respected. Not just your kind.

8 comments:

em said...

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAmen, sue, amen!

em said...

p.s. did i ever tell you that my brother said i was just as bad as hitler for supporting prop 8? yeah, he did. L-O-S-E-R. i know;-)

Natalie said...

Ditto!!!!
Ditto on all of it, including Hugh Jackman. Hubby is certain I am crushin' on Hugh! :)

jen said...

Haven't watched the Oscars in a few years because of crap like that. I was actually tempted last night, to see what they'd do for Heath Ledger, but I just was sooo sleepy, and all the 118 kids were in bed, so . . .

Brad said...

Ran across your blog on the Mormon Blogoshpere. My wife was upset at first when Penn went into his speech, but understood when I explained to her what role he played to win the oscar. In looking at his Oscar winning role his speech was very appropriate and while you believe that he went over the top with explaining to gays that they are loved, gay people don't feel that way. Gay's do not believe that they are loved when they are not allowed the same rights under a partnership that straight people have. No matter how much you tell them other wise. Actions speak much louder then words.

Sue said...

I appreciate your comment, Brad. It is good to be disagreed with by someone so civil!

I did want to clarify that my aggravation with Sean Penn stems more from his "going over the top" with his remarks than by their content per se. I firmly believe that no one from either side of this question is served by inflammatory remarks.

If I were Mr. Penn's strongest ally in promoting gay marriage, my best advice to him would be that he use words of respect in order to be "heard" by opponents, leaving the shaming and blaming behind.

The same counsel applies, of course, to those who share my view.

Lisa Loo said...

AMEN!! You said it so well---I can never get it put into words---you should get this PUBLISHED!

Kathy Mendenhall said...

I totally agree with you as well Sue. Penn's remarks were out of line and it just didn't need to be said. Unfortunetly most of the Hollywood liberals believe the same and that's also why I didn't watch too much of the Oscars.

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