Sean’s smoking pen

And this, folks, is why we write letters to the editors…to let them know when they are full of shit. Mind you, some of us have an easier time getting their attention than others:

Actor Sean Penn apparently is taking issue with the San Francisco Chronicle, calling the publication an “increasingly lamebrain paper” in a letter published in Tuesday’s edition.

What stirred Penn to write was a tongue-in-cheek article that focused on celebrity interest in Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and listed a number of potential matchups between celebrities and dictators or other authoritarian figures.

Penn objected to the characterization, saying Chavez is a democratically elected leader.

Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein took the criticism in stride calling Penn, “a great actor and a great director.”

“People get riled up about a lot of things, particularly in this day and age; they get to express themselves. We were more than happy to print his letter,” Bronstein said.

Of course, Sean Penn only got their attention for as long as it took Bronstein to blat the usual: “They get to express themselves.”

Big fuckin’ whoop! This was not about Sean Penn’s self-expression, Bronstein, you dork. If Sean Penn only wanted to express himself, he’d have made a fingerpainting and called it Abstract Expressionism. It was about the TRUTH–which the Chron is increasingly bent on obscuring, like most commercial media. Doesn’t mean a damn thing if they do it with a “serious” tone or a “tongue in cheek” one; bullshit is bullshit.

And maybe Sean Penn needs to write another letter to remind them that “getting to express themselves” is not and never was the point. The point is that a newspaper ought to be good for something besides wiping one’s ass with, or else why print it?

No, the problem with the Chron is that it has a line to follow, the same line all the other major papers in the US follow: Hugo Chavez is the enemy. Hugo Chavez is authoritarian. Hugo Chavez is a dictator, or would like to be one. And only America can stop him! Yee-hawwww, let’s make war on another evil dictator and show the world what makes America great–our corporatized “free speech”, combined with gunboat “diplomacy” and boundless greed!

(We’ll leave out the fact that he’s democratically elected, that he’s sitting on top of the world’s largest proven oil reserves, and that he’s looking to use the money those reserves bring in for the good of his people, instead of letting Corporate America, of which the Chron too is a part, make off with it all the way it used to.)

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