One of the most liberal newspapers in America recently mocked "celebrities making asses of themselves...hanging out with the world's most notorious dictators and other authoritarian figures."
One such a-a-actor, Sean Penn, who has actually written for the paper in question, struck back Monday by calling the outlet "lame-brain," "desperate," and having "become Mad Magazine for small-minded cowards and former writers of substance."
Marvelously, both Penn and the paper were right!
With that as pretext, our sordid tale began Thursday when that bastion of socialism on the West Coast, the San Francisco Chronicle, curiously published an article harshly critical of folks like Penn who suck up to despots the paper typically reveres (emphasis added):
With so many celebrities making asses of themselves these days, D-list actors and has-been pop stars need to get more resourceful. And what could be more controversial than hanging out with the world's most notorious dictators and other authoritarian figures?
As ridiculous as the idea sounds, it's already coming into style.
Naomi Campbell had a flirty interview with Venezuela President Hugo Chavez for a British GQ article that comes out today. At one point the controversial leader and potential ruler-for-life asked her to "touch my muscles." Danny Glover is friends with Chavez, who is reportedly funding two of the San Francisco actor's forthcoming films. Others who have made recent Chavez-related headlines include Oliver Stone, Sean Penn and Barbara Walters, who placed Chavez on her list of the most fascinating people of 2007.
On Monday, Penn struck back (emphasis added):
From reading The Chronicle's banner-line propaganda, which teases the "star envy" piece within ("A modest proposal for celebs on the skids," Thursday), I could only hope this great city was more clever than its increasingly lame-brain paper. In its unequivocal naming of Chavez as dictator on A1, either "Pop Culture" man Peter Hartlaub or his equally biased Chronicle editor, doesn't quite understand that Venezuela's President Chavez was democratically elected, and that dictators don't lose constitutional referendums. The Chronicle should take comfort that the New York Times generally does no better than them here. Yet, in the paper's attack on Oliver Stone, who, agree with him or not, has at least the balls, passion and intellectual curiosity to pursue information away from a porcelain dumping bowl and a desperate newspaper, we see another attempt to marginalize the outspoken...Believe it or not, I have a reasonably good sense of humor (if that's what Hartlaub attempted), but I felt so embarrassed, even for The Chronicle. Its "hard news" section for the banner line, and now its Datebook editorials have become Mad Magazine for small-minded cowards and former writers of substance.
Of course, as previously mentioned, this was a rare moment when both sides of a debate were actually correct.
After all, the Chronicle's view of self-aggrandizing celebs like Penn making nice with America's enemies was spot on.
However, Penn's characterization of San Francisco's most prominent offering to journalism is well-shared by virtually all right-thinking Bay Areans.
This is certainly the case for my cockatiel who has physically protested every effort by my family to line her cage with San Francisco's leading daily. According to our pet psychologist, Jerry refuses to do "her business" on the Chron as she firmly believes this would be redundant.
I quite agree.