Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Sean Penn: Nitwit with a Pen

Here is the best paragraph from the second installment of Sean Penn’s moronic reporting on the Iranian election:

We were sitting in Nayeb restaurant in central Tehran. I’d been holding a piss through the hours of prayer service. So after I ordered my lunch, I excused myself to the men’s room. “Men’s” was written in Farsi above, and “Manly” in English below. I stepped into the water closet, grateful to just have a piss. If I’d had more serious business there, it would’ve been a squat job with no hook for one’s jacket. Now, that would’ve been manly.

Unfortunately, Penn’s article suffered from the fact that discussions of piss and “squat jobs” were relatively infrequent. Also, “water closet”? Who the hell does he think he is? Winston Churchill? His American citizenship should be stripped! And you don’t “have a piss” you “take a piss.” Being married to Madonna must have really screwed up his brain.

Penn’s dispatch covers the Iranian election. The election was in June. Why are we only receiving the produce of his golden pen now? My guess is that the editors of the San Francisco Chronicle took one look at what he had written and quickly realized that they were going to have to edit the shit out of it. But even after two months we still have the phrase “have a piss” inflicted upon us.

It gets worse when he interviews some Iranian government functionary:

He said something that really caught my ear. “There are four or five dissidents only who are currently in prison,” he said with disconcerting ease. “Even you, in the United States, have journalists in prison, probably the same amount, and some currently under threat. There are some human rights issues, then we have to solve that. In the United States, your Guardian Council are the rich. It is not so different.” In the days to come, the younger Rafsanjani’s words would be put to the test. He had posed a balance between Iranian treatment of free press and that in the United States. I chose to diligently consider this proposition, and was mindful of the cases against Matt Cooper and Judith Miller, and separately, the suspicious umbrella over Robert Novak back home.

What kind of gullible boob needs to “consider diligently” the question of whether the Iran’s press is as free as that of the United States. Also, what is this “Guardian Council” and how do I become a member?

Luckily, Penn takes a step towards sanity a few paragraphs later:

Akbar Ganji, a heroic investigative journalist who at one time wrote columns implicating high-ranking individuals in assassination of dissidents, had disappeared two days before my arrival in Tehran. The talk on the street had him in prison or dead. Ganji had already spent 62 months behind bars on a term that began in April 2000 for expressing political views. (The following day, it would be revealed by Human Rights Watch that he had been taken back into solitary confinement at Tehran’s Evin prison, was barred from contact with family or lawyers and has taken to a life-threatening hunger strike.)

I put out the word that I would like to speak with Abbas Abdi, another prominent dissident who had been jailed two years for polling Iranians on relations toward the United States. I was told that in the uncertainty of the moment, and because of the disappearance of Ganji, Abdi was giving no interviews. I was starting to question, very seriously question, Mehdi Rafsanjani’s view of what represents a free press in Iran versus that in the United States.

He was “starting to question” whether the press was a free in Iran as the United States! Give the man the skeptic of the year award!

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