“The limits of our language are the limits of our world”Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1889-1951
In an article written by Sean Penn (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-penn/jacob-ostreicher-released_b_2341809.html ) we read:
“… but for the way video games and in-home electronic communication and entertainment may compliment isolation….”
This sentence caught my attention. Although English is not my first language the use of compliment did not sound right. I consulted the dictionary and, yes, it should have been complement. This made me read the article by Sean Penn with more attention and, frankly, as a good friend says: “the man should stick to acting”.
Penn wrote in this article about Venezuelan politics, saying: “Therefore, it is also a valuable and revealing sidebar to note that our president [Obama] in the same week, contemplating the future of a Venezuela, whose own democratically elected president and representative of the Venezuelan heart, lays with his life at risk to cancer, that President Obama also, I submit, tactlessly declared the Chavez administration as one of "authoritarianism."
Again, Penn should stick to acting. Not only the writing is pretty chaotic but we, Venezuelans, know very well that the definition of Chavez’s regime as authoritarian is actually generous. It has been much closer to dictatorial. For almost 15 years now the country has had only one power: the Executive power. The Judicial, Legislative and Moral Powers, (the last includes the Comptroller General, the Ombudsman and the Attorney General) as well as the National Electoral Council and the Armed Force have simply been echoes of the presidential ukases.
Penn also plays at being political scientist and, even, moral philosopher, and here once more, he should stick to acting. He says: “The conflicted principle is that which all too often defines and limits our pride as Americans who, in deference to an omnipresent filter of mono-culturalism, isolationism and division, are consistently prone toward behaviors and words, as insensitive and disrespectful, while at foremost counterproductive for the generations of young Americans who will follow us. With it we lose perspective regarding the context and people of other countries or other philosophies, and our moral obligation to the human rights of all. When our actions are reckless, or expressions are aimed at attacking any governmental ideology that is not our own, and where our knowledge as citizens is dictated by biased and inflammatory media, or by leaders whose own political lives or agendas are subject to the consensus misinformation, those actions may most significantly undermine our credibility with the people of other countries, and not with their systems of government. Human happiness is proving itself reliant on global quality of joy, and not the domain of borders”.
Is something missing in these long paragraphs? Grammatical coherence is one. Focus and facts are also clear casualties. Penn criticizes Obama for attacking a government [Chavez’s] simply because it has a different ideology. I would think that criticism of totalitarian, corrupt, regimes were justified, even expected, actions for a president of the United States. What would really undermine the credibility of the United States would be Obama’s silence, his not criticizing those regimes where human rights are continuously violated and where a presidential language of hatred has divided the country into two distrustful halves.
Penn is a member of a small group of Hollywood figures that support totalitarian regimes such as Castro’s in Cuba and Chavez’s in Venezuela. The group also includes Danny Glover and Oliver Stone. Some have derived financial benefits from their loyalty. Glover obtained some $18 million to do a film that remains to be seen. Stone made a very complimentary (this time the word is correct) documentary of Chavez. Mark Weisbrot, a Chavez’s eulogist based in Washington, obtained some $ 200,000 by writing the narrative.
Clearly, not all which is legal is ethical.