Sean Penn Thought His El Chapo Interview Solved The War On Drugs

If you pay attention even slightly to anything other than mainstream news, then you know the War On Drugs is a spectacular failure. Whether you choose to believe it had good intentions and went horribly astray, or that it was always an agent of institutional racism and a lucrative wing of the for-profit prison system is irrelevant. What is relevant is that for years now there have been countless documentaries, movies, journalists, and whistle-blowers from deep within the system who’ve all exposed the drug war for the bullshit bureaucratic nightmare it truly is. So it is with a spectacular level of delusion and ignorance that Sean Penn thought his El Chapo interview was going to be the catalyst for change. Via People:

“This is somebody who – upon whose interview could I begin a conversation about the policy of the war on drugs,” he said. “That was my simple idea.”

Setting aside the fact that his interview was more of a reflection on his own noble efforts to single-handedly fix the world — complete with a real, actual fart sniff — there’s this notion that people like Sean Penn and Gwyneth Paltrow have about approaching complex social problems with their ivory tower view of simplicity that makes no sense. In other words, the giant government agency and vicious gangs that rely on the drug war for their livelihoods are no more likely to give a flying fuck about Sean Penn eating tacos with El Chapo as a starving poor person is to care about GOOP trying out foodstamps for a week. And if that isn’t enough proof of what a skewed perspective Penn has, here he is actually bragging about how his visit didn’t help the Mexican government find El Chapo:

“There is this myth about the visit that we made, my colleagues and I with El Chapo, that it was – as the attorney general of Mexico is quoted – ‘essential’ to his capture,” Penn said. “We had met with him many weeks earlier … on Oct. 2, in a place nowhere near where he was captured.” Penn said Mexican officials were embarrassed that they weren’t the first ones to find Guzmán, but said they shouldn’t be. “Here’s the things that we know” he said. “We know that the Mexican government … they were clearly very humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did. Well, nobody found him before they did. We didn’t – we’re not smarter than the DEA or the Mexican intelligence. We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation.”

Okay, I get that he’s now desperately trying not to be hung from a bridge in Juarez, but if the end game here is to open up a meaningful dialogue about the drug war, is it effective to piss of the Mexican government with your first move? And while I admit it’s shitty to trash a guy who obviously feels as frustrated about the drug war as anyone who knows someone who’s done time for a petty possession charge, I’m not going to sit here and pretend Sean Penn’s hissy fit over the deservedly terrible reception to his article is anything more than the same emotional reaction he has to paparazzi camera lenses and Madonnas tied to chairs.

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Photo: Getty