VOX: Welcome. Sean Penn is an Oscar winning actor, political activist, pseudo-journalist, friend to dictators the world over, barbecue sauce pitchman in Japan, and most recently a genuine search and rescue hero. Dismayed over recent events in New Orleans Penn and his entourage piled into a rented boat and set out to save the day. They never actually rescued anyone, and in fact, had to be rescued themselves from the leaking craft, but actually achieving nothing doesn’t diminish from his—ah—achievement. Sean Penn joins me now.
VOX: Sorry, I don’t smoke.
VOX: Fine, let’s start the interview. What drove you to fill a boat to capacity with photographers, publicists and assorted hangers on and sail headfirst into the New Orleans disaster area?
SEAN: I was looking to help people. Those fascists in the federal government weren’t doing anything to help, so it was up to me save all those people.
VOX: What about the National Guard?
SEAN: What about them?
VOX: They were sent by the federal government to help the people of New Orleans.
SEAN: Whoah, dude. That’s like so far off. The National Guard ain’t there to do anything but kill black people. Kanye West told me so at the after-party for the NBC telethon at Diddy’s place.
VOX: And all the food, water, medicine, and transportation out of the floodzone...?
SEAN: All an evil scheme hatched by Karl Rove, dude. The fascist pigs in the media are like covering it all up. They Republicans are trying to destroy New Orleans as part of a plot to destroy the nation’s best twenty-four strip joints. First it’s Pierre’s Pussycat Lounge in New Orleans, next, it’s Big Bob’s Booby Bonanza in Las Vegas. Mark my words man, it’s all a big conspiracy.
VOX: An interesting theory. What’s the basis you have for it?
SEAN: First, they start a war in Iraq to distract us all from this conspiracy. Saddam’s a great guy, and Iraq was just a peace-loving country where children flew kites in fields of golden corn, and not a Kurd or Shia in sight to blot the landscape. It was beautiful before the American Fascists dropped their nuclear bombs and killed everybody.
VOX: They’re not all dead. In fact, they’re busy writing a new constitution.
SEAN: That’s what Rupert Murdoch and his Fascist Fox Death machine wants you to think. It’s all done with animatronic puppets from Jim Henson, dude.
VOX: Let’s get back to your theory.
SEAN: Oh, yeah, my theory. Then they get this Patriot Act passed which gives the government the right to close down 24 hour strip joints in ‘the event of an emergency.’ So then Karl Rove goes down to New Orleans on the day of the storm with a big hammer to smash holes in the levee, while the Republicans keep everyone trapped in the flood zone. See, it’s so obvious.
VOX: All right. What about the Democratic Mayor, and Democratic Governor who held off calling for a mandatory evacuation of the city for fear of being sued by hotels and airlines, even though reports said that the coming storm surge was bigger than their tallest levee? And they only finally got around to calling for a mandatory evacuation after President Bush begged them to do it. Doesn’t that show more failings on the part of the municipal and state levels than the federal government?
SEAN: That’s just Fox News hate-mongering.
VOX: And what about the 250+ school and transit buses that were abandoned less than a mile from the poorly equipped and operated shelter in the Superdome?
SEAN: Industrial Light & Magic made up those photos. George W. Bush took away all the schools and school buses as part of his ‘All Children Left Behind’ program. Ben Affleck told me so.
VOX: You can’t beat Ben Affleck as a source. So the whole disaster is part of a big plan to deprive America of 24 hour strip joints. Where else did you dig up this information?
SEAN: It’s out there. You just have to look at real impartial sources like MoveOn, Democratic Underground, and the discussion board at High Times. They have the pieces of the truth.
VOX: But it takes an actor, born and raised in Hollywood, with little formal education to actually put the pieces together?
SEAN: Exactly, dude. That’s why the world would me much better off it was run by actors. Our ability to act out words and actions written by others gives us a deeper understanding of how the world works.
VOX: Like Ronald Reagan?
VOX: Not important. What do you think about the breakdown of law and order?
SEAN: It’s still a pretty good show, even without Jerry Orbach.
VOX: Not the TV show. I’m talking about law and order in New Orleans. 2/3s of the NOPD either fled their posts or didn’t show up for work. That left the remaining 500 outnumbered and outgunned, and then some of the missing 1000 officers were caught on tape looting a Wal-Mart.
SEAN: Boy, you really are spitting out all those Karl Rove talking points aren’t you? That stuff’s all manufactured by Fox News to turn everyone against black people.
VOX: But none of this happened in Alabama and Mississippi where the local government didn’t fall apart in the face of and the people there, black and white, worked together to overcome hardships. So, why would this conspiracy only vilify the people in one city and leave others of the same race not only looking good, but brave, and often heroic?
SEAN: Vilify? Look dude, I only do interviews in English.
VOX: It is an English word, it means to do something to make someone look bad.
SEAN: I didn’t say it was a well-run conspiracy. It’s not like they have an actor in charge.
VOX: I’ll say. We haven’t heard stories of gang members laying siege to a children’s hospital looking for drugs in Mississippi or Alabama.
SEAN: Those were Republicans disguised as gang members looking for drugs to sell to their buddies in Iraq.
VOX: I thought you said everyone in Iraq was dead?
SEAN: I came here to do an interview, not have holes poked in my beliefs!
VOX: Let’s get back to your attempted rescue. How many people did you think you could fit into a boat that was already packed full of people?
SEAN: All right, I admit it. I could have used a bigger boat, preferably one without holes in it. Are you happy now you sonofabitch?
VOX: Why didn’t you use your own boat?
SEAN: I’m not letting any strangers onto my baby! Go knows where they’ve been! Now, if you don’t mind. I have to go back to New Orleans to save more people.
VOX: Don’t you mean ‘try to save more people?’
SEAN: Are you being a smart-ass? I do have an Oscar, you know. Now I must go UP-UP-& AWAY!
VOX: Are you all right? It looks like your nose took most of the impact.
SEAN: Yo, dude, be a pal, and call 911 please.
VOX: Sure, I can’t leave you there, you’ll leave bloodstains on the carpet. That’s all for today folks.