Sean Penn’s Ugly Words

usa-001Of course the Oscars were long. Of course, the presenter’s cue card jokes fell flat. Neil Patrick Harris, so effortlessly charming at the Tony’s, appeared stiff, even in B.V.D.’s and black socks. Still, Lady Gaga made the most of her prime product placement spot by singing better than many thought, even if she’s no Julie Andrews.

I winced when Sean Penn strode on stage to present the Oscar for Best Picture. I should like this guy – Haiti philanthropist and gay-rights champion – but he’s so dour. He proved his Oscar-awkwardness a few years ago in his tone-deaf defense of Jude Law against host Chris Rock’s jabs.

imgres-1But he eclipsed that last night when inserted the phrase, “Who gave this son-of-a-bitch a green card” for millions to hear before announcing Mexican Alejandro González Iñárritu’s name for Birdman as Best Picture. Perhaps in better comic hands it might have seemed a joke. But from too earnest Mr. Penn, it was beyond insensitive. It was wrong.


We are a nation of immigrants. We should be proud that the United States offers Mr. Iñárritu creative opportunities and that chooses to pursue his creativity within our borders.

I hope that Mr. Penn offers Mr. Iñárritu a sincere and public apology today. And I hope the Oscar powers keep Mr. Penn off the presenter’s podium for years to come.

About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog,, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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