Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sean Penn and Chapo

Haven't blogged for ages. But Sean Penn's Chapo interview has given me a tiny bit of interest in doing so. So here goes, let's see if I can keep this up as a regular thing This is my take on Sean Penn's interview with Chapo, all based on speculation and my minimal knowledge of psychology...

Sean Penn’s Chapo Interview Could Have Been Perfect — But Chapo Knew His Game Plan


Everything Sean Penn did and said during his now-infamous interview with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera was laughable — and yet, likely planned to perfection. Unfortunately, Penn failed to elicit the responses he hoped for because Chapo knew enough elementary psychology to stand his ground.

Why did Sean Penn whip his penis out and pee in front of the drug lord? For effect, most likely: narcissists — which Chapo is, at least somewhat, according to a psychological profile of him conducted while he was in prison between 1993 and 2001 — are often believed to be prudish in nature, put off by those normal actions that make us human — like peeing, sex, and… farting.

“At this moment,” Penn writes, “I expel a minor traveler’s flatulence (sorry), and with it, I experience the same chivalry he’d offered when putting Kate to bed, as he pretends not to notice.”

Again, Penn tried to get some sort of reaction out of the drug lord. No such luck. Just “chivalry.”

The knight in shining armor complex so popular with those who perceive themselves as above the rest of us mere mortals.

Penn repeatedly refers to himself as a “gringo” when in fact he’s a world-famous actor, unrecognizable only to someone living on Mars for the past few years. Folks in the hills of Sinaloa have Internet — I’m quite sure they’ve heard of him and probably seen some of his bootleg films. There’s a reason for the “gringo” reference: he’s bringing himself down to a human level — all the better to try to portray Chapo as some sort of grandiose character living beyond his own ego.

Penn is even too human to use a laptop — do people even make laptops anymore, he asks, rather ridiculously; again, an effort to show him as a man who lives among people, not in the technological realm but in the touchy-feely one that Hollywood loves to much.

The realm where people have dreams, and are content with themselves, to use pseudo-psychological-speak. A world where people do not aspire to change the world. A world that many of us know if we’ve taken the online “Are you a narcissist?” quiz that circulates the Internet on a regular basis.

Next question for Chapo: “Do you have any dreams? Do you dream?”

Next: “If you could change the world, would you?”

Next: “What is your relationship like with your mother?”

These questions could have trapped Chapo like the cornered scolded naughty boy he appears to be in the opening shot of Rolling Stone’s video footage. They’re standard psychological questions which might have revealed a fair amount about his character. But Chapo is sharp and apparently, aware enough to have deflected them adequately.

“Whatever is normal,” he replies when asked about his dreams. “But dreaming daily? No.”

That is indeed pretty normal. When pressed, he says his hopes and dreams are to “live with his family.”

Does he want to change the world? “For me, the way things are, I’m happy.”

“Perfect,” he says of his relationship with his mother. “Very good. Care, love.” His mother, incidentally, is the head of an evangelical church in the mountains of Sinaloa, from which Chapo hails. No ordinary grown man’s relationship with his mother is perfect. It simply can’t be, given the dynamics involved in most adult relationships.

The interview ends with Chapo looking straight at the camera with his head tilted slightly back, clearly the one controlling the proceedings which he’s been puppeteering all along in a way that anyone has met him has seen and experienced firsthand. Finally, after saying that the people can decide what to think of him — see, Chapo claims to believe in democracy, to care about what other people think of him — he’s asked to define himself.

He’s a “person who’s not looking for problems in any way. In any way.”

He’s come a long way from the cowering man in the initial image. Rolling Stone let the man have the last word from a position of strength.

Rolling Stone failed because it tried to flip the script and let Chapo hang himself with flimsy psychoanalysis, but Chapo was just too sharp for an ordinary “gringo.” He flipped it all right back at them, just as he’s done to the authorities and the countless victims in Mexico’s drug war all these years.

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