Actor Sean Penn told the Daily Telegraph that he watches the ISIS beheading videos because “we are not seeing enough of real violence.”
Penn spoke to the Telegraph for the premier of his new film The Gunman, which is about a special forces sniper. The film is described as pretty violent, and when asked about it Penn responded, “I don’t think you can put something on a 40ft-wide screen with Dolby stereo and not be stimulated by it, whatever it is, a car going fast, a weapon firing. The only obligation of the film-maker is to show that there is a price to pay for violence. If it excites people in a negative way then I think that’s in the audience, not in the presentation.”
The actor went on to explain that people are being “anesthetized” by political correctness. He wants people confronted with the raw, violent truth.
“The problem,” he continued, “is we are not seeing enough of real violence. We are being anaesthetised when you don’t see the horror of war. In the Sixties, we grew up with the horror of Vietnam on our television screens every day. Today we have become anaesthetised by political correctness. The American news channels did this with the Iraq war; they wouldn’t show what it was about, they wouldn’t show the caskets coming home.”
To which the interviewer asked if he watches ISIS videos out of “moral responsibility”?
“Uh-huh. I’ve watched them. And anyone who sees them and claims that they were anaesthetised by violent movies, that they weren’t horrified by what they saw, on the most primal level, is intellectually dishonest or existentially unpresent.”
It might suit Penn’s political disposition to expose the public to the “caskets coming home” — but conversely, if the public were exposed to the real horror of ISIS by the news media, they might insist the president treat the ISIS threat seriously. It goes both ways, Sean.