So check it: Sean Penn says he's "surprised at how slowly the mindset on same-sex marriage has changed". Bring me my box of straws and some scissors. The trying task of telling this fucking joker why a straight man (who has lectured an Oscar audience on the shame of bigots) and then steals work from gay actors is hypocritical and maddening, but also unavoidable.
His confusion is perhaps not entirely of his own making however. Penn, who just for the record, once tied his then-partner Madonna to a chair and beat her for several hours, is but part and parcel to the grievous pact of assimilation. People like him are not invited or expected to protest bathroom bills that leave trans people susceptible to violence, or to advocate for the scores of homeless LGBT youth denied outright the promise of "justice" which they had dutifully recited to them every morning in school.
People like him are ushered in for their photo op with the rainbow banner, sometimes conferring a condescending speech when time allows—love is love!—and then they go back to their normal lives, which for Penn includes assaulting photographers, rescuing rich American businessmen released from Bolivian prisons, and starting shit he can't finish on matters of colonialism.
Perhaps Penn is more than a twice-honored Oscar recipient, but a veritable mint—he presses me on the same coin as the conservative blogosphere that snarls and gnashes at his every move. We all hate rich, privileged scumbags using their wealth and notoriety to take up space in discussions that have nothing to do with them, for bonus points in a game they've never played.
Sean Penn did not receive an Oscar as recognition for the merit of his compassionate politic. He was used to safeguard the film industry from having to exercise actionable visibility and diversity within their organization. If a straight man can win an Oscar for playing a gay character, then the Academy has little need for cis white gay actors. He did his duty, much like Eddie Redmayne, who won the Oscar for playing disabled Stephen Hawking and is expected to get an Oscar nod for playing a trans woman in 2016.
Penn's display of grievance at the pace of a struggle he was never a part of was never intended to remind of us our social obligation for justice—just to remind us who gets the last say when discussing our struggles.
Similarly, I am surprised at how slow the mindset on Shanghai Surprise is changing. It's been almost 30 years and we still can't accept that Sean Penn is a plank of wood with anger issues, who relies on our societal shame to maintain some semblance of a respectable career.