Martin Sheen: Victim of Hollywood Status

by | Apr 18, 2003

A sensitivity guidebook, used by schools nationwide, urges teachers to diligently watch for “differential treatment of an individual due to minority status; actual and perceived” in the classroom–that’s differential, not deferential. The University of Kansas, like countless other public and private institutions, offers a series of grants and cash handouts “based on minority status” and […]

A sensitivity guidebook, used by schools nationwide, urges teachers to diligently watch for “differential treatment of an individual due to minority status; actual and perceived” in the classroom–that’s differential, not deferential. The University of Kansas, like countless other public and private institutions, offers a series of grants and cash handouts “based on minority status” and little else.

PATH, a health organization funded by the Bill Gates Foundation, advises its field workers that “some transgendered persons, both sex workers and non-sex workers, may also appreciate sensitive psychological counseling because their lives are often made more difficult by their gender status“; a “status” which, unlike most of the population, is liable to change.

A 1993 Defense Department statement reaffirmed the Army’s commitment to discharging soldiers “when a case involves only homosexual status and the person involved requests a discharge, the person will be released from active duty,” whatever that means.

A San Diego State University researcher studying (what else) race relations in Las Vegas reports that “the main roadblock in discovering the [city’s] total race/ethnicity was in understanding the Nevada’s Economic Development charts which were based on Hispanic status” figures.

In the cases cited above, the term “status” obviously infers a sense of victimhood; to confer “status” upon a group or person operating outside of society’s “straight, white male” culture (which is the hardly the monolith university professors often make it out to be) is a way of consciously calculating the “immeasurable” debt a particular institution owes the supposed victim.

We recognize that terms like “status” are meant to confuse and obfuscate. So we offer our own, more accurate, locution: The Historical Fate Variable, valuable in judging candidates–be it college, job or loan–with a tribal eye and muddled mind. By measuring the hapless historical performance or unjust treatment of the interviewee’s “ethnic” group, the interviewer can soon ascertain if the person is a potential asset to the organization. Simple, really.

For veterans of the campus culture wars, constant invocations of the Historical Fate Variable (nee “status”) are painfully predictable and, after 30 years of government sponsored race preferences, increasingly viewed with skepticism. Despite our reflexively cynical attitude, I can now reveal a new status, a new Fate Variable, previously unknown in the liberal academy. The discovery came courtesy of one Martin Sheen, an Op-Ed columnist for the Los Angeles Times and, according to sources, a professional actor.

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Sheen chronicles a life of vicious taunts and wanton discrimination “solely due to [his] celebrity status.” Because of this, his political views on issues ranging from the war in Iraq to the war against Saddam Hussein are seen through a bigoted, anti-celebrity lens. Sheen represents a group that is obscenely rich and frequently afforded the opportunity to make total asses of themselves in horrendous films and on the Sunday chat show circuit.

With this kind of hatred and oppression of Hollywood running unchecked in America, one wonders if a UC Berkeley Department of Celebrity Studies is in order.

We hate to do it, but humor us while we repeat ourselves: Martin, you are not being “silenced,” simply challenged by people far smarter and much better informed than you and Ed Asner (This is the Hollywood brain trust? No wonder most of our films suck so bad). Trust us, people don’t take you and Sarandon seriously enough (not even her own mother, it seems) to waste their time “silencing you.” Tip number two (much like tip number one): when you are mocked, your feeble, hyper-emotional arguments torn to shreds and your motives dissembled by people who actually do this for a living, please don’t run have one of your literate lackeys fire-off an Op-Ed accusing pro-war folks of McCarthyism. It makes you look even sillier, if such a thing is in fact possible.

After reading the entire Sheen screed, we get the impression that it was his “celebrity status” that made it possible for such an embarrassingly paper-thin, self-obsessed editorial to be printed in the first place. How can one be “silenced” and then show up in the opinion section of a major US daily?

Sure he comes off like a bratty Hollywood

Michael Moynihan is a writer living in Stockholm, Sweden

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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