Thursday, September 14, 2006

Butt Out

After yesterday's revelation that GDub will be hosting meetings between himself and the president of Kazakhstan over the character Borat, we receive news from the neighbor to the north about another politician a little overly concerned with the actions of a celebrity. For those of you that have missed it, Sean Penn caused a bit of a ruckus when he lit up a cigarette during a press conference for his new film.

The problem? Penn was in Ontario, and Ontario just celebrated the completion of its first 100 days as a Smoke-Free Province, banning all smoking indoors. This has led to Health Promotion Minister Jim Watson to practically demand that Penn be ticketed for his offense.

Watson, of course, feels that Penn hasn't even been given a warning on this due to his nature as a celebrity, even if, for years, his biggest claim to fame was having married Madonna. Watson doesn't feel that celebrities should be treated differently from average people, and this banner is being carried further by Dr. Sheela Basrur, who is asking for an investigation into whether or not Penn was made aware of the law, and, if so, why the law wasn't enforced in his case. Basrur also points out that the average fine is slightly over $100.

Here's the catch, though. By raising a big stink over this whole mess, the people in question who simply want Sean Penn to be treated as a normal person are elevating his level of celebrity more than he could do by reshooting I Am Sam. The authorities in question, if they really want to keep him from getting special treatment, should mail a bill to his place of residence (or his agent), and do so in that typically Canadian non-threatening manner. Then, when Penn sees the fine, laughs about it, and uses it as a match to light his next cigarette, they can pretend to get very up in arms before sending him another ticket. This process should repeat endlessly until either a) the politicians get bored, or b) the ticket gets paid.

Wait a minute. How did Sean Penn get big enough on the radar for people to even notice he was inside, let alone smoking?

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