sean penn talks about his interview with el chapo

the attachment of sean penn to the recapture of cartel boss joaquin “el chapo” guzman here in mexico is a little surreal. in october of last year guzman met with and was interviewed by penn. the interview was published the day after guzman was arrested. charlie rose asked penn about his meeting with el chapo on the american news show 60 minutes on sunday.

the first question charlie asks is

was it naive of u, naive, to believe that u could come to mexico, meet with kate del castillo and go see el chapo without somebody knowing about it?

naive means inexperienced or gullible. it was the title of this 2006 hit by the kooks.

sean admits he was stunned (surprised) that el chapo would risk meeting with him.

sean penn el chapo
sean penn shaking hands with el chapo (rolling stone)

around :50 in the video, rose addresses some of the angry attitudes that have been expressed about the tone of penn’s interview

u understand how a lot of people would have wanted u to, in this conversation, in a sense to see how he would react if u wanted to hold him accountable for his life?

would have wanted indicates a hypothetical situation in the past, and specifically in this case, what readers of penn’s interview wanted him to ask el chapo. hold accountable is an expression that means the readers wanted sean penn to use this interview to force guzman to take responsibility for his actions and lifestyle as a cartel boss.

youre not sean penn interview
maybe u would’ve asked el chapo different questions, but you’re not sean penn.

penn’s derisive (contemptuous, sarcastic) response is

there’s that little problem we run into in life: they’re not me.

run into means encounter or confront.

at 1:45 rose describes the article penn wrote for rolling stone as both rambling (longer than necessary) and gripping (fascinating).

sean penn charley rose interview
rose found penn’s article about el chapo both rambling & gripping.

sean utilizes the third conditional (hypothetical situations in the past) to address the public reaction to his interview

my article should not have made this much noise. el chapo should not have been this popular a figure to read about.

noise in this context means buzz, media attention.

fun efl practice  richyrocks english on youtube

charley rose counters by saying people read about el chapo before penn went to mexico and sean agrees…

i’m well aware of that

in other words, he knew it.


in this part of the conversation, charley’s first question is

do u believe the cartel wants to do harm to u because they have accepted the idea that the visit that u made somehow led to the recapture of el chapo?

sean concedes that he can’t say there is no risk.

sean penn milk el chapo interview
sean penn won an oscar for portraying the activist & flamboyant speaker harvey milk.

rose continues, asking him about his concerns, and sean elaborates a little on his motivation

i’ll be as honest as i can be with u about this. i can be very flamboyant in my words sometimes. i can get angry like many people can. i’m really sad about the state of journalism in our country. it has been an incredible hypocrisy and an incredible lesson in just how much they don’t know and how disserved we are.

and he grants that he is

not without controversy, fair enough.

as honest as is a comparative structure that penn uses to show he is speaking sincerely, at the highest level of honesty.  flamboyant is extravagant or conspicuous. fair enough shows that he agrees this is legitimate, just analysis.

sweet and lowdown sean penn
penn as the fictional, flamboyant jazz guitarist emmet ray in sweet & lowdown

rose points out at 1:50 that sean penn committed a journalistic sin by allowing el chapo the opportunity to approve the rolling stone article before it was published. as penn explains it

what was brokered for me to have the interview with el chapo was that i would finish the article, send it to him, and if he said no; then that was no harm no foul……it would never be printed.

broker means negotiate.

the cover of arch rivals shows one player getting punched in the face by a player from the other team     arch rivals no harm no foul

this old school video game provides an ironic example of no harm, no foul.

no harm no foul is an expression that comes from basketball. a player might do something that normally results in a foul call, but if the action doesn’t unfairly impact the game, no foul is called.  applied to el chapo’s preview of penn’s article, if chapo didn’t like it, no problem.  everybody involved could just forget the whole thing and walk away. harm by itself means damage.

in this final segment, rose starts out answering his first question from the first video, telling penn twice that he is not naive.

penn 60 minutes interview no regrets
sean penn regrets that his interview with el chapo was misunderstood.

later after sean penn comments that his article failed to generate the social conversations that he intended, rose summarizes at 1:20.

but you’re really saying, “what i really regret is not anything that i did, i regret that people misunderstood what i did.”

penn confirms.

what do u think?  was it a bad idea for sean penn to meet with el chapo for an interview? share your opinion under leave a reply




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