For I am now publicly his critic...
Last Friday on Real Time With Bill Maher, Penn gave one of the most incoherent, string-along, delirious rants I have ever had the pain of watching on television. His sentences stumble from one non sequitur to another in a physically discomfiting way.
Maher asks Penn of his buddy Hugo Chávez, who has shut down many news outlets in Venezuela for the licentious crime of questioning the policies of 'The Great Leader.' Penn defends Chávez, and then claims that those in the media who call him a dictator should be punished with prison. Apparently Chávez's censorious excesses have made an impression on Penn. To hell with free speech (even after Penn praises transparency), jail the detractors!
Oh... then comes the rectal curse, specially reserved for critics of the great humanitarian Penn. The scorching flames of burning stupid have wounded mine eyes and ears...
I can accept that Penn truly wants to help people and that his motivation is sincere, but he is so far outside the bounds of critical thinking that he may never find his way back.
Any totalitarian leader that manages to rule benevolently (which of Chávez I wouldn't concede), would qualify a dictator, all the same. Chávez is certainly trending in that direction, though it may not yet be right to call him a full-blown dictator. You'll notice that Maher doesn't seem at all convinced, when all is said (ahh!) and done (thank God!).
The better part of the rambling interview (the Chávez portion is actually Penn at his most coherent) can be found here.