Why The Media Romanticizing Bad Behavior of White Celebrity Offspring Is Righteously Offensive
The say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this instance — the effective shot of models Hopper Penn and his girlfriend definitely serve as the blueprint of how the vitality of White privilege can’t be downplayed.
When the offensive article about these two appeared on my timeline — I can honestly say that I quickly developed an intense hatred for White people — as my body went into a heated frenzy — staring at the shot that resembles the lookbook for an Abercrombie & Fitch casting call.
The accompanying article didn’t do much to assuage my worst fears — as we’re treated to a romanticized background check on the young White couple — and by the end of it — you can’t help imagining them in a re-booted version of the all-time classic — Bonnie and Clyde.
They’re beautiful and White — and when those things collide — you can’t fault them for straying into illegal territory.
Okay — so they clearly made a mistake by being sloppy and this led to their arrest for possessing illegal substances. But — as luck would have it — they weren’t carrying nearly enough to luck them up in the slammer.
It was an offense that’s punishable with a fine and maybe a “drug treatment course” at some million dollar resort — where kids of celebrities tend to go to hang out — until the press moves on to the breaking news concerning another White celeb’s model daughter — who was caught shoplifting — but gained a glamorous mugshot as a reward.
Listen — I get it — Hopper Jack Penn is the son of Sean Penn and Robin Wright — so it doesn’t get any cooler than that. Then you add the fact that he was named after two of the most prolific actors in Hollywood — Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson — and it all makes perfect sense.
Hopper has no choice but to live up to the hype of being a part of a dynasty that will always be flexible enough to allow “bad behavior” seem like a rite of passage — even if his Black counterparts are currently languishing in cells for performing the exact same act.
White men in general have it easy in the hands of the law — but when you’re a White male with the benefit of wealth and fame — you can bet your ass — that you will be granted as many chances as possible to continue your quest as a lifelong outlaw.
Just ask Charlie Sheen.
As nauseating as it was to get the full deets on Hopper and his girl — it was particularly disturbing to note how a supposedly solid news outlet like Associated Press — went the extra mile to recruit a writer with instincts from The Hollywood Reporter — in order to give the kid of Hollywood royalty — the kind of writeup that he will absolutely frame with pride.
It’s gorgeously written — and seamlessly breaks down Hopper’s dazzling descent into drug addiction — which was spearheaded by a skateboarding accident that resulted in brain surgery — and then of course the aftermath led to his crippling habit.
He’s young, attractive, and White and that leaves him vulnerable to the elements that come with such a disposition. He’s only human. How can we expect him to juggle the fame he didn’t ask for with the accident he couldn’t help and then the drug dependency that was to follow.
But the good news is that both Hopper and his actress girlfriend with the exotic name — are going to have another opportunity to glamorously break the law.
Here’s the thing — the media does an impeccable job when it comes to tugging at our heart strings in the name of White people and their “troubles.” They present the subjects with orchestral props and the level of adherence to fairytales that would enrapture any storyteller.
You almost forget that you’re reading about a felon or reckless individuals who should be punished for their terrible ways. But that reminder is reserved for people of color — and of course the media also does a good job making those distinctions.
Imagine if Hopper Penn and his girl were Black and not the “pretty Black” — but Black — with a pedigree that doesn’t measure up to Hollywood’s White standards. They’re famous enough for the attention — but not White or beautiful enough for model-like mugshots or a short description of their activities that reads like a treatment for a min-series.
We’re now embodying a time when social media dictates the wins and the losses. You can be mediocre AF and still land the covers of notable magazines and host top-rated variety shows because enough people worship the ground you can barely walk on.
The state of journalism is dire and unbearably sad as we see how the “Trump effect” has destroyed the integrity of newsrooms by regulating the bare minimum in output — which in essence encourages biased reporting in the worst form.
Instead of telling it like it is — we run to symbols and images to get the clicks that will skyrocket once the set up is presented with the finesse of “The Bold and the Beautiful.”
We are fighting a war of real versus fake and from where I’m sitting — there will be no victory.
Not until the media stops being offensive — and starts being fair.