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Sunday, April 04, 2010

Kal Penn picks marijuana over politics

Working in the White House under President Obama must be quite interesting. Possibly only slightly more interesting than the public tour since so many appointees seem to leave after short periods of time, in the middle of the night, over holiday weekends. Just ask Kalpen Suresh Modi - or Kal Penn as most would recognize.

The news has been confirmed that Kal Penn, best known as the marijuana craving Kumar of the Harold & Kumar movies, is leaving the White House after just 9 months. Kal Penn took the job in July 2009, leaving his high profile role in the hit series House. At the time Penn stated

"They [White House Office of Public Engagement] do outreach with the American public and with different organizations," Penn continued. "They're basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House. It's similar to what I was doing on the campaign."


Obviously the job was not what it was cracked up to be. Or Penn couldn't hack it. Either way, the departure is not unexpected. I heard the rumor of Harold & Kumar 3 in Decomber 2009

"A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas- How is this possible since Kal Penn is now an Obama flunky in D.C.? I guess President Obama decided to finally shrink the Government by 1 job - Penn's."


Still I do wonder if it could it be that Kal Penn was on the verge of being revealed as the source of yet another scandal in the White House? His departure is so reminiscent of Van Jones and Anita Dunn.

Or are we to take it that the White House is so unpleasant a place to work that he couldn't handle it anymore (was Rahm mean to him)? Could it be that the manner in which the Health Care Reform was passed was too corrupt, or too weak, for his political beliefs? Has the Obama Administration ignored, broken, or amended too many campaign promises for Penn to stomach? Or did the failure of 50 speeches and Congress hiding from voters over Health Care Reform reflect badly on the Public Engagement office?

There is no way to know as the White House, and so far Penn, have nothing to say.

Thus Kal Penn is free to get back to the basics. He can continue with his one horse movie career(yes I know he was in other movies), making strides (with John Cho) in becoming this generations Cheech & Chong. Which means that Penn is most likely the Chong of that comparison. Not a great career move, especially since Cho at least has 1 more Star Trek revision in his future.

It does kind of go along with my original thought that

"So the Obama Administration is trying to gather more support and attention within Americans that recognize Penn primarily as a pot-smoking, junk food nay-do-well. This is the face of the Obama Administration that is being used to gain political attention."


Ultimately I will say this. I deeply respect Kal Penn for taking time, as short as it was, to stop his career and take on public service. He could have made far more money and helped his career by staying on House.

But he believed in what President Obama promised on the campaign trail. He believed that he could help improve America. I have no doubt that he tried to ensure that his time and efforts were in the best interest of the nation. To that end he is not unlike the host of actors and actresses that served this nation in WWI, WWII, Korea, and to a lesser extent Viet Nam.

I honestly wish that more of the actors, actresses, and entertainers of today cared half as much as Penn. Actually, most do only care half as much, since they talk alot but do little to actually be involved.

So if reward for his service to this country ultimately is to be merely this generations Cheech & Chong, I hope he is lauded for it.

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