In case you haven’t heard, actor Kal Penn (of Harold and Kumar and House fame) has signed up to join the Obama administration. That’s right. There’s an old-school actor running Hollywood and a young up-and-coming actor getting ready to take a job at the White House. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this, but here is some text from the article linked above:
Penn will be working with the Asian-American and arts communities, said Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman. (Penn’s parents are Indian-America.) His start date is not set.
Penn told EW: “I’m going to be the associate director in the White House office of public liaison. They do outreach with the American public and with different organizations. 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.”
I’m all for actors putting their proverbial money where their mouths are in terms of working in the benefit of the greater good when it comes to being politically active. That’s a fine and noble aspiration if you ask me, so I admire Penn’s willingness to give up a budding acting career to make a larger impact on the world. Yet still I find myself wondering what degree of impact Penn can have working with Asian-Americans and the arts community. Is there a great need for a dose of celebrity in that part of the American citizenry?
Part of my questioning about Penn going to the Obama White House has to do with the fact that I really enjoy House and the role that he played on the show! Penn’s character, Dr. Kutner, was an excellent addition to the cast and he will be sorely missed. However, like I said before – I like that Penn is willing to put his growing acting career on hold and stand behind his political beliefs. I wish him the best of luck.