“To be fair to North Korea…” I wrote that. Fantastic.
Thanks, Sony! Because of your movie and controversial decision-making, I get to play devil’s advocate for an infantile dictator and his posse of yes men. I already defended rapists and child abusers and perverts, and I just love sliding further into the murky swamps of evil. Times are good/bad.
I’m sure I’ll enjoy my future classics like, “Let’s be nice to serial killers, because they’re people too!”
But old murderesses have to wait. This week, I need to defend North Korea, their terrorists, and the American company that caved to their demands. Fan-fucking-tastic.
So here we go. To be fair to North Korea, we did make their leader’s head explode. Kinda a gimme.
Technically, the cranial fireworks were in a rough draft of the movie. According to leaked emails, Sony showed that version to US State Department officials and a North Korea specialist. Of course, they reacted by explaining the possible international tensions this could cause, advising that removing the scene might be a tactful course of action.
According to this article at Breitbart.com, the head-explody version got the blessing of at least three government officials (but was cleaned up slightly, meaning darker head goop). And one praised showing the assassination in gory detail.
North Korea specialist Bruce Bennett claimed that the untimely death of Kim Jong-Un is “the most likely path to a collapse of the North Korean government,” and backed up those claims in his essay for the RAND institute.
“Thus while toning down the ending may reduce the North Korean response, I believe that a story that talks about the removal of the Kim family regime and the creation of a new government by the North Korean people (well, at least the elites) will start some real thinking in South Korea and, I believe, in the North once the DVD leaks into the North (which it almost certainly will).”
Pretty much saying, “We want them gone, so let’s goad people into assassination.” Like ordering a hit via Hollywood. I’m all for freedom of speech, but subtlety is occasionally a good idea.
But this is clearly just a comedic film, no real murder meant. And true, Kim Jong-Un could stand to have his ego deflated a bit (dictator after all). But maybe we aren’t ones to judge.
After all, how would we respond if a foreign nation made a comedy about presidential assassination? Let’s say the French made a madcap farce titled “Lorsque la Tête du Président Washington a Explosé.”
Instant classic. Historical figures are fair game. Lampoon the hell out of Chester A. Arthur. Accidentally dismember Woodrow Wilson. Inflate Ronald Reagan to bursting, then have him fly around the Oval Office…. France, if you’re reading this, call me.
But “Lorsque la Tête du Président Obama a Explosé”? A harder sell. At least, to non-crazy people.
Regardless, it’d be an international incident. We’d get offended and vow action against the French. No war or threat of war, but tense. Again, tea partiers might throw off my assumptions and demand war with France, but c’est la vie. But the French, they’d just say we have no sense of humor.
Because we don’t, at least not when the joke’s at America’s expense.
No nation has a sense of humor about itself. It’s playground politics. Sorry, politics, gotta remove redundancy. So is it weird that North Korea doesn’t like it when an American movie explodes their leader’s (considerably inflated) head?
To be fair to North Korea… I kinda get it.
But should we accept that terrorists are telling us what we can watch? That Sony caved and pulled their own movie like a bunch of cowards? What the hell, Sony? You made a (kinda poor) decision here, but you have to follow through! Why would you pull it?
Firstly, a few clarifications. Sony claims to have pulled the film after theater chains refused to air it. So, theaters could also be blamed here. But those claims only came after the backlash, prior to which Sony said it was their decision. Again, politics. But passing the “coward” label isn’t the point.
I’m not accusing them of cowardice. I’m accusing them of greed and manipulation.
Question: Would anyone have cared about The Interview before all this? And now that we can’t see it in theaters, how many people are going to watch this middling stoner comedy when it’s on DVD? It’s patriotic duty and natural curiosity combined.
If anything, this Cracked article accuses the American public of being cowardly. Sony and multiple theater chains are just reacting to our collective pants-pooping.
Robert Evans writes, “The theaters backed out not because they were super worried about the threat of terrorism but because they thought we’d be scared and avoid going to the movies altogether. They bet their money on the irrational fear of the American people. And they were right.”
So that’s my cynical, cynical defense. To recap: I understand North Korea being upset, believe film companies are being manipulative and think our public is far too paranoid. I’m so getting flagged by the NSA.
The murky swamps of evil are certainly here. The wicked North Korean dictatorship might be the worst thing I’ve mentioned (seriously, pure evil), but reacting to evil does not give us permission to act poorly and stupidly. I hold us to high standards.
Pulling the movie seems to have been the only option for Sony, at least for now. Blind bravado wouldn’t have worked great here. Just think of the lawsuits if anyone did get hurt, or the loss of possible revenue when theaters started to abandon ship. And think of how much more money could be gained by making it into a talking point. OH, and all that delicious free advertisement and air time. And when it’s released on DVD… more of everything. Seriously guys, pulling The Interview was the only decision that made (fiscal) sense.
To be fair to Sony… I get it. I understand. But I don’t feel fantastic.