There seems to be extraordinary consensus of opinion regarding Sony's decision to cancel its North Korean set comedy The Interview. I saw Mia Farrow retweet Mitt Romney to-day--and not ironically. "@MittRomney .@SonyPictures don’t cave, fight: release @TheInterview free online globally. Ask viewers for voluntary $5 contribution to fight #Ebola." Devin Faraci of Badass Digest tweeted: "A country run by corporations is a country that is cowardly and exclusively profit-driven. Fucking capitalism." Well, if it's the profit motive at play, all this coverage is sooner or later going to make someone at Sony say, "If we release this movie, it'll be the single biggest hit we've ever had." There's no doubt in my mind we'll be seeing The Interview eventually. I think we're probably also going to go to war with North Korea. What better way to get our minds off the torture memos? After all, Kim Jong-un tortures a lot more people than we do, I think it's safe to assume. Gods, I hope that's safe to assume.
I have to admit, I was from the beginning rather surprised that a comedy film would depict the assassination of an actual leader of a country, however infamous that leader may be. Though its not without precedent--I remember the bomb landing on the lap of Saddam Hussein in Hot Shots! Part Deux. And even Daffy Duck had a crack at Hitler:
Of course, in the examples I just mentioned, Hussein and Hitler were both men whose countries the U.S. had been at war with. In his blog to-day, George R.R. Martin mentions Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator, which was released before the U.S. went to war with Germany. And it did actually generate controversy at the time--Chaplin was one of the few directors who had complete control over his films as he was in charge of his own studio. Quite a few people at the time said Chaplin had gone too far. As far as I know, no-one was saying that about The Interview except North Korea. But we live in a climate that takes satire more for granted.
But now I read that Sony screened the film for State Department officials who okayed it, who even okayed a graphic depiction of Kim Jong-un's death. An activist planned on dropping DVD copies of The Interview into North Korea, something he's done regularly. The movie Titanic apparently had such a profound impact on a North Korean woman named Yeonmi Park that it led to her decision to flee the country with her family, a dangerous undertaking and her father died in the attempt. Now she's a minor celebrity in South Korea where she regularly mocks North Korea on South Korean television despite threats to her life, apparently possessed of a lot more guts than the higher ups at Sony.
The Interview looks like a good movie to me. I loved This Is the End, another movie from the same director, writers, and stars. It seems to me that The Interview may have been inspired by Dennis Rodman's trip to North Korea--Rodman came back seemingly brainwashed and hearing him talk about how Jong-un was a good guy, just misunderstood, was eerie and ridiculous and certainly ripe for ridicule. Jong-un, like his father, of course, is evergreen fodder for jokes, as anyone who takes himself that seriously usually is. I don't think the movie was orchestrated by the U.S. government--I can believe Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen would come up with the idea to push the envelope in just this way. But I wouldn't be surprised to learn there's more to this than meets the eye.
Twitter Sonnet #697
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Imperial troops landed on Plymouth.
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Pipe straws dip into the turtle drama.
Thin stalks fall to illusory kama.