By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about Sony Pictures cancelling the upcoming Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy, “The Interview,” out of fear of the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, finding the film offensive (no surprise there) and sending threatening emails in retaliation. And if you haven’t, here’s the quick rundown:
Director Evan Goldberg decided to make a comedy starring Rogen and Franco as a duo who run a tabloid based television show that catches the attention of the North Korean tyrant who ends up falling in love with it. The CIA then recruits the Rogen and Franco characters to help compile a cunning plan to send our hilarious duo over to North Korea to host a faux interview with the dictator in an attempt to assassinate him. The film had been marketed for several weeks and was slated for release this fall, however when the real life Kim Jong-un caught wind of it, his weak child-like ego got hurt, prompting the narcissistic despot to send a slew of rage filled emails to Sony Pictures, who immediately pulled the film from releasing.
In other words, Sony got trolled by this autocratic brat and cowardly gave into the bully’s demands.
Now this incident strikes a nerve with me for two reasons: The first being that I’m a proud American and I certainly don’t appreciate it when another person tells me that I can’t do something, especially when it’s a sadistic jackass man-child from the other side of the world that I already despised in the first place. I was actually interested in seeing this movie, I admit that I’m not the biggest Rogen and Franco fan (their past comedies have been a hit-and-miss experience with me), but “The Interview” looked absolutely hilarious!
The second reason being that as a writer, I belong to the artistic profession, and as artists the one thing we absolutely abhor the most is censorship. Contrary to common public misconception, creating art isn’t easy, that goes double for film. It takes a lot of people, a lot of money, and a lot of time and hard work to produce something for the big screen (or little screen). It also takes a lot of emotion, pouring yourself into your work and putting it out there to be judged by the world. So when somebody tells us that we’re simply not allowed to release our work, we become infuriated!
Now to be fair, Sony retains the Right as a company to not release any product they desire, for virtually any reason. Many films never see the light of day simply due to the production company changing their minds and backing out. Often this is due to a lack of marketing, and usually the film winds up being picked up by someone else later. However that was not the case here, a dictator simply got sand in his vagina and decided to throw a tantrum about it. His little sissy feelings got hurt and he just couldn’t stand it. Not surprising considering Kim Jong-un imprisons and executes anybody who happens to disagree or voice criticism against him, including those who don’t believe that his father and previous North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il, did not in fact, invent the cheeseburger (no seriously, look: http://www.redorbit.com/news/oddities/70622/north_korean_leader_claims_he_invented_hamburgers/).
It would be as if Hitler were alive today and just happened to get upset at Tarantino’s “Inglorious Bastards” (great film by the way). Would we let Hitler boss us around? Would we let him dictate what we could or could not watch? Of course not! We would flip him the bird, show the film, and then go over to Germany and kick his ass. We have backbone, we have pride, we’re not going to be bullied by an authoritarian schmuck, and Sony should be ashamed at themselves for being so spineless.
I, along with many other Americans, feel that Sony’s decision was a slap in the face to the 1st Amendment. Freedom of expression, which includes artistic forms, is protected. Even if someone happens to be offended by that particular expression. I don’t think people understand the dire aspects of this situation, a dictator has effectively imposed his oppressive rule on us by choosing what film you and your family can or cannot see this Holiday Season. That is the most anti-American thing that could ever happen!
Like all bullies, the only way to stop them is to stand up to them, because what’s to stop Kim Jong-un from finding other films offensive? The next Hunger Games movie? It certainly speaks out against the abuse of Government power. Star Wars? It has a group of rebels battling an evil empire, that might spark a rebellion among the North Korean populace, therefore it might be deemed “offensive” by their Dear Leader. Will that get cancelled as well? Now I realize that Sony is technically a Japanese company, but come on! We are stronger than this! The America I grew up in, the America that I know and love, the America that I believe still exists out there, somewhere, would never allow this to happen.
A common American phrase is “Don’t tread on me.” I believe it’s well past the time for Kim Jong-un to learn that lesson.