Sony’s theater of the absurd: How “The Interview” became the most insane cultural-political spectacle in recent history

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NorthReport
Sony’s theater of the absurd: How “The Interview” became the most insane cultural-political spectacle in recent history

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NorthReport

Amazin'. Truly amazin'!  Laughing

 

Sony’s theater of the absurd: How “The Interview” became the most insane cultural-political spectacle in recent history

A major Hollywood movie is dead because of North Korean cyberattacks, and the whole thing is too bizarre to believe

http://www.salon.com/2014/12/18/sonys_theater_of_the_absurd_how_the_inte...

abnormal
NorthReport

Sony should arrange to allow a free download for everybody. 

NorthReport

Has the USA lost its first cyber war?

Analyst: We underestimated North Korea

http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/17/world/asia/north-korea-cyberattacks/index....

NorthReport
mersh

Not that I endorse threats of terrorism (is that enough of a disclaimer?) but was there any way this film wouldn't be horribly racist and offensive in the first place?

NorthReport

Correct mersh

Unionist

Best news I've heard all day.

6079_Smith_W

So let me get this straight.... they're willing to let someone's throat get cut rather than give in to terrorist threats, but one very badly-written threat in this case

(so bad that I honestly can't tell whether it is for real, or itself a racist marketing ploy - as I said in the other place)

and they pull the movie.

I don't care how bad the movie is, this doesn't speak well to our freedom of expression.

Unless of course, as I have also heard rumoured, it is a ploy to get more people to watch it, as they most certainly will now that this has happened. What was going to be a bomb is probably going to be a direct to DVD cult classic.

So.... good news or bad news? I think it is a tossup.

Here's the letter, for those who haven't had the pleasure:

Quote:

Warning:

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places "The Interview" be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.

 

6079_Smith_W

And I have read news of at least one theatre running "Team America" in its stead.

Just in case anyone thinks we dodged a pile of offensive crap here.

 

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I don't care how bad the movie is, this doesn't speak well to our freedom of expression.

Yeah, who knows, next they'll be telling students they can't do rape chants at university football games... Whither Academic Freedom?

 

6079_Smith_W

That would be willful incitement of hatred against an identifiable oppressed group, Unionist.

Mocking a public figure? A public figure with the fourth largest army in the world who fuels his country with meth? Something else again. Good luck building an impenetrable firewall around that one.

I'm sure this is going to make everyone think twice about mocking the guy who says everyone has to get the same haircut as him.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-26747649

Don't. Laugh.

 

 

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

That would be willful incitement of hatred against an identifiable oppressed group, Unionist.

Oh really? That's a criminal offence. Let me know when you hear about charges being laid in a single one of the horrendous cases that have come to light in recent months. Or even a police investigation.

Quote:
Mocking a public figure? A public figure with the fourth largest army in the world who fuels his country with meth? Something else again. Good luck building an impenetrable firewall around that one.

I don't think you get it. It's easy to mock the other guy's tinpot murdering dictator.

Let me know when Sony makes a hahaha hilarious film about some Muslim students from Germany who are paid to knock off Obama, Harper, and the Pope. Then you might, just might, impress me with rhetoric about "freedom of expression".

I hope Sony loses a huge bundle on this. It'll teach them to look both ways before they cross the Kim.

 

voice of the damned

Let me know when Sony makes a hahaha hilarious film about some Muslim students from Germany who are paid to knock off Obama, Harper, and the Pope. Then you might, just might, impress me with rhetoric about "freedom of expression".

Well, for the record, American Dreamz is a Hollywood comedy about an Al Qaede operative who goes to the USA to assassinate a president who is a pretty thinly velied caricature of George W. Bush. The plot is portrayed as failing, however.

And of course, there was Death Of A President, a British mockumentary directly portraying the assassination of Bush. That wasn't a comedy, but I think Bush fans regarded it pretty much the way Kim regards The Interview.

[url=http://www.hotflick.net/pictures/big/006AMD_Dennis_Quaid_015.html]Dennis Quaid and Willem Dafoe in American Dreamz[/url]

I've only seen Dreamz. Kinda funny, but didn't stand up well on second viewing.

6079_Smith_W

Not sure what rabbit hole you are going down WRT your on-campus scenario. I'm just making a moral distinction about fair comment. I know it happens.

As for the freedom of artists to produce political satire:

Sony would never dream of making fun of our tinpot dictators:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120885/

Or our allies:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABhZQ_VRbsQ

And there's this:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364961/

Just try and stop it. Like I said, this is probably going to make MORE people want to see that movie. I know I would likely not have considered it if not for this incident.

Though one good thing to come out of the Sony Hack. We know why Aaron Sorkin was displaying such moral outrage over it in recent days and trying to shame everyone into not revealing the secrets:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/sony-leaked-e...

 

NS NS's picture

Who is gonna star in Sony's semi autobio tell all movie based on the real life cultural political spectre drama?

That would be so meta

Hollywood loves to navel gaze and make themselves feel important

@ Smith, Who makes a movie about trying to assassinate a real life dictator who happens to be your adversary and living?

@mersh Racist and ethnic stereotypes are the what Hollywood is built on , was never a bastion cultural diversity

How does a "right" to make fun of half-starved desperately poor country exactly gutsy? Which stage the empire is that?

6079_Smith_W

Oh for heaven's sake, NS.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI9QzNVJK1s

In case you think the Americans are the only ones:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUP8T7Qar88

Or this quaint rendition of "we are the world"?

http://boingboing.net/2013/02/05/u-s-bombed-in-north-korean-pr.html

 

 

bekayne

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Not sure what rabbit hole you are going down WRT your on-campus scenario. I'm just making a moral distinction about fair comment. I know it happens.

As for the freedom of artists to produce political satire:

Sony would never dream of making fun of our tinpot dictators:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120885/

Or our allies:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABhZQ_VRbsQ

And there's this:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364961/

 

You forgot:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095705/?ref_=fn_al_tt_4

 

NS NS's picture

the recent Rolling Stone cover story about Seth Rogen reads strange in retrospect

December 4 issue titled "Seth Rogen is the Stoner King of Hollywood"

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/seth-rogens-stoner-empire-inside-rolling-stones-new-issue-20141203

RS calls it "a candid and hilarious encounter with one of the stars" , gets the actor to talk about his deliquent Canadian childhood, on how he has been creating movies with a close-knit group of friends that he has dubbed "the  Jew-Tang Clan" for 15 years

Sony's top brass summoned Rogen to talk about The Interview after North Korea launched some test missiles which probably had nothing to do with the movie

He tells RS, "Any time a movie causes a country to threaten nuclear retaliation, the  higher-ups wanna get in a room with you," suggesting that Sony had concerns

Hackers revealed that Sony gave Rogen and company between  $40 - $50 million, Rogen was paid $8.4 million and Franco $6.5 million for their roles

Rogen has also talked about how the head of Sony Amy Pascal gave them  an "insane amount of money to do whatever the fuck we want"  (Rolling Stone December cover )

NS NS's picture

@smith Not sure what your point is , are you saying Daffy Duck cartoon is propaganda?

@bekayne how is saving Queen Elizabeth the same as a mission to assissinate North Korean leader?

I have yet to see an a example of any country that makes a movie like this about an enemy state

Is there a comedy movie about killing Obama made by Russian fillmakers for instance? Or better yet , has Bollywood made a movie about killing Pakistani president?

6079_Smith_W

Well it was an attack on a foreign leader. But actually, it is a joke because your trying to pigeonhole this discussion is irrelevant.  You could express similar outrage at all kinds of art, from Doctor Strangelove to JG Ballard's Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan.

I don't care what their content was; I care that someone was able to use threats to shut them down.

George Clooney circulated a petition after the initial leaks took place. Very few people were willing to sign and support SONY, because they were scared of the same thing happening ot them.

Quote:

This affects not just movies, this affects every part of business that we have. That’s the truth. What happens if a newsroom decides to go with a story, and a country or an individual or corporation decides they don’t like it? Forget the hacking part of it. You have someone threaten to blow up buildings, and all of a sudden everybody has to bow down...

This was a dumb comedy that was about to come out. With the First Amendment, you’re never protecting Jefferson; it’s usually protecting some guy who’s burning a flag or doing something stupid. This is a silly comedy, but the truth is, what it now says about us is a whole lot. We have a responsibility to stand up against this...

Here’s the brilliant thing they did. You embarrass them first, so that no one gets on your side. After the Obama joke, no one was going to get on the side of Amy, and so suddenly, everyone ran for the hills.

http://deadline.com/2014/12/george-clooney-sony-hollywood-cowardice-nort...

Suppose right wingers take notes from this playbook next time there's a movie along the lines of Last Temptation, or Handmaid's Tale, or Lake of Fire. Or a movie critical of the state of Israel. Would it be okay for them to use a bomb threat to shut it down, and would it be acceptable to use the excuse that someone is offended?

Can't have it both ways.

 

 

Unionist

On the other hand, this may be giving birth to new art forms.

voice of the damned

Is there a comedy movie about killing Obama made by Russian fillmakers for instance? Or better yet , has Bollywood made a movie about killing Pakistani president?

Well, actually, both the DPRK and the ROK had a decades-long policy of trying to assassinate the others' president. The North's Rangoon bombing of 1980 being the most well-known, but there was also at least one South Korean plot to take out Kim Il Sung.

I don't know if either side made any comedies about this, but, since they were both DOING the thing itself, movies would be kinda beside the point anyway.

Much later, there was [url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387596/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1]Silmido[/url] a South Korean movie about the plan to pardon death-row inmates in exchange for them killing Kim Il Sung(yes, someone actually tried that outside The Dirty Dozen). It's more critical of the ROK than the DPRK, focused on the betrayal and eventual killing of the prisoners.

I personally preferred The President's Last Bang, a dark comedy about the 1979 assassination of Park Chung Hee by his own intelligence-chief. That probably doesn't count as a plot by foreign governments, though.

Not sure if there has been a movie about the attempted assassination of Park in 1974, which killed his wife by mistake.

voice of the damned

Well, THAT formatted really badly. There were supposed to be paragraphs.

Anyway...

[url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0445396/]The President's Last Bang[/url]

Hm. Babble software does not want me to space my paragraphs.

Unionist

I guess what I find disproportional is that utter frenzied brainless hysterical fear is created around North Korea (which Canada and the U.S. have both invaded, but which has never attacked or credibly threatened Canada or the U.S.) suppressing freedom of expression, while Canada and the U.S. murder people around the world and suppress human rights every minute at home.

Iran, of course, is no longer demonized daily, because they are now our allies, I think. Likewise for Bashar al-Assad.

I frankly find these attacks on North Korea disgusting, dangerous, and deceptive. We should give our heads a shake and aim our anger and our protests against the real devils who are destroying humanity and the planet.

 

ETA: Forgot to add delusional and diversionary.

6079_Smith_W

Well if those North Korean videos don't count as a credible threat (and I agree, they don't) it kind of begs the question of how much  of a threat a comedy movie is. I don't think anyone here is defending its merit. After all, none of us have seen it, so how do we know? Though it is over 50 percent on the rotten tomatoes meter. It isn't usually my kind fo fare, but I expect I will go out of my way to see it at this point.

As for the real issue, personally, I find the prospect of having art or news media  shut down by threats of violence to be far more of a direct threat. And the film company also shares some of that guilt for caving in. It is a real devil in my opinion, Unionist. And again, if it was something else that was being shut down I expect you might agree with me.

 

 

 

voice of the damned

[I'm gonna break these paragraphs up into separate posts.]

Yeah, I agree, North Korea poses no threat at all to the west, and indeed a pretty minor one to its vicinity. If I thought otherwise, I would certainly not live where I do.

voice of the damned

Now, were I a member of Amnesty International, I would join a letter-writing campaign on behalf of political prisoners in the DPRK, just as I would on behalf of political prioners in any country.

voice of the damned

@Smith

Yes, I agree. I dislike ANYONE using threats of violence to shut down a film, whether it's right-wing Catholics who hated Hail Mary or(assuming the info is correct) pro-DPRK hackers trying to shut down The Interview. I think it's possible to believe that that sets a bad precedent, without actually jumping onto any neo-con bandwagon agaunst the North.

voice of the damned

And, like you, I would probably go see the film were it released(in the ROK, I'd be very surprised at this point). But then, unlike a lot of people apparently, I DO like Seth Rogen. But my theory is he needs to be restrained by a good script, and the farther he stays away from pure slapstick(which brings out his worst excesses), the better.

Paladin1

Unionist wrote:

 

Let me know when Sony makes a hahaha hilarious film about some Muslim students from Germany who are paid to knock off Obama, Harper, and the Pope. Then you might, just might, impress me with rhetoric about "freedom of expression".

I hope Sony loses a huge bundle on this. It'll teach them to look both ways before they cross the Kim.

 

Thats a great point.

I remember how beserk people went when an itteration of the Call of Duty video games allowed players to *gasp* play as a member of the Taliban and shoot 'mericans.

onlinediscountanvils

I also remember the 2012 remake of Red Dawn.

Now, to keep friendly with [China] and its lucrative box office for American movies, the bad guys will be changed to North Koreans whose military isolationism means American media corporations have no potential revenue at stake.

LOL!

http://www.darkhorizons.com/news/19864/-red-dawn-remake-swaps-its-racism

6079_Smith_W

Unionist wrote:

I hope Sony loses a huge bundle on this. It'll teach them to look both ways before they cross the Kim.

I thought they crossed the Kim already.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_gQ5ZBSPiU

(mind the offensive words)

NDPP

US Stokes Conflict With North Korea Over Sony Hacking

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/19/nkor-d19.html

"No evidence of any kind has been produced. There is evidence as well that the US is whipping up conflict with North Korea in several areas simultaneously..."

NS NS's picture

@Smith and Voice

I do not remember anyone screaming censorship when right wingers shut down movies about  Bush and Reagan in theatres and tv in recent years

2006 movie "A death of a President" showed a sniper  killing George W Bush the right howled & it was pulled from theaters

CBS pulled the Reagan  miniseries in America due to pressue from Reaganites who did not want to ruin his legacy

Just this month: Tories and the right is trying to stop the BBC from filming Hilary Mantel's adaption of book "The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher " 

bekayne

NS wrote:

 

2006 movie "A death of a President" showed a sniper  killing George W Bush the right howled & it was pulled from theaters

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_a_President_%282006_film%29

Two U.S. cinema chains, Regal and Cinemark, refused to screen Death of a President,

 

bekayne

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_America:_World_Police

Kim Jong-il kills Alec Baldwin with an assault rifle, and then is kicked over a balcony by Lisa. He is impaled on a Pickelhaube and is revealed to be an alien cockroach from the planet Gyron. The cockroach then departs in a miniature spaceship, promising to return.

NS NS's picture

Oscar-winning movies Argo , Zero Dark Thirty, Private Ryan the list goes on

Hollywood's continues to rely on cooperation with CIA and Pentagon in material for scripts, consultation, hardware etc

Call it Entertainment Industrial Complex ,  America's Soft Power or State Propaganda

AJE shows "Hollywood, the world’s empire of cinema has shaped Americans' perception of the US and its culture like no other. And increasingly, Hollywood is shaping people’s perceptions of the US and world history"

NS NS's picture

U.S Department active role in the decision to include gruesome assissination of DPRK leader?

Sony's communication show right-wing think tank RAND Corporation & U.S State Department officials saw the film and gave approval to show scene featuring the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the hopes it will lead to the overthrow of the regime

Incredible!

 

 

voice of the damned

NS wrote:

I do not remember anyone screaming censorship when right wingers shut down movies about Bush and Reagan in theatres and tv in recent years

2006 movie "A death of a President" showed a sniper killing George W Bush the right howled & it was pulled from theaters

CBS pulled the Reagan miniseries in America due to pressue from Reaganites who did not want to ruin his legacy

Just this month: Tories and the right is trying to stop the BBC from filming Hilary Mantel's adaption of book "The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher "

voice of the damned

And, for the record, I'm not someone who thinks North Korea is the most evil government in history because they might have hacked Sony. Overall, I find the whole controversy kinda funny, and at worst, an annoyance. Like, if I couldn't see Hail Mary because some Catholic phoned in a bomb threat.

voice of the damned

REPLY

Did any of that "censorship" involve criminal activity like hacking and bomb threats?

The movie Team America was unable to find distrubitors in South Korea when it was released. This was pzrtly because, during the Sunshine-policy era of Kim Dae Jung and Roh Moo Hyun, there was a desire among parts of the South Korean establishment(and general public) to avoid portrayals of the North in a negative light. And I had no problem with that. If the distributors think people will find the film offensive, and won't wanna see it, well, they're not obligated to show it.

voice of the damned

[Oh, and as for Death Of A President. From wikipedia...]

"The Region 2 Code widescreen edition of the film was released on DVD in the United Kingdom on 30 October 2006, followed by the Region 1 Code version in the United States on 3 April 2007."

voice of the damned

^ So apparently, the film was not actually banned in the USA.I'll be curious to see if The Interview gets a DVD release.

NS NS's picture

NS wrote:

Oscar-winning movies Argo , Zero Dark Thirty, Private Ryan the list goes on

Hollywood's continues to rely on cooperation with CIA and Pentagon in material for scripts, consultation, hardware etc

Call it Entertainment Industrial Complex ,  America's Soft Power or State Propaganda

AJE shows "Hollywood, the world’s empire of cinema has shaped Americans' perception of the US and its culture like no other. And increasingly, Hollywood is shaping people’s perceptions of the US and world history"

 

Supplemental:

Zero Dark Thirty Character Was Key Architect of Torture Program

Actress Jessica Chastian won Golden Globe for her portrayal of Maya, character based on several CIA employees, one of them dubbed "the Queen of Torture"

Queen of Torture has been indentified as Alfreda Frances Bikowsky

 

 

Paladin1

I'm sure it's completely unrelated but for some explained reason North Korea can't connect to the internet today.

 

http://www.theverge.com/2014/12/22/7434201/north-korea-internet-problems...

NDPP

The Modus Operandi of Imperialist Propaganda  -  by Patrick Martin

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/12/22/pers-d22.html

"Coming soon to a theater near you, a US imperialist propaganda blockbuster, the latest production from CIA Pictures."

6079_Smith_W
NS NS's picture

 

The Interview is a weapon of mass distraction so Americans do not have think human rights & civil rights at home

Christmas is a time for spreading good cheer and peace on earth but  Americans will be relishing in the fictional killing the leader of DPRK 

"Evil torturers catch a break: How America got distracted from a national travesty:    

How the Sony story and Cuba reset eclipsed the torture report's horrors -- causing a dangerouus lack of outrage"

http://www.salon.com/2014/12/24/evil_torturers_catch_a_break_how_america_got_distracted_from_a_national_travesty/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

Unionist

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Suppose right wingers take notes from this playbook next time there's a movie along the lines of Last Temptation, or Handmaid's Tale, or Lake of Fire. Or a movie critical of the state of Israel. Would it be okay for them to use a bomb threat to shut it down, and would it be acceptable to use the excuse that someone is offended?

Can't have it both ways.

You're absolutely right.

If someone threatens murder and pillage to stop some movie being shown, the authorities should pursue and prosecute those responsible.

If someone doesn't express themselves freely and openly because they fear reprisals - well, that's terrible, isn't it? But that describes the daily situation of the vast majority of people in our society. We can't say what we think of the boss, for fear we'll be fired and lose our livelihood. We can't say we want to organize for regime change, without worrying we'll be put on potential terrorist lists. We can't demonstrate in the streets without fear of being kettled and ticketed and assaulted and profiled. Many of us can't show our faces outdoors without a lingering fear of being bullied or arrested or humiliated.

But no one cares about those limitations on freedom.

Sony's "freedom" to show provocative diversionary xenophobic comedies? Yes, they're free to do so. They're too chicken-shit to face up to some "threat" by some teenager somewhere? I can offer them lessons in courage from millions of people who stand up to more real and credible threats every day.

What a scam this whole thing is.

 

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