By Dave Lindorff
Randall Park as Kim Jong-un and Jeremy Renner as Gary Webb (
(Image by ThisCantBeHappening!)) Permission Details DMCA
Is it just me or does anyone else think like me that this whole uproar over the supposed foreign "threat" to Americans' freedom in the form of warnings against showing a low-brow Hollywood comedy, "The Interview" is a pathetic farce?
It hit bottom for me today when I read in the New York Times that viewers who flocked to one theater to see this over-hyped move kicked it off by collectively pledging Allegiance and singing "My Country 'Tis of Thee."
First of all, let me point out that if the tables had been turned and some other country's film industry had cranked out some movie depicting the assassination of the current president of the United States, does anyone think that the US government would not go ballistic in protest, no doubt threatening trade boycotts or worse -- maybe drone attacks on the studio in question? (Certainly that would be a possibility if the offending nation were Islamic.)
But on top of this, we already know that the initial claim that the threats against theaters showing the film, and the hack of Sony, the film company that made the movie, was wrong, and that they were not the work of the North Korean government, but rather of some private hacking organization. It wouldn't surprise me to someday discover that Sony, stuck with what looked like a dog, paid some shady outfit to hack them and make threats all in order to build "buzz" around the film's release.
Whatever or whoever it was behind the threats against this film, it worked like a charm. Americans, who probably would have ignored this movie like a remake of "Ishtar," have been flocking to it in a jingoistic fervor to watch Kim Jong-un's head explode, even as the US government, which had been threatening retaliation against North Korea, has now had to back away from those threats as it becomes clearer that Pyongyang was not behind them.
What is really sad though, is to see US citizens proudly emptying their wallets for inflated tickets to see this sorry production (which was actually censored in its depiction of the exploding of Korean dictator Kim's head by SONY executives long before North Korea even protested about the film) and crowing that they are "standing tall" against threats to American "freedom of expression."
Where were these supposed heroes of free expression when Washington was pressing the cable companies not to include the English version of Al Jazeera in cable packages? Where were they when we learned, in 2004, that the Bush/Cheney administration had successfully pressured the NY Times to withhold from publishing, from September until after the presidential election, an exclusive article by reporter James Risen that the NSA was massively spying on all Americans -- keeping that issue out of public discourse until Bush was successfully--and narrowly -- re-elected? Where are these ardent defenders of media freedom today as the Federal Communications Commission prepares to approve a merger of Comcast and Time Warner to create on single monopolistic cable company? And where are they as the government sits on a secret indictment of Wikileaks founder Julien Assange, the Australian journalist whose only "crime" is exposing documents proving the corrupt, authoritarian and criminal behavior of the US government. Assange has been trapped for over two years in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London dodging extradition to Sweden on a spurious charge of sex abuse -- a charge which is widely known to be merely a device to get him to Stockholm, where the US prosecutors could get him extradited trial on espionage charges in the US.