“The Interview”

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Reuters reported that Sony’s “Interview” was shown in more than 300 theaters across the U.S. on Christmas Day and drew “moviegoers who trumpet free speech”. “I wanted to support the U.S.”, said one moviegoer. “Sony decided to release the film after U.S. President Barack Obama as well as such Hollywood luminaries as George Clooney and Republicans and Democrats in Washington, raised concerns that Hollywood was setting a precedent of self-censorship”, continued the report.

Reuters reported that Sony’s “Interview” was shown in more than 300 theaters across the U.S. on Christmas Day and drew “moviegoers who trumpet free speech”. “I wanted to support the U.S.”, said one moviegoer. “Sony decided to release the film after U.S. President Barack Obama as well as such Hollywood luminaries as George Clooney and Republicans and Democrats in Washington, raised concerns that Hollywood was setting a precedent of self-censorship”, continued the report.

The movie is being described by US news media as a harmless “comedy” and a “political satire”, made for laughs, ignoring the fact that it’s about assassinating the living leader of a country – not a fictional leader or a fictional country, mind you, but the leader of an actual nation, which the US considers a “dangerous enemy”. If this were made in Denmark or Switzerland or Brazil or in one of many other countries, maybe we could ignore any possible political ulterior motifs it might have or the message being conveyed and objectives being pursued and overlook its real life political implications. But, there are three things that are hard to ignore about this movie: 1) this was made in Hollywood, which has a long and shameful history of being a propaganda tool in the hands of the Pentagon and the CIA, 2) the U.S. has a long history of waging wars with nations it considers an enemy, which almost always come after a propaganda campaign conducted through mass media or a Hollywood movie or both, and 3) the last time the U.S. entered into war with North Korea, the nation lost close to a third of its population to US bombers. Somehow, the idea of the assassination would not sound so funny to those people.

Beyond that, what is also hard to ignore and we should not ignore is what it says about the American culture and psyche, when so many films are about wars, including with “aliens” from outer space or about assassination or killing. The American youth are already bombarded with video games and movies about war and violence and killing. We don’t need another film about assassinating another foreign leader. The issue isn’t whether this or that leader is a crazy dictator. He may very well be. The issue is that such propaganda material make such leaders, in the eyes of the people, into an enemy that has to be dealt with or confronted. There is a difference between a crazy dictator and a crazy dictator who’s “our” enemy. When he’s made into an enemy that needs to be “stopped”, he goes from someone who may be crazy and s dictator to someone “we” have a problem with and “we must do something” about.

Some may say I’m being paranoid and read too much into a “funny” movie (somehow I have a hard time with the words “funny” and “assassination” in the same sentence, especially about a movie that shows in slow motion Kim’s face getting distorted by an exploding tank shell and melting in an inferno and finally being blown up – some funny scene, indeed), but, I can’t ignore history. As George Santayana famously said, “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. Hollywood complicity with US initiated wars of aggression have been repeated too many times to be ignored.

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