Sunday, December 28, 2014

North Korea, The Interview and Movie Ethics

Its been quite a while since I blogged .. I'm going to try to write a bit more consistently from now (try being the key!). I thought I'll start with a light topic!

So I watched the now infamous The Interview two nights ago. I'm no movie critic, but I thought it was a cheap, crass stupid movie with no depth whatsoever. More of a dumbass slapstick movie than anything else.

Again, I'm no movie critic so I don't recommend you listen to me; watch it and make up your own mind :-). I have made up mine!

HOWEVER, I do think the Internet literati's reaction to this movie is grossly wrong, unfair and arrogant.

Has there ever been any other Hollywood movie where the SITTING president of a country is made to look like a jackass and assassinated in the most stupid way? I can't think of any movies like that. In fact, I don't think Bollywood or any other movie system has produced such a movie.

When Hollywood movies have US presidents in them they're always made out to be the hero (e.g. White House Down) and they pretty much never die. If they do die, then they die a hero (e.g. 2012) in true patriotic form.

I don't recall seeing a single movie where David Cameron or Angela Merkel or Narendra Modi or any other sitting president was made to look like a fool and gets killed as the main point of the movie (or in any other fashion).

I believe the US Secret Service takes ANY threats against the US president very seriously. According to Wikipedia, a threat against the US president is a class D felony (presumably a bad thing). I've heard of students who send anonymous (joking) email threats get tracked down and get a nice visit.

So, suppose Sony Pictures decided to make a movie which shows President Obama being a jackass and then being killed? How far would that go before the US Secret Service shuts it down?

In my view the fact that this movie was conceived, funded and made just goes to show how little respect the US system has for people that are not lined up in the US way. Its fine for the US government, and even the US people, to have no respect for some country, its president or whatever, but I have to agree with North Korea when they say that this movie is a violation of the UN charter:

With no rhetoric can the U.S. justify the screening and distribution of the movie. This is because "The Interview" is an illegal, dishonest and reactionary movie quite contrary to the UN Charter, which regards respect for sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs and protection of human rights as a legal keynote, and international laws.

    Would all the Internet literati who hailed the release of the movie act the same way if Bollywood produced a movie mocking Obama and killing him off? If not, why the double standard??

    Its disappointing that thinking people also get caught up in the rhetoric and ignore basic decency. Just to be clear- I'm not saying North Korea is a great place. I have no idea what things are really like there. What I do know is that I don't trust the managed news rhetoric that is delivered as fact by CNN, Fox, BBC, Al Jazeera or anyone any more about any topic. This is after observing how Sri Lanka was represented in various of these channels during the war and after being here to observe some side of it myself. After Iraq (where are those WMDs now?) you'd think that smart people wouldn't just believe any old crap that's put out .. I distinctly remember watching the news conference (broadcast on BBC) immediately after Colin Powell made his speech with pictures to the UN Security Council where the then Iraqi Foreign Minister (can't remember his name - fun looking dude) went thru each picture and gave an entirely different explanation. We now know who was telling the truth. I try hard not to get caught up in any of the rhetoric as a result now.

    There's an entirely different topic of whether the North Koreans attacked Sony Pictures' network and whether the US government hackers shut down their Internet. It seems that the general trend (as of today) is that it wasn't the North Koreans, despite what the FBI said:

    So I'm with the North Koreans on this one: This movie should not have been conceived, funded and produced. I don't condone the hackers' approach for trying to stop it; instead Sony Pictures should've had more ethics and not done it at all. So, IMO: Shame on you Sony Pictures Entertainment!


    Damith Senanayake said...

    Technically, though he was not the 'president' at the time, if you remember the movie 'hot-shots', (Charlie Sheen), it made tremendous fun of Saddam while he was the commander general in Iraq. So there's that. But other than that, I must agree to what you mean.

    chamath.k said...
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    chamath.k said...
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    chamath.k said...

    This is exactly what I thought after watching the movie. Agree completely. After many years in US I find it is sad that people are amused of such lackluster stupid movies.I am glad I watched this on Netflix not paying any premium to producers and partakers of worthless hyped garbage.