December 26, 2014 by T. Gregory Argall
I opened my Christmas cracker, put the silly paper crown on my head, and read the riddle hidden inside the cracker.
Q: Where can you find a North Korean racehorse?
A: At the Kim Jong-unstable.
Okay, I’m kidding. That wasn’t actually the riddle in my Christmas cracker. I just didn’t want to be left out on the mock-psychotic-world-leaders bandwagon. Why should Sony have all the fun and subsequent retribution?
Not that Li’l Kim himself would notice. While the hackers that targeted Sony may have been operating somewhere in the northern part of Korea, but I doubt they actually have offices in any of the government buildings associated with the People’s Democratic Dictatorship of the Dude with the Bad Haircut. It’s too subtle for him.
Also, he doesn’t understand computers and their evil sorcery. It’s scary, vile, cybermagic and he’ll have no part of it.
I think pretty much everyone who isn’t Kim Jong-un can agree that he has reached a Michael Jackson level of disconnection from reality. Functionally, the only real difference between him and the late King of Pop is that instead of a knack for writing hit songs, he has some nuclear missiles ready to launch disappointingly into the ocean off the coast of Korea.
I have no interest in seeing the film, “The Interview.” Movies with Seth Rogen are kind of hit-and-miss with me. I won’t go out of my way to see it. If it happens to be broadcast at a time when I’m watching television and there’s nothing compelling on a different channel, I might just let it be shown to me. That’s just me.
You might be a devoted Seth Rogen fan, or a devoted James Franco fan, of a fan of lowest-common-denominator comedy. “The Interview” may have been on your must-see list for months, long before any controversy was publicly associated with it. That’s fine. You have that option in life.
But after all of the furor and kerfuffle surrounding the on-again-off-again release of the movie, people who were just thrilled to be talking on the evening news have proudly and eagerly declared that it is now their duty as freedom-loving Americans to go see this movie, whether they enjoy it or not.
And that has led others to suspect that Sony actually orchestrated the whole thing, there was not hack, and it was all a publicity stunt.
As appealing as that idea is to my inner cynic, I think it is unlikely that Sony sacrificed what little credibility they had left with their industry peers, and risked alienating some significant Hollywood talent, just for some backdoor promotion of a movie in which they had very little confidence to begin with. The loss far outweighs the gain.
On the other hand, releasing the film online at a time when North Korea coincidentally has no internet access (for reasons no one can explain), well, that’s probably the best move they could make under the circumstances.
Also, it keeps moviegoers at home, in front of their computers, instead going out to the movieplex to see some other movie from a studio that isn’t Sony.
In the long term, setting this sort of stumbling precedent is probably a plan that will collapse in on itself.
Just wait for the concessions blowback. After all, the film industry is all about overcharging for popcorn and fountain drinks.
But Kim Jong-un doesn’t care about popcorn sales. Not at all. That’s just the kind of crazy he is.
Meanwhile, try to be nice to each other.