God, all of this hand-wringing about “censorship” since Sony Pictures announced it was pulling the release of “The Interview!” Smart people, people I respect, are all decrying the decision, but this is one time where I’m gonna say: y’all asked for it. Who thought a comedy showing the U.S. government assassinating an actual, real head of state in an extremely grotesque and graphic fashion was a good idea? It was poor taste all the way around. Maybe a little self-censorship next time, guys?
This wasn’t satire a la Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “Team America World Police.” It was an ill-conceived and un-funny idea from the get-go. Someone should have stepped in long before now; the fact that they didn’t shows how few grown-ups there are in “young Hollywood.”
I’m no fan of the North Korean regime by any means, but I don’t think murder is funny (hey maybe it’s just me!) and I sure don’t think assassinating leaders of foreign countries is funny (sorry, not even Kim Jong Un). When the United States’ international reputation is getting hammered for the CIA’s use of torture, trying to get yuks out of the North Korean leader’s exploding head is in really poor taste. It would be different if they had used a fictitious leader of a fictitious country, but no. They had to push the envelope. Well, sometimes when you push the envelope, the envelope pushes back. Lesson learned.
There’s a lot of nuance to this story that’s being overlooked: the fears of theater chain owners who didn’t want to scare moviegoers away from the multiplex, for one thing, or the fact that Sony’s Japanese owners are far more impacted by North Korea than is America. But the hubris of Hollywood players claiming the moral high ground and crying “censorship” over a puerile buddy comedy filled with butt jokes that was already getting bad reviews is pretty silly. This ain’t “Citizen Kane,” and I’m not sure it’s the best place to be planting your free speech flag.
Movie studios pull the plug on projects all the damn time. I don’t recall anyone crying “censorship” the last time a movie went straight to video, do you?