I’m not going to see the new Seth Rogen movie, The Interview. Why? Because the release of the movie has been cancelled as a result of terrorist threats by the government (I use that word loosely) of North Korea. I can’t recall something like this happening before, where you have self censorship by a major Hollywood movie studio. The Interview was to be released by Sony Pictures.
For those who haven’t been following the news lately, The Interview is about two journalists who are invited to interview North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, and are recruited by the CIA to assassinate him. The premise of the movie really pissed him off, apparently, even though the movie is supposed to be a comedy. North Korea hacked Sony’s computer system and subsequently threatened mass casualty attacks at theaters that planned to show the movie. This in turn resulted in major theater chains deciding not to show it, and today Sony announced that the movie wouldn’t be released. By so doing, Sony has inadvertently provided a tiny glimpse of what life is like for people who live in North Korea.
The daily reality of life in North Korea makes George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984” seem quaint by comparison. The population of North Korea has been systematically and coercively brainwashed by their government to believe that their leader is an infallible demigod, despite a horrendous standard of living and repeated instances of mass starvation. Since the population has no access to any information from the world outside North Korea, they live in an alternate reality. Those who question that reality in any way are sent to concentration camps, along with their families, and subjected to inhuman conditions, as recently documented by the United Nations. The UN report concludes that the regime of Kim Jong Un has committed crimes against humanity.
If one good thing comes from Sony’s decision, let it be that free people realize the stark difference between freedom (however imperfect and tenuous) and tyranny. I don’t want to live in North Korea. And I don’t want Kim Jong Un dictating what movies I can watch. In a significant way, he has just projected his sick personality cult onto the rest of the world.
I can’t believe the theater chains and Sony let him do that.