Skewering a despot: Is The Interview beneath the 'gentleman'

of Hollywood? Is it a sign of American cultural arrogance?



The Interview: The Latest Reflection of American Cultural Arrogance (Huanqiu, China)


Does the film production of The Interview, which mercilessly skewers North Korean despot Kim Jong-un, simply show the innate irreverence of Americans, or is there something more sinister at play? Just the latest in a long line of criticism from China on the unwillingness of Americans to allow for 'differing cultural interpretations' of things like human rights and democracy, this editorial from the state-run Huanqiu hits out at Hollywood insensitivity the 'ungentle man-like' behavior of U.S. elites.




Translated By John Chan


December 23, 2014


People's Republic of China - Huanqiu - Original Article (Chinese)

Sony Pictures on December 17 canceled The Interview, a comedy that centers on the fictional assassination of Kim Jong-un, after the studio's computer network was hacked and commercially-sensitive information was disclosed on the Internet. U.S. theater chains had postponed screenings of the comedy after the hackers threatened "9/11-style attacks" on moviegoers. Sony and U.S. theaters have therefore been intimidated and with so many theaters announcing they would not screen the film, Sony Pictures officially announced that worldwide distribution of The Interview would be halted.


Sony Pictures' "compromise" has sparked an uproar in the United States, with U.S. media rebuking it as a betrayal of free speech and many celebrities and mainstream news outlets joining together to issue unrelenting criticism of Sony Pictures.


Any member of the civilized world would oppose hacker attacks and terrorist threats, but at the same time we feel obliged to say that Sony Pictures should not have made this film. To bait a small country by making fun of its leader cannot be considered something to be proud of for Hollywood or mainstream American society.



Americans always think that because they are permitted to ridicule their own leaders, they are welcome to do the same to the leaders of others. That argument is lame and its logic doesn’t hold.


Hollywood's central target used to be the Soviet Union and occasionally China. After the Cold War, with the Soviet Union gone and with the Chinese market booming, China became a gold mine for American films, so Hollywood began to show us an increasingly friendly face in order to attract Chinese viewers. Now that Hollywood is running low on objects to vilify, it has resorted to the nationalities of Islamic extremists and a handful of other countries like North Korea, Iran, and so on …


Some in Hollywood argue that states that are made fun of in their films should "show a sense of humor" and that in fact, Hollywood directors are only looking for "soft ways" to issue criticism. If, however, Hollywood were to make a comedy in which the subject was the assassination of the king of Saudi Arabia or Thailand or the heads of state of Indonesia or Singapore, there would without exception be fierce protests and U.S. entertainment companies would end up forcing the relevant movie director to bow prostrate and apologize. Yet with the United States and North Korea nearly cut off from one another, Hollywood is free to act with impunity.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


However American society views North Korea and Kim Jong-un, Kim is still the incumbent leader of his country. Only impunity and cultural arrogance can explain Hollywood's unrestrained mockery of Kim.


American society dominates the global cultural competition, so it needs to show better manners and not always be so aggressive. Rather than being obsessed with making cynical provocations, U.S. elites should behave and not just speak like gentlemen. They need to maintain a gentleman's mind and philosophy of life.



Sony Pictures' primary motivation for making a spoof about Kim Jong-un, beyond a belief that "he is a safe target," is that putting out a sensational film would be a big hit at the box office. However, once large-scale screening of the film began, it would certainly complicate already-troubled DPRK-U.S. relations. On top of that, it would bring added disturbance to the entire Korean Peninsula. Yes – the price to be paid for this film is unique.


If China's market were not so large, perhaps Hollywood would still be making villains of Chinese. Some in Western media complain that China represses "creative freedom" in Hollywood through its economic strength. In our view, China should "stick to its principles" when dealing with Hollywood movie producers.


For now, Hollywood is being discrete with China as it has its eye on the bottom line. In order for that to continue on the future, we fear that words of persuasion alone will not suffice. Apparently, it is more effective to show economic consequences than try to reason with them.



Le Monde, France: Sony's Only Hope of Redemption: Post 'The Interview' for World to See
Guardian, U.K.: North Korea Demands Joint Investigation into the Sony Hack - 'or Else'
Guardian, U.K.: VIDEO: North Korea 'Likely Not' Behind Sony Pictures Hack
Deadline, U.S.: Hollywood Cowards: Clooney Explains Why Sony Stood Alone
Telegraph,m U.K.: Sony Hack: Angelina Jolie Branded 'Seriously Out of Her Mind'
CNN, U.S.: VIDEOS: Hackers Tell Sony it Will 'Safeguard Data' if Movie is 'Never Released'
The DMZ War, U.S.: North Korea Infiltrated Agents to Strike U.S. Cities and Nuke Plants
BBC News, U.K.: Demise of 'The Interview': A Comedy of Terrors - in Four Acts
Guardian, U.K.: Sony Hack: a PR Car Crash from Which Firm May Never Recover
Guardian, U.K.: Hackers Who Targeted Sony Warn on '9/11 Attacks' on Moviegoers
Guardian, U.K.: Sony Orders News Outlets to Stop Reporting on Stolen Data
Guardian, U.K.: Sony E-mails Reveal Jennifer Lawrence Paid Less than Male Co-Stars



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Posted By Worldmeets.US Dec. 23, 2014 5:52pm








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