Edwin Rosskam Provincetown, Massachusetts 1937
Michael Moore once famously – though by no means famously enough yet, because he was so dead-on – said that ‘you can’t declare war on a noun’. If only Americans had paid better attention. That would have shone a whole different light on, if not outright prevented, insane, expensive and terribly deadly concepts such as the ‘war on drugs’ and the ‘war on terrorism’. Now it looks as if John McCain is fishing for a fresh noun to declare war on.
Talking about Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Franco’s ‘The Interview’ movie, and the hackers known as ‘Guardians of the Peace’ who made Sony Pictures pull the movie’s Christmas release, McCain told CNN’s State of the Union that “It’s more than vandalism. It’s a new form of warfare that we’re involved in and we need to react, and react vigorously.” President Obama earlier said the opposite, that it’s not war, but vandalism.
I’d say it’s neither, it’s a bunch of hackers who penetrated Sony’s digital systems quite deeply, encouraged by the apparent lack of true security used to protect the systems. In essence, I don’t understand what either Obama or McCain are doing talking about the issue in the first place. The FBI claims they are certain the hackers are North Korean, but they have provided no proof of that claim. We have to trust them on their beautiful blue eyes.
I think if anything defines 2014 for me, it’s the advent of incessant claims for which no proof – apparently – needs to be provided. Everything related to Ukraine over the past year carries that trait. The year of ‘beautiful blue eyes’, in other words. Never no proof, you just have to believe what your government says.
But so, maybe they were/are North Korean hackers. And then? Is it such a bad thing that a group of people show us that the US is not the world’s sole master of technology, that there’s a certain degree of democracy, or of equality if you will, when it comes to computers and high tech? Doesn’t seem all that bad to me. It would seem much scarier if one party controls it all.
It might be worse of those same people hack the Pentagon, or the control of nuclear weapon systems, but I’m thinking it wouldn’t be a huge stretch to assume those systems are better secured than Sony’s movie-related files. If not, you can’t really blame the hackers for that.
And I know, maybe I should shut up about the whole thing, it’s not really my field, is it, but then, shutting up is not one of my strong points. You see, there are a few things about the whole ‘The Interview’ issue that I simply don’t understand.
I have no idea why the American President goes on TV to simultaneously protect and chide a Japanese company. It just seems weird. Or why, now that Vladimir Putin, and Russia as a whole, have been declared such awful people and such terrible enemies of the US that they need to take the place of Cuba as the worst possible adversaries of the American Dream and suffer blinding sanctions, Obama still reaches out to Russia for help against North Korea and its alleged team of hackers.
I’m trying to find the logic in all this, and I fail. I also don’t understand why the board at Sony pictures agree to spend who knows how many millions of dollars to produce a movie that evolves around the assassination of a head of state. I mean, I’ll be the first one to agree that the Kim Yung-Il and Kim Yong-Un dynasty looks strange to our western eyes and standards, but still, we’re talking about heads of state.
So me, I start wondering what other people’s ‘funny’ assassinations Sony would have agreed to finance a movie about, and whose deaths Rogen and Franco would have found sufficiently amusing to make that movie.
I’m guessing, albeit with with a certain degree of confidence, that attacks on the Japanese royal family would not have been on the list, given Sony’s origins. I also very much doubt the movie would have been made if the Pope had been the ‘comedic target’, though that would also have been redundant, since The Godfather 3 already features the murder of a Pope.
Perhaps my questions are better explained by using as potential victims of a CIA murder plot examples such as Queen Elizabeth, or her adorable little great-grandson prince George, William and Kate’s firstborn and future king of England if that is God’s will. I think in those potential cases, and I could name many more, Obama himself is an obvious one, the humor factor would be way less than now that Kim Jong-Un is the – fantasy – victim.
And if such a movie would have been made not by Rogen and Franco, but by people from North Korea, or perhaps, ISIS, or Venezuela, or Russia or East Ukraine, I’m thinking ‘WE’ would not be amused at all, and John McCain would be on Sunday morning talk shows spewing his convictions that said movie was an act of war against the US, and/or the free world as a whole, whichever comes first, and ‘we need to react vigorously.’
I sort of understand why Rogen/Franco figured it was a funny topic, but I don’t understand why they thought so for more than two seconds, and I certainly don’t see why Sony gave the project the go-ahead. It all doesn’t look terribly smart to me, none of it.
America creates its own enemies out of thin air, because that keeps the empire going and the people obediently following that empire, I get that. But don’t get started about -artistic – freedom of expression, because if you want to play that card, let’s all laugh our socks off about little baby Prince George or his great-grandmother being killed. Or Malala, not a bad example either. That would make Seth and James real men.
Now, they merely look pretty dumb. But I know, that’s just in my eyes, and for many other people it will be different. But people laugh to a large extent because their ideas have been shaped by the images, ideas and pictures the media feed them, whether it’s about Kim Jong-Un, Obama, Malala or little Prince George.
Murdering people is hardly ever a reason to laugh, and murdering heads of state, no matter what you, or your media, may think about them, is even a little bit less so. It has a lot to do with respect. So if you try anyway, don’t be surprised if there’s a bit of a backlash.
One last thought: if The Interview had not been about a head of state, but about an ‘ordinary citizen’, what do you think the odds would have been of the US head of state getting involved in the whole mess? Maybe there is some respect after all… And now we return to our regular scheduled programming…