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Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

“The Interview” needlessly antagonizes North Korea

Illustration by Rust
Illustration by Rust

“The Interview,” a movie starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, takes America’s anti-North Korean stance to a whole new level. Just for funsies, the movie berates Kim Jong-un and the North Korean government amid an already prominent national tension.

At one point in the official trailer of the film, which is to be released in December of 2014, Franco jokes, “You wanna go kill Kim Jong-un?” Rogen replies, “Totally, I’d love to assassinate Kim Jong-un. It’s a date!”

The two characters do not even attempt to be subtle about their view of Kim Jong-un as a domineering, senseless, communist dictator. The trailer is filled with stereotypes and satirical comedy that, similar to the TV show “South Park,” might shock even American viewers.

While the movie seems completely outrageous and fake, Rogen argues that “The Interview” is, in fact, a completely accurate depiction of Kim Jong-un and his regime. In an interview with CBC news, he claims that they made up nothing, “as crazy as it is.”

The North Korean administration’s response to the imminent release of the movie does not counter Rogen’s claim, but, as to be expected, it also does not take the movie lightly. In a Foreign Ministry statement, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) called the movie “a most wanton act of terror and act of war.” Whether it could be perceived as a war threat or not, this statement at least reveals the severe extent of North Korean anti-American sentiment. The mutual enmity between North Korea and the United States is now very tangible.

The release of “The Interview” also strengthens an internal conflict of feeling within the United States itself. Some Americans argue that the film is wrong and should not be released because it intensifies a conflict that would otherwise not build. Others argue that the movie is perfectly acceptable because of the First Amendment. It’s just a movie, for God’s sake.

But this passive view is dangerous. While, yes, the movie has every right to be made and released in this country, it cannot be taken lightly.Kim Myong-chol, executive director of the Centre for North Korea-U.S. Peace and close associate of the former Kim Jong-il, warns Americans about shrugging off the implications of the movie. He claims that the film “shows the desperation of the U.S. government and American society.” What the makers of the film think is a joke is actually a passive-aggressive attack rooted in nationalistic hatred.

“The Interview”is, like Myong-chol says, both highly offensive and desperate, but it would be entirely un-American to prevent its release. American values are rooted in the First Amendment, and nothing could prompt the Obama administration or the producers of the film to take it down.

As citizens of both the United States and the world, however, the makers of the movie, including Rogen and Franco, should have considered its consequences more carefully. Freedom of speech is written into the Constitution, but that doesn’t mean that every book published, ad produced or movie made does good for the country. If the producers had thought more about the worldwide effects of the film, and less about pleasing their own patriotic nation, they would probably feel guilty about the boiling pot of tension they have unknowingly, or maybe purposefully, stirred up.

But, instead, the actors at least seem to sense no threat or personal responsibility. While Kim Jong-un stews in a pot of hatred and contempt, Seth Rogen sarcastically Tweets, “Apparently Kim Jong-un plans on watching #TheInterview. I hope he likes it!!” At least the two parties are sticking to their values… right?+

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    YupDec 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    You go, Tom.