Tuesday, December 30, 2014


I have followed, to some extent, the "controversy" about the movie The Interview.  I do not know which of these opinions are right; I have felt all of them at one point.

1.  Why would a reputable movie production company greenlight a movie about killing a real leader of a real nation?  Maybe the term "reputable movie production company" is an oxymoron.

2.   It was a really good scam to sell tickets.

3.  I do believe in free speech, pretty absolutely, so caving to North Korea was not a finer moment for those who did so.

4.  Seth Rogen is not exactly Orson Welles, so this is not a hill anybody should die on.

But one opinion has not changed for me.  Kim Jong Un is NOT funny.  Totalitarian murderers are NOT funny.  I know, Mel Brooks got away with it in The Producers, well, maybe.  But Brooks is a Jew, and he is allowed, I think, to skewer Hitler all he wants, to put him to as much ridicule as possible.  It's a long tradition:  read Esther and Daniel.  The vicious, pagan kings come off as utter fools in those books (I read Daniel 6 today, and how stupid could Darius be?)

But Rogen is not North Korean, and I don't get the feeling the people behind this movie really fathom how cruel, violent, megalomaniac Kim and his father and grandfather were.  I tend to think of how evil they are to Christians, but they are nondiscriminatory tyrants. 

So, I can't see how a movie can be funny portraying this guy as a dumb butt, or anything. 

I work with a colleague who is a humor scholar, and we talk about this subject.  I said I think there are just some things that are not funny.  He said that he understood that, but the other view is that it's how you talk about it, how you portray it, and that making fun of someone takes their power away.  Maybe. 

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