As Hamlet might say, Hollywood is “hoist with its own petard.”
You lovers of world history know that “petard” is French for a hat-shaped bomb used to blow open doors during sieges of castles in the 1500s, and the phrase “hoist with his own petard” was coined by Shakespeare in Hamlet, meaning, with apologies to The Bard, a person who has been blown up by his own bomb.
What I am getting to is the decision by Sony Pictures to pull the movie The Interview from theaters for its Christmas release, and shelf the “comedy” altogether – not even releasing it on Netflix. This happened after “hackers” – the North Koreans – broke into Sony’s computers and stole tons of information, some of it embarrassing to Sony executives. The hackers then threatened to kill moviegoers who went to see the film on Christmas. You see the movie is about two bumblers who are asked by the CIA – who else? – to assassinate the Communist North’s pudgy Dictator Kim Jung-un, whose head full of Marx and Mao apparently explodes at film’s end. You know how Hollywood loves an uplifting finale.
Notwithstanding the imbecility of using the assassination of a country’s sitting leader as fodder for a movie comedy nor the criminality of hacking corporate computer systems, I’m not going to go into the subject of North Korea spitting and stomping on our First Amendment, which it has done without firing a nuke.
I am saying, however, that Hollywood has finally gotten its comeuppance.
For years Hollywood has cranked out tasteless “comedies” like Jackass and Jackass 2 and Bad Teacher, Bad Santa and Bad Grandpa (I better be careful their next movie might be Bad Blogger). Such films portray Americans as a nation of oddballs, idiots and airheads; idlers, slobs and nincompoops; and criminals, deviants and ruthless nutcases.
Tell me now, are you any of those?
To put it mildly, for the want of a buck Hollywood has brought the worst of You Tube into theaters. Oh, and television has jumped on the buffoonery farm wagon, squirting out low-budget reality shows like cows do pies, trying to make stars out of weirdoes, creeps, felons, drug-pushers and scripted screaming “bitches.”
How has all this “comedy” and “reality” helped form world opinion of America?
Hollywood answers that question too by pumping out films that portray us as universally despised by the “civilized world,” civilized meaning any country that isn’t America.
In the past the real teachers and grandpas lampooned by Hollywood had no influence over how they were cast. But now enter one of the world’s most oppressive regimes and its dictator (Dennis Rodman’s pal) and his army of cyber terrorists. Yes, Kim Jung-un apparently has something to say about Hollywood’s treatment of him. And guess what?
Hollywood just got jack-assed. Or as Hamlet would say, “hoist on his own petard.”
And this bomb in the cyber war has been heard all around the world.