This past December, Sony was set to release “The Interview,” a “comedy” surrounding the assassination of North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, featuring Seth Rogen and James Franco. After a group who calls themselves “The Guardians of Peace” threatened the movie theaters that intended to play the movie, many theaters pulled the movie and it could only be found online and in select theaters. Many Americans viewed the pulling of the movie due to the threats a violation of the First Amendment and cried out the infamous phrase “freedom of speech.”
The attention surrounding “The Interview” has no ties to freedom of speech, it ‘s an issue of human decency, or rather a lack there-of.
Early in the movie there is a scene where Rogen and Franco are driving through the city and ask about the “speculated” starvation of the North Korean people. They are pointed to a “grocery store” and then an overweight boy to dismiss the allegations. An overweight kid eating candy is hilarious, right? Maybe it would be if it was not found by the United Nations that one fourth of children in North Korea suffer from chronic malnutrition. That means 25% of all kids living there do not receive enough food to grow properly, which often leads to stunted growth.
Besides the staggering 25% malnutrition rate, the UN also found that two thirds of all North Koreans are unaware if they will even have a “next meal.” To make a movie that centers jokes surrounding an issue like starvation will desensitize viewers to the actual hardships the North Korean people face each and every day.
When there is a land of people ruled by a power hungry leader who dictates almost all aspects of life, including the haircuts of the citizens, there is not much room for laughter. While Kim Jong Un does not deserve any support, the people he rules over do. To make a mockery of the struggles they face is indecent.
The use of satire, as “The Interview” is said to use, is an important aspect of media. Although when that “satire” desensitizes others to the starvation and complete dictatorship a land faces, not much good can come from it.