RANGER AGAINST WAR: Just Fun and Games <

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Just Fun and Games

 --Team America: World Police (2004)

Hi, I'm Ricky Bobby. 
Christmas is right around the corner,
and what better gift to give a loved one [pulls out knife] 
than this Jackhawk 9000.
Available at Wal Mart!
--Talledega Nights (2006) 

The thing about killing you or her or him
is that I wouldn't be getting paid for it
and I don't like giving anything away for free 
--Suddenly (1954)

Freedom isn't free/no, there's a hefty fuckin' fee/
and if you don't all chip in your buck o' five who will?
Freedom costs a buck o' five 
--Team America (2004)

From the endless parade of news you can't use comes brouhaha of the week no.2: 

Sony and its computer hacking.

In what should have been news for the financial or entertainment sections made Front Page: entertainment company Sony's computer hacking at the supposed hands of the North Koreans, in supposed retaliation for Sony's scheduled release of "The Interview," a supposed comedy about the assassination of the NOK head of state, Kim Jong-Un.

In keeping with the peace and love of the Christmas season, President Obama gave a stern shout-out to Sony in a news conference saying he wished the Sony executive had consulted with him first before deciding to yank the film as he would advised them differently, and in no uncertain terms. Heavy-duty talk from a sitting President about the fate of a feature film (we hear, a not very good one at that), in the vein of "we'll kick your ass because we're Americans and we stand for freedom, y'see?"

Obama also comforted the madding crowds a few days ago reassuring them that the hacking was not an "Act of War", all of which makes RangerAgainstWar wonder, "Just how stupid are we?" Have we not moved beyond the hysteria generated by Orson Welles' broadcast of his "War of The Worlds" in 1938? Must everything be war or terror-related?

Reuters reported President Obama said (in a classic non-sequitur):

"I think it was an act of cyber vandalism that was very costly, very expensive. We take it very seriously. We will respond proportionately [President Obama said]."

"Obama said one option was to return North Korea to the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism, from which Pyongyang was removed six years ago."

Get that? Not terrorism, but the U.S. will put them back on the list of state-sponsored terrorism ... and why is that? Because we don't like you, and this is what freedom looks like, big guy.

Are we so insensitive that we forget we have lost Presidents to murders? If we are making a thinly-veiled suggestion that NOK would be better off without Kim, we would do wise to remember that our fomenting of the murders of sitting heads of state like Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Libya's Muammar Khaddafy did nothing to further the cause of humanity in those hapless nations.

Perhaps the insensitivity required when viewing the killing and violence in "patriotic" films like Act of Valor, American Sniper, Lone Survivor and Zero Dark Thirty has seeped so deeply into our consciousness that we are simply inured to any presentation of on-screen murder. That's entertainment.

But let us suppose for a moment that some members of NOK's burgeoning film culture decided to make a film in which President Obama gets whacked (a funny film, mind.)

Let's say the plot features Kim's friend Dennis Rodman challenging President Obama to a pick up game of b-ball-turned-deadly. Some unfortunate and gruesome accident occurs while Mr. Obama is jumping for a lay-up. In the denouement, Mr. Rodman and his friend Kim enjoy some gauche Western vittles in a slight to Capitalism -- maybe pizza and Pepsi, with Cheetos as a side -- while mock-eulogizing the loss of their dear former World Leader. Funny. no?

It's all fun and games til someone puts and eye out, as they say. Do you supposed we would screen the film here, and laugh at its premise?

Na ga da, as Dana Carvey might say.

[An interesting aside: Frank Sinatra starred in two films about assassinating a U.S. President -- Suddenly (1954) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962). A year later, President Kennedy was actually assassinated. 

If NOK did in fact commit the hacking of Sony, perhaps it was they did not like those cinematic odds.]

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