The blog Patterico’s Pontifications ably dismantled Washington Post writer Justin Moyer’s bizarrely titled blog “Why North Korea has every reason to be upset about Sony’s The Interview.” Why would this blogger feel a dictator’s pain?
It’s impossible to summon much sympathy for Kim Jong Un. But now imagine this assassination farce was made not in Hollywood, but in North Korea or Moscow, and the leader assassinated in the film was a president of the United States. Or imagine the film was made by Iran, and the leader assassinated in the film was the prime minister of Israel. Where The Interview draws on stereotypes about North Korea’s ridiculous, yet terrifying isolationism, this hypothetical film makes jokes about African Americans and Jews — perhaps about the incompetence of a black man in the White House, or about Israel’s right to exist.
Moyer had no time or space to explain why he would stick up for North Korea. He made no mention of the poverty and starvation and hyper-militarization and oppression. Only the hurt feelings of dictators over their "terrifying isolationism" cause offense.
Moyer also strangely claimed “Of course, those America deems evildoers are humiliated in movies all the time. One need look no further than The Naked Gun (1988), in which Leslie Nielsen gets in a brawl with the Ayatollah Khomeini, Mikhail Gorbachev, Yasser Arafat, Moammar Gaddafi, Fidel Castro and Idi Amin."
Which man on that list – other than media-sainted Gorbachev– would liberal journalists say should not be defined as an ‘evildoer’? (Sadly, some journalists would say Castro or Arafat, but they would be wrong.)
Then Patterico proclaimed: “Yes, imagining the death of a world leader during his life is certainly unthinkable to the Washington Post . . . unless the world leader whose death is imagined is George W. Bush. In which case the Washington Post critic may cluck her tongue a bit, but still praise the film’s ‘dexterity’ and realism. From 2006, the Ann Hornaday review of Death of a President:
An unsettling and exceptionally skillful exercise in blurring the lines between appearance and reality, this fictional, documentary-style film uses the incendiary premise of the assassination of President George W. Bush in the not-too-distant future as a springboard for thinking about the practical and psychic toll of how America deals with terrorist threats.
Is it politically provocative agitprop or merely a cynical, exploitative stunt?
Probably the latter, but one that has been performed with unusual dexterity. Structured like an installment of "Frontline," "DOAP" often has the taut urgency of that PBS series, with witnesses providing a detailed tick-tock of events as they unfolded. Indeed, "DOAP" is so convincing that, like most he-said, he-said documentaries, it eventually suffers from a fatal, talking-head inertness.
Still, "DOAP" gets off to a riveting start, with presidential aides and FBI agents (portrayed with terrific verisimilitude by the actors who play them) "recalling" the day in 2007 when Bush, in Chicago for a speech to a business group, encounters the biggest and most unruly demonstration of his administration....when Bush finally enters the scrum of the fatal rope line (his face is digitally superimposed on an actor's), the mood turns sickening....
Those who would condemn "DOAP" without seeing it should be made aware of one crucial fact: Range does not depict that event with glee or even a smirk. The shooting of Bush is indeed portrayed with solemnity and grief (although some red-meat Dems will no doubt mentally insert screeching "Psycho" violins when someone first refers to "President Cheney").
Sony proclaimed “We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie,” and then they surrendered to it. No one should be happier about The Interview going on a shelf than Justin Moyer of The Washington Post.