Well, it’s official. Burn down the temple and start loving the taste of bacon (we all have to make sacrifices, am I right?) because this Hanukkah, the Maccabees have lost. That, at least, seems to be lesson gleaned from Sony’s cancellation of the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy The Interview, following threats from the North Koreans to attack theaters showing the film. (And since it was scheduled to open on December 25, and we know who tends to go to the movies then, I think we can safely classify this as an anti-Semitic attack as well, or it would be, if anyone in North Korea knew what a Jew was.)
There are a couple of things one can infer from this event. First of all, free speech is under attack from one of the least likely of sources. Second, maybe the government should do something about North Korea before something really important happens, like a sequel to Troop Beverly Hills set in Pyongyang, or I get a film deal (these two things may not be mutually exclusive.) I’ll refrain from saying anything about how if you were planning to see anything except Into the Woods on Christmas you probably deserve whatever you get.
One thing is for sure: America is angry, if you can go by celebrity tweets and a plethora of bloggy think pieces. How dare a bunch of people with terrible haircuts and limited access to snack food tell us what lowbrow comedies we can find funny? This kind of injustice will not, and cannot, stand. What would have happened, I ask you, if the Kazakhs had pulled this kind of crap when Borat came out? The Libyans with the Naked Gun movies? Jewish lady psychologists with The Prince of Tides? I’ll tell you: Hollywood would have missed out on millions and millions of dollars and Barbra never would have gotten her Oscar nomination for Best Director.
But seriously, this kind of censorship—and that’s exactly what it is—cannot stand. Not since the days of the Production Code has Hollywood censored itself over a perceived—and probably bogus—threat, and the only way to undo this dangerous precedent is total insurrection. Write off The Interview—if it can’t open in theaters, it’s an automatic loss—but use whatever marketing budget is left (and then some) to have it simulcast on every television station in America. No exceptions, no commercials. If we’re going to have a moment of totalitarianism, let’s use it to stick it to the totalitarians.
Otherwise, Seth Rogen and James Franco can take to the Hollywood Hills and throw rocks at anyone they think might be uncircumcised. That works too. Happy Hanukkah everybody!