Well, it happened. The terrorists—be they disgruntled North Koreans or disgruntled former employees with a truly apocalyptic regard for their own professional futures—have won. Amy Pascal, the embattled head of Sony whose private and professional emails formed the epicenter of the recent hacking scandal at the studio, has finally stepped down from her perch of authority. She’ll be forming her own production company under the Sony banner, which means she’ll be waiting around for a green-light with the rest of the poor schmucks down in development. Welcome, Amy!
What Amy’s true take on this will be undoubtedly known to herself only. Studio chiefs are professionally circumspect about such things; the spin becomes the reality. It’s totally possibly her departure was in the works prior to the hacking scandal—producing is creatively satisfying, after all, and as others have noted, Sony had its issues under Pascal’s leadership long before anyone knew what Scott Rudin really thought of Angelina Jolie. Studio heads are sort of like White House chiefs of staff—it’s not a question of if they’ll step down, but when.
However she feels about it, though, it’s likely that she’ll know better than to express her frustration, glee, anger, or whatever in an email. And if nothing else comes from any of this—besides a lot of free publicity for The Interview, a film that is frankly unlikely to help or hinder the juggernaut-like careers of Seth Rogen, James Franco, and the amazing Randall Park, who with his roles as Kim Jung Un, the unbearable Governor Danny Chung on Veep, and now his starring turn in the new ABC hit sitcom Fresh Off the Boat, is for my money the breakout star of 2015—it might be that this is the moment that email died.
Imagine it: a world where your boss and/or underlings can only contact you by telephone during business hours, when information that could be exchanged effectively during a 30-second call will not require at least 1500 words of typing on each end, when personal interaction and vocal nuance might once again become king. People will know you’re kidding because you sound like you’re kidding. People will know you’re pissed because you will sound pissed—but not too pissed. Medium pissed. A world where we can once again read normal social cues and interact with one another as human beings. Is that the sort of world the North Korean utopian experiment is designed to usher in? Doubtful. But here in America, we’ll take it.
Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.