It’s a skill that gets built in after a while. You see a plane crash on the news and you immediately think about what is airing in the next few days and if anything might upset viewers. You basically try to forecast emotions.
Television is much more sensitive to these kinds of things today than it was when Archie Bunker was being, well, Archie Bunker. Politically correct Hollywood is usually careful about who they offend. This is why the Sony movie The Interview being made, much less almost released, came as a surprise.
One can understand the push to stand firm and not allow the creative process to cow to the random thoughts of a rogue dictator. There should also be no tolerance for breaking U.S. law by international governments or Americans.
North Korea being thrown off or offended, however, should have come as no shock to the filmmaking establishment. They are an under-educated country with a world view often influenced by popular culture. This is not a humorous part of the world. In the end, this was a bad business decision by Sony.
While the United States should not shy away from its freedom of expression, the bottom line is that Sony Pictures gave this story the green light . Would they have done the same if the subject was the comical assassination of Vladimir Putin?
There is a reason why major studios rarely have actual world leaders as targets in historical fiction. It’s because historical fiction works better in prose than on the big screen.
This was an uncharacteristically bad decision on the part of Sony to make this movie, and it was certain to confuse a country that cannot understand the separation of celluloid and state.
Movies like Zero Dark Thirty are not the same, they aim to tell a real account of events. The Interview was a fictional story. Al Qaeda is not a state, North Korea is, and there are still courtesies that we try to extend to states – even rogue ones.
There is a reason you don’t start a fight with the craziest person on the street, and it’s not out of fear, it’s because, in the end, it may not be worth it. How many movie ideas did Sony turn down in order to give James Franco screen time in this farce? They could have used better judgment.
The Yankees Do The Right Thing, Twice
Twice last week the New York Yankees acted the way we want a large multi-billion dollar organization to act. First, and least important, they engineered a trade that sent a very good infielder (Martin Prado) to Miami. This means that Yankee fans have a chance to see Rob Refsnyder, a good rookie prospect, at second base.
Refsnyder is Korean-born and California raised, and he has dismantled minor league pitching as of late. It may be too early to look for a home-grown fan favorite just as Derek Jeter has left the clubhouse, but giving a young player a chance was a good step for the Bronx Bombers. They can also start young Jose Pirela, who is out of their farm system.
The second, and bigger, story is that the Yankees will help with the education costs of the children of Rafael Ramos, one of the police officers who was recently murdered in Brooklyn. This comes as part of a fund that George Steinbrenner started.
Nothing changes the tragedy of two cops being murdered, but there needs to be some comfort from the community, and if the Yankees can do that, all the better.