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imperialist warmongers
June 26, 2014 9:33 PM   Subscribe

Although North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is supposedly a big fan of American pop culture, his celebrity crushes no longer include Seth Rogen and James Franco. The country has threatened to inflict a "merciless countermeasure" on the United States if they don't ban upcoming comedy The Interview, in which the actors play characters who become entangled in a plot to assassinate the North Korean leader (Randall Park). "The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays an attack on our top leadership... is a most wanton act of terror and act of war," said a spokesman for the North Korean Foreign Ministry.
posted by changeling (73 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
It'd be kinda funny if this is what sets off of the nuclear arsenals of the world. One big wargasm over some dumbass movie.
posted by codswallop at 9:35 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


and damn it, I just thought of a better title: "From the makers of This Is the End..."
posted by changeling at 9:37 PM on June 26 [19 favorites]


the thing about kim is that he just isn't picking up on the fact the *we love fighting and invading*. not a great idea.
posted by facetious at 9:38 PM on June 26


Seth Rogen is Canadian.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:39 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


Wait until Kim Jong Un learns about Death of a President and the wanton civil war that followed.

(Basically anything is fair game in art, even if the movies aren't actually that good.)
posted by stopgap at 9:41 PM on June 26


It's a testament to what a non-threat North Korea really is that this movie is getting a release. Can you imagine if someone wanted to make a movie about assassinating Putin? And of course Obama murdered a U.S. citizen and his teenage son just for making a few vague angry anti-American speeches that threatened no one specifically, so I think we can all imagine how this would go if the roles were reversed.

North Korea has really become the go-to bogeyman for misinformed Americans to use as a cheap out about just about anything: "Yeah, but those guys are worse." Even Saddam had a powerful army, back before the first war. North Korea has nothing. It sucks for the average person who has to live in North Korea, but as an international player in anything at all they're an absolute non-factor. So naturally, as an incredibly safe target, they're going to appeal to a couple of lazy Apatow bros looking to inject some faux-edge into their latest 140 minute weed-and-dick opus.

If North Korea didn't exist, American propaganda would have had to invent them as a foil for shitty pop culture. We already had the reprehensible RED DAWN remake, which posited that somehow North Korea could field an army that could invade the U.S. Which is about as plausible as Martians invading the U.S, but that didn't stop people who grew up not knowing "AMERICA! FUCK YEAH!" is meant to be ironic from taking it at face value.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:45 PM on June 26 [19 favorites]


I'm gonna be really disappointed if the poster for the movie doesn't say something like "come see the movie that a totalitarian despot called an act of war!"

Prolly won't though.
posted by Itaxpica at 9:46 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


Seth Rogen is Canadian.

And the movie is filmed around Vancouver. We're doomed!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:47 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


The North Korean paranoia isn't misplaced. When the CIA is creating dolls of devil-faced bin Laden, and that Iranian affair in the 1970s Argo. Or this recent proposal by Congress: Move to rename D.C. street for Chinese dissident gathers steam. Every letter sent to the Chinese embassy would have the name of a prominent dissident on it.
posted by stbalbach at 9:48 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


they're going to appeal to a couple of lazy Apatow bros looking to inject some faux-edge into their latest 140 minute weed-and-dick opus.

Well, don't think about it too much, and just remember: Kim Jong Un really is a dictator who does absurd and terrible things.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:49 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


Well the Bond movie about the warhead on the train did kick off that one nuclear war between England and Russia you guys.
posted by fshgrl at 9:50 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


I do think there is something diabolical and sinister about Kim Jong Un's willingness to give this bromance some much-needed hype... It's almost as if he stands to earn royalties from the movie or something. Anyway, wonderful PR win, that's for sure!
posted by KokuRyu at 9:51 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


Seth Rogen is Canadian.

Aren't all 'American' comedians?
posted by el io at 9:55 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


I am eagerly awaiting the tear-soaked cries of outrage from a hanbok-clad North Korean "news" broadcaster about how someone said a mean thing about their murderous, stupid dictator.
posted by 1adam12 at 9:56 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Sony (Japan) owns the movie company Columbia? This is not looking good.
posted by telstar at 10:00 PM on June 26


Kim Jong Un really is a dictator who does absurd and terrible things.

e.g., the slaughtered girlfriend, the Kuwaiti babies dumped from incubators
posted by fredludd at 10:00 PM on June 26


And of course Obama murdered a U.S. citizen and his teenage son just for making a few vague angry anti-American speeches that threatened no one specifically
What is this referring to?
posted by floomp at 10:05 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


>Kim Jong Un really is a dictator who does absurd and terrible things.

e.g., the slaughtered girlfriend, the Kuwaiti babies dumped from incubators


I think you're trying to say it's all hype and propaganda. I am not sure how familiar you are with North Korea, but I can tell you that North Koreans came ashore on the Japan Sea coast and kidnapped more than a hundred people... to teach Koreans Japanese. The North Koreans regularly fire ballistic missiles over Japanese airspace.

But if "Kim Jong Un is misunderstood and misrepresented" is the hill you want to die on, well, go for it!
posted by KokuRyu at 10:12 PM on June 26 [31 favorites]


It's referring to Awlaki.
posted by notyou at 10:15 PM on June 26 [2 favorites]


I hope the people involved in making the movie find out how murderously inhuman the DPRK regime is and work to spread awareness about that to people who normally wouldn't care.

The DPRK wouldn't actually do anything to endanger their own survival, so their impotent rage is just publicity. This situation's like Innocence of Muslims except it's got a target that actually deserves anger directed towards it.
posted by Small Dollar at 10:17 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]




It's a reference to the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, who was part of al Qaeda's Yemen branch. His son was later killed in another drone strike though his ties to radicals appear highly suspect.

Regardless, it's a derail and we should not make this a drone thread.
posted by boubelium at 10:19 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


codswallop: "It'd be kinda funny if this is what sets off of the nuclear arsenals of the world. One big wargasm over some dumbass movie."

That's totally what I said in reddit when I read this. I mean, sure it's just more typical NK propaganda, but ... I mean, somehow it would be so damn befitting the idiocy of the human race.

1 man shooting two people set the tragedy starting WWI; and 2 guys fake shooting 1 person the farce that started WWIII.
posted by symbioid at 10:23 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


What they should do is a make a crazy film of their own as counter-propaganda. (Without kidnapping any foreign directors this time.) Pulgasari needs a sequel.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:26 PM on June 26


Anyway, wonderful PR win, that's for sure!

More like DPR win amirite?
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 10:28 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


e.g., the slaughtered girlfriend, the Kuwaiti babies dumped from incubators

How can you say that with a straight face?

Yeah, the US has spread misinformation and rumor and outright lies in the past. However, that doesn't absolve the actual atrocities of Saddam Hussein, even though the evicted-babies-from-incubators story turned out to be false. Nor should it give any cover to North Korea, even if all of Kim Jong Un's ex's are still with us.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:30 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


Yeah, they had a go at Julie Bishop for being a US stooge, when she was just, erm, being a US stooge. Which is her job.

So: crazy all round, yeah?
posted by pompomtom at 10:32 PM on June 26


I dunno, I tend to find people in uniforms inherently ridiculous. Uniforms and funny, pompous hats, even more so. There is just something absurd about the guy.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:37 PM on June 26


Honestly, they have Randall Park playing Kim Jung Un in this movie. If anything, they're being too flattering. I have trouble imagining Park look even half as ridiculous as the real Kim in those photos.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:43 PM on June 26


funny, pompous hats
No, that's his hair. I know, fooled me too.
posted by chelant at 10:44 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


Ice Cream Socialist: "Anyway, wonderful PR win, that's for sure!

More like DPR win amirite?
"

K
posted by symbioid at 10:45 PM on June 26 [5 favorites]


I find North Korea utterly terrifying. North Korea is wedged between China and South Korea and Japan, and would trigger massive casualties and horror for people all around Asia. It is terrifying because they are unpredictable even in self-interest. It's like a gulag-monarchy. They make multiple assassination attempts and I hope everyone involved in the film has good security.
posted by viggorlijah at 11:05 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Regardless, it's a derail and we should not make this a drone thread.

Maybe not, but I think it's fair game to make it a "What if someone made a comedy movie about assassinating Barack Obama, and what would be the response time before the Secret Service showed up?" thread.
posted by Jimbob at 11:07 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


Devote the whole thread to that? Nope. I'd say the answer to your question is "the response time would be fast", and we'd all agree about that. Anything more is people taking an opportunity to complain about what they dislike about the current administration. Find (or make your own) thread about that subject and discuss it there, please.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:14 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


Can you imagine if someone wanted to make a movie about assassinating Putin?

There have been approximately 80,000 movies about assassination plots against the president.
posted by empath at 11:21 PM on June 26 [3 favorites]


Best free advertising scheme of any film I can think of.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:07 AM on June 27


Obviously, Kim Jong Un is trying to prove he is stronger than his father, who I don't believe threatened war over Team America: World Police.
posted by hippybear at 12:16 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


drjimmy11: "We already had the reprehensible RED DAWN remake, which posited that somehow North Korea could field an army that could invade the U.S."

That was all done in post. The script, and even actual filming, were all done positing that China "could field an army that could invade the U.S." Then after the wrapped up production, they realized they would be missing out on a lot of potential revenue from the Chinese market, so they reshot a few scenes, redubbed dialog, and used CG to change flags, posters, etc. so that it was now NK.
posted by Bugbread at 12:17 AM on June 27 [13 favorites]


This seems like the worst possible response by North Korea. As said above it's perfect press and attention for the movie, and if they are concerned about what the movie depicts (I assume that it depicts Kim Jung Un is an evil (and inept) guy who is somehow worthy of assassination) the fact that they can't laugh it off almost legitimizes the point of view. Obviously, the best move would be for them to ignore it, failing that it seems almost like the right move would be to come out and say, "We thought it was hilarious satire, and the best heavy handed, ignorant mockery of a culture and people since Borat!" (I know that Borat was actually mocking Americans, but somehow I doubt the North Koreans picked up on that). Or invite Rogen and Franco to N. Korea to really interview him, I mean who in their right mind would take him up on that, but it would almost make him look magnanimous or at least a sort of menacing rascal!

Personally, I think any dictators public image could be improved by the notion that they have a sense of humor about themselves. However, this doesn't seem to be a trait that goes hand in hand with dictatorship.
posted by ill3 at 1:16 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


The problem is they allow no criticism of Kim Jong Un at home. To even suggest that anyone could make the smallest giggle in relation to anything the Supreme Leader says or does at any time in the past or at any conceivable point in the future (unless he's telling a joke on purpose) is like saying he's not perfect, and that'll earn you a one way ticket to those horrific prison camps honestcoyote's link mentions. So he can't just smile and say "good one, dudes" when people make fun of him abroad. The cognitive dissonance would be impossible to sustain.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:46 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


KokuRyu: "Anyway, wonderful PR win, that's for sure!"

The Democratic PR of North Korea!
posted by chavenet at 1:48 AM on June 27


Erm, on non-preview: well done Ice Cream Socialist and symbiod.
posted by chavenet at 1:54 AM on June 27


Easy for Americans to mock North Korea, maybe try doing a film mocking Bush. It would be way more popular World Wide.
posted by marienbad at 2:12 AM on June 27


Out around the bullshit hitmonger media today is Anne Coulter saying that popularity of soccer in AMERICA is somehow draining away the masculinity of the Great American Nation (or some equally ludicrous look-at-me nonsense, faithfully reported by every outlet from the top of the foodchain right down to the bottom).

This is exactly the fucking same. The Norks' propaganda arm is Anne Coulter, or, at minimum, they have precisely the same agenda (which is, not coincidentally, the agenda of a squalling two-year-old child: PAY ATTENTION TO ME).

Giving weight, attention, credence, or anything but amused indulgence to the infant, or to Anne Coulter, or to the DPRK's pronouncements, well, that brings us down to their level, and that's something I would advise against, friends, unless your enjoyment of being dimly excitable and maybe getting retweeted or somefuckingthing outweighs your pride in not being an idiot.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:53 AM on June 27 [7 favorites]


Easy for Americans to mock North Korea, maybe try doing a film mocking Bush. It would be way more popular World Wide.

Again, it's been done.
posted by empath at 3:01 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that if North Korea wants us to modify our entertainment for the benefit of their leadership, they should allow us to hire their workers for slave wages, build factories that pollute their cities and rivers, take over all of our manufacturing jobs. Then they can tell us to do whatever we want and we'll do it, because we'll need access to their 'markets' or whatever.
posted by empath at 3:04 AM on June 27 [3 favorites]


And just in case I'm being unclear: the way this post is framed is contributing to the goddamned larger problem. It's pernicious, and though I wouldn't ever petition for its deletion, it would make me happy if people recognized that the breezy narrative it propagates sidelines thinking about the death camps, the generations enslaved, the famine and the horror, the real suffering of it all.

I'm tired of the horrifying hell on earth that is North Korea being used blithely as a symbol or an Other Object For The Pleasures of Easy Group Disapprobation, because that makes it too goddamned easy to ignore the human suffering that happens there. It's playing right in to pronouncements from the DPRK propaganda arm like this one, that are tuned to stir idiot outrage (a tactic whose effectiveness they are rarely disappointed by) and draw attention away from the real suffering of ordinary North Koreans.


It seems to me that if North Korea wants us to modify our entertainment for the benefit of their leadership


They don't. They don't give a shit. They want us (for whatever value of 'us' you choose) to pay attention to them. That's all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:17 AM on June 27 [16 favorites]


Honestly, they have Randall Park playing Kim Jung Un in this movie. If anything, they're being too flattering. I have trouble imagining Park look even half as ridiculous as the real Kim in those photos.

Are they going to put Park in a fat suit?
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:31 AM on June 27


Kim Jong Un should get together with someone like Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to do an At the Movies sort of show. Two automatic rifle bursts up!
posted by pracowity at 3:44 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Zack Beauchamp: The real reason North Korea threatened to 'mercilessly destroy' Seth Rogen
According to North Korea expert Jennifer Lind, spewing apparently non-sensical threats at Hollywood funnymen is part of a larger, deliberate strategy to manipulate the West's view of North Korea. The more Americans point and laugh at those crazy North Koreans, the more we help them in that project.
[...]
North Korea wants the world to think it's crazy, according to Lind, as a negotiating tactic. "We are so convinced [of their insanity]," she says, "that I think it stays our hand in many crises."

She cited, as an example, North Korea's 2010 torpedoing of a South Korean naval ship. "Normally, when someone kills an American or an American ally, the US has responded in a pretty forceful manner," but nothing happened here — likely in part because US policymakers were worried that North Korea would retaliate irrationally. The crazy veneer "is a way for them to enhance deterrence."

North Korea's strategy here is rooted, Lind speculates, in the country's fundamental weakness. The North Koreans "are going to lose" any full-on war with South Korea and the United States. But they have enough nukes and conventional weapons to do real damage on the way down. So by making it seem like they'll respond insanely to the slightest move against them, the North Korean leaders deter even the most limited retaliation from the South — which overall lowers the risk of escalation into a full-blown war.
posted by zombieflanders at 4:42 AM on June 27 [20 favorites]


Easy for Americans to mock North Korea, maybe try doing a film mocking Bush. It would be way more popular World Wide.

Again, it's been done.


Heh, the author of that piece referred to the the Coen Brothers' No Country for Young Men.
posted by e1c at 5:08 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Have the North Koreans actually seen the movies they have put out since they became a country? I'm not sure there is a single one, even a comedy or romance, that doesn't have a major plotline dealing with the destruction of the US and it's allies. Seriously. It was just last year that they put out a computer animated short fantasy video depicting the nuclear annihilation of New York, unironically to the tune of We Are the World!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:09 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I found this to be an amusing precedent.
posted by YAMWAK at 5:28 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


This would be funny if only their first strike wasn't almost guaranteed to be South Korea. Which they would of course justify by the fact they're our allies.
posted by tommasz at 6:03 AM on June 27


I had never heard of this film before - now I want to see it.
Thanks Kim Jung Un for bringing this movie to my attention.
posted by Flood at 6:08 AM on June 27


Is Dennis Rodman a Manchurian Candidate?
posted by PHINC at 6:12 AM on June 27


This thread needs more Alec Baldwin.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:30 AM on June 27


North Korea has nothing.

Really?
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:50 AM on June 27


North Korea has weapons. The problem (or really, the saving grace) is the inability to reliably and effectively deliver said weapon.

They could most likely easily hit South Korea, though with the downside of taking collateral damage if its nuclear. Its questionably possible that they could get something to Japan, but it would most likely be shot down.
posted by Twain Device at 6:58 AM on June 27


Dennis Rodaman is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:12 AM on June 27 [6 favorites]


Randall Park

Randall Park, previously (and hilariously)

And on preview:

Dennis Rodaman is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life.

Seconded.
posted by Room 641-A at 7:14 AM on June 27


Thanks for the Baby Mentalist link -- I knew that I knew (and had good feelings about) Randall Park from somewhere, but his IMDB page wasn't showing me any media that I had actually consumed.
posted by sparklemotion at 7:19 AM on June 27


Well the Bond movie about the warhead on the train

Wait, isn't that every Bond movie?
posted by spitbull at 8:50 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Sometimes they're in planes. Or automobiles. (Or boats or spaceships.)
posted by kmz at 9:05 AM on June 27


They should have declared war on us a long time ago for The Guilt Trip.
posted by cazoo at 9:12 AM on June 27


Go home Kim Jong Un, you're drunk.
posted by cmdnc0 at 11:37 AM on June 27 [1 favorite]


I don't want to be insensitive to the lives of millions of Koreans, but I will actually be pretty happy if James Franco ends up being responsible for starting World War III. And I think James Franco will be quite happy with himself too.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 1:20 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


Dibs on "merciless countermeasures" as either a band or album name.
posted by CosmicRayCharles at 1:22 PM on June 27


I think it's more the name of that instrumental jam that's halfway through side two that is a bit self-indulgent but that makes the hardcore fans have deep discussions about the technique of playing involved and how awesome it is.
posted by hippybear at 1:35 PM on June 27 [2 favorites]


Dibs on "merciless countermeasures" as either a band or album name.

Massive Attack is already taken, so sure, why not.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:54 PM on June 27


Yeah, from what I've seen, this movie makes Kim Jong Un look a lot better than he actually does.
I think they should have had a 5'2" guy in a fat suit, and have it get even worse when he disrobes.
posted by whatgorilla at 6:41 PM on June 27


No, North Korea Did NOT Threaten War Over Seth Rogan Movie

But I don't expect that to have much impact on this discussion.
posted by fredludd at 5:40 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


There have been approximately 80,000 movies about assassination plots against the president.

Were the assassins typically the protagonists of these movies? Or will The Interview be about heroic North Korean security services working against the clock to foil Seth Rogen's evil plot?
posted by anemone of the state at 9:57 PM on June 28


e.g., the slaughtered girlfriend, the Kuwaiti babies dumped from incubators

You are either fantastically ignorant about the actual atrocities that go on in North Korea every day (e.g. if you say something bad or act as a dissident, you go to a gulag where they'll basically work you to death--oh and your children and grandchildren are tainted by association too), taking the piss, or being deliberately obtuse and offensive.

Which is it?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:29 AM on June 30


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