On The Interview Incident
Extraordinary events rarely create new conditions or attitudes. Rather, they draw what was once latent or concealed into a harsher light. GamerGate didn’t create the misogyny or anti-intellectualism of male supremacist gamers; it channeled and condensed those attitudes into a movement, much as how the KKK didn’t create racism but simply gives it its most natural outlet. Both of those movements are militant expressions of normative attitudes in society, ogres summoned when the status quo of white settler supremacy or patriarchy seems less assured than usual. Likewise, this farce over The Interview has brought to light the collusion between Hollywood and other arms of American imperial supremacy––as well as the legions of dancing jesters willing to retell the old song about “free speech” and the American way of life.
To be clear: I hold both of those principles in contempt. The Interview is not the product of popular speech; it is a calculated sop to market demographics created by professionals whose work, at its core, is to soak money from beleaguered people who crave a distraction from their daily grind. A daily grind that reproduces itself with their own consent. The proper word for this, of course, is capitalism, the legal theft of labor and the amassing of kingly fortunes at one pole and the creation of colossal misery at the other. Mass culture, as I have brought up many times before, is an industrial monopoly like any other, and in many ways Hollywood operates as the concentrated propaganda machine of the bourgeoisie. The Interview in effect makes sport of the assassination of a living figure, comparable to an Iranian propaganda film about the killing of the American president. Like many comedies and action films, it places the freewheeling American disregard for national sovereignty into an acceptable context. No American would tolerate this kind of mean-spirited attack from another country, but will call the release of this trash a matter of principle at a moment’s notice.
The greatest hypocrisy has to come from certain political leaders who have emphasized that people should be “able to make their own decisions” about the film. Which strikes me as hilarious because the Hollywood system, like all capitalist enterprises, is impervious to any form of popular democracy. It answers only to the demands of capital, and those demands have terminated countless films, many better than The Interview, no doubt, without a peep of public protest. So here we are: the so-called critical press that laments the creeping influence of money on art, or elections, or whatnot, defend to the hilt the right to release a vacuous studio project, to make it a political priority. It is to retch.