SEOUL, South Korea — Last month’s Sony hack was a national debacle, nearly canceling "The Interview" and denying moviegoers a fruitful two hours of butthole and gay jokes.
But the uproar ended with a victory for free speech — at least if you think The Interview deserves such lofty status. Moviegoers were treated to an endless deluge of ha-ha humor, like a missile up Seth Rogen’s butt, taboo sex with a North Korean soldier, and complaints from James Franco about his “stink dick,” unknowingly in the presence of a prim female CIA bureaucrat (egads!).
Upon seeing the flick, we wonder if the hackers weren’t just attempting to protect us from this sophomoric fare (apologies to sophomores everywhere).
The pandemonium has subsided, but hackers have now managed to decimate a lesser-known piece of satire: a video game starring Kim Jong Un, "Glorious Leader!"
According to the game’s plot, the Marshal has been in training for years to eradicate the American capitalist swine. Battling your way through in a host of retro-pixelated cities, including Pyongyang, the game lets you kill invading paratroopers and blow up tanks. A bonus level even concludes at Sony Pictures headquarters, where Seth Rogen throws his hands in the air just before being obliterated with a rocket launcher.
And, of course, no video game about Kim Jong Un would be complete without his drunken sidekick Dennis Rodman, whose cameo includes an assault rifle and green hair. Battling the evil forces of American imperialism, Kim Jong Un even rides a North Korean Pegasus known as the Chollima, a patriotic symbol common in propaganda.
This game, which was delayed several times, stood a chance of being a hit. Which means that unlike The Interview, this time we can confidently condemn hackers sympathetic to the Kim regime — whoever they are — for messing with a potentially admirable cultural work.
“As many of you know, over the holidays we were victims of a hack inspired by the attack on Sony,” said a statement on the game’s KickStarter page last Thursday. “The hackers destroyed data pertaining to Glorious Leader! and other projects we had in development and locked us out of our own computers and website.”
“Between the hacking and other threats, we think it is time to reevaluate our commitment to Glorious Leader!”
The studio stopped short of naming North Korea as a possible culprit. In a separate statement, it said that it has “NO reason” to believe the attack was done by anyone affiliated with North Korea, calling it a “hoax perpetrated by amateurs.”
Jeff Miller, the Atlanta-based CEO of Moneyhorse, which was behind Glorious Leader!, did not respond to a request for comment.
North Korea or not, a number of North Korea analysts and commentators are jittery about becoming the next target, fearing a rise in the sophistication of hacking capabilities.
Websites dealing with North Korea have long been accustomed to mysterious denial of service attacks, and ratcheted up their precautions long before the Sony episode. Cyberattacks like these “directly concern me,” said Chad O’Carroll, the founder of NKNews, a news website on North Korea.
“We've been victim of numerous debilitating attacks, usually mirroring major news events involving North Korea, since the site's inception,” he said. The hackers, it appears, are “increasingly” able to lock users out of their own computer systems and remotely delete data, he said.
Let it be known: Nobody is truly safe from this cyber warfare, even for the most harmless of satires or criticisms.
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