Now that Sony Pictures has cancelled all release plans for the controversial Seth Rogen, James Franco comedy The Interview, prospective fans are wondering if the film will find another life after the nightmare of its proposed theatrical release. North Korean supreme leader, King Jong Un has denied his government had connection to an invasive hack that brought Sony Pictures to its digital knees, a connection strongly suggested by media pundits. Americans are rightfully concerned that Sony’s bowing to the wishes of a cyber-terrorist group, no matter how dubious their origins, sets a precedent for erasing our hard-won freedom to laugh at whatever the fuck we want. And that, dear reader, is something Larry Flynt of Hustler Magazine holds very, very dear.
Telling the Hollywood Reporter that he’d “spent a lifetime fighting for the First Amendment,” and declaring that “no foreign dictator is going to take away [his] right to free speech,” Flynt announced This Ain’t The Interview XXX, his company’s parody version of the doomed political comedy. “If Kim Jong Un and his henchmen were upset before, wait till they see the movie we’re going to make.”
And, whaddya know, it appears President Obama might be right on Flynt’s side this time: “We cannot have a society in which some dictators someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States because if somebody is able to intimidate us out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing once they see a documentary that they don’t like or news reports that they don’t like. That’s not who we are. That’s not what America is about.”
No, he’s right. America’s about tits. Lots and lots of tits. (And maybe some heavy duty ass, too!)
Megumi Igarashi, a Japanese artist keen on exploring taboo images of the human body’s many marvelous forms and functions, has been arrested in Tokyo for the second time after authorities suspected her of sending a url “that shows her plan to create a boat using three-dimensional obscene data to a large number of people”. Igarashi, who works under the name Rokudenashi-ko (“Good-for-nothing Girl”), was arrested on similar charges in July, charges relating to her efforts to raise funds for the production of a 3D-printed kayak made in tribute to her own genitalia.
“I don’t believe my vagina is anything obscene,” Igarashi told the press in July. “I was determined I would never yield to police power.” Her most recent arrest could see Igarashi charged with ‘distributing or holding obscene materials for the purpose of selling’ and facing a 2.5M Yen or USD $21,000 fine and/or up to two years in jail. And all for showing a replica of her genitals to art patrons and audiences who, odds are, either have similar physical makeups or have seen such body parts up close and personal many times before.
Article 175 of Japan’s Criminal Code, written in 1907 and remaining virtually unchanged in its present form, classifies depictions of pubic hair and genitalia as obscenity – hence the ridiculous pixelation of genitals in most Japanese porn – and could prove the undoing of controversial artist Igarashi, who is still being held even after the release of a women’s sex shop proprietor also arrested in connection with the enormously controversial work. Denying her visits from anyone aside from her legal team, Tokyo police appear to be relentless in their pursuit of a conviction, but not necessarily because of any alleged danger the artist’s work might pose to the public. Igarashi’s attorney, Takeshi Sumi admitted that “Since the arrest last time, [Igarashi] has been very vocal in her cartoons and speeches criticizing police. They seem to have arrested her again [her third without being yet indicted] again to safeguard their integrity.” Well, while it sure makes our local police issues seem like the fucking apocalypse in comparison, Megumi Igarashi’s story is one we should treat with the utmost seriousness.
Many Parisians are outraged over the latest sculpture to be erected in public view. Standing 24ft above the Place Vendrome in the French capital, ‘Tree’ by American artist Paul McCarthy has raised eyebrows for its startling similarity to not a traditional Christmas tree it is said to represent, but an thick green butt-plug.
McCarthy, something of an art world provocateur, created the piece for Foire International d’Art Contemporain (FIAC), an exhibition running in Paris until the end of October, in the hopes that it’d be accepted, even enjoyed by the allegedly sexually liberal French. Placed adjacent to the Vendrome Column, a monument erected by Emperor Napoleon after defeating the Roman army at the Battle of Austerlitz in 1805. Many Parisians failed to find McCarthy’s irreverence amusing and instead of ignoring the piece for the duration of its exhibition, took to vandalism to make their point.
Severing the ropes that held ‘Tree’ upright, outraged Parisian vandals cut the offending object down to size, leaving it lifeless and deflated, flaccid even, in the city square before eventually being removed by organizers. McCarthy has fired back at his attackers – an irate Frenchman struck McCarthy in the head multiple times at the piece’s unveiling – in a statement made to artnet News: “Instead of the piece being about a discussion about how objects exist as language with layers of meaning, a violent reaction occurred. I am not interested in the possibility of such confrontation and physical violence, or continuing to put those around the object at risk.”
Unfortunately, though, ‘Tree’ doesn’t seem to speak to cases of sexual violence perpetrated against those still, in the year of your chosen deity 2014, find themselves persecuted simply for being more sexually interesting (read: positively perverted) than their decriers, instead drawing much attention to McCarthy’s fecally-reminiscent Parisian exhibition, Chocolate Factory, opening Saturday at Monnaie de Paris. What a wasted opportunity.