Everyone has heard about Sony’s The Interview and all the shenanigans regarding hacking and North Korea taking offence to the film. After Sony said it wasn’t releasing The Interview everyone saw it rightly as a huge blow for free speech and after all the hype the film has been released. What people may not have heard is how Sony has pulled Shane Dawson’s parody video of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space song from YouTube. Shane Dawson is one of YouTube’s biggest stars, he’s been around for years and has over 6 million subscribers, and that’s just on one of his channels. He’s rude and crude, that’s kinda his thing. Although the only apparent reason for Sony forcing YouTube to pull the video is on copyright grounds it seems to be more to do with them not liking the video. The video is violent, as I said that’s Shane Dawson’s thing. Dawson has done many Swift parody videos and Sony has never objected. There are other Blank Space parodies on YouTube too with none of them being challenged by Sony. Seems a little odd. Shane Dawson has a huge amount of support on YouTube, did Sony not think that their hypocritical censorship of Dawson would get out?
Of course, Sony is a huge organisation with separate departments with people reacting in different ways. It’s a strange coincidence, ’tis all. It’s truly bizarre that such trivial and puerile ‘artistic’ endeavours such as a Seth Rogan film or Shane Dawson video would present such fascinating political and cultural tensions, as well as serious consequences in reaction to the film. The film nor the video make any overt political point, they have been made to make their audiences laugh crudely at nothing remotely intelligent nor cleverly subversive. When free speech campaigners are having to stand up for commercial frivolous vehicles such as these it makes you want to put your head in your hands. However, the ability to ‘make fun’ however stupidly or unnecessarily is an important component of a healthy society.
Disappointingly it is important that Seth Rogan films are released without threats of violence and Shane Dawson videos are aired without fear that corporations will pressure YouTube to further restrict creators’ blood squirting content. Yes, this is the world we live in. Mind bendingly awful at the best of times. The internet has brought new issues as the Sony email hacks and proliferation of the use of copyrighted material on social media presents dilemmas for corporations. While many of us will never see The Interview, because we all know it is a bad film, and many will not search the Spanish subtitled Shane Dawson parody of Swift’s Blank Space that still remains uploaded, as it’s a Shane Dawson video, these instances show how seriously governments and even the organisation it criticises perceive silly things, and silly things are all they are at their core, nothing more. It’s incredibly important we continue to stand up for the silly, the trivial and nonsensical, even if others do not see them this way. The film and video do not roam into hate crime territory so neither deserve the condemnation from North Korea or Sony they have respectively received.