Seth Rogen and James Franco – 21st Century Hope & Crosby or Modern Day Orson Welles?
A popular urban legend persisting is how this radio episode triggered mass hysteria never before seen – on careful research there was a War of the Worlds, but it was Radio Versus Print. If one visits Slate, one of the earliest online magazines as the Internet began, it shows you an all too familiar battle;
How did the story of panicked listeners begin? Blame America’s newspapers. Radio had siphoned off advertising revenue from print during the Depression, badly damaging the newspaper industry. So the papers seized the opportunity presented by Welles’ program to discredit radio as a source of news. The newspaper industry sensationalized the panic to prove to advertisers, and regulators, that radio management was irresponsible and not to be trusted. In an editorial titled “Terror by Radio,” the New York Times reproached “radio officials” for approving the interweaving of “blood-curdling fiction” with news flashes “offered in exactly the manner that real news would have been given.” Warned Editor and Publisher, the newspaper industry’s trade journal, “The nation as a whole continues to face the danger of incomplete, misunderstood news over a medium which has yet to prove … that it is competent to perform the news job.”
This sounds more like how TV, Radio & Print are reacting to the Internet right now – only a few days ago, a satire on an apocryphal plot to assassinate a young world leader was almost foiled from debuting as a series of semi-anonymous hackers threatened viewers who decided to watch the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy. Please note, we said comedy, not Olympus Has Fallen featuring Aaron “Paycheck/ I, Frankenstein” Eckhart, Angela Bassett as well as 300’s Leonidas portraying a former Secret Service agent who foils a North Korean invasion – if Pyongyang is as poor as some sources claim, can it truly enthrall Washington DC as purported in this Hollywood potboiler?
Seth Rogen and James Franco have created a number of cult comedies – “The End” playing on the Inca 2012 nihilistic calendar myth as well as “Neighbors,” apart from taking a homoerotic swipe at Kanye West with a counter-music video which spoofed Kanye’s esoteric nudity claiming to be erotica but remaining in the realms of cheap porn.
What with no less than Barack Obama adding his two cents (yet choosing to be more circumspect with tragedies like Travyon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown), isn’t it odd how neither Rogen nor Franco have said a word? Here we have a supposedly incompetent North Korea doing a better job at Internet sabotage than Anonymous and Sony, the film’s producer, caving like a proverbial house of cards then USA analyses signals and everything falls into place, just so?
Or is it? Are these two allegedly goofy dudes more marketing and/or social media savvy than we realise? Or perhaps these Orson Welles wannabe’s are truly just a bunch of hacks (pun intended)?