Thursday, December 18, 2014

Terrorism Works! "The Interview" Not Being Released By Sony Pictures

Looks like terrorism really is the way to go if you want to thwart someone else's freedoms. Hey, it works! Just look at all the overkill in the destruction of our personal liberties in the aftermath of 9/11. Snatching cell phone records, drones flying all over the place, you can't cross into Canada without a big deal being made of it, and you can pretty much be subject to search without much if any provocation at all. Now, we can't even go out on Christmas day and enjoy a movie, because it makes light of some meat headed idiot in North Korea. If anything I thought we would have reveled in ripping that idiot. Instead, we have shown fear. We (or more to the point, Hollywood) turned away in a staring contest.  

"The Interview" is a comedy about the attempted assassination of South Korea's leader, Kim Jung-Un, by a TV show host and producer. The trailer for it looked pretty funny and anyone that enjoys the comedy of James Franco and Seth Rogen in "Pineapple Express" was probably going to enjoy this film. WAS going to enjoy it. Hackers have vowed to release internal Sony emails that would apparently be very damaging or embarrassing to people in and around the studio. Also, there were threats of violence against theaters that would show the film. 

So, Sony and theaters all over the nation stood up like proud Americans and said "Fuck you, we don't give in to terror in this country!" right? Right? Ummm, wrong. They caved. Sony announced that it has shelved the 42 million dollar film, and as of now, has no plans for a future release. The buzz that has been created would have made a great publicity stunt. The backlash at such a stunt would be tremendous, so I just can't believe that's what is happening. At this point, we pretty much look like scared rabbits. Just a mere anonymous threat has stopped a nationwide release of a comedy film. Sony could really save face and say they are going to move forward with releasing the film. Houses would be packed to see it and it would be a wonderful "Up your ass!" to hackers, terrorists, and anyone that wishes to stifle our way of life. I hope that happens. I just don't expect it.  

This isn't just about giving in to terror, it's about giving in stifling artistic expression. Now, "The Interview" may not be high art, but it is a piece of artistic expression. To stifle that, in the United States, of all places, is beyond disappointing. Once art is compromised by changing it to suit a target audience or if it is withheld from experience, it is just a product. The work and care that went into it means nothing now.  It may as well not exist. 

I would hope that Sony reconsiders this decision at some point and sooner rather than later. I would go out and see it on Christmas Day simply to show that I"m not going to live in fear of a threat. All of us reject fear every day when we get out of bed and start our lives. Going to and from work. Shopping and visiting restaurants. Taking vacations. We get on airplanes. We, the citizens of this nation, have rejected the fear of terrorism (or criminal activity against us) in our daily lives by going about our business. 

The worst possible thing that could have happened in the face of these threats has happened. Capitulation to fear. Honestly, I would have laughed  it off if someone told me a comedy movie would be held from release in the United States of America, because of some threats from an unknown and unseen entity. I can only imagine this further emboldens those thinking of pulling antics like this. This sets a precedent for the future, does it not? What's next? Are we to pull "Naked Gun" from Netflix because it makes fun of the Queen of England? This is the country that stood up to people trying to ban "The Last Temptation of Christ" and we are going to let a goofy Hollywood comedy get pulled from theaters? This is the country that stood for "Death of a President" being released while the president that was depicted as being assassinated was still in office!

This is a sad day for Hollywood (but they have a lot of those don't they?), American movie goers, artistic freedom, and our national image. Sony and theaters all over this country have knelt down before the terrorists. We buckled a little bit today. At least I know we are gonna get a great South Park episode out of this at some point!