Thursday, December 18, 2014

Sony & The Hermits

     On Christmas Day, Sony Pictures was planning to release a film called The Interview, a dark comedy about a plot to assassinate the narcissistic "Supreme Leader" with short man over compensation syndrome, Kim Jong-Un starring James Franco and Seth Rogen. In the lead-up to the release date, cyber terrorists backed by North Korea attacked Sony Pictures compromising and exposing email, sensitive information and the movie Annie among other things. Sony Pictures stood strong and proceeded with the scheduled release date; that was until yesterday. New threats, this time against theaters showing the film emerged urging movie-goers to stay home and even suggesting that people living close to those theaters to get away. In response, Sony halted the Christmas release date and further announced that it had "no further release plans for The Intervew which includes digital on-demand services and DVD.
     Really? SHAME ON YOU, Sony Pictures! What kind of precedent are you setting here? Are you just going to bend over and allow a tiny hermit nation to thwart your plans to exercise free speech to point out the ridiculousness of their regime and cruel treatment of their people ? Are you going to allow empty threats to dictate your actions, to stop you in your tracks, to cause you to willingly lose revenue? Are you going to lay down and surrender to the ravings of a lunatic when you could have artistically squashed him like the little bug he is?  Why?  Why would you do this?  
     Sony Pictures is an American subsidiary of  the larger Japanese company Sony Corporation and one can't help but wonder if there is pressure from the parent here due to some sort of unwritten Asian code of protection even for the most debauched ideologies of their region. Regardless, Sony Pictures sits on American soil and operates in our marketplace and should not for one instant consider any pressure that would infringe on or coerce against the exercise of free speech. This is America! We don't give in to terrorism!
    Wait! What? We don't give in to terrorism?  
    No!  We do not!  We would never give in to terrorism.  We would never allow our freedoms to be denigrated. We would never give in to fear! Lawmakers would never attempt to pass laws that would cause us be considered criminals first!  We would never allow ourselves to be searched in order to board a plane just because a bunch of idiots used planes as weapons one day.  We would never become complacent should surveillance become widespread and increasingly encroaching, completely destroying our right to privacy. We would never put up with having to show identification just to by a nasal decongestant or chemicals to unclog our kitchen drains. We would never give in to the terrorist antics of bully theocratic nations!  If we give in to fear tactics then the terrorists win.  We would NEVER allow that.  Would we?
    Oops. My bad. As speculated in the past, we would, and we have done. The biggest fear we should have had after September 11, 2001 was not jihad, but the opportunistic power-hungry government under which we live. In fact those in power will use this and any crisis, large or small, to encroach further on our freedoms, our privacy, our very lives. Don't allow it. Stop it now.They were then and are now the greatest threat to our freedom, the most basic of which is freedom of speech in all its forms and genres. 
     Freedom of speech includes satire, ridicule, parody, etc., and comes with the right to offend: all great tools to get information across and cause thought and discourse. Sony Pictures, you should not be dissuaded but rather ramp up! Increase promotion of this movie. Expand its release. Give it away for free! Ridicule the hermit country and its regime of oppression. Ridicule religion. Ridicule politics. Ridicule ignorance. Ridicule yourselves. Stand up, Sony! Do not shrivel in the face of terror. Instead, release the movie in which you invested time and resources!  Laugh in the face of this empty threat and more importantly laugh loudly in the face of one itty bitty bully named Kim Jong-Un. 

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