- - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Like House Speaker John Boehner facing down President Obama in a heated negotiation, Sony Pictures caved. The movie “The Interview will not be released on Christmas Day.

The threats succeeded and the terrorists have won this battle.

Hopefully, someone in a leadership capacity will stiffen their spine.

This was an act of war and aggression against a company in the United States, against our freedom of speech and against our intellectual property rights.

Please, Mr. President, quit giving into the Cubans and terrorists.

Where is “Team America: World Police,” a “South Park” classic, when we need them?

It’s a terrible time in history when serious attacks from anywhere in the world can be unleashed upon our buildings, airplanes and even our own home computers. And, yes, all threats must be taken seriously.

“The Interview,” a film where a bumbling TV host and his producer are coerced by the CIA to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, has a funny premise but one that has caused all kinds of problems for Sony Pictures. In one of the biggest computer hacks of all time, movies have been hijacked, emails stolen, the capability to process payments have been disrupted and near chaos has erupted in the halls of Sony Pictures.

A group called Guardians of Peace has taken credit for the mayhem, but all fingers are pointing at the North Korean government. I have heard many Sony Pictures employees are now working from home so as not to have their work affected by this all encompassing hack.

Now comes word of a direct threat — a “Christmas gift” implying that if you go to see the film, you might get killed.

The full threat reads:
“Warning
“We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
“Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
“The world will be full of fear.
“Remember the 11th of September 2001.
“We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
“(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
“Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“All the world will denounce the SONY.”

Before I continue: This better not be a publicity stunt!

We certainly don’t want to see anyone get hurt, but we also have a responsibility to not allow anyone to silence our freedom of speech. Especially some paranoid, psycho, two-bit dictator from North Korea.

What’s curious about all of this is that when Trey Parker and Matt Stone, (the creators of “South Park”) released the all-time classic, “Team America: World Police” in 2004, our planet was in even more disarray with hot wars being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and missile as well as nuclear threats were being made by North Korea.

If you haven’t seen “Team America,” you should. It’s silly, stupid, crude and yet it has more depth when it comes to terrorism, and the manipulation of useful idiots in the world than any film I can think of that has come out of Hollywood.

The film has a huge following even today, and the firsthand stories I could tell you of soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay quoting this film are absolutely hysterical.

The film excoriates Islamic terrorists, mocks Hollywood actors, the Film Actors Guild (wink to those who’ve seen the movie), and places the now-deceased Kim Jong-il squarely in its crosshairs, holding absolutely nothing back.

In the sad and semi-touching musical number, “I’m So Ronery,” (mocking Kim’s accent, Ronrey means Lonely), Kim Jong-il sings about the sadness he feels when nobody else in the world understands just how great of a historical figure he is.

It’s a brilliant piece of writing that some might consider racist, but it shines a spotlight on the inner thoughts of an evil, megalomaniacal dictator.

 

Before his death in 2011, Kim Jong-il was a movie buff who owned more than 20,000 DVDs and claimed to have written thousands of movies and screenplays. (I’m sure they were all fabulous.)

I mention “Team America: World Police” and Kim Jong-il because we’ve been here before. Hollywood has already made a very pointed film at a North Korean dictator and nothing happened. Maybe the father was more tolerant than the son (doubtful), maybe Kim Jong-il was never told of “Team America” or maybe North Korea has technology now it didn’t have in 2004. Maybe Kim Jong-il liked it?

There is a great scene with Kim and former U.N. inspector Hans Blix that illuminates the true lack of power the U.N. has: (part of this scene is edited for crude language but you still get the point).

Kim Jong Il: Hans Brix? Oh no! Oh, herro. Great to see you again, Hans!
Hans Blix: Mr. Il, I was supposed to be allowed to inspect your palace today, but your guards won’t let me enter certain areas.
Kim Jong Il: Hans, Hans, Hans! We’ve been frew this a dozen times. I don’t have any weapons of mass destwuction, OK Hans?
Hans Blix: Then let me look around, so I can ease the U.N.’s collective mind. I’m sorry, but the U.N. must be firm with you. Let me in, or else.
Kim Jong Il: Or else what?
Hans Blix: Or else we will be very angry with you … and we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.
Kim Jong Il: OK, Hans. I’ll show you. Stand to your reft.
Hans Blix: [Moves to the left]
Kim Jong Il: A rittle more.
Hans Blix: [Moves to the left again]
Kim Jong Il: Good.
[Opens up trap, Hans falls in]

No matter how good or bad “The Interview” film is, we must stand for freedom of speech and never bow to terrorist threats.

Sony Pictures executives are feeling the sting of their personal emails being leaked. That pain will ease and disappear over time. However, should we, as a nation, show fear and not put that movie in theaters on its scheduled day? The ramifications of bowing to the threats will be far worse.

Who else will want a film to be stopped? What other group or person will make threats, knowing that Sony and theaters chains have cowered in the past? What new threats will we have to suffer because someone may be exposed or embarrassed?

A terrorist terrorizes people using deeds but most often just words.


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