Being in the media makes it natural that I would be inclined to refuse any form of censorship. For several weeks now Sony studios has been harshly criticized for canceling the release of its movie “The Interview” due to threat made by North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. While executives at Sony studios have since change their stance and agreed to a limited release of the film, their initial reaction was very disappointing and embarrassing. For starters, it is bad enough when an American entity tries to censor our airwaves but to allow an outside source to silence us is insulting. Let’s not forget that in the Post- Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake Super Bowl circus, many television and radio executives took it upon themselves to self-censor, with some influence by the FCC.We are 10 years removed from that absurd incident and it seems that we haven’t completely shaken off the tendency to micromanage all content for fear of complaints. So to have a major movie studio consider not releasing a movie because someone in another country is upset is absolutely absurd.
I will admit that any type of terrorist threat, not matter how small or insignificant we might personally consider it, should be taken serious. However, terrorists thrive on people’s fear and if we fold to all of their demands, it is my opinion that we make ourselves more vulnerable to the entity making the threat. Furthermore, we make ourselves vulnerable to any other terror group paying attention. Lastly, and not to sound arrogant but I am not afraid of North Korea’s threats. Granted, I am no expert on National Security but to borrow from and old expression, I do believe that their leader is all bark and no bite. I’m not implying the man isn’t unstable enough to try something but it’s not enough to worry me.
For anyone who would stay away from a theater because of the threat, that is okay. I can respect their personal decision to err on the side of caution. Maybe I’m still immature but North Korea’s threat wouldn’t keep me from going anywhere in the United States. Yet, to have a movie studio entertain the idea of holding out is discouraging. There might be more to the initial reaction than just fear, but if that is the case, then say so.
To be honest, I probably wasn’t going to line up on Christmas Day to watch this movie. I have other plans; spend time with family, eat with an absolute lack of self control and then ask my mom to help make my stomach feel better. Yet, the fact that it isn’t an option because of fear is absurd. I can’t sit here and pretend that everyone has a good sense of humor so I am sure that the North Korean dictator wasn’t flattered at the premise of the movie. Still, leaders around the world are constantly mocked and they deal with it because it is the nature of life. If President Obama, or President Bush before him were upset every time they were made fun of in the media, they wouldn’t have made past their first term (SNL has at least one skit mocking the sitting president every week).
So as the Christmas break approaches us, we can all decide what to do, where to go and what to watch. I for one will take the advice of President George Bush and take my family and enjoy life the way we want it to be and that means free of fear.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.