Does the cancelling of the movie “Interview” represent international censorship or good commonsense?

The InterviewThe movie “The Interview” has been officially cancelled. No theaters wanted to show it and Sony “allegedly” felt the burn of some pretty angry North Koreans.

According to the website “The Verge:” 

Last night, Sony officially canceled The Interview’s December 25th release after all major US theaters pulled out, following threats of physical violence from a hacker group that had spent days leaking massive amounts of internal Sony data. As of last night, US officials were linking the hacks to North Korea.

They then posed the question:

But what if The Interview had never been about assassinating Kim Jong-un?

Ya think? Do you think if the movie had not included a violent death of a dictator who is considered a deity by his people that the reaction might not have been the same? When did we as Americans forget about common sense and good taste. I can’t help being a bit old school. Humor is humor, but poor taste is simply stupid.

I am both a journalist and a lawyer who studied with wide eyed idealism the ins and outs of the First Amendment. I do not believe in censorship particularly when it comes to being able to say things that are important. Americans thrive on our legal right to make fun of ourselves. But where do we draw the line? I learned Journalism at a time when we were required to study ethics and to set standards of what we would report. We had to learn the balance of freedom and the bottom line with the gratuitous exploitation of stories simply because we could. We made choices and we thought about the implications.

I have to say that a little common sensorship would do us some good. I am sick of closing my eyes through most of a movie because I can’t stomach the vivid violence on the screen. I love a true crime or murder mystery but enough is enough.

I am not a prude but I don’t want to see sex scenes that leave nothing to the imagination. We are becoming desensitized. It was only a matter of time before we were called out on our cavalier attitude. We always have to raise the stakes. I can just imagine the writers laughing over what probably started out as a really funny script only to “one up” each other to see who could take it to the furthest degree or civility. Well you found the outer limits, guys!

Although I get teased for it, I love mindless classic television and movies because of the innocence and the fact that I do not need the jaws of life to remove images from my brain. Entertainment is supposed to be entertaining. It can be evocative and inspiring as well, but it should not be so provocative as to create a national incident. It shows that we do not know where to draw the line or have enough respect for other people’s cultures. We won’t have peace as a reality  until we stop acting like school yard bullies teasing everyone and telling them we are better than they are. Eventually someone will get pissed and will hand it back to us.

I was concerned about the possibility of international censorship and the vitiation of our First Amendment. Then I realized that we were using it unwisely. We need to support the arts and stand by our artists but we also need to hold them accountable for pretending to speak for us as the arbiters of what represents American culture. We are better than this. If they did not already exact their revenge and didn’t have an extreme culture that we may never understand, I would have suggested a nice little gift and even an apology from the movie makers. So for now let’s think before we act in the future and weigh the value of what we create with the impression it leaves on those around our little American bubble.

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