One more and done

18 December, 2014
Rat Fink

After the gig this morning at the nursing home, we close the door on another Christmas season. Shew! It’s been a good couple of months, but I’m glad the insanity is coming to a close. Just get me through Friday, and we’re good.

Random neuron firing:

The Thriller and I had a discussion over dinner last night about the recent developments around the film The Interview, and Sony Pictures’ decision to not show it. Two stances were considered:

  1. Sony is allowing itself to be bullied into submission by faceless terror hackers. If we bow to it now, what’s next? Seriously, it’s North Korea, and they’re holding the entire United States of America hostage because Kim Jong-un can’t take a joke? Lighten up already. It’s our First Amendment right to make a film that offends; the Constitution makes no ruling on what comprises good or bad art. Stop being sissies.
  2. Seth Rogen made a movie about a sitting dictator, who’s likely a raving sociopath, occasionally creeping up on psychotic. Again, for clarity: someone thought it would be cool to make a worldwide chump out of a frequently violent, cuckoo-brain 5150 who has nukes. And Rogen used KJ-u’s likeness and his position in a comedy of all things, where the main focus is the hilarity of two bumbling idiots trying to assassinate him. Have we not read the news for the past three years? Do we not know what a hair-trigger wackadoodle this guy is?

The question (one of the many, actually) is: Where do we draw the line between patent refusal to kowtow to threats from deranged extremists, and taking seriously the rantings of nut-butts who just might go through with a threat that would jeopardize thousands of innocent cinemagoers — not to mention the many employees of the movie theaters who have to report to work and stay there through repeated showings? Is a movie causing widespread panic really worth it?

Remember back in ’88, when The Last Temptation of Christ opened, and folks flipped out? Here’s what was said (New York Times, 13 August, 1988):

At the Directors Guild of America headquarters this morning,  movie directors John Badham, Warren Beatty, Peter Bogdanovich…Sydney Pollack, George Sidney and Elliot Silverstein defended Mr. Scorsese’s right to his artistic vision and, in the words of a statement by the guild, ”the right of individuals to decide for themselves what they will see and think.”

Mr. Beatty said people must support Universal and Cineplex Odeon in their ”effort to resist pressure groups” and to encourage studios ”to continue to finance and distribute material that is not so safe.”

Mr. Brooks, who won an Academy Award for ”Terms of Endearment,” said he was ”frightened so many of us had to come here this morning to express the obvious.” Mr. Pollack, an Academy Award winner for ”Out of Africa,” said: ”Christianity survived for 2,000 years. It will survive Martin Scorsese’s $6.5 million movie.”

Clint Eastwood, who was not in Los Angeles, sent a succinct message: ”Freedom of expression is the American way.”

It may be the American way, Clint, but America is not the only nation in the world, and honestly, Americans have embodied that irresponsible assumption with great vigor in one way or another since the Second World War. But that’s a discussion for another day. This day is for getting over with, and tonight is for BAKING WITH MAVIS! HUZZAH

Still, feel free to weigh in below. Truthfully, I see both sides of the argument. I can’t imagine the gargantuan headaches Sony corporate has suffered over this ordeal, compounded by the fear, humiliation and anger that is no doubt wreaking havoc as a result of the recent enormous breach in their communication systems. It’s an ugly world sometimes, fiends. Makes you shake your head and quote TDN:

How can people be so heartless?
How can people be so cruel?
Easy to be hard; easy to be cold.

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Mavis
Mavis
18 December, 2014 5:58 am

I completely agree with the First Amendment. Yet, I have to believe that Rogen thought a movie like this would stir up some trouble, ja? I know what a complete lunatic Kj is, and I think the *idea* of the movie is a good one. Heck, I wouldn’t mind if someone DID go there and take him out. I worry about all the workers at these movie theaters and the patrons, as well, but it’s wrong for Sony to give in to these hackers. No one wants this to be a trend to come! I’ll see you tonight, sweetness! Have… Read more »

David
David
18 December, 2014 9:54 am

Ever notice that apparently North Korea, China and Russia have an abundance of world class hackers? They apparently are sharper than any of our computer geeks here in the States. Sony should release the movie to youtube, Pay-for-View or for individual sale. The problem to succumbing to being held hostage is when and where does it stop? Enjoy the respite from your busy schedule…loved the TDN reference! ReplyRat Fink Reply:December 19th, 2014 at 9:32 pmNever thought of the direct-to-viewer option, but hey, that’ll never work. How would everyone get their cut??? Thanks, pal — I’m going to enjoy the heck… Read more »

Helen
Helen
19 December, 2014 10:18 am

Easy to be proud. Easy to say no. One of the greatest musical numbers, in my (very) humble opinion. I’m so glad that a respite is on it’s way to you! I can’t wait to do some celebrating together! As for the topic of the day, I’ll echo this post from a friend on facebook: “Thank you, Kim Jong Un, for saving us from another crappy James Franco movie.” ReplyRat Fink Reply:December 19th, 2014 at 9:31 pmHaaaa — Big Kim FTW – touché! And I am stoked about Christmas and celebrating together as a family. It’s the best part! <3… Read more »

Ross Bonander
20 December, 2014 1:39 am

The movie screams entitlement to me, but beyond that, let’s not forget — even if other countries don’t remember — that the first amendment freedoms don’t protect ideas we support, they protect ideas we don’t like. As a movie and as an idea, I don’t like this movie at all, but I support the freedom to make it. ReplyRat Fink Reply:December 20th, 2014 at 8:12 amA “comedy” about assassinating a country’s leader — regardless of whether the leader is a monster or not — is a bad idea, and totally not funny to me. But you’re right: it’s their right… Read more »