Hack! Hack! Cough! Puke!

Posted by admin on December 29, 2014 in The Soapbox |

There are times when I am almost positive that Sony hacked themselves in order to turn a so-so, borderline crappy movie into a big hit. After all, it’s a brilliant marketing strategy — make a bad movie, create a newsworthy situation that puts the spotlight on the movie and its production company, pull the movie because of “threats,” then end up putting it out at the last minute and whip us into a patriotic fervor to the point that if we don’t go see The Interview, we’re simply un-American.

Before I go on, let’s note that I wrote this a week before all the media pundits started their conjecture – yes, visionary!

To totally sell the job, they make sure some tawdry emails are released about some of the stars out there and even some pithy remarks about the president. Was there any real lasting damage? No. Americans are quick to forget and forgive. We’re too busy chasing the next shiny object to spend much time on anything these days. Is that really Bruce Jenner? He looks terrible! What do the Kardashians think?

See? We are a terribly superficial lot, so why not play straight into the hands of Sony’s marketing machine and fall for the North Korean hacking story hook, line and sinker.

That’s not to say that the North Koreans shouldn’t be pissed off, even if they couldn’t fire up their Commodore 64s and by some miracle find a way to hack into Sony. I’m not sure why our misplaced American brains think it’s all in good fun to kill off another country’s leader on the big screen. There would be hell to pay if another country did that to us, killing Obama or any other president off at the end of a movie they made. We’d be bombing the hell out of them because they crossed a line by killing our president.

Yes, we kill off presidents all the time in our own movies. But they are fake presidents. In Dave, President Bill Mitchell suffered a fatal stroke while humping his secretary. He wasn’t the real president. So it was all in good fun. No one got hurt.

Yes, We killed of old Honest Abe in Lincoln. Hard to avoid that one. And as an aside, I think Spielberg should have just ended the movie here Lincoln walks off to the theater, making his way down the hall and the steps. Scene. We all know what happened when he went to the theater.

But really, killing off another country’s leader for laughs? Are we really that pathetic and worse, unoriginal as a culture? Or are we so full of ourselves as Americans that we don’t think that there is any price to be paid for freedom of speech.

As a writer, I understand how precious freedom of speech is. I am one of its biggest advocates, of course. But it comes with responsibility and at a cost. I try to instill this fact in my son. He tends to still think it’s absolute, but I continue to remind him that freedom of speech has an often heavy price attached to it.

It’s the old “your right to punch me in the face ends at the end of my nose.” After that, all bets are off and I will respond in kind.

Freedom of speech is the same. People in our country have given their lives speaking their minds. Certainly they did in the American Revolution. This most fundamental right comes at a cost, yet no one seems to understand that these days, at least when it comes to a crummy movie that probably wouldn’t have made back the money it cost to make it.

Now it’s a hit. Why? Because we’re indignant that another country wasn’t very happy about us killing off their leader for laughs. Now, I’m no fan of Kim Jong-un. I think he’s something of a nut job. But that’s just my take on it. I don’t have to live in North Korea, I don’t know anyone from North Korea and I really couldn’t care less about a 31 year old Supreme Leader of a country so backwards they only have only one connection to the Internet, most likely a 14.4k dialup account from AOL.

Putting myself in their place though, I wouldn’t be too happy to see your sworn enemy making fun of your Supreme Leader and killing him off for laughs. It’s not funny; it’s just disrespectful.

That’s one of the things missing in our world these days. There’s not enough respect. We are becoming increasingly mean and cynical about the world we live in and we are still largely puffed up in the U.S. by a post 9-11 patriotic craziness that we are always in the right and everyone else is in the wrong.

One only has to look at the current police haters out there to see this freak frenzy in action. A guy is caught on security footage pointing a gun at an officer and we riot in the streets of Berkeley, Missouri because he was shot dead. We blame the police for shooting the guy. Folks, he had a damned gun in his hand.

Yes, I still respect the police. They have a very hard job to do. I wouldn’t want to do it because I like having a job where there’s a 99.999% chance I will come home at the end of the day. Sure, there are some bad cops out there. There are rotten eggs in every profession, but don’t jump on the hate wagon just because you’re a lemming, have your own agenda or a total loser.

I also respect the president. No, not the guy in office. The office itself. In the last 56 years I’ve been here, there have been several turds holding that office. I have had little to no respect for many of our presidents as individuals. But I do respect the office.

I’m sure there are North Koreans that do the same as I. They may not like Kim anymore than we do, but the guy, for better or worse, is a leader of their country. When we kill him off to make a buck, it doesn’t strengthen our freedom of speech. It just shows the world that our country is still infantile and immature, that we aren’t really ready to handle being a world power.

True leaders don’t need to diminish others or bully them. They inspire, they don’t mock. Leaders take the high road, they don’t revel in the gutter. The Interview is not a statement about how great we are, but a statement about how far we have yet to go.

In the Emerald City, wondering when Hollywood is going to release that comedy about slavery. I’m sure it will be a hoot,

– Robb



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