(originally posted on www.createdbychance.blogspot.com on 12/18/14)
If you’ve been following the news at all lately, no doubt you are aware of this thing called the Sony Hack and the pulling of the film “The Interview” from theaters. If you haven’t, read about it here. And leave a note in the comments about how you are able to avoid something that everyone is talking about, short of never going online again.
Seems most in Hollywood are crowing about how shameful it is for theater chains to cancel showings of the movie, forcing Sony to cancel the release of the film. Aaron Sorkin‘s pretty pissed about it. As are Judd Apatow, Ben Stiller and a host of others. There’s lots of talk about “free speech” and “censorship” and how un-American it is to capitulate to cyber-terrorists in this way.
Frankly – I think the reaction is about as American as it can get.
If you are under the impression that Hollywood exists as an exercise of our civil rights, you, my friend, live in a very idealistic world. One I’d like to visit someday, but I think might require loads of Xanax and endless pep talks from Oprah.
Hollywood’s main interest is the bottom line. Entertainment exists, by and large, to make money. Making money is the American Way. If you put some sort of obstacle in the way of making money, it is quintessentially American to remove that obstacle. If “The Interview” were to play in theaters over Christmas, at a time when many American families will be taking in a flick or two, it might convince some folks it’s safer to stay home. It’s not like theaters haven’t been subject to violence and terrorism in the recent past. If people avoid movie theaters over the holidays because of a perceived threat, remove the threat. “The Interview” is a threat to the bottom line.
Censorship is a part of the entertainment business. Why do you think you never hear the word “fuck” on primetime broadcast television? Because no writer ever wanted to add it to a script? Fuck no! It’s because “fuck” will alienate some audience members, which will mean less eyeballs, which will mean advertisers won’t be as interested in paying to have their ads run during your show. Most TV shows don’t exist to entertain us – they exist as an advertising platform. It’s the American Way.
Honestly, I really don’t care one way or another about the film being cancelled. It’s just as much an exercise of rights to pull the film as it is to show the film. Sony execs decided to make the dictator in the movie a real person because they thought it would be more provocative. They got exactly what they asked for.
What I DO care about are the work-a-day folks over at Sony whose personal information was leaked. Those in charge seem to be playing fast and loose with the private information of the girl in the office who gets the coffee or the guy who sits in the editing bay for 16 hours a day. I hope this whole debacle will serve as a cautionary tale to companies to take cyber security seriously. It’s all fun and games until you piss off one of the most volatile dictators in the modern world.