By Matthew Gohn
In November, ironically named group "Guardians of Peace" hacked Sony subsequently flooding the web with details of every backdoor conversation and plan Sony has ever had. Originally the hack had been theorized to be the work of North Korea as retaliation for James Franco & Seth Rogen's upcoming film The Interview which comedically depicts a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. While they do not claim repsonsibility and the Guardians do, it is unclear how much involvement North Korea has, if any.
Regardless of who hacked Sony, the Guardians of Peace have just issued this warning regarding The Interview.
We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places “The Interview” be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to.
Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made.
The world will be full of fear.
Remember the 11th of September 2001.
We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time.
(If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.)
Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
All the world will denounce the SONY.
Two years ago, Jonathan Blunk, Jessica Ghawi, and ten others were killed at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. The gunman, who I don't wish to name, had semi-automatic military weaponry and terrorized the theater killing 12 and injuring 70 others. 70.
And let's not even mention the United States track pathetic track record of gun violence at schools. As Jim Jeffries said, "In America, you had the Sandy Hook Massacre where little tiny children died, and your Government went 'Maybe we'll get rid of the big guns?' and 50% of you went 'FUCK YOU DON'T TAKE MY GUNS!"
I bring this up because gun violence is a very real problem in this country, and violence in schools and movie theaters has happened. What the Guardians threaten isn't some impossible-to-conceive-idea. It has happened, and knowing how gun laws in this country work, it's a matter of time before it happens again.
The rational part of me thinks, it's unlikely anything will happen. This is all sick conjecture. Then another part of me thinks how scared people in Aurora must have been when a mad man dressed like the Joker walked into a dark and crowded space with an assault rifle and murdered innocent moviegoers. I think of how scared the kindergardeners must have been. Five-year-old kids. I think of the children who survived a massacre before they even knew how to spell their name. I think of everybody who died because of gun violence in the United States.
I think about these awful tragedies. So when the Guardians of Peace threaten further violence in movie theaters, I get angry.
Movies are important to me. They are important to many of us. Movie theaters are sacred places. In a time when things seem bleak, movie theaters still offer us temporary escape. Movies offer hope. They are inspiring. And yeah they can be crass, crude, and terrible. They can be full of awful stereotypes and terrible dialogue. But they can also be great in every possible way. Movies cover an entire spectrum of cultural emotion and experience. So, when the Guardians threaten us there, I take it personally.
Let me be clear when I say, the above statement is the statement of a terrorist. They have made it clear that they intend to cause fear and violence in the name of an ambiguous goal. This is cowardly and wrong. They are threatening us in a way that is an affront to a founding principle of this country, they are threatening an expression of free speech.
We complain a lot in this country, for good reasons and for stupid ones. But we must never forget how good we have it. The Boston Bombing was shocking partially because bombings in American cities are relatively uncommon experiences. But never forget the lack of fear you feel when voting. During the mid-term elections I drove my car four blocks, waited in line for five minutes, and voted for who should lead this country. I didn't get scared. I wasn't worried of being shot for being within two blocks of the voting booth.
And to add to that, I'm not afraid to write this blog post. Freedom of speech is one of the best parts of America. Sure it means the homophobes from the Westboro Baptist Church can spout their hate. And sure all twenty-four-hour news networks can continue to monger fear and stupidity, but that is their right. God bless 'em for expressing it.
And not only can every idiot in America with a bullhorn say what they want and not worry about prosecution for it, but we have people who work every day to defend our right to do it. Do you want a reason to feel patriotic? Think of that. Our armed forces will without fail fight to protect your right to call the armed forces baby killers. Oddly beautiful, no?
So the Guardians are threatening our free speech. I don't know why, but that is what's happening. And they appear to be making progress. Rogen and Franco have stopped all media for their film. Sony have given theater chains the option to not show The Interview at their discretion. Why? Because they do not want to aggravate a potentially fatal situation. I appreciate Sony and company for doing what they think is right to protect people. I hate that they have to.
It is a sad situation, but one that throws things into perspective. We have a country dedicated to great principles, and brave men and women who will defend these principles. Whether The Interview is fantastic or terrible, I will be in theaters to see it on Christmas Day. I didn't expect this film would evoke such patriotic feelings from me, but it does. We live in a great country, albeit one with room for tremendous improvement. But this is a sad reminder of how good we do have it. And how good others don't have it.
I'll leave you with this one final quote.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."