Thursday, December 18, 2014

THE INTERVIEW: SHOULD COMMUNIST NORTH KOREA BE ABLE TO USE TERRORISTIC THREATS TO CENSOR A MOVIE IN AMERICA AND ELSEWHERE?

Well, the obvious answer is no.

And yes, if North Korea hacked Sony Pictures (the old Columbia) computer system, that is a crime, at least I think it is.

And while no one can use an immoral means toward a moral good, some good has come out of the computer hacking of emails by executives as Sony.

First of all, the emails expose these executives as secular hypocrites, the ones that Pope Francis would call Pharisees. But in this case they are the secular Pharisees.

Secondly, we all know that the media, to include news, entertainment and the internet have become the defacto moral teachers of a few generations of Americans and others around the world. But I lie, they have become the "amoral" teachers and have led so many into immorality.

Of course, there are some good things the media has done in terms of some societal moral issues, but overall, they are no moral voice. They manipulate the public for financial gain and degrade our morals.

But this brings us to the Interview. I know that Americans love to satirize and demonize dictators. Cartoons, such as the beloved Warner Brother's characters as well as movies did it to Adolph Hitler and Fidel Castro and others of note. I think they are fair game as is the dictator of Korea who is a despot.

However, when movies have plots, funny or not, fantasy or not, that include the assassination of real, living human beings,  they can inspire the weak minded or the criminally insane to do stupid things. Our society is more violent than ever and I can't help but think that violent entertainment to include violent computer games and such contributes to it.

Is it wise to have movies suggesting that living world leaders, good or bad, should be assassinated? It is one thing to do so for a despot in North Korea but there was also a movie in a similar fashion for President George W. Bush. Is that irresponsible?

I am shocked that Sony and movie theaters have caved to the pressure of North Korea and their terroristic threats and I think it sets a bad precedence.

But should those in the entertainment industry being the moral voice of the world?

In this case they are not, not with their movie and not with their decision not to show it, in effect allowing Communist censorship here in America and elsewhere.

The bottom line for them is the almighty dollar. That has been exposed. And if even one movie theater is attacked, they know that this will hurt their overall bottom line, the making of money because people will be afraid to go to the movies. 

But what should America's response be to North Korea which evidently is the source of all this and is making threats against a movie company here in America and demanding a movie not be shown to Americans and making terrorist threats if it is? Should America allow CENSORSHIP by a communist despot here in America?

38 comments:

Daniel said...

I don't think the studio is censoring, or being censored; I think they made the correct decision not to put lives at risk. The Sony hacking showed that they're dealing with obsessed maniacs willing to go the extra mile. They made a decision, probably in conjunction with law enforcement and intelligence agencies, that there is a credible threat. So I would hate to be the studio executive who made the decision to go forward if the worst happened. Since I have a sick sense of humor, I would have enjoyed The Interview, and I would still watch it. But in the end, it's still just a stupid movie, and it's not worth one life.

Daniel said...

As to your larger point about Hollywood, the tragedy is that they follow public tastes instead of leading. They are corporations, like any other, in the business of staying in business and maximizing profits. You can easily look at the weekend "gross" numbers (great phrase) and see what types of films succeed and which ones don't. As the wise man once said, nobody ever went broke underestimating the public's taste. Blame Hollywood, but also blame the public that pays for trash and nonsense.

JBS said...

No.

Anonymous said...

"...by a communist despot here in America?"

Now, please. Get your sentence structure right, for heaven's sake.

And it sets a bad "precedent" not a bad "precedence."

"But should those in the entertainment industry being the moral voice of the world?" Um, wanna try this one again?

Gene said...

Ta da! The Grammar Police strike again.
In that same vein: "Now, please" is a fragment.

"Get your sentence structure right, for heaven's sake,"
This is, technically, also a fragment (no subject).

In your next non-sentence, there should be a comma after "and" and a comma after "precedent." This phrase is also a fragment.

Anonymous, that is three out of four wrong. F

Marie said...

Thanks, Father, for this well-balanced commentary.

George said...

North Korea should not be able to do this. It is up to corporations and other entities, such as government agencies, to put in place procedures, software and equipment to secure and protect their data. Sony is major corporation. One would think it has the financial resources to do this. I don't see that Sony has any meaningful or effective options against whomever in North Korea perpetrated this (if indeed it turns out to have originated from that country).

JBS said...

Well, done, Gene! Beautiful!

Paul said...

North Korea still has the USS Pueblo that gets shown-off to visitors at every opportunity.

Anonymous said...

"Now, please." is an ejaculation, such as "Oh, Gene!"

"Get your sentence structure right" is not a fragment. The subject is "You" (understood), as in "(You) Get your sentence structure right."

Short phrases do not require commas to separate them, so "And it sets a bad "precedent" not a bad "precedence." is accurate as it stands.

See AP Stylebook. (And the subject there is also "You" (understood).

Anonymous 2 said...

“Is it wise to have movies suggesting that living world leaders, good or bad, should be assassinated?”

No, of course it isn’t, but who cares about an old fashioned virtue like wisdom nowadays, especially when short term political or monetary gain is the lure?

And at the risk of being controversial, I have a similar view regarding material that publicly insults revered religious figures such as Jesus or Muhammad.

Just because one has a right, even a constitutional one, does not mean it is a wise or decent thing to exercise it in a particular set of circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,

I think that there is a demand for good entertainment that is being purposely ignored. Also, the amount of gay propaganda in films and TV is there as a trend setter. If that stuff wasn't in films people would be happy to not see it. It seems to me that about 70%-80% of films always sneak in some kind of political message or attacks on "judgmental religious fanatics". Studio execs appreciate the fact that
the frogs don't know they're being boiled until it's too late.

Mike

Gene said...

An ejaculation is not a sentence. Understood subjects are casual usage and not preferred in proper writing.
Your comma errors are still just that, comma errors.

Gene said...

Besides, Anon, the AP Style Book is a newspaper writer's guide to grammar and punctuation. It is dumbed down, casual usage. Have you read journalist grammar and headlines lately?

Anonymous said...

You're absolutely right. An ejaculation is not a sentence. It doesn't require subject and verb. It is, by definition, a "fragment." Your objection is, by your own words, overruled.

This blog is not "proper writing." The blog owner certainly makes that abundantly clear.

"You(understood)" as the subject of a sentence is taught in 3rd grade. Go back and review your notes.

Short phrases do not, in proper or journalistic writing, require commas to separate them.



Gene said...

I wasn't talking about "journalistic" writing, which is hardly the standard for anyone to follow. You are incorrect by any proper writing standard.
Now, instead of attacking the blog owner's grammar, why not respond to his issues and subjects? You have yet to contribute anything of substance or depth to this blog.

George said...

Anon is somewhat grammarian
Leading Gene to be quite contrarian
over commas unplaced
and subjects displaced
To him it is rudimentarian

Daniel said...

Anonymous (the one at 11:42 on the 18th, not the one correcting everyone's grammar and punctuation): As much as I dislike most Hollywood product, it's a pure example of the free-enterprise system and people voting with their feet, and their pocketbooks. Look at the movie listings most week and you can see Biblical epics, so-called "Christian" films, even conservative-themed documentaries. They will lose out, big-time, to the latest comic-book epic or car-crash extravaganza. Studios are in the business of making money, for good or ill (and most conservatives would say for the good), so they have no wish to self-destruct by putting out box-office losers.

Daniel said...

Anyway, some of the richest and smartest people in this great country are conservatives. If they thought they could rake in the money by making more conservative-themed films, nobody's stopping them. It's a simple business decision.

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
I don’t accept your belief that Hollywood is a perfect example of the free enterprise system. It’s more like a cartel that has powerful control. It intimidates directors, actors and writers who associate with the opposition. I do acknowledge that conservative competitors should take the risk to bring product to market and on occasion it has done so successfully but not without tremendous liberal outrage. The reaction to the Passion of the Christ offers evidence for what happens when truth cuts deep and the liberal establishment can’t stand it. I admit that people demand to see too much trash, but I’m not sure where you’re finding the abundant supply of good product that you mention because I’m unaware of it. You on the other hand should recognize that conservatives are usually the bad guys in Hollywood films and trial lawyers, union leaders, purported victims of racism, homofanatics, Marxist professors etc. etc., are most times the heroes. I can go see a film on almost any number of subjects that should be free from political commentary or message delivery but instead I get propaganda. I recently watched a comedy where the male babysitter was consoling the 10 year old boy that he shouldn’t agonize over his apparent homosexuality. In a somber scene he was advised that he was going to grow up being a happy sodomite and it was going to be a beautiful thing. It was such a touching part of the movie.

Has our culture turned to trash? Of course it has. But that has been aided by the media, entertainment, education and community organizers pushing the devil’s agenda. Unless someone is blind or lying to themselves I’m not sure how he/she can’t see it.
Mike

Gene said...

That is exactly why I am a believer in censorship of Hollywood and the Internet. Censorship goes on all the time in the press and the media…editing stories to give them a leftist slant, omitting to publish certain things, etc. That is political censorship and is wrong. But, the stuff you see on TV, in movies, and the internet should not be there. Nobody's freedom is threatened by refusing to allow pornography, perversity, and degradation in the media. Hollywood, the media, and the internet are, at best, amoral…but increasingly they are becoming an aggressive force aimed at global moral neutralization and the promotion of an anarchy of values and the de-humanization of society in the interests of marketing, demonic consumerism, and universal self-indulgence. It needs to be forcibly stopped.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: Once again, if conservatives want to fund conservative- or religious-themed films (and feel free to count Mel Gibson as one of your own), there's nothing stopping them. Historically, they flop at the box office. The Passion was one of the exceptions, partly because so many churches bought up large blocks of tickets.
If I wanted to waste my time I would present you a list of the large number of religious and/or conservative-themed films in 2014, and how they did, but you could have looked it up yourself if you really wanted to know. One problem is that, artistically, they tend to be pretty horrible, like that Nicolas Cage "Left Behind" thing.
However, if you have a problem with sympathetic portrayal of gay characters, your problem is not with Hollywood, it's with the world around you. Again, they generally don't drive change, they reflect it.

Gene: So you believe in censorship, and I don't believe the government should tell us what to read or think or watch (outside certain very clear lines, the most obvious being child pornography). We must agree to disagree.

Daniel said...

Anonymous: Once again, if conservatives want to fund conservative- or religious-themed films (and feel free to count Mel Gibson as one of your own), there's nothing stopping them. Historically, they flop at the box office. The Passion was one of the exceptions, partly because so many churches bought up large blocks of tickets.
If I wanted to waste my time I would present you a list of the large number of religious and/or conservative-themed films in 2014, and how they did, but you could have looked it up yourself if you really wanted to know. One problem is that, artistically, they tend to be pretty horrible, like that Nicolas Cage "Left Behind" thing.
However, if you have a problem with sympathetic portrayal of gay characters, your problem is not with Hollywood, it's with the world around you. Again, they generally don't drive change, they reflect it.

Gene: So you believe in censorship, and I don't believe the government should tell us what to read or think or watch (outside certain very clear lines, the most obvious being child pornography). We must agree to disagree.

Daniel said...

Anyway, Gene, nobody is obligated to present your point of view in a book or a movie or a TV show. Nor should the government force them to. It's their story. If you don't like it, write you own damned story. #nowhining.

Gene said...

I'm not whining. I am advocating for aggressive censorship of the BS in Hollywood and on the internet. I do not expect my opinion to be aired by anyone in the industry and couldn't give less of a damn. I am simply saying that, at some point, things are going to have to be reversed. The longer they continue as they are, the harsher and more violent the corrective…if it ever comes (and I hope it does). Can you say Francisco Franco?

Anonymous said...

Daniel,
I think you're deliberately missing my point. I'm stating that films that should have no political message to them end up containing them. It's the sly way of indoctrination. I’m not arguing in favor of conservative films. My point is that I don’t like going to the theater to watch a comedy or drama only to have liberal messages deceitfully weaved into the films.

I did a search "religious films 2014" and a link claims there were 7. That doesn't seem to be a large # to me. Maybe it is to you? Your claim that the Passion was a box office bonanza because churches bought up large blocks of tickets is nonsense. Maybe you can site the statistics about the Passion that provides a breakdown of the box office totals? What % of the $700 million did block orders represent? I have a number of Catholic churches in my area and not one that I recall did a block purchase for the Passion. BTW I do count Mel as a brother in Christ and pray for him as you should. I believe that the devil made Mel a special project as payback for a masterful accomplishment. He doesn’t deserve your ridicule.

You mentioned that you don't like much of what Hollywood produces. Why? What do you find objectionable? Do you a have a “problem” with the sympathetic portrayal of a supposed 10 year old gay boy that I described? Your claim that Hollywood became liberal to profit off a public that enjoys its product has fractional merit. The truth is that Hollywood became politically and socially liberal long before the rest of the country. I’m not a proponent of Gene’s censorship model, but you criticize him for his idea and when I mentioned that the execs in Tinsel Town practice their own form of thought control, you seem to reject that concept. Maybe you think Hollyweird liberal tyranny doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter, but it’s Gene who is the radical?

Mike

Gene said...

Daniel, if you don't think the government already controls what we watch, read, and think you are as gullible to the propaganda as anyone. Textbook content is controlled by the government, there is propaganda everywhere in TV shows and movies…pay attention, the media carefully select what we read and watch…give me a break.

Anonymous 2 said...

I have always found it interesting, indeed paradoxical, that “conservatives” become exercised at the way sexual themes are portrayed in films and on TV but have virtually nothing to say, as far as I can tell, about the incessant portrayal and g(l)orification violence. I am just as concerned by the latter as the former, perhaps even more so. This, by the way, is why I would not go to see The Passion.

Am I correct in my impressions and, if so, why is this?

Anonymous said...

Anon2
I think there are different kinds of violence portrayed in films. In Scorsese films I see a level of gratuitous gore that is disgusting to watch and it serves little purpose other than to satisfy the perversions of the director. Another concern is the type of interactive violence promoted in video games. The graphics and the excitement created by the experience could be detrimental to the participant. It could cause children to become desensitized to the act of violence and murder.

Sexual content in films doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than to arouse the audience and stimulate lust. I think the portrayal of casual sex in films has done an enormous amount of damage by setting acceptable societal standards that promotes fornication and concubines. And the encouragement of young boys to pursue a homosexual lifestyle as described in my earlier example.

Personally I know the reaction I’ve experienced when I’ve seen an attractive woman in a sleazy scene vs. when I see Steven Segal crack someone’s leg and then put a knife through his eye. In the first case I get interested and in the second I find it creates no desire on my part to replicate Mr. Segal’s actions.

The Passion of the Christ is a must see for every Catholic. For me it is a form of penance and it is difficult to watch because it is heartbreaking. The only reaction I have and had to the Passion was a desire to be a better person. I’m not sure why you would object to any graphic portrayal of Christ’s death that results in that emotion.

Mike

Gene said...

Anon 2, I was speaking of violence, as well. The gore and the graphics are unnecessary most of the time, just like the gratuitous sex. I would make an exception for films like The Passion and "Saving Private Ryan." The former for the same reasons Mike mentioned, and the latter because it is a tribute to the men of my father's generation and gives some small idea, to those who have not known combat, what the horrors of war are like.
I'm no prude, and I have experienced combat but, in most cases, the graphics are unnecessary. I certainly appreciate a nude woman, but nude women being abused, or playing with foreign objects, or graphic sex scenes are degrading to everyone who watches them. We become de-sensitized to violence, abuse, and the distortions of normal erotica. In an age of so-called women's liberation, women are more objectified and abused than ever. The idiot feminists get upset over the image of women in fifties TV shows, then gloss right over the Kardashians, Beyonce, Paris Hilton, and Game of Thrones. We are so fornicated...

Anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous Mike and Gene:

I was explaining my own reasons for not wanting to watch The Passion. I will defer to your assessment of the necessity for the violence in it. I agree that the violence was necessary in Saving Private Ryan for the reasons you give and am prepared to accept that the same may be true in The Passion. I should add, however, that whenever I have seen Saving Private Ryan (on television only) and while I think it is an excellent film, I avert my eyes for the first 15 minutes because it is just too much. I have also walked out of movies for similar reasons. So, in the end, perhaps it is just me. I have, however, seen real corpses as part of my legal training but the violence inflicted on them did not have the same effect on me, I assume because it was not dramatically “sensationalized” on a screen.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2
I think most of the holy pictures we saw as children malformed our psyche about what Christ endured for us. His torture was gruesome and certainly more severe than depicted by Mel Gibson. I think the crowning with thorns was likely more harsh than the scourging and the movie deals with that part of His torture in a mild way.

The movie helps to correct the sanitized view we see of the neat Corpus on most crucifixes and the serene look on many holy pictures and Stations of the Cross.

My personal belief is that a likely suffering that we will experience in purgatory is the witnessing of Christ's passion. Seeing a graphic version of it in this life I hope will help to diminish the shock and horror in the next. I base that thought on the fact that saints have encouraged reflection on His passion and some have had visions of it.

Sincerely
Mike

Anonymous 2 said...

P.S. One further thought, and this responds especially to your point about “attraction” and “desensitization,” Anonymous Mike: I can certainly understand your distinction between sex and violence with respect to “attraction” but I still suspect that the constant barrage of violence desensitizes us to it and makes us more accepting of it. You see, I cannot get past the thought that the first sin after the Expulsion was an act of violence, that is, fratricide. And yet we seem so ready to accept the necessity for violence, especially in this country, and invent all kinds of justifications and excuses for it. I guess, then, that I would just like to see as much energy and moral outrage expended on the problem of violence as is expended on matters of sex. To me, that would be truly counter-cultural!

I claim no moral superiority here because I am quite aware that the violent inclinations in my own fallen nature must be tamed just as its sexual inclinations must be tamed. And this taming, I thought, was central to the civilizing task of the Church, difficult though it has proved to be historically (from the Peace of God and the Truce of God forward or perhaps, more fundamentally, from “Turn the other cheek” forward – the way of the Zealots was a dead end, literally).

Gene said...

Anon 2, I don't really disagree with anything you have said, but I view violence as an inescapable reality of a fallen world and evil people. Certainly, we should tame it in ourselves and others whenever possible, but to imagine we can end it through pacifism or some utopian social scheme is delusional and leads to social and political structures that end by being oppressive and robbing good people of their freedoms. However, I agree that the media, TV, and movies do a lot of harm by desensitizing us to violence and degradation. People get mad at me when I say "censorship," but I see nothing wrong with it. We had it in the 50's and 60's.

Anonymous 2 said...

Gene:

I am conflicted about external censorship but have no doubt at all about the desirability for self-censorship. As I have said before, just because I have a right to do something does not mean it is right for me to do it.

Anonymous said...

Too many fascinating points to respond to here (We need a Francisco Franco and 40 years of torture and repression? Thank you, Gene. That explains the rest of your comments). But what you describe as propaganda is just other people's opinions about the way things are or the way things ought to be. Eliminate what you call "politics" from books, movies and TV and you eliminate much of what is great from American culture. Even a beloved, non-controversial classic like It's a Wonderful Life (watched it last night, of course) has some pointed jabs about what, in 2014, we would call the haves and have-nots, about the takers and manipulators who use their power to control others. 60 years later, it doesn't seem very controversial. I'm not "gullible" enough to believe there's no such thing as propaganda. Much of it is from the right and corporations. But I believe we all have the right to turn the channel or just skip a movie that troubles us.

d said...

Too many fascinating points to respond to here (We need a Francisco Franco and 40 years of torture and repression? Thank you, Gene. That explains the rest of your comments). But what you describe as propaganda is just other people's opinions about the way things are or the way things ought to be. Eliminate what you call "politics" from books, movies and TV and you eliminate much of what is great from American culture. Even a beloved, non-controversial classic like It's a Wonderful Life (watched it last night, of course) has some pointed jabs about what, in 2014, we would call the haves and have-nots, about the takers and manipulators who use their power to control others. 60 years later, it doesn't seem very controversial. I'm not "gullible" enough to believe there's no such thing as propaganda. Much of it is from the right and corporations. But I believe we all have the right to turn the channel or just skip a movie that troubles us.

Gene said...

d, I gad a good respons to you, but Fr. has decided to heavily censor my posts of late. Not even sure what is wrong with them. They seem pretty tame to me.