For Freedom of Speech A Dark Night Rises

I can recall in July 2012 following the shooting massacre in Aurora, security was beefed up in theaters nation-wide showing The Dark Knight Rises. I went to see the movie at a megaplex and outside there were two Teaneck police cars. Inside next to the entrance there was a plainclothes officer with an ear piece looking closely at everyone coming through the door.

Sony Corporation last week decided to cancel distribution of The Interview – a fictional movie about an assassination plot against “The Supreme Leader” of North Korea. Sony Pictures CEO said he reached that decision because some major theater corporations did not want to show the comedy. Shame on the movie theater owners for their cowardice. And shame on Sony, which could have made the film available to venues which wanted it, including independently owned facilities. We have a nicely restored private theater in Teaneck. Our local police would have been there. Indeed, police nowadays routinely cover events where there is possibility of mayhem.

The movie seems to be a slacker comedy and probably filled with tasteless but occasionally funny jokes. Nonetheless, setting a precedent that a film, a book, a painting or any art can be “disappeared” because some person or government threatens a terrorist attack is a serious mistake. We value freedom of speech and should not allow a dictator to say what movies we can see or not see.

Also the likelihood of organized North Korean terrorists attacking film-goers seems highly remote. There is no indication that North Korea has such capability in the U. S., and Koreans who live here have no respect for Kim Jong-un. It is hard enough for the most persistent terrorists in the middle-east to undertake such a venture in our country. It’s also difficult to imagine a lone wolf would glean from an obviously absurd movie a desire to go on a rampage.

I can understand the hesitancy some people might have to attend a showing, but that does not excuse Sony’s or the megaplex owners’ behavior. Besides, I am confident our Teaneck police could take the matter in stride.  

Comment (1)

  1. Bill Orr (Post author)

    Sony backed down and is releasing The Interview to theaters that want it and to other streaming media.  No news yet about Teaneck but it will be available at several NJ theaters. Check out Google for more information.  PS only 52 per cent of critics according to Fixter liked the movie, but then it has obtained status in the freedom of spech arena.


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