There has been a great deal of babbling going on in the press about Sony's last-minute business decision to pull the almost-released movie The Interview before it hit the theaters. In Sony's defense, their actions were based on pressure from anonymous sources which were threatening to harm theater-goers.
Hollywood was quick to respond, of course, claiming censorship, threats to expressive freedoms, and violations of the First Amendment. Hollywood's reaction is hardly surprising, of course, since Hollywood routinely hides behind the First Amendment whenever they have done something wrong – whether it's undressing children in public in films like Moonrise Kingdom or favorably portraying sadomasochistic serial rapists in movies like Fifty Shades of Grey.
But all of this is an indication of something that is broken in Hollywood; people in the entertainment industry do not trifle with frivolous matters like right versus wrong; they are far too busy trying to turn a profit. It's kind of like Richard Oppenheimer describing the creation of the atomic bomb; he was so obsessed with the potential success of the project that he never bothered to consider the eventual outcome.
With that in mind, let's think about the content of The Interview for a moment. This is a movie about assassinating the current leader of an actual foreign country. Sony could have made this movie about a plot to kill the fictional leader of a fictional country, but they chose to make their target a real-life person who is currently the head-of-state for one of our most-condemnable adversaries. But what is worse is that this movie is not an action flick starring Jason Statham, Dwayne Johnson, Vin Diesel, or even Arnold Schwarzenegger – this is a comedy, which means that Hollywood is so self-absorbed that it hasn't bothered realize that it is taking the subject of a real-life assassination plot against a foreign national leader and turning into some kind of joke. What country wouldn't be offended when the cold-blooded killing of their chief executive is portrayed with such obtuse indifference?
Look at it this way, what if ISIS made a film where they sent the Middle Eastern equivalents of Harold and Kumar to the United States as part of a plot to murder President Obama? After Americans got over the initial shock that ISIS was somehow organized enough to create a movie, they would be appalled at the subject matter, and even more so that it was some sort of joke to our enemies. Why should Hollywood get a free pass just because we all think the Communists in North Korea are a bunch of thugs?
Let's consider another example: what if Russia made a movie about Lee Harvey Oswald, where they hired someone like Jim Carrey to portray Oswald as a bumbling idiot who was sent by the KGB to assassinate John F. Kennedy? Or how about an example that hits even closer to home: what if someone decided to make a comedy about the recent deaths of Michael Brown or Eric Garner? No one would in this country would remotely consider any of those tragedies for their comedic movie potential; every American would find all of those storylines morally reprehensible, degrading and disgusting.
I deplore North Korea's retaliatory actions against Sony just as much as the next person, and you cannot honestly expect the world to believe that the United States would take no actions in retaliation if the shoe was on the other foot. However, even though Hollywood jet-setters have been quick to speak out about CIA and NSA abuses, they pat themselves on the back and hold themselves above contempt when it comes to their own decisions. But just because we detest a petty dictator who is sitting on the throne of our enemy, that does not give Hollywood the right to mock his assassination in order to make a quick buck.
I'm sorry Sony, but the underlying plot of this movie was wrong. And I can't believe I'm saying this, but you should apologize to North Korea for your callous stupidity.