“It’s Unethical To Be A Weenie,” Part II: Our Craven, Terrorism-Validating Theater Chains

Or maybe not...

Or maybe not…

[Part I is here]

Regal Cinemas, Cinemark, Cineplex, Bow Tie Cinemas, Carmike and AMC Theatres will not show “The Interview” because the North Korea-based hackers that breached Sony Pictures Entertainment e-mail security threatened movie theaters and moviegoers who attend screenings of the satire. More theater circuits are expected to follow, because terrorism works especially well against weenies.

Leading the way for this disgusting weenieism display were first, Sony itself, which reportedly toned down the film in response to earlier threats from the group, and then the stars of the comedy, James Franco and Seth Rogan. They both cancelled all their publicity appearances and are evidently hiding under their beds, caving to the dictates of unknown critics who are almost certainly not in the country. Oooh, but they’re so scary!

First they stole emails from Sony executives to retaliate for the comedy’s story line, which involves an assassination attempt on the life of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un by two morons. Then the group issued a warning referencing 9-11 and warning Americans, to stay away from theaters showing “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.”

Or All your base are belong to us.

Are we really going to allow anyone who threatens terrorist acts to dictate what we watch, see and do in the United States? Apparently, since the critical mass of weenies in the public and private sector has been reached. Comedy Central and the cowardly creators of “South Park” set the standard for this kind of capitulation when they censored an episode that some Islamic thugs found offensive. In that instance, I wrote,

“Comedy Central, in its cowardice, is encouraging more threats, more capitulations, and more censorship enforced by thugs, bullies, and terrorists. The channel’s willingness to let threats control its Constitutionally protected speech echoes the similarly craven refusal of much of the American media to print or broadcast the Danish cartoons of Muhammad,  which were also the subject of extremist threats …“Better Red than Dead!” the campus cynics chanted in the Sixties. Their message was that American values are only worth fighting for when you know nobody’s going to fight back very hard. Comedy Central was fond of accusing the Bush Administration and Dick Cheney of taking away our freedoms, but Stewart and his colleagues knew that they weren’t going to rounded up or hurt in any way, so they could afford to be “fearless.” Apparently it is only when our freedoms are really under attack that Comedy Central backs down.”

Bet on it: You will not see Stewart mocking Sony, Rogen, Franco or the theater chains.

The weenie conduct of the theater-owners is, if anything, more unforgivable than the “South Park” capitulation. At least Muslim terrorists had some credibility: they have used deadly tactics against “blasphemers.” Those Korean movie critic terrorists have no such record, indeed, as Joe Concha pointed out at Mediaite, neither does North Korea:

North Korea makes threats like this just about every other day. Here are the top three from the Kim Jong-Un era alone:

  • While warning to South Korea (2013): “Baengnyeong Island will become a huge grave. If you don’t want to be a ghost in a hell fire, you better decide. We can give you only one suggestion. Run.” End result of threat: Nothing happened.
  • Another threat to South Korea (2013): “If the South recklessly provokes us again, the sea of fire at Yeonpyeong will turn into a sea of fire at the Blue House.” End result: Nothing happened.
  • In threat to the U.S. (yup, 2013): “If the U.S. imperialists threaten our sovereignty and survival… our troops will fire our nuclear-armed rockets at the White House and the Pentagon – the sources of all evil.” End result: The North Koreans tested yet another missile, which flew erratically for a few hundred feet before falling into the sea. Hopefully DC can borrow one of those Iron Domes from the Israelis before it’s too late.

I would have thought that at least one chain would announce that it would have full security at all theaters showing “The Interview,” and that patrons should come see the film (if only it were likely to be a good one!) to demonstrate that the people of the United States do not run from tyrants, bullies, and terrorists who want to restrict our freedoms and strangle our way of life.  I would expect the theaters to be full, because there are still a lot of non-weenies here who understand the critical importance of spitting in a bully’s eye. I know I would go under those conditions, even though I would normally prefer to bathe in parrot droppings than sit through a film like this.

The conduct of Sony and the theater operators is an embarrassment to them and to us, irresponsible in its validation of threats, and a rejection of the American tradition of fighting for core principles.

For this is the conduct of weenies, and It’s Unethical To Be A Weenie.

UPDATE: The other shoe dropped, and now Sony has announced that it’s shelving the film. Well, it’s a Japanese company, and I can entertain fantasies that a U.S. entertainment corporation would have more honor, courage and and respect for free expression.

________________________

Facts: Chicago Tribune

23 thoughts on ““It’s Unethical To Be A Weenie,” Part II: Our Craven, Terrorism-Validating Theater Chains

  1. Though I don’t watch the show, I’m looking forward to South Park’s response on this (or at least what Stone and Parker have to say).

  2. because there are still a lot of non-weenies here who understand the critical importance of spitting in a bully’s eye
    **************
    But not enough.
    Not in the Obama Generation.
    It’s really important not to make waves when you are a nation of sheep.

  3. Carmike
    **********
    How disappointing.
    We just got a new one here and it even has an IMAX screen.
    Now I will have to boycott them without ever seeing a movie there.
    😦

  4. Here is the ironic thing; we have allowed our culture to rot and degrade (Sir, could you please stop chewing gum in church- F**k Off!) because we think it makes us look bad ass. Yet, because we fail to observe restraint and self control, we open ourselves right up to letting others enforce their version of civility with vague, inconsequential threats.

    Further, we have polluted the very power of the swears words we embrace. If ever there was a group that deserved to be told to “FUCK OFF!”, it would be the weenies that would dare to threaten the United States of America. Has our image in the world degraded so much that a few goons with laptops from 1998 can send threats, without any fear of appropriate reprisal (in this case, the aforementioned expletives); with not EVEN a realistic expectation of being met with deafening indifference?

    Sure, that guy who had the audacity to buy a burger had it coming! We’ve got to stick it to the (hungry) man!

    Yet, when we say “Har-Har-Har, Kim Jung Un is a F**king moron!”, and the North Koreans respond in kind, we take our pick our bad ass out of that movie theater seat… and go home and pout (because “Kim Jung Un is mean”).

    • Basic civility requires both character and honor; an ability to hold and defend certain principles, and the ability to honestly evaluate them, own them and correct them and their consequences when needed. By using no restraint and treating every perceived slight with the same intensity, one is deliberately crippling one judgement; the same judgement that should perceive North Korea’s cowardly threats as something that should be rejected, and forcefully. It requires standing up for the right to say crass and offensive things, because terrible ideas should be punished with public rejection, not censorship, jail, guns and bombs as Mr. Kim would suggest.

  5. This is such a catch 22. Do I really have to support people like James Franco and Seth Rogan, and corporations like Sony and Comedy Central in order to show that terrorists don’t intimidate me?
    It would send a much clearer message to the world’s bullies if our political leaders showed some backbone. And then I wouldn’t be forced to try to prop up cultural weenies who I find despicable.

  6. What would you say if Sony released it for free online? Or what if it got “leaked?” I think Mitt Romney suggested putting it online and making a suggested donation to fight ebola. Maybe it could be something more closely related to North Korea.

    I have to assume that, regardless of the fact that this is a stupid comedy that most likely doesn’t deserve this notoriety, The Interview WILL see the light of day SOMEday. This will not be another The Day The Clown Cried.

    Or what if… James Franco and Seth Rogen fly to North Korea to apologize? And then try to kill Kim Jong Un?

    What if this is just the most successful viral marketing campaign in history?

  7. I’m no threat-assessment professional, but I would have a hard time taking the threat in bold text seriously. Effective terrorists intent on violence don’t announce where and when they’re going to strike. Terrorists who wish to accomplish a specific goal make threats that are specific enough to suggest they know what they’re doing but vague enough that taking action against them poses a challenge, and they pose their threats as a consequence of a specific course of action (or inaction). If I had been the one composing the message, I would have said something like ‘You will cancel the theatrical release of the film and destroy all master copies. If this film is released as scheduled, there will be gunmen in ten theaters somewhere in your country ready to fire into the audience on opening night.’ The message as it is written is full of bluster and scary imagery, but gives us no reason to believe they’re capable of carrying out any of their threats (they can’t even find a native English speaker to proofread them, for Pete’s sake). They’re not trying to focus security attention on the premiere so they can carry off an unexpected attack somewhere else, since they’ve threatened to attack elsewhere too, and if they really planned to pull off an attack at the premiere, the last thing they’d want to do is give SONY a heads-up to hire extra security. This is a threat made by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  8. Dear Jack,

    Thanks for pointing out the ludicrous fact that the hackers’ threats are delivered in florid Engrish. It’s almost like being threatened by a bad guy from Pokémon.

    My fear is that somewhere right now, some organ of the military industrial complex is working to use this hack to start some kind of war (cyber or otherwise), regardless of the true parties responsible. The case that North Korea is to blame (or is solely to blame) has yet to be decisively made. A noteworthy article to this effect is up now on Wired here: http://www.wired.com/2014/12/evidence-of-north-korea-hack-is-thin/.

    I will believe that NK is responsible when-and-only-when evidence is presented for public scrutiny that is clear, compelling, and from a source other than a government intelligence service.

  9. In November 2001, the hands-on science demos for children I had planned were cancelled. The mall said that they felt they needed to cancel the event because it would cause a congregation of children which would serve as a terrorist target. I laughed and told themselves they were suffering from delusions of grandeur. I’m sure that is the terrorist plan; first the World Trade Center, then the Pentagon, and finally the science demos at my local mall! Then I told them that if we cancel events like this the terrorists win. I haven’t done demos there since.

  10. At least some theater owners still have guts: a theater in Texas decided that if Sony won’t let them show “The Interview”, they’ll just air “Team America” instead (you know, the movie where puppet Kim Jong-Il is the main villain).

    • Welp, looks like Paramount chickened out too by refusing to let theaters show “Team America” either. What, are we going to start burning all the books about North Korea too?

      • The real scary bit, is we are no longer willing to confront evil when it has teeth. Yet we still want to fight for “good”. So eventually we’ll start finding groups that don’t fight back and decide to label them “evil” so we can have something to fight.

        The problem is, those groups will likely not be bad…

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