Sony is Setting a Dangerous New Precedent | One of Us

Sony is Setting a Dangerous New Precedent

24 Submitted by on Fri, 19 December 2014, 10:01

As everyone already knows, The Interview, the $44 million comedy about the assassination of Kim Jon-un that stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, has been dropped by Sony and will not be coming to theatres this Christmas or anywhere else in the near future.

 

 

 

Multiple theatre chains made the decision not to show The Interview after the “Guardians of Peace,” the organization claiming to have hacked Sony, threatened to invoke “9/11 style violence” against theatres that showed The Interview. Now, according to the Department of Homeland Security, the threat was not credible, and an incident of massive violence occurring as suggested by the Guardians of Peace did not seem possible. Whether a threat of that magnitude held any legitimacy is moot since Sony has seemed to have given the hackers (and North Korea) everything that they’ve asked for.

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The problem at this point is not only the fact that Sony has decided to shelve The Interview indefinitely with no release plans of any kind, but that the studio has given these hackers legitimacy by caving to their demands. By caving, Sony is setting a precedent within cinema that could possibly hinder free speech and expression.

For those who believe there’s no chance of a studio taking similar actions of canceling a film that actively criticizes a political figure or dictator need not look any further. After Sony’s cancellation of The Interview, theatres like the Alamo Drafthouse were planning screenings of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Team America: World Police in place of the comedy. However, much like Sony, Paramount has effectively forbid all showings of Team America: World Police at many theatres, including the Alamo Drafthouse.

 

In case anyone is unfamiliar with the comedy, Team America: World Police follows a crack team of the most patriotic marionettes on the planet as they battle numerous evil forces that include North Korea and their diminutive leader, Kim Jong-il. The film’s presentation of Jong-il is hardly flattering and it actively mocked and even killed the former North Korean dictator with absolute glee. The movie was made in 2004, and while it was controversial for all the right reasons (remember the puppet sex?) the filmmakers and Paramount expressed no regret or fear over the film’s content.

Now, it seems that Paramount is sending a message of cowardice as it actively stopped any potential public showings of a movie made a decade ago. While Paramount might claim the cancellation of showings for a 10-year-old film was for the personal safety of theatres and audiences, it’s just as likely that Paramount does not want to be hacked like their counterpart and competitor, Sony.

It seems that these hackers and their supposed North Korean employer have created a pervasive fear within numerous movie studios. The actions that Sony and Paramount have taken have given legitimacy to an organization that many people know nothing about, and their choices to cancel film premieres and showings might be repeated in the future by studios unwilling to show a movie that actively criticizes a public figure.

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In the end, Sony needs to make a decision about The Interview soon. Whether that’s releasing it online or VOD, it needs to be done quickly or they and others might have created a new and potentially very harmful precedent in the film industry.

What about you reader? What’s your opinion on Sony’s choice to cancel The Interview? What about Paramount’s actions on Team America: World Police? Let us know in the comments below!

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While braving the snow-swept wasteland of Buffalo, New York for 18 long years, Christopher Herman developed a love for geek culture. A child of the 90s, he was raised on the valuable lessons taught by Batman: The Animated Series, Hey Arnold and Animaniacs. Eventually discovering a passion for movies, books, comics and video games, Chris began hoarding his knowledge of geekdom. Whether it’s Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Mass Effect, Firefly or Avatar: The Last Airbender, he’s always willing to discuss the intricate worlds and stories of geek properties. Chris currently resides in San Marcos, TX.
  • dark knight fan

    I was not looking forward to this, but yeah it sucks that it’s not going to be release.

  • Derek

    I don’t know that Sony set a “dangerous precedent”.. they set a stupid precedent.

  • CaroMatamor

    It’s funny that because of a simple stoner movie comedy Hollywood is going trough this and it’s making us raise all these questions.
    Maybe the documentary about this event will be more interesting then the Interview.

    But I really hope that Sony or some other movie company can respond with something to this event, because we can’t let other countries dictate their movie viewership, that just makes me sick.

  • Rob Cormier

    I don;t think Sony had a choice they were stuck between a rock and a hard place. They could call North Koreas bluff and risk the lives of god knows how many people. And if even if North Korea did nothing all they would need is one theater someone dieing to have the worst press known. Or Cancel the movie and have bad press but have something they could come back from. I think they made the right choice.

  • Sami

    I’m going to present a nuanced perspective. Chris, you state that this film “criticizes a political figure or dictator”. But that’s not what it’s doing as far as we can judge by the trailer. It’s a film about assassinating a foreign leader. How is that criticism? Now I firmly disapprove of the hacking of Sony and the terrorist threats against the release of this film. However play out the following scenario: what if North Korea or some other country released a film about assassinating an American president? How would you react? How would America react?

    • Mr_Plainview

      Well I for one wouldn’t care less if any country made a movie about killing the American president. Heck I wouldn’t care less if another country made a movie about killing Americans period.

      The US has made various films about our own president being assassinated or attempted and I’ve had no problems with that so why would I care if another nation did it.

      There is a difference between reality and fantasy. Movies are fantasy. Real life is reality. I can differentiate between the two and realize that when someone is making a movie they are addressing fantasy and fictional scenarios. Thus if some nation makes a entertainment movie about killing a national leader or anyone else they are depicting fantasy, so why would anyone feel insulted or threatened by that. Sane, rational, and emotionally confident people are not threatened or insulted by fiction. If Jim Jon-Un or North Koreans are threatened by a fictional comedy they are by default not sane, rational, or emotionally confident.

      • Sami

        “The US has made various films about our own president being assassinated or attempted and I’ve had no problems with that so why would I care if another nation did it.” You ignored my analogy. I said what if a foreign country made a film centered around killing a REAL American president and the film presented this act as noble and celebratory. I can bet Americans would not take too kindly to this, from the media to the government. As I said before, I’m not condoning the hackers or the terrorist threats. That was obviously unjustified. But I do think there is more complexity to this issue than people are willing to give it.

        • Mr_Plainview

          As I said before I wouldn’t care if any other nation made a film about the assassination of the REAL or FICTITIOUS American president. It wouldn’t matter if that film was an obvious comedy such as with ‘The Interview’ or a serious drama, the fact would still remain that the film would be an entertainment piece of fictional fantasy. No sane intelligent person would take offense at or fell threatened by fantasy.

          Sure some folks would be upset over such a film, folks like Fox news. But that’s because the people at and fans of Fox news aren’t intelligent and could never be considered sane by even the loosest definition. They are bat-shit-crazy people who live entirely in the world of fantasy. So naturally works of fiction would be scary to them.

          To anyone who lives in the real world however, fiction is fiction, and nothing more.

          • Sami

            Mr_Plainview, if it doesn’t bother you that someone makes a film about assassinating your leader, then your position is principled (though debatable). However this film is not entirely innocent, in my opinion. You say that only Fox News would get upset over my hypothetical scenario. But that’s not living in the real world. You think Obama would not get upset if someone made a celebratory film about assassinating him? How about Clinton? Do you think they would support this hypothetical film or condemn it?

          • Mr_Plainview

            North Korea has released numerous official government propaganda videos showing the death and destruction of the American president and American cities; many can easily be found online. Their government has also outright threatened to destroy America and kill millions of its citizens. How has the US reacted to these movies and threats? Well Stephen Colbert and others in the past have made mock videos poking fun at the idle threats. Obama and rational Americans have simply rolled our eyes, quietly chuckled, and gone back on with our busy lives.

            The Iranian leadership has for years made the same threats to Americans and our president all to receive a similar less-than-impressed response from Obama and rational Americans.

            If the threats and movies that were official sanctioned by foreign governments depicting the death of our president and citizens received laughs and eye-rolls I can only image how little Americans would (and should) care if a comedy film was made by a couple of stoners about the death of the American president. Be these stoners foreign or domestic.

            Strong nations and strong governments aren’t threatened by words and works of fiction, only weak nations and weak governments are. In the real world stick and stones may break our bones, but words and comedy films made by stoners can never hurt you.

          • Mr_Plainview

            Oh yeah I should add Ted Nugent has publicly called Obama a “sub-human mongrel” and threatened to kill Obama will a machine gun. Yet Obama never lost his shit over it. In fact Fox news has similarly said bad things and had people on their show throw veiled threats Obama’s way over the years but no one really cared and our president hasn’t overreacted.

          • Sami

            You still haven’t answered my question. Assuming you’re correct that North Korea has made films about destroying American cities and killing the American president, do you think American politicians and the American president would endorse these films? Of course those films did not receive mass theatrical release like The Interview was supposed to, so it’s a very different situation. They might not care because they weren’t going to reach large audiences.

            Secondly, it’s not confirmed that the North Korean government was involved. North Korea has offered to carry out a joint inquiry with the US (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30560712).

          • Mr_Plainview

            I don’t mean to be rude but I think you need to reread my previous posts or perhaps I just haven’t make myself as clear as I thought. If any foreign nation made a massively released fictional movie, comedic or otherwise, that depicted the death of any American president I’m entirely confident that Obama or any other sane rational American president wouldn’t give a flying fuck. There are three main reasons why they wouldn’t care:

            1. They are just too busy dealing with real life problems to concern themselves with fiction.
            2. They are too sane and rational to be threatened by a work of fiction.
            3. American is really really REALLY big on the first amendment. Anyone in the US can make a movie about just about anything they want. As to whether it will make money or receive a wide release is another question. Americans are very big on saying whatever the heck we want, which usually involves insulting our own government publicly. If Americans want to support these rights domestically they have to respect them in foreign nations as well, and the American president being the elected representative of the American people to run the executive branch of government has to display this attitude.

            Now I’ve said I’d find it hard to believe that a sane rational president would have a problem with a foreign film depicting the death of the American president, however if a bat-shit-crazy person were the president like; George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, etc. then I’m sure those folks would lose their goddamn minds and perform all sorts of saber-rattling in light of such a film. They would act this way however because they were damn crazy to start with and I’m sure spend most of their time feeling threatened by their own shadows.

            The only real way a sane rational president would even remotely care about a foreign nation releasing a film depicting the death of the American president would be if some group of psycho jackasses (see Fox new) caused a massive uproar about it that the president was put into a position that politically they had to make a response about said film. And I’m sure the response would be “calm down, who cares, we have more important things to worry about than works of fiction.”

            Frankly I’d wager money that if North Korea made a mass released picture about Obama getting killed Obama wouldn’t even bother to dignify it with a response and Fox new (and others like them) would grin like a kid on Christmas and use the film as masturbatory material.

            Lastly you used the word “endorse” and there is a difference between ‘endorsing’ a film and ‘not caring’ about a film. The president and rational intelligent politicians wouldn’t ‘feel threatened’ by such a film but they certainly wouldn’t ‘endorse’ it.

          • Sami

            “American is really really REALLY big on the first amendment.”

            And yet Obama has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all previous presidents COMBINED. He certainly won’t give Edward Snowden a fair trial. Irony.

            Well we’ve both given our positions, there’s no reason to repeat ourselves. Other people can make their own judgments on how a widely-released film about assassinating the current American president would play out. My guess is there would be an uproar in the West. Your guess is not.

            Just to respond to your Iran mentioning, Iran’s empty bluster was constantly featured in the Western press (e.g., New York Times, Washington Post). I’ve read a decent bit of the enormous reporting on this, and they took that bluster pretty seriously (unnecessarily so). That’s why you know about it.

            “…but they certainly wouldn’t ‘endorse’ it.”

            Exactly, because it’s considered depraved. All I was saying is the film isn’t innocent.

          • Mr_Plainview

            I personally think Edward Snowden and other like him are heroes and have completely been screwed over by a corrupt government that doesn’t have it’s citizens best interests at heart. Yet even in all my hero worship of Edward Snowden I have to admit that technically all of what he did does not fall in the purview of freedom of speech or protection under the first amendment. I believe it was heroic and deserving of a pardon but he still did break some laws in doing what he did.

            As for the Western press reporting of Iran’s blustering; it was covered in great detail because that’s the presses job. Their primary function is to report the news, whether it’s important news or should be taken seriously doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it is reported and people have access to that information. Their secondary function is to be profitable so they can continue to report the news so often times they over sensationalize things to secure revenue even if the news isn’t worthy of it. Typically this happens when there are slow news weeks.

            I’ve seen many stories about a puppy stuck in a well sensationalized to such a degree that you’d have thought the fate of all mankind rested on the immediate rescue of that dog. Why did this story receive such bombastic coverage? Because there wasn’t anything else of note happening to fill the gap in the 24 hour new cycle. If the Western press went nuts over a film made about the assassination of the American president I would think the excessive coverage could be attributed to the same thing; a slow news week, where there wasn’t anything of actual importance to cover.

            I do think it sound like you’re trying to twist my words at the end of your post, or at least missed my previous point. I’ve already said “endorse” and “not caring” are different. We were never discussing if the president or Americans would “approve” or “condone” such a movie, but rather would they “care” or “feel threatened by” or respond like North Korea is by making threats. I don’t see how they would feel threatened by or decide to make threats towards a nation because a couple of stoners made a fictional comedy about an assassination.

            Though I will agree that we shall have to agree to disagree on this issue. It has been a very pleasant discussion Sami. Cheers.

          • Sami

            Which laws did Snowden break? I’m not challenging you, I just want to know. But let’s not forget to point out that the government violated the fourth amendment (right to privacy). Why don’t they get to be put on trial?

            North Korea has yet to be implicated in the hacking. Thus far it’s the United States who has threatened North Korea with retribution. North Korea has said that if it is attacked in any way by the United States, it will respond. It’s the United States that is acting like a mean, thuggish bully in this situation.

          • Mr_Plainview

            Mainly Snowden broke laws in regards to illegally copying and distributing confidential government material without permission. Legally speaking if he had an issue with what was going on he was supposed to file a complaint about it for it to be dealt with in the proper government channels, which of course it wouldn’t have been. I believe he was right to do what he did, but there are laws in place to prevent those sort of information breaches, and the laws “typically” exist for good reason.

            An example why those laws exist is: If someone working on the Manhattan Project in WW2 had objections to the creation of and possible us of an atomic bomb decided to copy documents regarding the bomb and released them to make the world aware of what was happening. Then Germany or Japan got hold of these documents and used them to further their own atomic research and one of them ended up creating and using atomic weapons before the allies ever completed their own. In this situation the copying and releasing of those documents wouldn’t be freedom of the press or freedom of speech it would be espionage and could have resulted in the death of millions of allied forces.

            While I disagree with what the US government is doing in regards to privacy it technically isn’t violating the fourth amendment. The reason why it isn’t is because in the wake of the September 11th attack the US gov passed the Patriot Act (and later similar acts) which gave the gov permission to ignore certain privacy rights when investigating threats of terrorism. The problem is the definition of what constitutes “terrorism” was so broadly defined that it could potentially be applied to almost any situation. From a strictly legal stand point this puts the governments action involving privacy up to legal debate as to whether it is or isn’t constitutional. Which is a debate that has been ongoing since the Patriot Act was first passed and will most likely continue for quite some time.

            I’m aware that no evidence has been presented to implicate North Korea in the hacking nor have I every accused them of it. In light of the various unprovoked threats and aggressive action North Korea has perpetrated through the years, then denied, I am less inclined to believe anything they have to say. Personally I think that if North Korea did hack Sony that’s between Sony and North Korea and I have little interest in it.

            Some of the reasons why no one ever really believes what North Korea says can be found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_border_incidents_involving_North_Korea

            Sure it’s a wiki article and should be treated as such but it does display that whenever incidents happen in that region North Korea is almost always the aggressor (221 armistice violations) and almost always lies about it.

          • Sami

            “Mainly Snowden broke laws in regards to illegally copying and distributing confidential government material without permission.”

            I would like specifics on this (e.g., sources). Although US intelligence agencies distribute confidential information to newspapers all the time when it suits their purposes, and no one calls their actions illegal (despite the fact they technically are).

            “Legally speaking if he had an issue with what was going on he was supposed to file a complaint about it for it to be dealt with in the proper government channels, which of course it wouldn’t have been.”

            I thought he attempted to do this but his actions proved fruitless.

            “…it would be espionage and could have resulted in the death of millions of allied forces.”

            You’re asserting it would be espionage, not proving. Your analogy is weak in my view. What was disclosed is the indiscriminate surveillance of the world, not necessarily the mechanisms of how to carry this out. The Snowden disclosures have nothing to do with war; they pertain to spying on businesses, the entire citizenry of nations, and politicians. No one is going to die from these disclosures. Edward Snowden was very clear that he wanted only information to be released that would NOT compromise the security of nations’ citizens. Your analogy isn’t even close.

            “While I disagree with what the US government is doing in regards to privacy it technically isn’t violating the fourth amendment. The reason why it isn’t is because in the wake of the September 11th attack the US gov passed the Patriot Act (and later similar acts) which gave the gov permission to ignore certain privacy rights when investigating threats of terrorism…From a strictly legal stand point this puts the governments action involving privacy up to legal debate as to whether it is or isn’t constitutional.”

            You claim it’s not a violation of the 4th amendment, but then go on to say it’s debatable. Okay fine, debatable. Let’s take that position. But then you can’t say what the US government is doing is legal.

            “I’m aware that no evidence has been presented to implicate North Korea in the hacking nor have I every accused them of it. In light of the various unprovoked threats and aggressive action North Korea has perpetrated through the years, then denied, I am less inclined to believe anything they have to say. Personally I think that if North Korea did hack Sony that’s between Sony and North Korea and I have little interest in it…”

            As I pointed out, North Korea offered to participate in a joint inquiry to investigate the Sony hacks. If you really care about getting to the bottom of this, why not take up North Korea’s offer? What you think and what Wikipedia thinks is irrelevant. I don’t blame the US for every problem in the world, and you shouldn’t blame North Korea for every problem either.

          • Mr_Plainview

            A government agency can decide to ‘officially’ release whatever documentations they wish at anytime. An employee of that agency who has specific clearance levels within that agency and has signed documents stating that they are not allowed to copy and/or release any documents or information without the prior approval of their agency would be breaking the law if they copied or released these documents without said approval. If you can’t understand the difference between that then I suggest you familiarize yourself with US (and most nations) laws in regards to the intricacies of legal documentation.

            It is entirely realistic (though not guaranteed, or a safe bet) that if Snowden returned to the US he would be acquitted of all charges during discover (pre-trial) or during a trial. At this point without an actually trial much of the facts of Snowden’s case are highly debatable. If I were Snowden however I wouldn’t return without legally binding assurances of a pardon (which he deserves) or a firm belief that I’d get a fair trial.

            “I would like specifics on this (e.g., sources).”

            I am not your researcher assistant, nor do I have any desire to post thirty pages of text, so if you want some facts I suggest you do your own research as I have, then cross reference this research with legal text. I’ve already spent my time as a paralegal doing such research and citations all day, now I’ve moved on to better things to do with my time.

            My ‘Manhattan Project’ example was meant to display why there are laws put in place to prevent individuals from taking it upon themselves to release classified material without authorization since in extreme cases that can be detrimental. At no time did I say this was an analogy of Snowden’s actions. I said this is an example of why there are laws that make releasing unauthorized government documents illegal. Laws that could be applied to Snowdens’ actions, not that Snowden’s action were similar to my ‘Manhattan Project’ hypothetical. Frankly I’m at a loss as how you drew that comparison, it’s clear you aren’t paying attention to what I’m writing but are reading your own interpretations from it. I think you need to reread what I actually wrote not what you wanted to read. My example was meant to show how a law can be put in place for a good reason but have a broad legal defintion that can then be used to prosecute someone who shouldn’t be prosecuted.

            “But then you can’t say what the US government is doing is legal.”

            Are what they doing moral? Absolutely not.
            Is it legal? Well as I’ve said it’s debatable. Under the Patriot Act and similar legislation the government isn’t technically violating the constitution since the legal wordings used provides lots of wiggle room in regards to collecting citizens data and citizens privacy. Which is why there is lots of legal debate on the issue and it would require a Supreme Court decision to strike down such legislation as unconstitutional.

            That’s how the checks and balances of the US government and US legal system work. A law can be signed into effect then later presented to the courts and found to be unconstitutional. Or a law can be signed that is constitutional then amended or altered by newer laws until it is considered by some (or most) unconstitutional then must go through the appeals system until the Supreme Court rules it constitutional and it stays as law, or rules it unconstitutional and it is no longer law. The appeals process usually takes some time. Currently the governments surveillance techniques haven’t been found unconstitutional. Legal systems are a slow process requiring much discussion and considerations.

            “you shouldn’t blame North Korea for every problem either.”

            I don’t. In fact I don’t blame them for anything, other than human
            rights violations. North Korea barely enters my thoughts in fact. I never said I was blaming North Korea for anything. I’ve merely stated that when a nation has a rich history of lying their ass off and never showing any sanity or honesty I wouldn’t take them at their word. Reputation matter when you offer your assistance with things. Some nations have great reputations, some have bad reputation, and most have mixed ones. North Korea’s reputation is about as low as you can get; from human rights violations, official government threats and attacks, treaty breaking, zero freedom of any press, and out right lying. Now let’s analyze points of North Korea’s positive reputation……..Oh yeah there are none, other nations at least have some. Based on this why would a intelligent person believe anything they say. I’m not blaming them for anything, I just don’t trust them to give me the correct time of day, or be honest in a joint investigation.

            “If you really care about getting to the bottom of this”

            I also never said I care about getting to the bottom of this. I said that if North Korea hacked Sony that’s between North Korea and Sony. If Sony was hacked by someone other than North Korea, then that’s also between Sony and whoever hacked them. I don’t give a shit about the hack. I’ve never given a shit about the hack. I’ve never even said I care about the hack. Please stop attributing me with saying things I didn’t or caring about things I don’t care about. The only thing I’ve said on the Sony issue was sane rational people don’t freak the hell out over a fictional comedy movie made by a couple of stoners. Only crazy people freak out over stuff like that.

          • Sami

            “A government agency can decide to ‘officially’ release whatever documentations they wish at anytime…If you can’t understand the difference between that then I suggest you familiarize yourself with US (and most nations) laws in regards to the intricacies of legal documentation.”

            There are leaks that are not officially released, but if the information glorifies the administration, the government doesn’t care about it (http://www.salon.com/2012/05/23/wh_leaks_for_propaganda_film/).

            “It is entirely realistic (though not guaranteed, or a safe bet) that if Snowden returned to the US he would be acquitted of all charges during discover (pre-trial) or during a trial.”

            That’s not true whatsoever. You do realize what happened to Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning? Edward Snowden apparently wouldn’t even be able to cite his motivation for releasing the documents in a court. Even Daniel Ellsberg who released the Pentagon papers has stated that, “There is zero chance that he would be allowed out on bail if he returned now and close to no chance that, had he not left the country, he would have been granted bail. Instead, he would be in a prison cell like Bradley Manning, incommunicado.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/daniel-ellsberg-nsa-leaker-snowden-made-the-right-call/2013/07/07/0b46d96c-e5b7-11e2-aef3-339619eab080_story.html)

            “I am not your researcher assistant, nor do I have any desire to post thirty pages of text, so if you want some facts I suggest you do your own research as I have, then cross reference this research with legal text.”

            All I asked was for sources, not a research paper. You may be right that Edward Snowden technically broke laws, I just wanted to know which ones.

            “Is [the surveillance state] legal? Well as I’ve said it’s debatable. Under the Patriot Act and similar legislation the government isn’t technically violating the constitution since the legal wordings used provides lots of wiggle room in regards to collecting citizens data and citizens privacy. Which is why there is lots of legal debate on the issue and it would require a Supreme Court decision to strike down such legislation as unconstitutional.”

            My point was I would like to know where it says or implies in the Patriot Act that the US administration has the right to indiscriminately spy on American citizens or anything remotely like it. So where in the Patriot Act does it technically legalize the NSA’s behavior. When I have time I will read it myself, but you made the claim, so I would like to know if you have the information.

            “That’s how the checks and balances of the US government and US legal system work…Currently the governments surveillance techniques haven’t been found unconstitutional.”

            First of all, the US checks and balances barely even exist. You probably know this as much as anyone. Theory does not equal practice. But I can agree with you that this issue may be legally complex, but it’s been made that way by the government to help it get away with these actions.

            “I never said I was blaming North Korea for anything. I’ve merely stated that when a nation has a rich history of lying their ass off and never showing any sanity or honesty I wouldn’t take them at their word…I just don’t trust them to give me the correct time of day, or be honest in a joint investigation.”

            You do realize that you cited Wikipedia? And then I can argue about the validity of the information and sources, but that would be wasting time. I’m not saying you should trust North Korea. Sure its human rights violations are horrendous, but saying so means nothing. You’re not moral by condemning North Korea. Condemning your own state would confer moral value. Now North Korea did offer to carry out a JOINT inquiry with the US. If you ARE serious, which clearly you’re not, and you DO want to get to the bottom of this, you take up North Korea’s offer and see where that goes. Instead of whining about your trust issues.

          • Mr_Plainview

            “There are leaks that are not officially released, but if the information
            glorifies the administration, the government doesn’t care about it”

            What? If information glorifies a government they don’t care? GASP!! Welcome to the wide world of common knowledge. Also that point doesn’t have anything to do with the discussion. If someone breaks into my home they are breaking the law. If someone breaks into my home and showers me with money they are still breaking the law I just might not prosecute or care in this instance. Reality is a complex place, deal with it.

            “That’s not true whatsoever. You do realize what happened to Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning?”

            You need to work on your literacy. I said it realistically could happen, and legally it is a possibility, though as I said isn’t guaranteed, I wouldn’t bet on it happening, and I agree that Snowden was right to flee and should say where he is. Learn to read what is actually written not only what suits your purposes.

            “Is [the surveillance state] legal? Well as I’ve said it’s debatable.”

            Way to add things to what I said to help you make your point. I said: “Are what they doing moral? Absolutely not. Is legal? Well as I’ve said it’s debatable.”

            But you decided to drop the “Are what they doing moral? Absolutely not.” then add “[the surveillance state]” to my quote so it would help your argument rather than address what I actually said. Again learn to read what is actually written not only what suits your purposes.

            “First of all, the US checks and balances barely even exist.”

            Not true. In fact even at the best of times the US congress is notorious for having huge issues passing legislation due to needing the Senate and House of Representatives to both approve it. This is before even bringing in the views of the Executive and Judicial branches on said legislation. Yes political parties ambitions add an extra wrench to mess up the workings of the government, but as I’m saying even at the “best of times” (which implies a perfect magical moment of bipartisan cooperation) checks and balances slow things down. Trust me I’m a C-SPAN junkie I love watching the government attempt to function with all the glee of watching an on coming train-wreck.

            “but it’s been made that way by the government to help it get away with these actions.”

            Never said it wasn’t, in fact I’ve implied this fact numerous times. In the real world I practically shout it from the rooftops.

            “You do realize that you cited Wikipedia?”

            I do which is why I said: “Sure it’s a wiki article and should be treated as such” right after the link. Why did I say this? Because I knew it was a wiki article and I was only showing it as a simple brief list of examples of North Korea’s character in the past rather then going to my book shelves and start pulling down issue after issue of Time, Newsweek, New York Times, Washington Post, Harpers, etc that I have going back twenty years. Then I could have scanned in each article about North Korea and posted them here, but I have better things to do with my time and North Korea’s reputation is common knowledge at this point. So I figured a simple list on Wikipedia that illustrates what is already commonly known would be fine for the discussion, and I even said right after I posted the link “Sure it’s a wiki article and should be treated as such.” Again learn to read what is actually written and not what suits your purposes.

            “You’re not moral by condemning North Korea.”

            Actually you are. When you condemn human rights violators you are very moral. Also I don’t believe I ever said I was moral in anyway, or said I’m moral for condemning them.

            “Condemning your own state would confer moral value.”

            Depending on the situation. And as I’ve said in a previous post: ” I completely concede that it has acted as a “thuggish bully” in many
            other situations and I strive to always call my government out on it
            when they do.”

            “Now North Korea did offer to carry out a JOINT inquiry with the US. If
            you ARE serious, which clearly you’re not, and you DO want to get to the bottom of this, you take up North Korea’s offer and see where that
            goes. Instead of whining about your trust issues.”

            As I’ve said numerous times I don’t care about the Sony hack. That is between Sony and who hacked them. I don’t care if it was or wasn’t North Korea. I don’t even care about North Korea, they can spend the rest of my life running around doing whatever they wish and unless it directly affect me I don’t care.

            I’m not “whining” about my trust issues, I never even brought up North Korea allegedly hacking Sony. YOU DID. You said North Korea wasn’t proven to hack Sony and why wasn’t the US government working with them, I then said North Korea has a reputation of not being honest in investigations. You decided to NOT accept this and debate me on it while never providing any evidence that North Korea is trustworthy or has show any degree of honesty in past investigations, yet expected me to while not holding yourself to the same standard. I stated North Korea has show a past history of lying during international investigation and you continued to bring up the hacking issue. I merely provided debate on why they don’t have a reputation that would make anyone take them at their word. Again I say learn to read what is ACTUALLY WRITTEN and not interpret it in a way that suits your purposes.

            I’m sorry but with each post you’ve made you continue to show more and more that you don’t care about any sort of rational discussion but instead prefer to pick and choose and alter what I do and don’t say to bend it into something that suits your ends but doesn’t jive with what I actually wrote. You also continue to expect me to provide in-depth citations for everything I say, which I can admire (since in my professional career that’s most of what I do) and I’ll even admit I could have made a greater effort to do this. However let’s be honest this is a discussion on a website that talks about movies in a series of Disqus posts. I’m not spending the time to post pages of citations and legal text here. I get paid for doing stuff like that, and posting here I’m not getting paid. Also don’t forget that at the same time that you have never held yourself to this same information standard. I should show seven kinds of evidence to back up what I say but you don’t have to show any yourself.

            Furthermore you keep bringing up issues that I never even mentioned (US not taking North Korea’s joint investigation offer, for example) and accusing me of having a response to them even though I never even said anything to begin with. This coupled with the fact you keep taking what I say out of context tells me you don’t want a discussion you just want to stick your fingers in your ears and yell LALALALALALALALA!!!! at the top of your lungs. I have no problem if we disagree I enjoy discussions about disagreements immensely. However it’s clear your idea of a discussion rests upon altering what was actually said, and if that fails, introduce another issue and a standpoint that was never actually made. It genuinely was fun, and I hope they solve the hacker issue since you clearly have an interest in it, but I have other things that require my attention more than this discussion. Cheers.

          • Sami

            Mr_Plainview, I’m responding below, because it’s my crazy nature. I don’t even think that I should, because I feel we’re on the same side. We both think North Korea’s government is worthless and we both support Edward Snowden. It’s unfortunate that it’s come to this. I’m not trying to decontextualize anything you say to promote my point of view. I’m quoting statements of yours that are relevant for me to respond to and ignoring others that I view are insignificant.

            “Also that point doesn’t have anything to do with the discussion.”

            The relevance of my comment was that information leaked by individuals within the government that is NOT sanctioned by the government is given a free pass if it glorifies the government (I provided a link for some evidence). Edward Snowden released documents that disgraces the government, so he’s being sought after hard. That was my point – that the government treats unsanctioned leaks differently depending on their content.

            “You need to work on your literacy. I said it realistically could happen, and legally it is a possibility, though as I said isn’t guaranteed, I wouldn’t bet on it happening, and I agree that Snowden was right to flee and should say where he is. Learn to read what is actually written not only what suits your purposes.”

            I can read fine. I don’t understand how Edward Snowden being cleared “realistically could happen” and yet you “wouldn’t bet on it happening” and “agree that Snowden was right to flee”. Seems contradictory. Perhaps it’s your lack of detail about how Snowden returning and being cleared of all charges could happen that confused matters.

            I didn’t address your view on the morality of the government’s actions because it wasn’t relevant. I was discussing the legality of their actions. Byt I’m glad you find the government’s actions immoral. And I added “[surveillance state]” because that’s what we were discussing. I don’t understand the problem.

            I’m not going to debate about checks and balances. That’ll go on for years. Perhaps for another occasion. My main point, which I did not specify, pertained to the executive branch gaining more powers when it comes to war than was envisioned by the theoretical checks and balances.

            In terms of North Korea and its history of this and that, neither of us are experts on that topic. So asserting this or that about North Korea’s history is intellectually irresponsible. No scholar merely cites newspaper articles as evidence for this and that. That’s amateur hour.

            “When you condemn human rights violators you are very moral. Also I don’t believe I ever said I was moral in anyway, or said I’m moral for condemning them.”

            I hate to even comment here, because this is going nowhere. But you provided two contradictory statements above – you condemned North Korean human rights violations, thus implying you’re moral. But I never claimed you described yourself as moral. I was just making a point I thought was relevant.

            “I then said North Korea has a reputation of not being honest in investigations.”

            What’s the evidence for this? Offering a joint inquiry sounds pretty serious to me, and even if you are skeptical of North Korea’s sincerity, you’re obligated to take the offer up (if you’re serious) before you assert judgment.

  • Mr_Plainview

    I had no desire to see this movie and I still don’t but Sony’s decision to not release the film over baseless rantings from anonymous sources is one of the single stupidest things I’ve ever heard.

    It paints a picture of a bunch of huddled cowardly Americans hiding in their basements for days while clinging to their guns and shaking in fear of their own shadow. All because some kid down the street once left a bag of flaming dog shit on their porch.

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