It’s Only a Joke

Sony Pictures pulled the plug on ‘The Interview’ after theater support for the film dwindled. Last week its email database was hacked. Regardless of who the perpetrator is, it is a crime. Despite whatever unflattering things its executives may have said in private correspondence, Sony Pictures is a victim.

Loosely defined, terrorism is an act of violence that creates environment of fear. Though not bombs and buildings, this is still a form of terrorism.

To bar anyone from seeing ‘The Interview’ seems a trivial issue, but its implications are much larger. Freedom of expression is, in essence, who we are as a nation. I dread the idea of living in a country where people are afraid to use comedy to speak out against a person or a government with whom they don’t agree.

I hate to be the person that cites the first amendment over everything, but it’s only fitting. We’ve been using the media to pick at the seems of tyranny even before we were a nation. Not showing this picture is a form of self-censorship derived from fear. If Sony Pictures never releases this film–I have to say through gritted teeth, because I hate cliches–then the terrorists really do win.

Ultimately, it makes me wonder: why did they agree to make the movie if they weren’t prepared for the consequences? Did anyone who piloted this project really think that a satire about North Korea wasn’t going to have any sort of backlash? I can’t help but doubt it, because it seems that feather-ruffling was the point of embarking on such an endeavor in the first place.

If censorship has permeated comedy and satirization, how long before we stop letting the cameras roll at all… How can we ever expect to gain thorough knowledge of controversial issues if a variety of media is no longer portraying a series of views on them?

Comedy pushes boundaries. It is a genre that has the uncanny ability to take issues and make people see the farcical side of things. We need that just as much as we need hard news.

In times of trouble, comedy keeps us grounded. It confirms the utter ridiculousness of countless societal failings, so we don’t forget them. It causes us to recognize insanity in the world as incorrect and laughable; it teaches us a form of right and wrong.

The movie ‘The Interview,’ is only a joke, but so is a petulant dictator who threatens to nuke everyone off the face of the earth every few weeks.

Embrace that.

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