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Hollywood’s Cowardice and Sir Winston Churchill

December 18, 2014

Saying that someone must take some action “or the terrorists win” has become a near-cliche in America. It’s used in comedies and as part of political attacks and depending on how fanatical the participants are, in some sports.

But as major cinema chains fall over themselves to not show The Interview and as Sony decides to pull the film, we can say, without any doubt that the terrorists have won. More importantly, this outbreak of cowardice will have long running implications not simply for the media, but for every American.

In terms of media, a thriller set in North Korea has already been scrapped by New Regency, according to Deadline Hollywood. It is to be assumed that any future movie involving North Korea (save perhaps movies singing praises to the Dear Leader) will be similarly axed by the paragons of courage found in our media establishments. (Note: It has been confirmed that one movie that was entering production has already been axed due to fears of the Fat Baby).

Some might ask, what the problem is with that? Beyond the fact that it is now becoming increasingly clear that this was a terrorist attack and one directly perpetrated by the North Korean government, good luck getting any documentaries off the ground. In fact, the decision to ban any screenings of Team America by Paramount show that the memory hole is now working backwards.

Cowardice is a hard habit to overcome. NK may be the crazy uncle in the house, but what happens when a company finds that say, Vladimir Putin is very angry about a movie? Or it is hinted that perhaps the ISIL may take offense? Expect to find that future Hollywood fare has very little to do with the real world, and only targets “safe” bad guys. You know, the ones who aren’t likely to make terroristic threats.

Saying that the risks are too great is just another word for cowardice. The risks are always too great when dealing with lunatics, and make no mistake, North Korea is an asylum run by the lunatics.

Why should we care if they won in this case? It’s just a bad film.

Yes. But future films, if anyone can make a credible threat, will pay the price for this cowardice over a “bad film.” Why not? And nearly any film has the chance of insulting someone, especially if it’s about a serious subject. Race in the US? Middle East Politics? Drug Lords? Suddenly everyone knows that there is now a threshold, and not a terribly high one (given the fact that North Korea makes far more threats than it carries out), that will have Hollywood back down. The line has been moved and not in a good direction.

We’ll end this with a quote from Sir Winston Churchill, that is very appropriate when you talk about the danger to free speech this cowardice on the part of Sony and Paramount and the various Theater Chains has caused:

“Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

Wise words. Unfortunately, words that have been discounted in favor of cowardice.

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