As I shake my head at the absurdity of this whole Sony/North Korea hacking thing, I can only think about how we as a country came to this point. What has happened that a company, a major company, can cave in to some two-bit, tin-pot, brutal, chronic bad hair day dictator who wouldn’t know satire if it slapped him in the face? What does it say about the major movie theater companies that they would cower and cater to thugs who make threats that our own government said were not valid? And what does it say, or should I write, continue to say, about a Hollywood, within where not one single top motion picture executive would sign a letter in support of Sony, a letter circulated by George Clooney in an effort to insure the industry wouldn’t allow itself to be pushed around?
Over the last six years we have been witnessing the steady dismantling of the American backbone. It began shortly after the inauguration of a community organizer without any executive experience who had held a federal Senate seat for all of five minutes, and who thought that the mere sound of his voice could make the worst tyrants in the world all of a sudden sit in a circle, hold hands and sing Kumbaya. And failure after failure, he still believes that. Forget the partisanship, forget the bases of each party. Many of those who actually vote for the best candidate regardless of party recognized the naiveté (as did the Democrats’ prematurely-coronated Hillary Clinton, by the way), and many who were not enamored and fooled by the glitter, knew what was coming, both domestically and internationally. But it didn’t matter.
In this media age, a well-delivered speech by a telegenic, yet weak, candidate carries more sobriety than actual experience, a troubling past and even a lack of common sense. Now I am not saying all presidents who were great orators were frauds. There have been a number of presidents who spoke well and who led well. But in this day and age, one of our greatest presidents, if not the greatest, could never have been elected. Abraham Lincoln purportedly had a high, whiny voice and was not considered the most attractive of men, to say the very least. There is much written about his physical ugliness. You can look it up. Even the most seasoned of political handlers and the most advanced of teleprompters wouldn’t have saved Honest Abe.
Yesterday, I was discussing the Sony debacle and Obama’s tenure with a friend of mine, and trust me when I tell you he is not a right-winger, not even close. We were analyzing why Obama and those with his ideology felt the way they did, and so acted as they did. I pointed out that there is this left-leaning dogma that all war is bad, all conflict is bad, and that you can talk to even the worst of the worst and change minds. (I will quickly add that lifting sanctions on Cuba is the latest example of the abdication of our principles.) Many on the left don’t understand that there are some who cannot and never will be persuaded to abandon the evil, and they don’t understand that yes, sometimes, even war is necessary. My friend reminded me that Obama’s arrogance and self-importance helps drive how he handles crises and issues.
So what does all this have to do with Sony, Hollywood and North Korea? Obama’s examples of weakness and surrender have now metastasized into the corporate world. His continued capitulations are salient characteristics of his presidency. When we as a country act like cowards, others, even business entities see that example and follow suit, and it’s no surprise to me that it’s Hollywood that has now decided to cut and run.
Some of you may think this is just another bash-Obama piece and my opinion is ridiculous. It’s not. It is all related. To be fair, Obama did say he thought Sony was wrong; he said he wished the company had called him. Well Sony in fact, had been having a dialogue with senior White House officials and never got a definitive answer as to what it should do. I guess this is yet another example of the president not knowing what others in his administration are doing. And the Sony head took exception to Obama’s implying his company caved. But it did. Maybe Sony should have sent Kim’s buddy Dennis Rodman to North Korea with a copy of The Interview and the two could have watched the thing between executions of dissidents and Kim’s own family members. Who knows? Maybe Dennis could have gotten the touchy, doughy dictator to lighten up a bit
Finally, had Sony released The Interview to the many theaters outside the easily rattled major chains, the buzz alone, whether the movie was good or not, would have generated lots of movie-goers and tons of cash. Perhaps enough to get back the millions spent to make the darn thing. And I guarantee you, when those large chains saw the lines of people waiting to get into unadorned, dinky movie theaters not located in some supermall, and they saw the green being generated, and they also saw that Kim Jong Un hadn’t blown up the patrons, they would change course and show the film.
With Hollywood, even cowardice can’t trump money.