Freedom of speech or an act of war?

If you are privy to American current events at all you have most certainly heard tons of media reports revolving around the release of the Sony Pictures’ film ‘The Interview’, starring Seth Rogan and James Franco. Well, to provide a brief overview the movie is a comedy and reportedly very funny, but the issue arises with the story itself. You see, the film not only puts North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a less than desirable light portrayal wise, the movie’s main theme also revolves around a plot to assassinate the man as well.

For the last six months the North Korean government has focused their energy on stopping the release of the movie, claiming that the ideas expressed within not only have the potential to encourage those who may really want to harm Kim Jong Un, but it serves to make the leader’s personality and individual characteristics less than appealing. When considering that the members of North Korea’s governing family take great strides to present an appearance of perfection regarding its members the fact that they are disturbed is understandable, if not unreasonable. The fact is the family even has a number of shrines devoted to family members, which conveys to us that their own attitude toward their bloodline is somewhat inflated.

‘The Interview’, the Uproar, and the Backlash

The effort put into halting the release of the film has been to no avail, however, as it is due for a Christmas Day release in United States theaters. In the last half-year the circumstances surrounding and encompassing the situation have grown increasingly more complex, and North Korea has shown they are less than pleased with the fact that the United States did not acquiesce their demands to stop the film’s release. Officials, including the leader himself, even expressed suspicions that the movie could be considered an act of war and antagonism on the part of the United States and directed at North Korea.

While the government there is fully aware of the fact that the film is a comedy and that the United States of America allows for freedom of speech and expression by law the hesitation and distrust clearly felt by the leadership there led to various retaliatory words and action which have resulted in a lot of trouble for the United States entertainment industry and stirred up much controversy and anger on the part of the American people and the world.

The truth of the situation is that North Korea has a reputation for hiding information or outright lying in regard to information about its plans, international relations, or other governmental activities. The latest incident, which our government is quite sure can be attributed to the North Korean leader, involved the hacking of Sony Pictures, the film company responsible for the production of ‘The Interview’. While there is not direct proof of North Korea’s responsibility, their reputation precedes them, and the denials they issue regarding their lack of involvement in the incident are being taken with a grain of salt; there are coincidences and then, well, there are not.

Can they? Why would they? When?

The North Korean news agency, which is an agency of the state, issued the following statement back in June:

“…making and releasing a movie on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war, and will absolutely not be tolerated.”

Subsequently they put the pressure on the film company to stop the release of the movie, even appealing to President Obama and the United Nations; they hit brick walls in all cases, as the pending release of the film proves. So, this is the reason they would retaliate.

Now let’s look at whether or not they can. Well, if we are correct in our assumption that the recent hacking of Sony Pictures is their responsibility than certainly they can. Not only that, but as I sit here writing the news reports that there is word that North Korea has an active plot against American movie theaters themselves; once again they deny any such scheme. To answer the ‘when’, or ‘opportunity’ question this is America, the Land of Opportunity. The door is wide open to North Korea and their plans.

A Point or Two to Consider

North Korea is furious, and likely their anger is birthed from fear. We know Kim Jong Un has made it a point to deify himself through the media, and by appearances he has succeeded within his own realm, but over here we know he is just another man.

He is angry that we have the freedom to joke and laugh about anything or anyone we want, and that disturbs him. That is his problem and his problem alone, but ours is this: With this freedom of speech and expression comes the fact that you run the risk of getting punched in the nose if you offend someone, and they are free to be offended.

Not that it is right to go around punching people, or hacking the computer systems of major motion picture companies in an effort to get information or get your way. But if we truly believe in the principles of freedom by which we live, such as the legal right to release an offensive film, then we must also believe that others have the freedom to act as they see fit in their defense, do we not?

Well, I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of expression. But I also believe in balance, and without it, well, you may end up with a broken nose. The dual hypocrisy needs to go out the window. America, hold your water. North Korea, grow up. Sticks and stones after all. On Christmas we will all know if this was really worth it or not.


North Korea