There are a few insights a Sydney-sider might arrive at, after the Martin Place siege, after the hacking of Sony Corp and the movie The Interview. For a long time now, my personal opinion of Hollywood movies has been that they show a brutal disregard for personal integrity. People are kidnapped, assaulted as plot mechanisms. Admittedly, in Brit crime sitcoms, cops will blithely trespass on someone’s property, taking blatant advantage of the law that if you don’t force a lock or a window, you haven’t committed break & enter & contravened a law.
I know there are significant differences between the legal systems & cultures of the USA, the UK & Australia. We have no laws that guarantee personal rights; the USA allows citizens to bear arms & protects their right to freedom of speech. As a result, international LGBTQ community groups report right wing US pastors preaching hate as something enjoined by the Bible. Some idiot bigot, for instance, spouted the absurd belief that god had commanded her to hate gays. The daily assault of reading about yet another Texan Baptist pastor saying, for instance, that killing gays would cure Aids, that all gays are pedophiles, are unacceptable.
But what’s acceptable? I was raised as catholic; this life is the church militant, nothing matters except the next, hypothetical existence. Which explains why Westboro was able to desecrate the one ritual that makes us human, funerals, with their weird slogans picketing Matthew Shepherd’s death. By contrast, GLBTQ people do not have a way of thoroughly rubbishing a bigot’s existence. Furthermore, I only have praise for the groups of bikers who made a sound barrier to deflect the frankly crazy illogic of the Westboro maddies picketing the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq & Afghanistan. Why could we not think up such an effective tactic?
I am sure that if I met some of these mad people & returned their volleys of hate, they would not understand. They would say: “These are my religious beliefs. Why are you taking things personally”. If I continued to criticise their prejudice they would probably draw a firearm.
So, I am not particularly disturbed that Sony has been hacked; why was it making a movie about north Korea? It is the same genre as the Bourne movies, where the CIA office workers go about their routine, casually murdering, as acceptable, in fact, patriotic behaviour. My experience with these corporations is that they make interfacing as difficult as possible. They are reluctant to help you. Fb for instance believes that I should be exposed to stuff about sport, & online game playing, no matter how often I insist that I have no interest in these matters.
It is a new landscape that we all inhabit; not a geography at all, but online, & virtual. All my accounts: Hotmail, Gmail, Fb, WordPress are daily assailed by spammers. We have all accepted this violence by anonymous creatures; who are they? where do they work from? why are they doing this sleazy stuff? We don’t know, & it is unlikely that we will be helped to know & to protect ourselves. I complained to the corporation supposedly represented by the spammers on WordPress; their response was churlish: “do not open the mail”. Thank you.
It is a new age, like the battle of city states. But it seems that movie manufacturers will have to revalue their product; meanwhile, the mechanism of karma, it seems to me, is at work.
PS, since writing the above it has been heavily advertised that the movie The Interview also contains an offensive interview where the frequently homophobic rapper Eminem comes out on TV as gay, you mean homosexual. Just from the clips aired to illustrate the above points the characters seem to exude a slimy sneery nastiness. It reminds me of a Golden Globes award night opened by UK actor Ricky Gervaise; when he gives a repellant description of Robert Downey Jnr, the latter gets up and retorts, “Apart from a certain petty mindedness, I’d say the atmosphere of the night’s going quite well, wouldn’t you?” The room erupted sympathetically. The same applies to this movie, which simply cannot claim victim status to excuse its mean spiritedness.