Tag Archives: business

No good options for Sony Pictures with ‘The Interview’

This photo provided by Columbia Pictures - Sony shows, from left, Diana Bang, as Sook, Seth Rogen, as Aaron, and James Franco, as Dave, in Columbia Pictures' "The Interview." (AP Photo/Columbia Pictures - Sony, Ed Araquel)

Associated Press image

Seth Rogen and James Franco are shown in a still from “The Interview,” a movie that Sony Pictures Entertainment has put on indefinite hold because of threats made by apparently-North-Korean hackers to retaliate should Sony release the movie not only in movie theaters, but in any other form.

I don’t recall that at any time in my life was a movie not released because of terrorist threats.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has taken criticism from many for deciding not to release “The Interview,” starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as a team who ultimately assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

Sony’s decision not to release the movie as planned on Christmas Day wasn’t enough; hackers who have been identified as probably North Korean apparently demanded in an e-mail to Sony that “anything related to the movie, including trailers” be removed from the Internet and that Sony “never let the movie [be] released, distributed or leaked in any form of, for instance, DVD or piracy,” as though it were possible for Sony to police the entire Internet and prevent all leaks or acts of piracy.

The Associated Press reports that “Sony Pictures has been removing all signs of ‘The Interview’ from its websites and taken its trailers off YouTube. On Wednesday, the studio canceled its Dec. 25 release after the hackers made threats of violence against theaters showing the film. Sony has said it now has no plans to release ‘The Interview.’”

While I doubt that any actual terrorist attack at a movie theater would have been committed had “The Interview” been released as planned — North Korea has no operatives within the United States, to my knowledge, and as North Korea doesn’t want its inhabitants to leave the Asian nation at all, I don’t really see the United States ever crawling with North Korean operatives  — I imagine that Sony would like to avoid any lawsuits or negative publicity (or both) should any such terrorist attack actually happen, even though such an event is fairly highly unlikely.

While I would like to see Sony at least release “The Interview” on DVD and streaming, as it would any other theatrical release, I imagine that Sony doesn’t want to have to worry about further problems with North Korean criminals in the future. Sony Pictures Entertainment is, after all, first and foremost a business. Its No. 1 reason for existing is not to enlighten us or even to entertain us, but to profit from us, and if Sony perceives that releasing a film would or could cost it more than if it withheld the film, Sony’s probably going to withhold the film.

“Team America: World Police” (which was distributed by Paramount Pictures) went off without a hitch in 2004 (I saw it at a movie theater and I’ve seen it on DVD), but maybe that’s because the late Korean dictator Kim Jong Il was portrayed by a puppet (and was not assassinated technically; at the end of “Team America” his human body is destroyed, but from his body a cockroach emerges – Kim Jong Il actually is [or was…] an alien in the form of a cockroach, you see – and flies off in a miniature spaceship, promising to return). And maybe it’s that Kim Jong Un is a lot more sensitive than was his daddy.

Just as “Team America,” had it never been released, probably wouldn’t have been a great loss to American culture, the pulling of “The Interview” (as much as I’ve liked some of the work of Franco and Rogen in the past) also probably isn’t a huge loss to American culture. We can take some comfort in that, I think.

We can assert that Sony Pictures Entertainment shouldn’t cave in to terrorist threats, but at the same time, should any terrorist attack actually occur at any movie theater showing “The Interview,” we then would lambast Sony’s greed that put dirty profits above precious human lives (and, as I noted, I would expect at least one lawsuit to ensue).

As much as I’m not into sticking up for corporations, I don’t see that Sony really could win in this case (except that if I were in charge at Sony, “The Interview” probably would, minimally, get an online and/or DVD release…).

Still, one day I’d like to see “The Interview” at last, in one format or another, and we have the apparently-North-Korean hackers, with their terrorist threats, to thank for that. It’s a movie that I probably would have skipped otherwise, at least in its theatrical release.

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Is Mother Earth trying to rid Herself of Repugnicans?

Tropical Storm Isaac hasn’t even become a hurricane yet and has yet to reach Florida, but already Isaac’s ominous approach has induced the Repugnican Tea Party traitors to effectively cancel the first day of their scheduled four-day KKK-like convention in Tampa (Monday).

At this point, I don’t see how Isaac could not ruin the quadrennial KKK convention.

Even if Isaac doesn’t make a direct hit on Tampa, Isaac is expected first to visit the southern tip of Florida as a category-one hurricane late tomorrow night or early Monday morning, and then is expected to make landfall in the Gulf Coast as a category-two hurricane late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, according to AccuWeather.com:

AccuWeather.com image, August 25, 2012

Future Hurricane Isaac is expected to rake the coast of the western portion of Florida and perhaps also the coastal areas of neighboring Southern states Alabama, Mississippi and maybe even Louisiana, which needs another hurricane like Mittens Romney needs another million dollars.

Even if Isaac spares Tampa, I don’t see how the Repugnican Tea Party traitors can continue their convention while a category-two hurricane has just hit the Gulf Coast without looking like the major-league assholes that they are. For that matter, I don’t see how they can even begin their convention belatedly on Tuesday while a category-two hurricane is expected to make landfall in the Gulf Coast in less than 24 hours without looking like the major-league assholes that they are.

I hate it when the wingnuts ascribe catastrophic events (hurricanes, earthquakes, 9/11, etc.) to us homos or to supporters of women’s reproductive-choice rights or the like, but fuck if it doesn’t look like Mother Nature is trying to wipe the planet-killing Repugnican Tea Party traitors off of the face of the planet like a dog trying to rid itself of fleas. It’s like she knew that they were going to be concentrated in Tampa and so she sent Isaac their way.

Maybe Mother Nature finally was sent over the edge when the Mittens Romney/Pretty Boy Paul Ryan team essentially announced in Ohio today that while women may not control their own uteri, they may open their own businesses, because, you see, that’s the only actually important endeavor that there is in this man’s world: making money and perpetuating the evil that is capitalism. (“Women need our help,” Mittens proclaimed in the critically important swing state of Ohio today, but he wasn’t talking about help with women’s reproductive rights or with their equal rights or help caring for their families. He was talking solely about helping them in the business world.)

In all seriousness, the toxic masculine worldview that Team Mittens/Ryan represents has been destroying the planet for some time now, and if it takes some acts of the Goddess to clean the toxic mess up, I’m all for it.

P.S. I noticed this striking paragraph, this interesting tidbit, buried in this Associated Press story on Isaac:

Cuba has a highly organized civil defense system that goes door-to-door to enforce evacuations of at-risk areas, largely averting casualties from storms even when they cause major flooding and significant damage to crops.

Wow. I guess that this is one of the reasons that the wingnuts vociferously slam Fidel Castro’s administration of Cuba: Unlike the “leaders” here in the United States, land of the “free,” Castro actually saves the poor people of his nation from drowning and otherwise dying in hurricanes.

That evil, evil man!

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It stinks in Paul Le Pew’s Maine

The Repugnican Tea Party governor of Maine — a stupid white man, of course, named Paul LePage — wants to remove a 36-foot-wide, 11-panel mural depicting the state’s labor-movement history that exists in the lobby of the state’s Department of Labor in its capital of Augusta. Oh, and while he’s at it, he wants the conference room that’s named after labor-movement icon Cesar Chavez renamed.

Why?

Because the name of Cesar Chavez and the mural — which depicts such scenes as child labor, the introduction of the secret ballot for labor-union votes, and a shoe-mill strike and a paper-mill strike (and which you can view here) — is too potentially offensive to business interests.

A Maine newspaper reports that

According to LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt, the administration felt the mural and the conference room monikers showed “one-sided decor” not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals. [“Pro-business goals”? WTF?]

“The message from state agencies needs to be balanced,” said Demeritt, adding that the mural had sparked complaints from “some business owners” who complained it was hostile to business.

Demeritt declined to name the businesses.

The mural was erected in 2008 following a jury selection by the Maine Arts Commission and a $60,000 federal grant. Judy Taylor, the artist from Seal Cove, said Tuesday that her piece was never meant to be political, simply a depiction of Maine’s labor history.

This is the state’s Department of Labor that we’re talking about, but LePage, in typical Repugnican Tea Party fashion, has his allegiance straight: the interests of the rich and the super-rich over the interests of the common person. (Ironically, in his probably-exaggerated, Dickensian website biography, LePage claims to be “The oldest son of eighteen children in an impoverished, dysfunctional family” who “left home at the age of 11 to escape domestic violence and lived on the streets of Lewiston for two years, making a meager living shining shoes” [which apparently means that he now thus has the license to do whatever the fuck he wants to do].)

Following LePage’s “logic,” perhaps any pro-health murals or other images in the state’s public health department and in the state’s and the state’s counties’ hospitals and clinics should be removed. Why? Well, these pro-health images might be — gasp! — offensive to business! After all, the tobacco, alcohol and junk food industries’ profits will slump if we are too successful at promoting healthy lifestyles. And so will Big Pharma’s. And the wealth care industry’s in general. And that would be un-American! (What are you, a Commie?)

The Repugnican Tea Party’s plan for the nation is clear: to hand over all public property, all public functions and all public powers to the businesses and the corporations so that there is no “public” anything left. Even the state of Maine’s labor department, under the thumb of the state’s stupid white male Repugnican Tea Party governor, is supposed to exist not for the benefit of the state’s laborers, but for the benefit of the laborers’ employers.

Under the Repugnican Tea Party worldview, anything and everything can be and should be subverted to serve only the rich and the super-rich. Fuck the people!

How this is not treason — to act against the best interests of the majority of the people for the monetary interests of the rich and the super-rich few — escapes me, yet it is the Repugnican Tea Party that claims to have the monopoly on patriotism.

I guess that I’m a tea-bagger, because I believe wholeheartedly that we sorely need another American Revolutionary War, to be sure: but this needs to be a revolutionary war against the treasonous plutocratic few who are a de facto monarchy — and against those traitors who aid and abet these traitors — who tell us, the people, that we need to sacrifice even more even though income disparity for some years now has matched the levels of the income disparity of the 19fucking20s.

Now more than ever during most of our lifetimes, laborers need more protections, yet Paul Le Pew and his treasonous ilk are telling us that right now laborers need even fewer.*

This shit stinks.

P.S. I have to note that this current event reminds me of the historical event in which plutocrat Nelson A. Rockefeller in the 1930s hired Mexican artist Diego Rivera to paint a mural on a wall of  the Rockefeller Center in New York City. Rockefeller never allowed the public to view the completed mural (he had it covered up) and he later had the mural chiseled off of the wall because he found the mural to be too subversive to business interests. 

Of course, a huge difference here is that Rockefeller’s family owned the center, whereas Gov. Le Pew does not own his state’s labor department building; the people of Maine do. And Gov. Le Pew should not be acting like a Nelson Fucking Rockefeller — he should be acting like a governor who was elected to do the most amount of good for the most amount of people.

*The New York Times on this news story notes that “LePage has repeatedly clashed with labor unions since his inauguration in January. He is pushing for a higher retirement age for public employees and for ‘right-to-work’ legislation that would allow union members to stop paying dues or fees.”

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