Patriotism and The Interview movie

Why I think going to pay to see The Interview, may be a patriotic act:

I don’t suppose I have ever considered myself patriotic.  I’m not a particular fan of flag waving or anthems.  I would argue for anyone’s right to be able to serve in the military, such as being against Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and supporting the rights of women to be able to hold any and all of the positions in the military that men can hold.  I certainly support any and all support (for lack of a better word) that can and should be given to veterans.  But I’m not exactly a fan of war.  I don’t often agree with what my nation’s executive or legislative or judicial branches may be doing, or, more likely, not doing, at any given time.  I never held any illusion that my country was perfect or best or “awesome.”

But mostly, when I say I am likely not patriotic, I am referring to jingoism.  Or, rather, the idea of being patriotic for patriotism’s sake, which might also come under the term of nationalism.  In other words, I am not going to believe, “Go America, because… America,” while draped in every manner of stripes and stars.

Although, these days, it would seem a true patriotic American is one who buys things, from McDonalds to Ford to toothpaste, because that is what this nation now is – anti-trust laws and Adam Smith be damned.  “Welcome to America, now buy some shit.”  (copyright: me.) Because… given the treatment of the homeless – indigent – in this country, given the reaction against the hippies, given the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission ruling, it appears to be that, in America, in order to be considered not only a citizen, but a person, you must spend some money…

 

However, given this, oddly enough, I could argue that I do consider myself somewhat patriotic, if albeit in a different sense.  In that I see the right to protest as just as much a patriotic act, because, after all, it celebrates that, in this country, I have the right to do so.  I have the right to complain about the government, as well as many other freedoms I no doubt take horribly for granted.  The fact that I can vent my opinion onto the internet, that I even know what the internet is, is a freedom – and access to knowledge – that most North Koreans do not have.

I read another dubious Yahoo “article” today, quoting George Clooney, in which he stated, “With the First Amendment, you’re never protecting Jefferson; it’s usually protecting some guy who’s burning a flag or doing something stupid. …Understand what is going on right now, because the world just changed on your watch, and you weren’t even paying attention.”

And yes, that’s what it comes down to.  It is relatively easy to allow someone to say something that you agree with.  Therefore, the true test of actual freedom of speech is allowing someone to say something that you do not agree with (as long as, I add, no violent act is committed against anyone…i.e. you have the freedom to believe in something stupid, something hateful, but you do not have the right to engage in behavior, based on said stupidity and/or hate that brings harm to others – a crucial point).

This is America, and the true test of our patriotism may not be a grand sweeping eagle-like gesture; it may appear in a smaller form, defending the right of a person to express their piece, even if “just” a little comedy movie.  And, again, money.  Money is what people, what corporations understand, the guidelines, the programming they adhere to.  Whether they release or withhold a movie no doubt comes down to precise algorithms of money.  i.e. yes, this car has flaws and can kill people.  We don’t care about the ethics here.  Run a cost-benefit analysis.  If it costs more to recall the car than payouts in medical and civil settlements, then keep the car on the market.

Back to The Interview, I’m sure for the theaters, and ultimately for Sony, it was the money – the fear of litigation if people were attacked at theaters, and the loss of business by people potentially not attending a theater – as opposed to safety alone.  But I do think safety is a reasonable concern.  Especially as mass shootings, in theaters, at this time of year, are unfortunately plausible.

However, this does not mean that The Interview can not be released.  Stagger the release date.  Release the film to military theaters.  Assess the realism of the threat to be carried out.  Release the film direct to video.  Stream it online.  Some suggest releasing it for free over the internet.  But I think money needs to be exchanged to benefit the creators of the movie, to vote with the dollar.

I think that now, to go see this movie, or, at least, to buy a ticket, is a patriotic act.  Because, as they say, this hits me where I live.  It starts out as the small things.  Some other country cannot tell me what movie to see or not see.  So, though I thought I might like to see this movie before, now, I have to see it.  It is my duty, as an American, of any stripe.

At this point, whether or not you are a Rogen and/or Franco fan, it feels like it would be patriotic to go see this movie.  Even if this isn’t your brand of humor, just buying a ticket would be patriotic.  Sony, and theaters, understand money.  And the money votes to say that Americans stand by our belief in freedom of speech, freedom to protest or mention aspects of a regime that need examining, and to express, via a simple movie ticket, that North Korea won’t tell us what we can and can’t do…

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Addendum:

I had seen a brief but relevant video clip of a news anchor, or news-ish anchorman, saying, in regard to the cancelled release of The Interview, that the last time someone told him what movie to see, it was his mother.  I would have loved to have referenced that here, but completely forgot which faceless talking head, I mean engaging news-ish anchor, it was, nor from where I found it.

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Related Links:

*Extended Interview with Jon Stewart, Suki Kim (dailyshow.com)

*Suki Kim’s Without You, There is No Us (amazon.com)

*North Korea for DUMMIES (wikipedia.org)

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my last jibe made me think, was there such a thing.  So I looked.  I didn’t find that, but I did find the following, which makes me just the slightest bit proud that I was never even tempted to even consider peeking into one of these books.  but, I see this may have some comedy to it, so here it is:

(the table of contents contains, “It’s Politics, Baby!,” “Politics is a Team Sport,” followed a chapter later with, “Picking Sides,” …a chapter on marketing, another separate chapter on advertising, a third chapter on selling the candidate, another one on dodging issues, the eloquent, “The Money Thing,” …and as for separation of church and state, there is a chapter titled, “The Ten Commandments of Modern Politics.”  In short, surmising from the table of contents, it appears this “book” is about how to get elected, and the games therein.  I guess that sums up American politics, mostly Congress, that it has nothing to do with ideals, nothing to do with representing the people, nothing to do with compromise, and essentially all to do with money and the getting elected/then re-elected machine, i.e. advertising… god.  ok, maybe not so funny.  though I could see, “It’s Politics, Baby!” being some kind of Auntie-Mame/Liza Minnelli song? ….(groan), maybe I’m not so patriotic after all.)

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