We have only begun to digest the full implication of the assault on Sony pictures. Assuming it indeed was perpetrated by North Korea, (and evidence is building that it may have been, at least partly, an inside job) in order to block a movie it does not like, the hack, and the extortion of a private corporation is an assault on the very idea of civil society that we Americans cherish.
I saw the movie over the Christmas holiday. While it is not the type of movie I normally watch, it is the type that my son often enjoys. He purchased it – to show support for the movie—and we watched it at home. The movie is similar to the other Seth Rogen/James Franco movie I had seen—“This Is the End” (to which my son had previously taken me). The movies are zany and juvenile, but do have their funny moments. One might wonder why The Interview occasioned such opposition from North Korea. Spoilers follow: I read somewhere that Kim Jong Un opposed…
[Update: According to the Washington Post, yesterday Paramount Pictures, the maker of Team America, pulled that film—a 2004 puppet animation satirizing Kim Jong Il, among other targets—from all theaters. Alamo Drafthouse’s defiant showing of it will apparently not take place.]
Last month, when hackers invaded the personal and medical information of every employee of Sony Pictures, and then threatened to bomb any theater that screened the studio’s new movie, The Interview, the reaction was clueless.
It was a Seth Rogen comedy about the assassination of Kim Jong Un, and the hackers were presumed to be the North Koreans or their proxies. Here was a private American company being punished by sophisticated cyber-attackers from abroad who menaced life and limb. But so what—Rogen and other Hollywood figures like Aaron Sorkin did nothing but complain about the disclosure of their private emails in the massive cyber attack. The entertainment press that covers them (such as the website The Wrap) was similarly preoccupied, hyping the gossipy highlights of those emails.
That this was shaping up as a much bigger event became inescapable yesterday, though.