“The Interview” and the 1st Amendment

Hi Everyone!

So, lots going on in the world (and in my world) this week. I am hard at work on a non-fiction project, of which more will be revealed shortly. And it’s almost Christmas! So I am wrapping, baking, singing, packing, and all the other lovely things that come with the holiday season. So happy holidays–whatever you may celebrate, I am celebrating with you!

What I’ve been thinking about recently is this whole “The Interview” thing. I won’t mince words–I think the movie looks bad. Tasteless and offensive, and starring James Franco, besides. So it’s no big tragedy to me that it’s been canceled. However, there are some serious ramifications I feel like we need to discuss.
I respect my friends out there who want to watch this movie–repeatedly–because if we back out, the terrorists win. I acknowledge it’s a slippery slope in terms of terror groups forbidding things and companies kowtowing. We cannot allow ourselves to be ruled by fear, or those who would wield it as a weapon.

That being said, I think it’s best it was canceled. Because N. Korea is really quite scary and we don’t have any idea what they’re capable of. And I don’t think any lives should be lost over entertainment. End of story.

People have been talking about censorship, which is not quite right. Sony is not a government agency–to my knowledge, nobody forced Sony to cancel the film. So what a private company does isn’t covered under the First Amendment as long as the government doesn’t wade in. Now, if the government did somehow force Sony to cancel the movie–that’s a different story.

I am going to take an unpopular stance here and say the government DID have the right to shut down the film (even though, to my knowledge, it did not do so, I want to be clear) due to the clear and present danger exception. The first amendment does not cover things that could cause danger to US citizens. This doctrine, established by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1919, says the government can infringe upon the rights of speechmakers if that speech has the potential to harm others. It’s often demonstrated by the example of shouting “fire” in a crowded theater (where there is no fire). Since the speech made things dangerous for no reason, it’s not protected. And I think this movie does just that.

I’m all for controversial art. I love being challenged and confronted in the books I read and movies I see. It helps me grow and see things in a different way. But there is a line, and that’s safety of US citizens, and I think this movie crosses it. I say that it never should have gotten made in the first place. Now that it has provoked such a response (“9/11-like terrorism” was promised) then I say I’m glad it was canceled. I just can’t get upset about it.

So accuse me of bowing to the police state, if you must. But this is where I stand on this. What about YOU, readers? What do you think? See you soon!

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