Sony Pictures -- urged on by President Obama -- announced yesterday that it will not cave to threats of terrorism and will release The Interview in 200 independent movie theaters on Christmas day.
All of Hollywood was up in arms about having their artistic output censored by Kim Jong Un. The prevailing attitude in Tinseltown was, if the little dictator can't take a joke, that's his problem. We're a free society, even if they don't understand this in a benighted place like North Korea!
Even George Clooney took up the cause, denouncing North Korea and sticking up for his pals at Sony.
But isn't this the same George Clooney who got incensed at a reporter who referred to Obama as "Obama" a few years ago and gave the reporter an earful about how it was disrespectful not to refer to "President Obama?"
All of which leads me to wonder, what if Sony had made a movie -- even a lighthearted comedy -- about assassinating Obama, and at the end of the movie Obama's head had exploded?
Would the same people who are so adamantly insisting we stick up for freedom of expression be voicing the same opinions?
As it was, plenty of people in our country tut-tutted when Amy Pascal of Sony and producer Scott Rudin, in a series of private emails, made a few harmless jokes about Obama's probable taste in movies.
After that was made public, Pascal had to beg for absolution from that pillar of moral rectitude, Al Sharpton. (That was really the only truly funny joke that came out of that episode.)
Question: did George Clooney feel that his friend Amy Pascal was being "disrespectful" by implying that Obama's taste in movies might be limited to black-themed movies? Pascal certainly did not refer to our leader as "President Obama" in that exchange.
It was noteworthy that Obama said that Sony had made a mistake during that same week that he himself knuckled under to another communist dictator, Raul Castro. Obama restored full diplomatic and economic relations with Cuba in return for the exchange of Alan Gross, an American who should never have been imprisoned by Cuba in the first place, and an American spy. (Cuba also got three of their spies back.)
The Castros have long occupied a fond place in the hearts of American leftists. Perhaps it's because they have never hesitated to put any of their Cuban critics in jail. Perhaps it's because Fidel sent us a batch of his most incorrigible prisoners in the Mariel boat lift. Perhaps it's because he has long aided Colombian cartels who wanted to use his island as a waystation for their drug dealing operations, and has managed to amass a tidy fortune of $200 million for himself while heading his socialist paradise.
I must admit, I'm a little confused by all these goings on. Is kowtowing to communist dictators a good thing, or a bad thing? Is freedom of speech and mocking national leaders a cherished American value, or not?
After this past week, I just don't know what to think.