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December 18, 2014

Fall Out: New Regency Cancels Thriller Set in North Korea; Paramount Bans "Team America: World Police" From Theatrical Screening

And now, the corporate cowards are in full flight.

The chilling effect of the Sony Pictures hack and terrorist threats against The Interview are reverberating. New Regency has scrapped another project that was to be set in North Korea. The untitled thriller, set up in October, was being developed by director Gore Verbinski as a star vehicle for Foxcatcher star Steve Carell. The paranoid thriller written by Steve Conrad was going to start production in March. Insiders tell me that under the current circumstances, it just makes no sense to move forward. The location won’t be transplanted. Fox declined to distribute it, per a spokesman.

I guess I understand that move -- it's show business, and if wacky midget dictators are going to tank your project, you can't make money on it, and have to walk away.

I have less understanding about Paramount's gutless appeasement, though.

The Alamo Drafthouse had planned to show Team America: World Police instead of the pulled The Interview because Texans are awesome.

But Paramount, which I guess owns the rights to Team America, is now telling Alamo Drafthouse they have no right to do that.

From the Daily Beast:

The famous Alamo Drafthouse in Texas, Capitol Theater in Cleveland, and Plaza Atlanta in Atlanta said they would screen the movie instead of The Interview but Paramount has ordered them to stop.

That is just outrageous cowardice.

Meanwhile, you can at least enjoy the scene that caused Fidget the Midget to go Full Spazz here -- Kim Jong-un's "death scene."

Oh and you won't be surprised to learn that Slate is fucking stupid and engaging in apologism for fascism.

Really, though, underneath all this not entirely unwarranted hand-wringing about bedrock American values, there’s a strong sense of someone sitting on the back of a large corporation and twisting its arm until the large corporation cries uncle. This, too, is frightening, sort of, but it should tell us that large corporations like Sony need to get their cybershit together, not that the Constitution’s in tatters and the terrorists have really, finally won. The fact that Sony chose not to release the film at all--not to VOD, DVD, VHS, or traveling hand-puppet reenactments—suggests that the calculus was less "How do we protect moviegoers while also standing up for free expression and artistic integrity" and more "Please, oh mighty lord in heaven, just make this go away." Simply put, at a certain point--given the accumulated damage in industry relationships, in corporate practices revealed, in class-action lawsuits from its own employees, in potential liability nightmares--The Interview was no longer the hill that Sony wanted to die on.

You stupid shits, that's what coercion always is -- escalating the pain (for a perfectly lawful action) until the person taking it decides they've had enough.

Slate, which is not worth the paper that people don't bother to print it on, seems to think there's some distinction between a real case of anti-free-speech censorship and this apparently shabby sort of corporate capitulation.

I mean, the party being attacked for daring to engage in free speech eventually said "I submit." Obviously then this isn't a real matter of free speech.

Real free speech battles always involve leftists talking about their peenies and gynies. Everyone knows that.

Update: Actually, If You Work For Slate, You Kind of Suck. I really hate Slate writers' default posture of being Above It All.

Note to Slate's writers: You are not "above it all." Proof of that? You work for Slate.

You are rather beneath it all, or at least beneath most of it.

There is an element of criticism which is inherently obnoxiously superior. One cannot criticize a thing without, implicitly, assuming a posture of being above that thing (or above the person who created that thing).

This is an obnoxious and unwarranted posture (how many movie critics could make a movie, or even write a short story?), but it is unavoidable, if one is to criticize at all.

But for God's sakes that doesn't mean you have to exult in it. You don't have to parade around in that unwarranted superiority.

The fact is, all of us bitchy little online critics, pedants, carpers, and snipers, all of us ankle-biters, jock-sniffers, apple-polishers, and boot-lickers -- and I include myself in this -- are rather low in the socio-economic pecking order. Pretty damn low.

And if you work at Slate -- even lower.

If we could do something else, we wouldn't be fucking pissant internet critics.

Slate's Stupid Business Model is to never admit the obvious. If it seems obvious that North Korea has committed a serious attack on Sony's Free Speech, Slate must come in and offer a #SlateTake, even if the opposite of the obvious is stupid and loathsome.

Now 10% of the time, this sort of doctrinaire counter-intuitive #SlateTake might be worth considering.

But 90% of the time it's just wrong. Because the obvious take is the correct take 90% of the time. Putin taking over Ukraine is bad for the Ukraine. That's obvious.

And a #SlateTake claiming Actually, Maybe Being Occupied by Russia Is Just What Ukraine Needs! is just stupid, prickish and prattish.

And then to package these outrageously-wrong brainfarts up with attitude -- as if being outrageously wrong is more charming when you're vomiting up unwarranted arrogance alongside it.

It's not enough to say something stupid -- no, they have to imply that other people are dumb for not thinking of the stupid #SlateTake themselves.

Only very clever people could be this determinedly stupid, their corporate credo seems to be. (And yes, Slate is a corporation: So if a hacker extorted Slate, would that not be a real first amendment issue, I wonder?)

One should not exert oneself this hard to be clever. Let the cleverness come naturally; don't force it all the time, laddies.

I'm reminded of the aphorism: The failure state of "clever" is "asshole."

This constant attitude from the silly little shits at Slate, who haven't done anything except blogposts, is repulsive.

Stop acting like you've fucking Done Something until you've actually Done Something, boys.

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posted by Ace at 03:35 PM

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