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December 24, 2014

YouTube Will Play "The Interview" On Christmas Day

Nice, and I appreciate YouTube and Sony doing what they can, but Free Speech is gravely wounded here.

No one will ever make a movie mentioning North Korea again, that's for certain. Few movies will mention any movies. Hollywood already didn't want to mention jihadis; expect them to not even be name-checked in films.

Defending free speech in this situation would have required a couple of things: People supporting Sony enough that they could turn a decent profit, thus showing that this tactic was ineffectual.

Of course, for that to happen, Sony would have to have business partners such as theater chains or the Dish network willing to collect ticket fees for the film. But it looks like those elements yellowed out, so Sony will take a huge bath. (Or maybe their insurer will, but in that case, insurers will not permit movies to mention North Korea in the future.)

The other thing that was necessary to defend free speech was to hit North Korea with so much pain they'd never do it again, and like-minded thugs would similarly take notice that they shouldn't do this sort of thing.

That's definitely not been done; apparently Obama's idea of "proportional response" is a ten hour internet outage, which is something that happens in the US every day, to Comcast customers. (Joke borrowed from Ed Morrissey, I think.)

The point is that those who would destroy free speech have in fact won. They have damaged their target a great deal, and even more importantly, they have frightened all similarly-situated potential future targets. They won't have to do this again, because people will self-censor to avoid the pain.

And they've paid no cost for this -- or a slight one, a half-day's inconvenience.

This nonsense with people cheerleading the film being exhibited for free is like helpless battered women consoling themselves that a little make-up will cover up the bruises so they don't show so much.

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posted by Ace at 12:10 PM

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