Pudgy and profligate little Kim Jong-un must be swelling with pride. With the FBI now concluding that North Korea was responsible for the recent computer hacking of Sony Corporation, it appears that Kim has succeeded in projecting power beyond his borders in, essentially, censoring a Western film. That work, of course, is The Interview, the Columbia Pictures action comedy portraying the rotund dictator in a negative light.
Many have castigated Sony — Columbia’s parent company — for capitulation. Pundit Linda Chavez likened the behemoth’s folding to Barack Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba, writing that the two of them “are on the same page when it comes to appeasing dictators.” Political maven Newt Gingrich tweeted, “With the Sony collapse America has lost its first cyberwar. This is a very [sic] very dangerous precedent.” And both may be correct. Nonetheless, there is something certainly not unprecedented: Hollywood’s appeasement of dictatorial regimes.
Most movie-goers don’t know it, but many of the films on which they spend American dollars have been filtered by Chinese censors — by Beijing’s powerful State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), to be precise.
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