As they say on the internet, quoting an Anchorman: Well, that escalated quickly.
The Sony hack story, in just a few weeks, went from a bemusing diversion — at least for those of us whose personal info wasn’t spilled all over the internet — about what Sony employees think about Adam Sandler movies to an unprecedented corporate fiasco to an Alamo-like last stand to protect Freedom of Expression, in which the Alamo got torched to the ground and American freedom is now dead (1776–2014, RIP). Yesterday Sony decided to disappear The Interview — not apologize for it, not delay it, not bury it on VOD, but actually more or less pretend that it never happened and doesn’t exist and what is this Interview of which you speak?
Naturally, the notion that anonymous hackers can force a major corporation not only to recall but essentially recant a movie is, to put it mildly, unnerving. As to the threat of actual violence in actual theaters, cybersecurity expert Peter Singer put it this way to Vice: “The ability to steal gossipy emails from a not-so-great protected computer network is not the same thing as being able to carry out physical, 9/11-style attacks in 18,000 locations simultaneously.” He also inconveniently reminds us that words like hacking invoke an outsize, irrational fear; after all, he says, “Someone killed 12 people and shot another 70 people at the opening night” of The Dark Knight Rises, and “they kept that movie in the theaters.”
Meanwhile, Aaron Sorkin didn’t need to point a finger of blame at his favorite villain, the media, since his finger’s been pointed in that direction for years. “The wishes of the terrorists were fulfilled in part by easily distracted members of the American press who chose gossip and schadenfreude-fueled reporting over a story with immeasurable consequences for the public,” he said in a released statement.