We need to talk about Sony and the media

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We haven’t talked politics or current events in awhile, but with all of the media hysteria over Sony’s decision to pull The Interview, I thought now is a good time to jump back in.

First, let me be perfectly clear. None of the employees or stars deserved to have their private material hacked. In no way do I condone, what the media is calling an act of cyber terrorism. But I would be remiss if I did not address two issues brought about by the American media and heads of Sony that contributed to this act. You may not agree with me, but we need to be open to the ideas I’m about to bring up.

As I sit here writing this piece, the American media is decrying both the hackers and Sony’s decision to pull the movie. The media is now outraged by the cyber attack. The American news corporations are collectively marketing this act as their Top Story and falling all over themselves in their condemnation of the attack. This is pure hypocrisy as just last week they were collectively giggling over the leaked documents and selling these “revelations” as news fluff. The 24hour news channels gleefully shared the hacked material with the world.

Imagine that your next-door neighbor had a break in and all of his possessions were stolen. Ask yourself, would you willingly take the stolen items and show them off to friends and family, all the while condemning the break in, or would you ignore the offer of free stuff in the hopes the criminals would be caught? Do you want to be an accomplice to a crime or a supportive neighbor?

By sharing the leaked material the American news corporations are accomplices to the cyber crime. By airing Sony’s private material they are actively participating in the crime, if by nothing else, playing into their hands. The hackers wanted to embarrass Sony Pictures and found willing partners in our media. Thanks to our media, the hackers found a platform. And now that Sony has decided to pull the plug on the movie due to death threats, the media is crying foul. I say shame on you media for participating in the crime. Thanks to you the attack was a total success. Not only do we know Sony was hacked, we know what was hacked, and by airing the material, you shared the stolen goods with the world. Well done idiots, well done. Now, stop being hypocrites and start assessing you role in this act.

2013 felt like a very violent year. It may not have been the most violent on record, but it sure felt like it. This time last year we were mourning the loss of life at the Sandy Hook elementary school. We debated what to do about reports of the Syrian government gassing its own, and shuddered at the horrific beheadings done by ISIS. America, though split on what to do about gun violence, certainly came together and condemned the actions of extreme government and religious leaders. Murder is all around us, and we are tired of it. One has to look no farther than the recent protests of police brutality.

So given that we are faced with all of this, who at Sony thought it would be a good idea to green light a movie that involves the assassination of a named world leader? And not just any world leader; a bat shit crazy leader. Oh he may be dead, but his equally bat shit crazy son is not. Seriously, didn’t anyone at Sony think this through? North Korea hates America and views us as their sworn enemy, so why make a movie that only fosters this hate? Why didn’t someone at Sony demand the name of the country and its leader be changed?

But Sari, we have freedom of speech! Yes, yes we do. But jus like we don’t yell Fire! in a crowded movie theater, we shouldn’t throw gas on an already ignitable situation. Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should. Freedom of speech only works when we use freedom of intellect; something lacking in Sony’s decision to fund this kind of comedy. And by watching it, we are not collective hypocrites who decry the brutal acts of others while laughing at the idea of assassinating a known world leader?

Actions have consequences. Did your parents not teach you this Sony? At any time did it occur to you that by depicting the death of North Korea’s “Dear Leader”, a man who is thought of as a god, that perhaps you might enrage his son? Again, a man who is bat shit crazy? No, you just saw dollar signs.

Perhaps I am being too hard on you. Maybe someone from Sony went to the State Department and asked, “So…, any possibility North Korea could retaliate against us?” And after laughing at the question, the answer was “No”, you went ahead and made the movie. What could go wrong?

In today’s cyber-connected world, one in which America is no longer isolated and feared, is it really any surprise Sony was hacked? We may not like it, but we must accept the fact that what we could easily get away with a few years ago is no longer the case. Our freedom of speech, freedom of expression must take into consideration those that we target. We now live in a world of the extreme butterfly effect. Others often see what we do in the name of freedom as acts of aggression. Doesn’t anyone at Sony watch the news? Come to think of it, don’t. The news media is too busy eating its own.

The Pierced Heart, A New Twist on an Old Tale

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20707936The Pierced Heart
Delacorte Press, 2014

I’m sure anyone who has been enjoying Lynn Shepherd’s Charles Maddox series will agree that with each book her skills as a writer become stronger and stronger. The “Pierced Heart” is her best effort to date. Not only is Shepherd coming into her own as a writer, her twist on Dracula is a fast paced, engaging ride. I read it in one sitting.

Charles, our reluctant hero, visits the estate of an Austrian nobleman on behalf of Oxford. Charles is asked to determine the man’s character after the Austrian offers a substantial donation to the University. Once there, Charles quickly finds the man is not all that he seems. There are some serious questions to be answered. Is he a truly a nobleman who has the means and time to devote to natural philosophy or is he a mad scientist? As the story moves from Austria to the streets of London, Charles is compelled to find the answers.

Shepherd follows the original Dracula plot to a point; it is here where her imagination shines. Just when we readers think we know where she is going, the story takes a decided turn. There are just enough twists to keep readers guessing while retaining the original unsettling mood.

Shepherd doesn’t just give us a twist on the vampire story; she offers comment on Victorian values and how they affected women. Not only were they victims of violent times, they were at the mercy of the misogynist attitude towards them. Women were denied voices, no matter how loudly they screamed out in the night.

My only complaint is the inconsistency in the narration. I would have liked it if Shepherd had kept to one style. The abrupt change pulled me out of the story. But once the initial shock was over, I was quickly pulled back in.

With “The Pierced Heart” we finally have a three-dimensional character in Charles. Readers learn more about his back-story and two secrets are revealed. Though one is something Charles seems to be hiding from himself. The novel ends with a twist for our hero. There is yet another question to be answered. I can only hope Shepherd shares this answer with her readers very soon.

I’d like to thank Librarything for the opportunity to read this book.

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