Kyle Garlett Blogs

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The Cost of Free Speech

At the risk of overstating things - and I certainly hope that I am doing exactly that - industry, speech, expression, and art, all fundamentally changed this week. And it may never be the same again.

It started slowly, years ago. Certain books were deemed offensive. A television show here or there was considered too controversial. And so they went away.
Then speeches and speech givers were the next come under scrutiny. And once one university commencement speaker had their invite rescinded because a group of 22-year olds decided amongst themselves that the speaker’s views/biography/experiences didn’t conform with their’s, other groups of 22-year olds followed. And so those speakers went away. And we accepted it.
Now Sony Pictures has shelved a $44 million movie (plus another $30 mil spent on promotion) because a group of computer hackers, either working in or for the North Korean government, didn’t like the content of the film. Granted, it took more than just these hackers protests to silence the project. First they hacked into Sony and embarrassed them with leaked emails. Then they threatened violence. But the public as accessories to the ultimate capitulation remains the same. The hackers could only mine the emails and other sensitive documents and make them accessible. It took an all too compliant press to disseminate the details to the public, and a hungry public that feels that those in the entertainment industry don’t warrant common sense privacies, to actually give the hackers power.
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