Now you’re free to do whatever you want

These are some words from an American pop-song I heard a few years ago. It was aimed at teenagers celebrating their first taste of ‘freedom’ – in the sense perhaps of having left home, being at college and being able to “do whatever you want”.

The US President has explained that Sony Corporation should not have pulled their satirical video featuring the assassination of the Korean leader Kim Jong-un:

We cannot have a society in which some dictators someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States because if somebody is able to intimidate us out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing once they see a documentary that they don’t like or news reports that they don’t like

But – this isn’t a documentary. It is a “comedy” about the assassination of the leader of another country. Documentaries on North Korea are produced all the time (often using deception and hidden filming) but North Korea doesn’t react as they have now. For some at least a “comedy” about the assassination of their leader is a step too far. So; the first point about the US President’s remarks is that they are entirely misleading. It is, as usual, just propaganda for the domestic audience who are kept in a dream-state where they are continually told they are “free” and everyone else is ruled by tyrants.

Another aspect of this is the President is (by implication) asserting the right of US film corporations to do “whatever they want”. This is supposed to be an assertion of “freedom”. But in fact gratuitously insulting other people has nothing to do with freedom. But the US President knows one thing: US corporations must indeed be allowed to do “whatever they want” to make money without being limited by such scruples as values, decency, sensitivity, respect for other cultures. The US system depends on this interpretation of “freedom”.



Author: justinwyllie

EFL Teacher and Photographer