I don’t have a personal bodyguard.
I don’t live in a gated community with a security guard out front.
I don’t have surveillance cameras monitoring every single inch of my house and German shepherds patrolling my yard.
I’m not a movie star who earns $10 mil a picture. I’m just a paycheck-to-paycheck schmuck who pens columns that piss people off. I get emails and phone calls and letters, and, well, I still manage to keep doing what I do. And it’s not so much because I believe that I’m fighting the good fight or that I’m giving the middle finger to the powers that be. Truth is, all of these foul-mouthed, angry rants against racists and douchebags that I write, they’re really nothing more than the products of an uncontrollable compulsion, a tic, and if you could call what I do anything, you could call it tourette-ature. Or you could just call it shit or whatever series of expletives suits your fancy. I won’t hold it against you.
This isn’t an apology. I’m proud of what I do. In part, that’s because I get the reaction that I’m searching for nearly each and every time, a mix of right-on laughter, righteous indignation, and pure, unadulterated anger — even hate.
Sometimes it’s a drag being on the top of some reader’s shit list. Sometimes it’s a thrill. Sometimes I wonder if I even care. But day in day out, it’s what I do despite the hate mail, the pissed-off posts, and the venomous voice messages.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a brave man. I’m just a guy who accepts who he is and what he does, and that guy is a trash-talking asshole. And that makes me better than all the Hollywood stars and pundits who are blasting Sony for pulling The Interview from theaters. Guys like Steve Carell and Patton Oswalt and Rob Lowe and Zach Braff and Judd Apatow and Jimmy Kimmel and Mia Farrow and Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich and Dan Savage and the rest of the social media smarm.
Here’s the thing: It’s one thing for you to wag your finger at a Japanese company like Sony and call them cowards from the comfort of your well-secured home or office right here in the United States and it’s another thing to live right next door to North Korea, a nation that has the capability to nuke you in your Zen garden. I have nothing but sympathy for the folks in Japan who have inadvertently found themselves in the middle of a foreign-relations bukkake butter battle with a hot-tempered tyrant and his goon squad of hackers. And right now, I have nothing but disdain for the scores of Americans who can’t get over the fact that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Your first-world freedoms don’t hinge on your ability to see Seth Rogen’s latest half-assed pipe-dream on the big screen. But the people of Japan, yeah, they might not be too pleased with the fact that one of their leading companies has created an international crisis, all because two Hollywood stars thought it would be funny to write a movie in which the sitting leader of a foreign nation is assassinated.
I would like to say I’m shocked by the hypocrisy of the American public, but I’m not. We’ve spent the last 13 years collectively shitting ourselves over one perceived threat after another. Hell, only weeks ago Lindsay Graham was chicken-hawking his nuts off because ISIS was going to kill every single person in America.
That’s not to say that anyone should take this threat for anything more than what it is: a hollow threat from a nation that trades in nothing but hollow threats. In case you’ve forgotten, a few years ago Kim Jong Un threatened to blow up Hawaii for King Kam’s sake.
Up until this point, the only thing North Korea has done is to show the world that the head of Sony’s American movie division likes to make racists jokes about President Obama and that Paul Reiser is upset because only select seasons of Mad About You are on DVD. Does anybody actually believe that Kim Jong Un could do something to American theatergoers that a mentally unhinged white guy with a hankering to exercise his Second Amendment rights couldn’t do already?
Sony’s Amy Pascal may have a reason to fear North Korea — I mean, the hackers stole the script to the latest James Bond flick. And the people of Japan certainly have cause for concern — can you say ICBM? But Jim and Jessie Fannypack from Findlay, Ohio? Nah. They’re safe to tweet condemnations on Twitter all day long. I’m sure the people of North Korea would be doing the same thing if they weren’t so concerned about starving to death.
Chris Haire is the editor of the Charleston City Paper and the author of TOMBSTONED, a lo-fi, sci-fi, film noir, comic book, porno parody about lo-fi, sci-fi, film noir, comic book, porno parodies.