William Thien

Archive for December 2014

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I find communism an abhorrent form of government.

I am also not the biggest fan of the benefits South Korea obtains from our presence there along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, either. I think South Korea floods our markets with electronics and cars, something they would not be capable of were it not for our military presence, and it is disingenuous of the South Koreans to benefit in our marketplace so thoroughly while we use our resources to defend them and simultaneously enable their competitiveness. This is of course an indication of their superior foreign diplomatic prowess and our lack thereof. But that’s another subject altogether. Getting back on topic though, I must take issue with the recent developing calamity between Sony Pictures and North Korea. If you don’t read the news, Sony Pictures and The United States are claiming that North Korea has hacked Sony Picture’s computer systems and has also threatened to attack theaters showing a Sony Pictures film titled “The Interview,” a comedy which mocks Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea and apparently the film also has scenes showing the assassination of Kim Jong.

Sony Pictures has decided not to air the film in theaters now due to threats that the theaters will be the targets of physical attacks. It has been determined, or decided, I’m not sure which one and I’m not sure anyone really is truly sure where the threats are coming from, that North Korea is sponsoring terror as a result of the threats. I am confident the FBI is on to something, but internet security experts are not so sure, and all of the nefarious political activity only muddles the circumstances. Talk has arisen about putting North Korea back on the Nations that Sponsor Terrorism list, a list from which they were removed by President Bush in 2008 I believe.

All manner of actors and actresses, politicians and whomever have come out in support of Sony with talk against North Korea for creating a “chilling effect” against creativity in the film industry. The actors refer to the film as “art,” and “drama,” in their statements and they make all types of comments about North Korea’s leader.

Not to support North Korea or its leader, but from what I know of the film, which of course hasn’t been released as of yet, but we know a substantial amount of the story line by now hearing about it, from what I know of the film it crosses the line rather thoroughly from “art” into what could very easily be called “propaganda.” I’ve blogged in the past asking the very question, “Is Hollywood Entertainment or Propaganda?” Often, I believe it is more propaganda than art, though cleverly so.

Clearly the nature of this film has propagandistic qualities. The leader of North Korea is thoroughly lampooned and his image is physically desecrated. Certain elements of US government agencies are depicted in the film and there are discussions about assassinating the leader of North Korea.

Ladies and gentlemen, a serious line is crossed in the film and it amazes me that Hollywood should expect to be insulated from the consequences of their behavior in that regard. North Korea is believed to be a nuclear power, now. We are made aware by our often propagandistic media of the tenuous nature of the leader of North Korea. Not too long ago The US was on missile watch.

Why should Sony Pictures feel they should be immune from any repercussions to such behavior as they develop such a device as a propagandistic campaign to denigrate the leader of a foreign county, however unstable that nation is? “What imbecile at Sony Pictures made that decision?” That should be the question the world is asking!

How many times have we heard in the last ten years about Muslim fundamentalists beheading Americans and foreigners because of a small, square cartoon in some obscure foreign newspaper which depicts Islam negatively? We live in the electronic age. It’s only moments before someone will see something half way around the world.

I have heard not fewer than ten actors make some sort of outlandish comment about North Korea since the beginning of this episode as if they were somehow historical scholars about North Korea and we are supposed to consider what they have to say as gospel because they come from tinsel town.

Whether it is in fact North Korea that is sponsoring the threats we have been hearing about or not, that really isn’t the real issue at hand. The issue at hand is that Sony Pictures is crying wolf after throwing stones and waking up a sleeping dog. Really, Sony Pictures?

And who knows, this could all be some sort of publicity stunt gone terribly wrong? In fact, I’d be willing to wager that is exactly what has happened if I had the time and resources to investigate it myself. Because I certainly don’t trust what is happening with the circumstances. Hollywood is renowned for such efforts. In Hollywood, as the saying goes “any publicity is better than no publicity.”

I wonder what Hollywood would say if God forbid a nuclear bomb went off in Los Angeles about now? One thing is for sure, if “The Interview” is indeed a work of art and a comedy and not political propaganda, we would know who had the last laugh.

F’ing idiots! What did you expect? And to schedule the release during the holidays!

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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Recently I’ve found myself in a number of loaded discussions centered on the subject of women in the workplace and how they are not equally paid and don’t achieve the leadership positions that men do on an equal scale.

I wanted to add some visual observations I’ve been making about the matter that I believe dispell most of belief that there is some organized method of inequality taking place.

The day after Thanksgiving I went to the bank to deposit some money and while standing in line I noticed that everyone working in the bank was female. All of the tellers were female. The drive-up people whom I could see from where I stood were females and the loan officers in their offices were female. Everyone working in the bank was female. And when I got to the window I asked and the answer was, yes, hey, isn’t that strange? Strange indeed, I thought.

After that I went to several big box retailers to shop and by taking a visual count of males to females in all of the stores and writing it down I determined that the average male to female ratio was in fact approximately 67 percent female workers to 23 percent male workers, even in the stores that we traditionally consider male dominated such as electronics.

But when there is a grunt job involving heavy lifting or really dirty work, it’s mostly occupied by men. That means that women are positioned better to take the leadership jobs in the first place because they are there in the office or making the sales while the men are holding the door for them and pushing in their chairs.

And in fact after 2008 when the economy took a nose dive more women for some time were working than men and it may still be that way, I don’t know.

My point is, to me the gender inequality is not visible. I don’t see it. I see more women working than men.

These of course are just visual observations, but at the very least I can say that to me when I consider where I myself work and where I shop and the places I frequent, more women work in those places than men and in fact in my place of work a woman runs the operation.

So, I just don’t see the gender inequality. To me, from what I can see, it doesn’t exist, unless you are talking about dangerous work or grunt jobs, there appear to be more women than men working.

This is just an observation. It may be that it’s just a damn good one is all.

If you have some stats you’d like me to see that aren’t put together by our government, I’d love to see them, by the way.

And all of this raises a serious question about the relationships of men and women in the workplace and have some workplaces just become too contentious for men to work in with all of the laws that govern their behavior and interaction with women that weren’t there just twenty years ago.

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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