Friday, December 19, 2014


By Cash Michaels

            MERRY CHRISTMAS – Here’s hoping that you and your family will have the most blessed Christmas there is this year. Despite all of the hoopla and fanfare, Christmas is supposed the be the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It seems like we get away from that meaning more and more each year, to the point where Christmas is becoming just about gifts and fun.
            I pray that for you and your family, Christmas is so much more, like coming together as a family, enjoying each other’s company, and vowing to come together more during the new year.
            So Merry Christmas to each and every one of you.  Affer all we’ve gone through this year, we all deserve a little jolliness, if you know what I mean.
            HAPPY KWANZAA - As always, Dec. 26th to January 1st are the seven days of Kwanzaa, a holiday period that is unique to the African-American community, which celebrates the seven African-based principles of hard work and fruitfulness.
Those principles are:
                                    Umoja (Unity)
                                    Kujichagulia (Self-determination)
                                    Ujima (Collective work and responsibility)
                                    Ujamaa (Cooperative economics)
                                    Nia (Purpose)
                                    Kuumba (Creativity)
                                    Imani (Faith)
Since it was founded in 1966 by Prof. Ron Karenga, Kwanzaa has exploded worldwide, reminding those of us of African heritage that, with the exception of GOD, our families and communities come first. At least that’s the way we look at it at our house. No matter, have a happy and fruitful Kwanzaa!
SONY AND THE NORTH KOREANS - So I'm really torn on this freedom of speech question. Here we are all smug and arrogant about our right to put out a movie about the assassination of a foreign leader, spoof or otherwise, but would that First Amendment right extend to a film about killing our own? You mean to tell me that the Secret Service wouldn't move on anyone who did such a thing here, or the press wouldn't have a field day tearing the very idea of such a film apart? You see all these folks in Hollywood are crying the blues, but I think this is simply a case of their rank stupidity catching up with them!
Yes, I’m talking about the North Korean government allegedly hacking into the computer of Sony Entertainment in Hollywood, wreaking havoc because Sony planned to release “The Interview”  - the silly comic fictional story of how the CIA recruits two journalists to visit North Korea and assassinate its crazy leader.
Again the film, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco, is a silly spoof that has no basis in reality, and yet just the very premise of the film was enough to outrage the North Korean government so much, that it allegedly hacked the computers at Sony Entertainment, the distributors of the film, destroying sensitive data and releasing sensitive emails  with juicy tidbits bout various popular actors and producers.
Ultimately the hackers threatened that if Sony released the film on Christmas Day as planned, “9-11” style terrorist attacks at movie theaters across the nation would commence. Needless to say, the movie chains backed out first, and Sony yanked the film altogether.
Everyone from famous movie stars to the president all condemned Sony for giving in to what was essentially a terrorist threat, saying if you give in once, they will try you again and again.
I get the “don’t give in” part, though it’s clear that Sony’s attorneys told them that if something did happen at just one movie theater, the company could be sued or zillions. To have a corrupt Communist government dictate terms any American company is abhorrent. So I get that.
But I still have a problem with what was done in the first place, namely making a movie about the assassination of a sitting foreign leader, and then hiding behind freedom of speech to arrogantly get away with it, expecting that foreign government to just suffer in silence while we just laugh our way to the bank.
In this instance, we got our so-called “superiority” shoved right back in our faces. We made a movie humiliating a foreign leader, so that foreign leader humiliated us, and now we’re the ones feeling violated.
Just how dumb is that?
If this were a movie critical of the current North Korean regime, no problem. A film showing just how corrupt and evil the leadership is while its citizens scrounge for food. No problem whatsoever. How the North Korean government is eager to start a war with the United States just to prove how “mighty” it “really” is. Have at it.
All of those points are worthy of freedom of speech protections, and worthy of defending.
But instead, we get all in a lather over a dumb Seth Rogen comedy about actually killing, not a fake or fictional character, but the real leader of the North Korean government? That crosses a line we drew ourselves expecting no one to step over, and that was wrong.
Yes I get that even that nonsense should be protected as free speech, but at the end of the day, is such a dumb film even worth all of this. I say no, and Sony had the chance to fix this some time ago, and didn’t.
To be fair, Sony isn’t even an American company. The parent company is in Japan. But now it doesn’t matter, does it.
Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you get to say anything you want, anywhere and anytime you want to, without consequences.
Freedom of speech means you get to say what you want, but you must be willing and able to deal with the responsibility thereafter.
There is a big, expensive lesson here for Sony, and the rest of us. If you’re going to speak freely, make sure what you’re saying is well worth the price.
Because there will be  price.
Merry Christmas.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (
           Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.


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