Cancelled For A Single Word

And spoken outside his home, to friends.

Country music superstar Morgan Wallen was suspended indefinitely by his record label and removed from hundreds of radio stations across the country yesterday. The reason? He was captured on camera saying “nigger.” TMZ posted a video this week showing Wallen loudly returning home with friends. A neighbor started recording the scene and the video included Wallen using the word. If you can tell the context of his words, please explain it to me. Was “nigger” meant as an insult, or was it used playfully? Was the target white or black? There is no evidence that he “hurled” the word, because that suggest that it was hurled at someone.

Of course, it doesn’t matter. We have capitulated to a draconian, punitive culture where a white man using a single taboo word once, regardless of context or intent, in a private setting, is considered just cause to destroy his career, though his conduct itself was legal and indeed constitutionally protected. The word is not conclusive evidence that the singer is a racist, or evidence at all. Never mind: Cumulus Media and iHeartMedia, the country’s top two radio conglomerates, pulled his music immediately, as did several other companies such as SiriusXM (which owns the streaming service Pandora). CMT stopped playing his music on all television and digital platforms; the Country Music Association took similar action. The Academy of Country Music said he will not be eligible for its upcoming awards show. Big Loud, Wallen’s independent label in Nashville, said that they made the decision to suspend him “in the wake of recent events, and added that Republic Records, the Universal Music Group-owned major label partner who also promotes Wallen, “fully supports Big Loud’s decision and agrees such behavior will not be tolerated.”

Though his latest album has been No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart for the past three weeks,Wallen’s career may be over. His obligatory and futile apology:

“I’m embarrassed and sorry. I used an unacceptable and inappropriate racial slur that I wish I could take back. There are no excuses to use this type of language, ever. I want to sincerely apologize for using the word. I promise to do better.”

It is foolish, corrosive, unfair and wrong to declare words taboo, but if that’s the stupid, primitive, slippery , road American society wants to pave, so be it. However, it that’s going to be a standard, and anyone who used the word in any context is going to be systematically destroyed, then that standard had better be color-blind. If Morgan Wallen is going to be cancelled, then Samuel L. Jackson and Dave Chappelle must be too. The taboo will still be unethical, but at least the administration of it won’t be.

The neighbor who released the video to TMZ behaved far, far more unethically than the singer.

17 thoughts on “Cancelled For A Single Word

  1. Insert obligatory 1984 references here…

    On the other hand, if we could just apply a colorblind, uniform policy that even uttering once the WORD THAT SHALL NOT BE UTTERED will get one’s music pulled from every station everywhere in every time, we could eliminate a great deal of rap…

  2. I have to wonder why the neighbor pulled out the phone in the first place.

    Does Wallen have a habit of using racial slurs? Had he been on a rant up to that point and the neighbor started recording to catch some of it?

    The first thing an agent needs to tell anyone – sorry, a non-black person – aspiring to be an entertainer is, “Don’t use that word. Ever. Regardless of context. Do not read it aloud. Do not spell it. Do not quote it. Period.”

    It’s just good sense. Yes, we are getting close to the #36 Rationalizations, but no one in their right mind who wants to succeed in an high-profile industry like music should be caught dead saying it.

    But I would support Wallen removing that neighbor from Christmas Card and Potluck Dinner lists.

    • Who is Morgan Wallen? I don’t listen to country or cross-over country or modern country and frankly, I would rather have my fingers chewed by rats than listen to any of it. From the looks of the video, there was some tussling going on and he said, “Hey, someone take care of this pussyass motherfucker”. Someone responded with the obligatory “FU” and he (??) said, “hey, hey ______, take care of this pussyass nigga (nigger?)!”

      I don’t know what happened prior to that and I really don’t care. The cowards who destroyed his career for that comment should be ashamed of themselves. That includes everyone from the jackass neighbor who sold the video to TMZ, the jerks on TMZ for playing the video, and the record business types who capitulated before the Mob could respond. Every last one of them has contributed to the morass we find ourselves.

      jvb

  3. If Morgan Wallen is going to be cancelled, then Samuel L. Jackson and Dave Chappelle must be too.

    Hah. Good luck with that. Will Niggers with Attitude be cancelled? Hah.

      • True. That in and of itself is unethical. Cancel culture as a whole is unethical. The reasons behind why cancel culture have surged are unethical. Each part of the ethical mess needs to be looked at for the individual reasons they are unethical. You cannot address problems without identifying them.

        I guess I just wonder how to do something about any of the unethicalness of it all. Is it better to start with the smaller issues, and argue against those? Or attack the root cause of the entire ethical mess? Some forces driving the unethical behavior seem to have to much momentum to tackle. Attacking the smaller issues seems like trying to damn an ocean one grain of sand at a time.

        • Can we please stop calling it “cancel culture”? It’s a clunky phrase.

          Notwithstanding the obvious racism in the term, can’t we just call it a “blacklist”? It’s a noun that works as well as a verb.

          And, everyone understands what it is. And, maybe, they would realize how stupid it is.

          -Jut

          • Blacklisting is only one part of cancel culture, though. Yes, people usually get blacklisted when the woke mob descends, but they also get doxed, hounded, deplatformed, cut off from access to financial institutions, defamed/libeled/slandered. Hate for the offending individual is monetized, advertised and packaged up as a business endeavor. Cancel culture is a suite of life ruining tools, while blacklisting is just one of the tools.

      • Jack, Would some of the text in Glen’s COTD of 2-4-21 be applicable.
        “If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured—

        Why wouldn’t cancel culture fall under the rubric of conspiracy to deprive another of rights. It is obvious that two people – if not more – conspired to oppress or intimidate; the neighbor and TMZ. Neither would be interested in the video if they thought it would not generate a backlash against the person. That is why TMZ exists.

  4. I recently saw the 1960 movie version of “Huckleberry Finn” on TMC, and was frankly surprised that the Word That Must Not Be Uttered was not cut, muted or beeped out. I’m sure the woke mob will get to it in due time.

  5. If the TMZ story is accurate, then I would not want Wallen living next door to me. I would not want him in my golf foursome. And, if the TMZ story and the Tennessean.com story are accurate, I sure would not want him in my company. Music conglomerates may not be employers of people like Wallen, but they do have a public image to maintain and must have some standards to uphold among those who would use their facilities. Should they be more even-handed and apply their sanctions across the board? Of course. But, it does not appear to me that Wallen was canceled for “a single word”, but, rather for a pattern of behavior that goes well beyond obnoxious and is not acceptable.

  6. Viacom reestablished its relationship with Nick Cannon after he made anti-Semetic comments and repeated conspiracy theories about Jews and the Rothschild cabal. Good to know there is redemption awaiting this country music guy.

    Oh, wait . . .

    jvb

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