More Morgan Wallen

Well that didn’t work.

In case you’re out of the loop, or just don’t care, which is the case with so many who’ve canceled Morgan Wallen, “Dangerous” just notched its seventh week atop the “Billboard” chart. So if the goal was to ostracize Wallen, to kill his career, that hasn’t happened.

What is the rule of battle?

Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer?

Wallen posted an olive branch, it’s just that those on the other side have not accepted it. It’s one thing when you’ve got some delusional politician/media star/radio host with an agenda spewing hatred and untruths who refuses to back down, admit they’re wrong, but that is not the case with Morgan Wallen. Why can’t we make this a teaching moment? Why can’t all the outlets who banned his music get together with him to spread the message that the N-word is not okay to use? You know Wallen would play along, because the message is good and he wants peace. Everybody else can go to rehab and emerge a new person, cleansed, and be accepted, but there’s no route that Wallen can pursue that will get him out of jail.

We all make mistakes. Do we now live in a zero tolerance society? Where every utterance by an individual is perceived identically, irrelevant of intent or apology? You couldn’t live up to that standard, no one could live up to that standard!

As for the blowback, the truth spoken by Mickey Guyton, thank god the layer of racist b.s. in Nashville was exposed, demonstrating that racism is endemic, illustrating that things must change. But what has happened since? Nothing. The story is now old, no one is talking about racism in Nashville, it’s just business as usual, so what has been accomplished? A bunch of self-satisfied people have continued to divide the republic when they’ve got the option to bridge the gap. Once again, Morgan Wallen is playing, it’s just those that have canceled him who are not.

Meanwhile, everybody’s afraid to go out on a limb. These radio chains and streaming outlets are corporations, they report to Wall Street and boards, they’re risk-averse, they take the public temperature before they take any action at all. And it’s good that they canceled Morgan after his words, but it is not good that it’s forever.

And the secret we all know is you can’t get a man to go on record about sexual abuse, rape, any offense against women for fear of being canceled himself. Actually, many people will say men don’t get to have an opinion at all. How does this solve the problem? I’m not saying men are not guilty, I’m just saying that we have to talk about the problem from all sides to work out a reasonable solution.

So no one in music is going on record about Morgan Wallen. They’re all silent. They’re all wimps.

So what is the penalty for using the N-word? Are you canceled forever or is there a specified amount of time after which we bring you back into the fold. The point here is we don’t know! And if we just talked about it we could make headway, it could become clear, but it’s off the table. Primarily because if you speak up chances are you’ll get caught in the crossfire and be canceled too. You’ve got to agree with the group or you can’t speak, you’re not entitled to an opinion.

As for racist rednecks purchasing “Dangerous” to make a point, we have no idea to what degree that is true. But if it is, they see Wallen as one of them. If Wallen is embraced by the social justice warriors, and testifies as to his fault and apologizes on country radio stations…where does that leave them? They’ll lose their martyr, they’ll become marginalized, isn’t that what we want?

America needs not only a conversation about race, but cancel culture. Watch Bill Maher’s “New Rule” from Friday night:

If you’re willing to dive deeper into the gray area, into thorny issues, read this:

“Inside a Battle Over Race, Class and Power at Smith College: A student said she was racially profiled while eating in a college dorm. An investigation found no evidence of bias. But the incident will not fade away.”:

 Read a few paragraphs, you’ll be stunned. Yes, there is systemic racism in America, but does that make every white guilty?

Oh, don’t talk to me about racial justice training, I’m not saying whites don’t offend, I’m not saying Blacks haven’t been subjected to racism ever since they’ve come to America, but every situation is not black and white. And the more you make them so, the more you alienate those who don’t agree with you. I’m far left of Biden, but I think cancel culture is out of control, if you need a trigger warning to read a book, maybe you shouldn’t be in college to begin with.

So, since the white mob has canceled Morgan Wallen forever, those white fans who are racist are having their feelings of oppression reinforced. No, I’m not saying it’s the whites who are oppressed as opposed to the Blacks, I’m saying when a mob cracks down on you and there’s no respite, no truth, no way back to harmony, this works against us all. For example, you’ve got those on the right saying 1/6 was all Antifa, and that Trump really won the election. There are endless falsehoods, most notably at CPAC this past weekend. But just because they’re out of control liars doesn’t mean we should be.

As for Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous”…

It’s damn good.

Most of the people canceling it would never listen to it. They never listen to country radio. Half of the public is wiped away, if for no other reason than they talk differently and have different values. Yes, I hate when people force their religion upon me, inject it into government, but they’ve got the right to practice their religion…we’ve just got to teach and enforce the boundaries!

So, I found myself out hiking bored with podcasts and news, and I wondered what might satiate me. It occurred to me to pull up “Dangerous.” No one would know, it was a private effort, not that I was not anxious, and after I did, I was stunned how rewarding it was.

Then again, we live in a culture where there’s no consensus, where people would rather hate on you than agree with you. Come on, if I write about ANY record, ANY AT ALL, I get excoriated by people who believe they know better. They analyze the faults in the song, in the production, and then I look them up online and I find out…they’re nobody, with no success. They rip other people to make themselves feel good. That’s what our entire nation has devolved into. Drawing lines, taking sides, creating difference.

And the music industry is adding fuel to the fire. Now that’s sad!


Hi Bob,

Black artist manager who’s based in Nashville and has managed country acts. The outrage and attempted cancellation of Morgan was lost on me. He was drunk, talking to friends and was picked up by a Ring camera. The way folks reacted you’d have thought Morgan stood on the Opry stage during a concert and said “we gotta get the n-words out of Nashville”. He didn’t even register a blip in Black media, and most black folks don’t even know who Morgan is, let alone care that he called his redneck friends the n-word.

I was once on a Skype (does anyone use that anymore?!) with my business partner, who is white when a group of our friends (who are also white) walked in. One of them shouted “wassup my n@&*as” not knowing I was there virtually. When he saw I was on the call he immediately apologized and said he meant no disrespect to me. I was slightly disappointed in him but not cancel him disappointed.

Unpopular take: black folks have been trying to de-stigmatize that word for several decades now. Its one of the justifications we use for using that word ourselves. Maybe its finally lost its sting if rednecks are comfortable calling each other “n@&*as”. Just sayin.

Bottom line: I wish woke white folks cared more about the lack of black leadership in music than what some drunk dude said at 2am.



You are right, Bob, the San Francisco school re-naming thing is ridiculous.

I’m a proud San Franciscan and liberal Democrat. I also have two boys in SF’s public schools. Every parent I know (from a wide variety of ethnicities) is upset by this vote and the millions of dollars it will cost. It’s completely blind to the current needs of families.

The truth is that the pandemic has been CRUSHING to parents who both have to juggle work at home, while making sure their kids are actually paying attention in video classrooms, and keeping them occupied because they cannot be with their friends. Imagine how difficult it must be for single parents? Especially ones who have labor jobs and can’t work at home. And the School District has NO PLAN to safely re-open!

My 8th grader attends Presidio Middle School and its getting renamed, apparently because the actual Presidio used to be a military base. Ah, so that must be why he likes to shoot other people while playing Call of Duty. C’mon!!!

-Kent Carter


You need to sit down on this one. Good grief.

Brooks Jordan


Amen dude.

Cancel culture, wokish-ness and faux outrage is the new big brother.  Morgan Wallen is just the latest example of “virtue signaling” by overcompensating corporations.  What he did wasn’t right, he admitted it, he’s a knucklehead, time to move on.

Oh — Facebook now says I can’t call one of my best friends a pussy because it’s bullying.  Our entire relationship  publicly and privately on facebook is based on mercilessly ragging on each other.  Now I have to use “courage deprived feline” and “fellator of roosters” so I’ll pass the anti-bullying filter.  Kinda funny as it forces me to be creative but…

Dan Millen


Seems to be white Women are the most offended.  None of my black friends cared.  They understand context, forgiveness, and empathy.  The largely white cancel mob know none of those things.  The people I know are more put off by the neighbor surreptitiously recording the incident.  He’s the true villain.

George Marshall, Jr.


Amen. The cure for bad speech is more speech (Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis, back in 1927)

Dave Murray


Political correctness is THE gateway drug to the Republican party.  Reverse racism running a very hot second.  The hard core warriors of the language wars of political correctness are never going to back down because they believe it’s their life.  Or death.  Using common sense (your path) can get you into the Mitch McConnell hot seat, where you’re damned either way.

I think these two gateway drugs are permanent prions in the modern mind that will eventually destroy its host.

Your solution (common sense) relies on the occasional sacrifice of the all important ego.

Never gonna happen in the hot zone.

None of the above should be construed as condoning Wallen’s caucasian arrogance.

Curse the sin and not the sinner does have merit, but repeat offenders should lose the option of this humane olive branch.

richard sales


Agreed 100% on the subject of “cancel culture” in general, and of Morgan Wallen’s case specifically. How many of his hypocrite detractors were famous at 27, with someone filming the goings-on at their home?

Jer Gervasi


You could ask the same about Louis CK, Al Franken, Aziz Ansari & numerous others who’s social mis-steps, mis-speaks & transgressions weren’t nearly as severe as Harvey Weinstein’s, Bill Cosby’s, Kevin Spacey’s, Michael Richard’s & Mel Gibson’s.

So the question remains, at what point do they get released from social purgatory, if ever? Do they have to remain there for the rest of their lives? Effectively ending their careers in the public eye, & spotlight?

-Rick Marino


Completely disagree. The problem with today’s times is we let people ‘off the hook’ when they shouldn’t be. “I wont do it again.’ And then… Boom… more video of that person doing it again.

Nail his ass to the wall. He used it in a VERy derogatory way. He KNEW it was derogatory. That’s WHY he said it.

Kevnn Robinson


Yeah, no, Bob.

You have been around enough to make this distinction. Morgans fans cannot make sense of your nuance.

They hear hateful, racist things and are encouraged by his language. They celebrate this behavior.

F… him, I hope he never makes another dollar.

Also you may want to retract some of this, it doesn’t sound great. Apologists for using the nword are not good looks.

Get back in touch with real folks. It’s tough out here.

Aaron James


What a weird side to take. Absolutely wrong.

Matt Ross


With all due respect, this is not his first disastrous, self destructive decision. In a very short span of time he has been arrested for fighting drunk in a bar, risking lives by not following Covid restrictions while partying, canceled from SNL, given a second chance, immediately went back to maskless partying AND used the N word comfortably and with no self-awareness.

When these are the things that show, there are a thousand more we don’t see. It’s a pattern. It’s representative of who he is. Plus, his music is horrible. I say clear the way for more talented artists with a conscience and a sense of decency.


Dean Miller


Right on Bob.  Glad you had the chutzpah to say what a lot of us are thinking.  It wasn’t cool what he did – but the degree of public and professional punishment didn’t fit the bad behavior.

Charles Fetterly


Bob, I’m not sure wading off in this one is the best route, but you have. Wallen is a train wreck. He needs to get sober and show some respect for himself and those who have invested in him, either financially or as fans.

If he is truly remorseful, he could find a way to make this a teaching moment not only for him but for those who love his music.

The people (or at least some people) have spoken, but what are they saying here? We’re so glad you used the N word that we’re going to buy your records/stream your songs as a show of support for using a racial slur, and as reaction to those who have rightfully condemned this? You can bet your ass that they aren’t parsing out the context. This is indicative a real problem in our society, and shows pretty clearly how race continues to drive so much.

As for those who won’t forgive, maybe some words to encourage that are helpful. But I remember some real cancel culture when the Chicks were literally taken out of circulation. And there’s an interesting crossover there, or at least it seems so. The same folks who rushed to vote with their wallets for Wallen (or their forbears) were voting the other way for the Chicks.

Country music ought to be about finding beauty in everyday life, not ugliness. Those who get to Wallen’s level need to speak to beauty, not ugliness.

Jim Warren


This is a horrible take Bob and veery disappointed to read it from you.

Shivam Pandya


I’m Korean and I don’t feel the need to reclaim the word “gook” and thus I don’t use it and expect others to not use it.. It would be a lot easier if ALL parties agreed to not use racially offensive terms.

Steve Byun


you have got to be kidding me.

Heather Coughlin


Cancel Culture: No. Consequence Culture: Yes. Like all things of this nature, we do nothing for along time, then catch ourselves, and over-correct. Ultimately, you’d hope we wind up with the right formula.

Jon Sinton


You’re off here. This is the big leagues and when you mess up you pay big league prices. He showed his true colors by screaming racial slurs out at the top of his lungs thinking there would be no consequences.  The epitome of privilege. As is your response. He was home which means this is a regular thing and actually who he is. You can hear it in the way it so effortlessly came out of his mouth the way Ive heard it being flung out at me and my ancestors for centuries. He and people like him need to he held accountable and cast aside.

Jared Cotter


The supreme ignorance in this instance is an old white man thinking he has the depth and nuance and LIFE EXPERIENCE to be an authority on this.

Guess what, that word, coming out of the mouth of anyone not Black, is and will always be derogatory. Just because this country is so deep in the belly of learned racism in the micro and macro that you can find some Black faces that will give you the answer you want to hear doesn’t change truth.

Andres Reye


Watched both videos and up until this moment I had no feeling, yea or nay, about his music or his personna.  Not a real fan before, but I certainly am now.  What a remarkably insightful, soulful, reflection on a massively inappropriate moment, his coming to grips with it, and his deliberate way-forward into growth.

He’s young; he did not realize that there is an ever-present mulituniverse of people who are teen up to pounce on you with a QUICKNESS whenever a slight can be detected.  He realizes it now.

From what I saw, I believe his mind has been affected and rebooted at a root level in a most interesting and positive way.  An Amazing Grace sort of thing….

Anyway, bravo to Morgan Wallen.  A guy that cerebral is likely to make good music.  Welcome to the big city Morgan: peace.



Totally agree. The woke police make moderate Republicans think twice about leaving Mothership Trump. Like defund the police. Can we make it any easier to keep Trump relevant?

Robert Williams


You missed the mark here tragically- stay in your lane. Defending racists is not a good look for you. His record sales went up since the incident and you think he is in the dog house? Get your head out of the sand and PLEASE go read a history book or two. People that defend racists are also racist. I was genuinely surprised  by this letter- but I shouldn’t be.

Jeremy Shelton


Thank you for the Morgan Wallen piece.

I am so sick of this cancel,woke,etc. culture. These folks are bullies with keyboards. Enough already!

Stan Goman


Thanks Bob. I’m a Southerner, I don’t listen to much modern country music, never heard Morgan Wallen,  but I completely understand what you’re saying.  What this young man did was ignorant and crass, but at what point do you take out the nails and bring him down from the cross? And yes, we folks down here feel like we’re held to a different standard because of the grievous mistakes of our forefathers. And our accents (there are several in the region, mine is Southern Appalachian Mountains) automatically lowers our IQ’s in the eyes of so many. We appreciate you sticking up for us.

Ya’ll Come And Visit, Ya Hear?

Sean Brown

Asheville NC


Waaaaaaa, another white man is getting “canceled” because he said something racist. Please. He’s still a white man, he’ll be just fine. It IS black and white, because EVERYTHING in this country is in Black and white. The N word has been used for centuries, way before it showed up in hip hop, while lynching, raping, murdering, targeting and otherwise destroying the dignity and lives of Black people in this country. It has long been established that if you are not Black, you cannot use the word in polite society. Unless you want to further carry out the legacy of hatred associated with the word, a deafening chorus of which has been the soundtrack to many a hate crime, waaaaay before it was even considered a crime to murder a Black person…… unless you want to completely disrespect, harm, humiliate, and inflict pain upon Black people and re-establish your commitment to white supremacy by throwing the word around like a frisbee in July. It is the ONE THING that white people can’t get away with anymore, it’s the ONE THING they cannot do and it enrages them. He canceled himself.

Jennifer Johnson


I’m kind of curious who had the camera on him day and night?

One of the better apologies I’ve seen.

Velina Brown


You’ve truly revealed your true colors (pun intended).

I won’t even bother to pontificate how offensive this insensitive diatribe you call a “blog”.

Have a nice day

Kirk Bonin


I’m not a fan of Morgan Walle’s music, but I agree with you. (If this were twitter someone right about now would be attacking me for being a white male with the audacity to voice an opinion.And they’re mostly other white people.)

‘OF COURSE, LOOK AT THIS WHITE ASS MOFO DEFENDING RACISM. CANCEL HIS ASS!’  They never get the point. But you get the point.

10-15 years ago, I was playing in pickup bands and worked with a few white dudes who mostly played with Black artists, and they truly loved RnB/Hip Hop music and they were good players, so they got the gigs.

But they were very comfortable using the vernacular of the artists they played for, ‘Wut Up, My N****!’ etc. It was their way of trying to fit in, I suppose. I found it cringe worthy, they sounded ridiculous and it was embarrassing to be around. The intent though was NOT to offend. In fact, I believe they thought they were paying some kind of homage to the culture, as idiotic as they came across. But now, this is called cultural appropriation. Some of those cats have the biggest mouths on social media when it comes to over the top Social Justice. I hope for their sake nobody ever recorded these dudes.

Every.Single.Person. has something they’ve said or done that would get them cancelled in this current climate.

Oy vey!!!

Wade Mosher


Hey Bob, you know that Yankee Doodle Dandy was originally a Brit song making fun of faggy americans….. and americans took it and turned it into a fighting song against the brits….

Schuyler Bishop


Every one of us has done similar or worse things, and most of us have used offensive terms and names.

Morgan’s seeing what it is like to be young and successful and judged for his defects.  I bet it has made him

better already, grown up a little. Now his actions are all that matters.  I wish him the best.

Dennis Pelowski


Good for you, Bob, for shining your light on this event and on Morgan.

And good for Morgan Wallen!

I am really touched by his apology video and the actions he has taken and is taking for himself and his loved ones.

May we all be as authentic when we own up to our mis-steps.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

All the best,
Margaret Horton


Geeze, I’ve never seen a more sincere apology.

I don’t know where Morgan will end up but give the man some space to repent and do some soul searching.

I don’t know about anyone else but I did plenty in my 20’s (and other times) that required some pretty deep soul searching on my part to decide what kind of person I wanted to become.

That process never ends.

He’s a lucky man that he was called out on it and that he has a chance to grow and develop.

Now let’s all move on and keep working on ourselves.

Annie Roboff


Never forget .

Elvis Costello has been more than forgiven.

He’s now a revered elder statesman! 


Baltimore, Md


Thank you for taking this stance, Bob. We desperately need more nuance and critical thinking across the board.

Kind regards,

Greg Smith


Hallelujah Bob.  I’m so glad to hear you address the morality of the cancel culture.  The absence of forgiveness endemic within it speaks to a nation that wears religion as an ornament but has forgotten all its teachings.  From afar America seems like an unkind and nasty place to live now.  I hope it can recover and that you too don’t get cancelled for being brave enough to defend a sinner who has asked to be forgiven.

Andrew Harting


If your neighbor is filming you in the middle of the night, it’s because it’s not the first time and they are probably over it. Surprise! You’re the a**hole on the block.

Jennifer Commander


We are all idiots at times and we all need to be let out of the penalty box when we are repentant.  If we then abuse that forgiveness, we should expect even worse.


When we refuse to let someone try to change their ways, we not only hold them prisoner, but ourselves, as well, because we limit our ability (as a society) to benefit from their gifts and abilities.


Yes, let Wallen return to the airways, work to change his vocabulary and gain some cultural sensitivity, he and we all will benefit.


Chris Long



Bob, really great to see you write about the absurdity of ‘cancel culture’.  Permanent expulsion and shunning is the wrong tool for reconciliation.  It creates polarization.

And that of course is why banishment is popular.  It separates us (which benefits some) rather than unites us (which would benefit us all).

–Greg Bellamy


I thought you were onto something until I watched the video you included.
This dude is an ignorant and belligerent jack ass who was bothering people in the middle of the night. He also used the P word in addition to the N-word. Furthermore, if he’s a big-time country music star what is he doing living in that neighborhood?

I wouldn’t try to defend him. Anybody who uses the N-word knows exactly what’s going on.

That’s why they use it Bob.

Bill West



We’re all imperfect to put it mildly.
Like a pendulum, the correction of excess could be worse.

I am reminded of the wisdom of avoiding absolutes.

“Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater.”  George Washington Carver

I enjoy learning and evaluating my own foibles from your insightful and thought provoking correspondence.

Dave Weston


Sorry Bob, I usually agree with ya but you are way out of step with what Black leaders, musicians and industry are calling for in regards to Wallen. If Black artists and listeners say that his use of the N-word was hurtful to them, I’m gonna believe them and defer to them on how to treat it. Come on man. You can do better than this.

Melody Walker


OMG Bob. So now you’re a racist apologist? You’re dead to me now.

Mark Towns


Sorry Bob, you are 100% on the wrong side of this issue. In today’s politically and socially charged climate, only a zero tolerance approach can be taken. After my career in the music industry, up until retirement, I taught English at an inner city Baltimore high school. Regardless of who uses the derogatory word, there is simply no place for it.

Richard Gold


Wrong. Whether YOU think he used this epiteth in a forgiveable way or not. Letting him out of the “doghouse” is a huge win for ignorance and a loss for true understanding and empathy. Don’t give Morgan and his very supportive base the validation and more privilege than they already have. So unexpected Bob.

Kenton Dunson


All the folks I’ve seen saying that Wallen deserves a second chance and an opportunity to learn from this have been black folks, it’s whites (and generally whites who are desperate to be seen as “good people” by non-whites) that are saying he doesn’t deserve to have a career anymore. Irony of ironies. I can’t co-sign what he said, but I’m glad people are pushing back on this idea that he doesn’t get to have a career because he once said something bad in earshot of a camera phone.

Adam James


Unsubscribing. Jesus Christ, this wasn’t even close.

Benjamin M. Katz
Attorney at Law

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