They got him! Another prominent white male called out by the mainstream media for being racist has had his career destroyed, tossed down the memory hole, never to drawl about beer, trucks, or girls ever again!

Or did they? In January 2021, the 28-year-old, mullet-rocking, cutoff flannel shirt-wearing, small-town Tennessee country music star Morgan Wallen arrived home late at night (or early in the morning?) with his friends and yelled by means of farewell to one of them, “Take care of this p****-ass mother******  — Take care of this p****-ass n*****.”

This drunken incident was caught on...

They got him! Another prominent white male called out by the mainstream media for being racist has had his career destroyed, tossed down the memory hole, never to drawl about beer, trucks, or girls ever again!

Or did they? In January 2021, the 28-year-old, mullet-rocking, cutoff flannel shirt-wearing, small-town Tennessee country music star Morgan Wallen arrived home late at night (or early in the morning?) with his friends and yelled by means of farewell to one of them, “Take care of this p****-ass mother******  — Take care of this p****-ass n*****.”

This drunken incident was caught on video by Wallen’s neighbor, who quickly did his or her civic duty and got the recording into the hands of tabloid TV station TMZ, who quickly did their capitalist duty and broadcast it worldwide.

Wallen’s punishment for uttering the racial slur was swift and severe: radio stations and streaming services silenced his music, his record label suspended him, and he was disinvited to the American Music Awards and the Country Music Awards, where he was set to win many honors.

Okay, you say, we’ve heard this tune before. We know how it plays out: Wallen is another victim of cancel culture, forced to eke out a living in obscurity.

Plot twist!

Fast-forward 10 months, and the Daily Mail is reporting that “Country singer Morgan Wallen had the biggest selling album of 2021 – after he was canceled for using the N-word and banned from awards shows.” His album Dangerous (3 million sales) outsold Adele’s super-hyped album (1.4 million) and blew Kayne West’s new record out of the water (fewer than one million sales).

So to recap: twangy redneck singer uses the N-word in a private conversation; huge national radio conglomerates take Wallen’s music off the airwaves for four months and streaming services refuse to play him (until, of course, they all realized how much money they were losing); he’s banned from every red carpet in Music City; he’s on the verge of losing his recording contract; and less than a year later, he has the most album sales IN ANY MUSICAL GENRE for 2021.

So what gives?

First off, nobody, and I mean nobody outside of Wesleyan University’s Office for Equity & Inclusion, believes Wallen hates black people. Shortly after the TMZ story broke, Wallen made an apology and offered an “explanation” for his behavior: he was using the slur “playfully,” he said, and it slipped out after a “72-hour bender.”

And guess what? People believed him. No one argued that the N-word is not a vile term with repugnant historical connotations and that it absolutely can be and is used for extreme offense. The vast majority of 2021 album buyers seemed content that while Morgan might be a bit of a drunken fool, he didn’t mean to insult the entire African-American community.

This is the same Morgan Wallen, by the way, who in 2020 was disinvited from hosting Saturday Night Live (and then invited back again) because a video surfaced of him partying without a mask. Gasp! That’s right, we’re talking about a repeat woke offender here — one who posts pictures on social media of himself fishing, hunting, and working on his truck. The man simply reeks of MAGA country.

There’s a long (and growing) list of celebrities who have been canceled simply for being “controversial” or expressing views that clash with the mainstream, much less uttering one of the most abhorrent words in the English language. Wallen’s restitution is remarkable and quite telling.

Wallen and Dangerous come at a time when cancel culture has reached a crescendo. Of course his tendency to throw around slurs is shameful, but his authentic, what-you-see-is-what-you-get attitude strikes a chord with people sick of overreactions and of being micromanaged, scrutinized, vilified, and crucified.

What Wallen and his music offer a woke-weary, pandemic-worn world is a lighthearted escape to Good Times, USA, a place where lockdowns, mask mandates, vax passes, variants, and cancel culture are all a distant memory. His songs are catchy, clever, laid back, and easy to listen to, with pleasant, generally upbeat melodies. His voice is raspy enough to have character without being outrageous, and his accent has just enough twang to be folksy and recognizable without being absurd or contrived.

Dangerous offers America a welcome alternative to the dramatic ballads of Adele, now a member of the Hollywood elite and taking herself way too seriously, and her song “Cry Your Heart Out,” which sounds like a Martian invasion and is itself a much-needed relief from who or whatever a Doja Cat is.

Wallen’s themes are simple — the charms of country living, love lost and found, and home. And even when his music is sometimes sentimental, it’s not really sad so much as dreamy, and nothing that can’t be solved by beer or brown liquor. Or both. I counted, and “drinkin’,” “whiskey,” “bourbon,” “bar,” “tequila,” “bartender,” “Southern Comfort,” “beer,” “moonshine,” “shot glass,” and/or “alcohol” appear in 23 of 30 songs on the album.

So when the guy we hire to sing about being drunk drunkenly says some stupid and offensive things, we make him apologize, which he did (and entered rehab, and donated a portion of his album sales to the Black Music Action Coalition). And then we go back to letting his fun-drenched, American value-loving, uplifting music speak for itself.

We’ve had enough of cancel culture. Enough sneaky neighborhood tattletales who secretly record private conversations from across the street and share the video so the entire world can view another person’s drunken blunder. (Even Kim Kardashian has said she thinks “cancel culture is the most ridiculous thing,” and people should have a chance to mend their ways.)

We have enough real problems — disease, a supply chain shortage, a tanking economy, a senile president — to care too much about a young booze-fueled fool’s night of indiscretion. We’re longing, as a nation, for forgiveness. For peace and understanding. For second chances and redemption. For freedom to listen to the music we like. And to do “Country A$$ S***” (an actual song from Wallen’s album) until all the woke name-calling at last goes away.