During a recent college speaking engagement, The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles focused on the danger of “cancel culture.”
He began by describing one of the forms cancel culture takes:
Of far greater concern to society is the recent scourge of cancel culture, which threatens to make our public discourse courser, falser, and crueler. Cancel culture takes two forms. In one version, cancel culture occurs when a once obscure individual achieves some modicum of fame or success, at which point a social media swarm stirs up and digs up some tweet that that guy sent ten years ago, at which point his achievement is totally taken away from him and he is canceled…
Even the kindest of souls find themselves subject to this sort of cancel culture. I’m not talking about myself. I’m talking about a guy named Carson King, just recently, an Iowa football fan. Carson King held up a sign at a game that said, please send beer money, and it included his Venmo address.
As Knowles was beginning to explain the Carson King story, a group of people walked out of his speech. Knowles then used their exit as an example of “cancel culture.”
Well, I’ll tell you about Carson King, and you can leave … if you want. He held up that sign and raised $1 million, and the reaction that he got from the American public was exactly the reaction that we’re seeing in this room – people who don’t want to listen to a thing, who don’t want to look at grace, who don’t want to live in a culture that takes each other seriously, but a culture that merely wants to rip people down for no reason.
In September, prior to attending the Iowa State University vs. University of Iowa football game, 24-year-old Carson King held up a sign that was featured on ESPN’s “College GameDay.”
The sign read: “Busch Light supply need replenished.” King included his Venmo account details for anyone who would donate. After the sign went viral, thousands of dollars began pouring into King’s account, at which point, he decided to donate the money to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
In total, King reportedly raised approximately $2.95 million before shuttering his account.
On September 24, a Des Moines Register reporter penned a profile piece about King. In the piece, the reporter included the following passage:
A routine background check of King’s social media revealed two racist jokes, one comparing black mothers to gorillas and another making light of black people killed in the holocaust. The joke tweets date back to 2012, when King was a 16-year-old high school student. When asked about the tweets, King was remorseful and thanked the Register for pointing them out, saying they made him “sick.” He has since deleted them.
— Carson King (@CarsonKing2) September 25, 2019
King also noted that he wasn’t upset by the way the Des Moines Register covered him:
The Des Moines Register has been nothing but kind in all of their coverage, and I appreciate the reporter pointing out the post to me. I want everyone to understand that this was my decision to publicly address the posts and apologize. I believe that is the right thing to do.
— Carson King (@CarsonKing2) September 25, 2019
The Des Moines Register released statement about the story:
A statement from our editor: pic.twitter.com/ZH9AhcrYbg
— Des Moines Register (@DMRegister) September 25, 2019
The reporter was eventually terminated after his own years-old offensive tweets were uncovered. Cancel culture, it seems, came for him just as it came for Carson King.
King has continued to involve himself in charitable endeavors.
Separate from the Carson King story, and speaking of the “cancel culture” movement more broadly, Knowles noted that “cancel culture” is a form of political correctness taken to a new level:
In fact, what we find is very often the truer a statement is the more liable it is to incur the ire of cancel culture. Cancel culture is political correctness with teeth. Political correctness is the leftist speech codes and behavior codes that we all make fun of because they’re so ridiculous. Cancel culture is the mutant spawn of political correctness. Cancel culture is what happens when you contradict those codes of speech and behavior that political correctness dictates.
PC and cancel culture threaten our public discourse. They stifle speech; they stifle thought. Worst of all, they encourage lies. We must fight both of those scourges tooth and nail. We must do it. We must not be forced to live in lies. We must not be forced to live in fear. Nobody benefits from living in lies. Nobody benefits from living in fear. We’re told that they do. They don’t.
This entire speaking tour is a rebuke to that hideous culture of intimidation and lies. … In “Alice in Wonderland,” Humpty Dumpty says to Alice, “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.” Alice responds to Humpty Dumpty. She says, “The question is whether you can make words mean so many different things.” Humpty Dumpty knows better. He corrects her. He says, “The question is – which is to be master? That’s all.”
Knowles concluded, telling his audience that truth must win out, and that lies lead to “misery.”
Those who would re-define reality would be our masters. They tell us not to believe our own eyes – but fantasy is not reality. Ideology is not truth. Men are not women. Most importantly, and this is an important subject of the whole tour, lies are not comforting, they’re not comforting. To “comfort” means to encourage, that’s what it means, with forte, like forte, strength. It means to give strength. Lies do not give strength, and they don’t encourage. They deceive, they weaken, they give harm. Increasingly, our society shies away from what we call “uncomfortable truths.” This is a misguided plan destined to cause misery.
We need comfort. We need to be strong. The way you get strong is with the truth. No matter the cost, we must choose the truth above all things. There is a lot more at stake than bathrooms and pronouns.