In a time when everyone wants to embrace multi-culturalism, one culture that is starting to raise its head above all the others in the United Sates is that of “Cancel Culture.” Unlike other cultures that carry rich traditions of dance, food, and faith, “Cancel Culture” brings with it only one defining element: Revenge.
The term refers to taking someone who has been deemed offensive or unacceptable (to those who apparently know better), and “canceling” them out of the rest of society. And unlike many of our most violent crimes, there is no statute of limitations placed on those deemed worthy of cancellation. The cancelers are free to go back as far as they must to find any evidence necessary, then pull it into the present to indict someone publicly. Then, like self-appointed executioners, they demand their cancellation upon sentencing.
The latest person to be culturally canceled is Carson King, a 24-year-old resident of Iowa. On Saturday, September 14, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes traveled from their home in Iowa City to meet their in-state rivals, the Iowa State University Cyclones, in Ames. The game’s final score, Iowa 18-Iowa State 17, reflected the tough and spirited nature of the rivalry. ESPN chose the Ames site as the venue for their much-celebrated College GameDay show, a program which is recorded live from different college campuses on Saturdays during the college football season.
The show is known for drawing large crowds, many of whom make signs in hopes of having them appear before a national TV audience. One such sign that was visible across the country that day was made by Carson King. King made a sign that read:
Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished.
This was not the cleverest nor the most artistic sign present that day. It did, however, get prime screen placement on ESPN — and in our times of social media shares and an obsession with the frivolous, the money started to roll in.
So much was rolling in that Carson thought he could do something more than buy beer with it. He consulted his family and decided that every dollar he received above the price of a case of beer, he would donate to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in Iowa City. Anheuser Busch and Venmo heard the news and rushed to capitalize on the PR, offering to match every dollar received. Those corporate offers further accelerated the pace of giving. At this writing, over $1.7 million has been pledged to a very worthy cause. All because of a casino worker’s handwritten sign.
Oh, and Anheuser Busch also moved to feature Carson in their marketing and pledged to keep his fridge filled with beer.
Heartwarming and fun story, right? Wrong. In doing research on King in the course of covering the story, the Des Moines County Register uncovered a few tweets made by King when he was 16 years old. The tweets contained racially insensitive remarks and a negative comment about gay marriage, which were inspired by Tosh.0, a “mainstream” show that is still on Comedy Central.
Before the Register could even go to print, Anheuser Busch, alerted of the discovery, severed all ties with Carson. In a statement, the beer behemoth said, in part, “Carson King had multiple social media posts that do not align with our values as a brand or as a company and we will have no further association with him. We are honoring our commitment by donating more than $350,000 to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.”
This is just another example of how corporate political correctness is destroying the lives of decent Americans every single day. A story like King’s may draw media attention, but in corporate offices all across America, someone is losing their job as I type this because of something they did today that someone else decided was offensive, or because of something that they did years ago, likely when almost no one found what they said offensive.
By all accounts, Carson King is a decent young man trying to find his way in life. He could have easily, and legally, decided to keep all the money that was given. Instead, his instinct was to do good. Everyone, including Anheuser Busch, embraced him and the story.
But then somebody dug up a reason for people to hate him. It is as if our culture has been rewired to crave hatred. His physical appearance and his geographical residence did not place him into a “protected class” of people who are able to get away with cultural transgressions because of their other “good works.” Never mind King’s other tweets the Register failed to publicize, like this one from just three years ago when he was actually an adult:
“Until we as a people learn that racism and hate are learned behaviors, we won’t get rid of it. Tolerance towards others is the first step.” — July 8, 2016
In an ironic twist that could serve as cultural lifesaver — one we should grab hold of if we hope to get ourselves out of this cancel culture mess — Aaron Calvin, the reporter for the Register who uncovered King’s tweets, ended up having a digital past of his own worthy of “cancellation.” The Register is now reporting that it has fired the Calvin in a headline that reads as a mea culpa, “We hear you. You’re angry. Here’s what we are doing about it.” The article explains, “We took appropriate action because there is nothing more important in journalism than having readers’ trust.” Forgive me if I don’t hold my breath and believe this is the dawn of a new era of journalism in America.
The entire ordeal—including Anheuser Busch’s decision, which remains in effect even though they will honor their financial pledge — has only served to underscore just how much PC culture has infected our nation. Nevertheless, those riddled with the disease behave like piranhas in the wild, moving in groups called shoals, attacking prey together in order to deliver maximum lethal effect.
The PC piranhas attempted to devour Carson King for words typed in between Algebra and Phys-Ed class. We shouldn’t celebrate the canceling or, frankly, the firing of anyone because the mob says so.
For centuries, there has been wide cultural agreement to largely dismiss the foibles of youth. We say, “they were young,” as a way to move past youthful transgressions and to allow for the maturation and progression of a normal person’s life. Cancel Culture makes no such allowances. If a baby’s first word sounds like a racial slur and mom posts a video on Facebook, it’s fair game.
I am willing to wager that if we took a poll, a majority of Americans would not feel that King’s tweet from age 16 should have caused Anheuser Busch to walk away from him. I further wager that if the poll was confined only to beer drinkers, their target demo, support for restoring their alignment with King would be even higher.
So why the rush to distance themselves? Is it because Anheuser Busch knows the intolerant minority will be more vocal, more hateful, than the silent majority of Americans? Of course they’re aware of this.
Let’s not let that happen.
Let’s be loud and proud in defense of King demanding that @AnheuserBusch apologize for caving to the PC piranhas. And until they do—and even if you’re like me and don’t drink—let’s lift a glass of any non-Anheuser Busch beer, and give a cheers in honor of Carson’s amazing act of charity.
Charlie Kirk is the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, the nation’s largest and fastest growing conservative youth organization with a presence on over 1,400 college and high school campuses; he is also host of “The Charlie Kirk Show.”