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On Morgan Wallen, Reckless White Men, and America’s Imperiled Future

Marcus K. Dowling
5 min readFeb 3, 2021


In vino veritas.

Loosely translated from Latin to English, it means that a person tells the truth under the influence of alcohol.

In the past six months, the number one pop music artist in America, country star Morgan Wallen — while inebriated — has, via his unsavory behavior, told many truths about himself. For pop’s top star, these truths have had considerable life and career consequences.

However, Wallen’s latest error — uttering the word “n***er” out loud while being filmed, on the first day of 2021’s Black History Month no less — is too shocking to sweep under the rug as a youthful indiscretion.

Depressingly — even if it’s appallingly bigoted to a frustrating level — if it aids in selling everything from musical albums to fried chicken, it’s celebrated in the annals of country music. However, in the wake of 2020, this essential tenet of country music’s success has potentially become a blanket condemnation of the genre overall.

Though beloved in the genre’s history, country music’s tradition of turning a blind eye to reckless white men who — even unintentionally — spew harmful language must end.

Wallen’s not just another countrified “aw shucks” yokel talking slow and singing slower about trucks and whiskey shots. He’s a 27-year-old native of Sneedville, Tennessee. On the strength of digital streaming being roughly a decade late to gaining popularity in country music’s circles, the 2014 contestant on the television program The Voice has emerged from also-ran status to having Dangerous, his new, 30-track double-album, get streamed over a half-billion times, worldwide, in under a month since its release.

This success makes him the most relevant pop star in the entirety of popular music at-present. When reaching that level of excellence, the standard to which your behavior is measured…



Marcus K. Dowling

Creator. Curator. Innovator. Iconoclast.