As evidenced by the wild success of Netflix’s Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, American culture is obsessed with criminals, and all too frequently such individuals enjoy cult-like status.
Charles Manson infamously received love letters while in prison, and copycat crimes are a common occurrence. But in our woke age, the worship of criminals has changed. Such cults are no longer nihilistic (as in the case of Manson).
Instead, the criminal is somehow turned into a saint who stands for some vague social justice ideal. Those individuals have no merits of their own, other than having encountered a tragic end. They are lionized solely on the basis of having been the victim of some injustice, no matter how unjust they may have been towards others.
George Floyd is perhaps the most emblematic case in our times. Candace Owens’ The Greatest Lie Ever Sold seeks to remove the mystic aura that surrounds this dubious character.
Owens has long played the cultural contrarian, so she is well-prepared to mount a frontal iconoclastic attack against this woke idol. She has a history of saying some things perceived as outrageous by liberal media, but by and large, she keeps her composure in the film.
Here and there, sometimes Owens unnecessarily goes overboard (e.g., some jokes about Floyd’s children not being truly his). But the film is effective in showing that Floyd was a person who harmed many people and deserves no praise.
Likewise, Owens puts a human face to Derek Chauvin, the police officer who killed Floyd. Owens makes it sufficiently clear that she is not celebrating Floyd’s death. She is merely saying that neither Floyd nor Chauvin are the saint and the monster that, respectively, the media tries to represent.
This is an entirely reasonable stance.
Yet, the media bullies those who state the obvious and Black Lives Matter has seized the moment to make a buck. This is ironic, considering this organization’s ideology. Black Lives Matter’s founder Patrisse Cullors has claimed that they “are trained Marxists.” Marxism’s approach to religion is well-known: as per this philosophy, religion is a scam (“the opium of the people”) that is used to exploit people and extract from them the wealth they produce.
This view has long been criticized, but in the case of the George Floyd cult, it hits the nail on its head. For, Black Lives Matter is noting but a cult-like racket.
The Greatest Lie Ever Sold shows the extent of Black Lives Matter’s corruption in the handling of donations. Cullors now lives in a mansion located in a predominantly white neighborhood, and she has hired her own brother for security (a man with no experience in that industry), with a salary of more than US$800,000.
Owens relies on some fine investigative work to present these details, and that alone makes the film worth watching.
Nevertheless, it is a flawed product. Owens insists that George Floyd’s death was not caused by Derek Chauvin’s actions; in her words, “it is the story of a man who overdosed.” This version of the events has been refuted by many toxicologists, some of whom testified in the trial of the other officers who were involved in Floyd’s death.
Owens could have focused on the obvious point she makes in the film — Black Lives Matter’s corruption and the media’s complicity — but true to her style, she could not resist the temptation to troll. This is unfortunate, because the larger issue at stake is not the exact cause of Floyd’s death, but rather, whether or not racism and police brutality are a problem in the United States.
Owens misses a golden opportunity to address this topic.
The evidence is not conclusive, but it seems that the United States does face a problem of police brutality. However, there is no indication that this is a racial issue. Harvard’s Roland Fryer famously published a study in which it is demonstrated that there are few racial disparities in the use of police force.
Of course, that does not fit the media narrative. If a white man dies with a cop’s knee on his neck — as in the case of Tony Timpa— the media will look the other way. They are only interested in stories that can be sensationalized with racial overtones, and they found in George Floyd the perfect match.
Although sloppy at times, The Greatest Lie Ever Sold is a welcome contribution to push back against the narrative and cynical ploy of Black Lives Matter and woke ideology.
Gabriel Andrade is a university professor originally from Venezuela. He writes about politics, philosophy, history, religion and psychology. More by Gabriel Andrade
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