Nice shades, Doofus.
October 3, 2011 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Hank Williams Jr. was removed from Monday Night Football on ESPN after a bizarre and rambling appearance on Fox & Friends this morning. The noted political analyst and future senator compared the President to Hitler, and later referred to the President and Vice President as enemies.

Mr. Williams Jr. has issued a statement of not quite contrition. From TMZ :
"Some of us have strong opinions and are often misunderstood. My analogy was extreme – but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me - how ludicrous that pairing was." He continues, "They’re polar opposites and it made no sense. They don’t see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respected the office of the President.” Williams Jr. adds, "Every time the media brings up the tea party it’s painted as racist and extremists – but there’s never a backlash – no outrage to those comparisons… Working class people are hurting – and it doesn’t seem like anybody cares. When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job – it makes a whole lot of us angry. Something has to change. The policies have to change.”
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt (237 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good. What a wacko.
posted by ReeMonster at 6:50 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is he drunk or high? I can't tell.
posted by pianoboy at 6:54 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


oh, tell me hank, why do you drink and why do you roll smoke?

way to go, bocephus
posted by pyramid termite at 6:55 PM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Would love to hear Hank III's thoughts on this.
posted by Renoroc at 6:56 PM on October 3, 2011 [22 favorites]


The voice of the rural south right there.
posted by timsteil at 6:56 PM on October 3, 2011 [10 favorites]


Way to make me feel bad for the cast of Fox and Friends, Hank Williams Jr.
posted by sweetkid at 6:56 PM on October 3, 2011 [23 favorites]


Ignorant loudmouth...
posted by a non e mouse at 6:58 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks, Monday Night Football. First, Dennis Miller and now this whack job.
posted by coldhotel at 6:58 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


ARE YOU READY FOR SOME HITLER?
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:58 PM on October 3, 2011 [57 favorites]


Are you ready for for some FOOTMOUTH!!?
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 6:58 PM on October 3, 2011 [142 favorites]


To be fair, he made an analogy where he compared Boehner (not Biden) playing golf with Obama with Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu, never saying which was which. Keeping the order intact, Boehner is the Hitler, but I think he was just going for an exaggerated Odd Couple image.

It doesn't seem all that controversial, honestly.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:59 PM on October 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


"We're the most polarized we've ever been as a country."*



*Since 2008.
posted by JimmyJames at 6:59 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"We're the most polarized we've ever been as a country."*

Never seen Gone With The Wind, have you?
posted by jonmc at 7:01 PM on October 3, 2011 [58 favorites]


We're the most polarized we've ever been as a country.

And that's just his eyewear!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:01 PM on October 3, 2011 [61 favorites]


Having stronger language skills and/or not being high would have made it easier for Mr. Williams to express his thought (singular) in a way that wouldn't have gotten him in hot water. If, in fact, his point was that the two political parties seem to be in collusion to crush the working man, then he has a solid point. Expressing that thought in a way that invokes Hitler undermines his ability to communicate his point clearly, since his choice of words overshadows his point.

In short, OMG MAJOR FAIL.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:01 PM on October 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


"Obama to Hitler" is a Trending Topic on Twitter, prompting me to WTF? and investigate. Best comment I saw: "Comparing Obama to Hitler is like comparing Hank Williams Jr. to his talented father." (sorry, didn't catch your name, Twitterer)
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:01 PM on October 3, 2011 [33 favorites]


"Obama to Hitler" is a Trending Topic on Twitter

Heh. That would be a great nü-SAT question.

Obama: Hitler = Hank Williams, Jr: ???
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:03 PM on October 3, 2011


Obama: Hitler = Hank Williams, Jr: ???

Chaucer
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:04 PM on October 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


This just makes me want to watch the MST3k episode of Laserblast.
posted by hellojed at 7:04 PM on October 3, 2011 [11 favorites]


To be fair, he made an analogy where he compared Boehner (not Biden) playing golf with Obama with Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu, never saying which was which. Keeping the order intact, Boehner is the Hitler, but I think he was just going for an exaggerated Odd Couple image.

It doesn't seem all that controversial, honestly.
When asked who "the enemy" is, he literally yelled "Obama". I'd hazard a guess that Boehner's not Hitler in the analogy.
posted by Flunkie at 7:05 PM on October 3, 2011 [16 favorites]


His objectionable opinions aside, it looks like he is unwell in some way and I hope he gets help. This is just sad.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:05 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Time for Bob Odenkirk to dust off his CS Lewis Jr costume.

If he can sing about blowing up the moon, he can (and did, during the live shows) sing about being ready for the football.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:06 PM on October 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Interesting how everybody just assumes he doesn't like Hitler.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:07 PM on October 3, 2011 [74 favorites]


Obama: Hitler = Hank Williams, Jr: ???

Early Cuyler.
posted by aaronetc at 7:08 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hank Williams Jr is free to say whatever he wants, and I will defend to the death his right to free speech.

I am a lifelong Tennessean who grew up in the middle of nowhere surrounded by Hank Williams Jr. fans. There are few human beings who I despise more than him. I hate his music, his image, and the assholes who like him. My grandparents took me to the Grand Ole Opry twice a year growing up. Hank Williams, Jr. was among the first wave of the jerk faces who neutered and destroyed country music. Hank Williams, Jr. can kiss my ass. He is a disgrace to his lineage, and to the state of Tennessee.

I short, he sucks.
posted by vibrotronica at 7:11 PM on October 3, 2011 [70 favorites]


we are old country
our brains are too fried
for our sons and daughters
to have too much pride

our cheeks are bright orange
our drinks are all spiked
cause this ain't the country
our grandfathers liked

don't know what's right
don't know what's wrong
don't know how to shut up
and just sing our song
posted by pyramid termite at 7:12 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is actually, I believe, the first time a Fox host has made me laugh out loud with him rather than at him:
"You know, they're the enemy. They're the enemy."

"Who's the enemy?"

"Obama! And Biden. Are you kidding? The Three Stooges."

"That's only two."
posted by Flunkie at 7:12 PM on October 3, 2011 [64 favorites]


Uh, it is FOX news you know?
posted by ~Sushma~ at 7:14 PM on October 3, 2011


well, the man told us long ago - "a country boy will imbibe"
posted by pyramid termite at 7:15 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


is he part of the 99%?
posted by modernnomad at 7:16 PM on October 3, 2011


I want a shirt that says "I'm the third Stooge."
posted by phaedon at 7:22 PM on October 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hank Williams, Jr. was among the first wave of the jerk faces who neutered and destroyed country music.

Yup.
posted by R. Mutt at 7:22 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dear TMZ: His last name is Williams. He is Mr. Williams, not Mr. Williams, Jr.
posted by rocket88 at 7:25 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wait, we're shocked that the man who penned 'If the South woulda won' thinks Obama is Hitler?
posted by winna at 7:31 PM on October 3, 2011 [9 favorites]


Pretty clearly just viral marketing for the new season of "Eastbound & Down".
posted by uosuaq at 7:35 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ugh, that would have sucked. Sweet-tea is gross.
posted by rosswald at 7:35 PM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


Dear TMZ: His last name is Williams. He is Mr. Williams, not Mr. Williams, Jr.

That wasn't them. That was me.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:37 PM on October 3, 2011


Idiot is an idiot. So what? I don't really know why we need to focus on crap like this. He shot his mouth off, he lost his job. He'll be a martyr to the right. And we get another 5-minutes hate here on mefi.

It's going to be an intolerably long 12 months.
posted by crunchland at 7:38 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, we're shocked that the man who penned 'If the South woulda won yt ' thinks Obama is Hitler?

um, the south did win. revisionist history much?
posted by camdan at 7:47 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Odd Hanks >>>>> Even Hanks
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:49 PM on October 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


Why do people with such a great lack of understanding and empathy get so much air time?
posted by Increase at 7:50 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, references to fascism clearly have no place on Monday Night Football. Now cue the 300-foot flag, fly the jets over and play "God Bless America."
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:50 PM on October 3, 2011 [43 favorites]


um, the south did win. revisionist history much?

huh?
posted by smoothvirus at 7:52 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hank Jr. has always been an asshole but I think he just leveled up. And as a football fan I am relieved because if nothing else, that song had lost its novelty a very long time ago.
posted by Ber at 7:52 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I enjoy the game of football itself but the jingoism surrounding it is almost intolerable. Mr. Williams Jr. is a dumbass, but at least he had something to say besides "America good. Flag good. Troops good."
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:52 PM on October 3, 2011


um, the south did win. revisionist history much?

(zoom out to reveal Harry Turtledove painting MetaFilter on an animation cel; he turns to the camera)

"Ain't I a stinker?"
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:53 PM on October 3, 2011 [35 favorites]


Hank Williams, Jr. is the most cringingly self-loathing man in country music, and has been since he first started recording. Regardless, it is well to remember that the "leaders" of the world have much more in common with each other than they have with their constituencies, and that this is of little concern to them.
posted by carping demon at 7:53 PM on October 3, 2011



"We're the most polarized we've ever been as a country."*

Never seen Gone With The Wind, have you?


Or read about the Tilden-Hayes election? Or the caning on the Senate floor?
posted by jgirl at 7:54 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


A friend of mine, many years ago, was in rehab with Bocephus. He said that he had guys leaving little packages of cocaine cached around the facility. And not that cheap white laxative-cut shit, either. The good yellow flaky oily stuff that numbs your whole face and makes you bulletproof. He said ol' Bocephus would snort up a pile of that shit and then go to group therapy and cry about the burden of having a famous daddy.

Fuck him.

And take the goddamn Crimson Tide hat off, Tennessee boy.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:54 PM on October 3, 2011 [35 favorites]


Eric Ambel wrote a great song about Hank called "Monkey with a Gun". I hope this gets a few people to download the song. (Artist: Yayhoos)
posted by andreap at 7:57 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hold on, I'm no HWJr. fan but he didn't actually compare Obama to Hitler according to anything I've read. He compared to opposites and unfortunately used the "H" word. He never said Obama was Hitler in that comparison right?
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:58 PM on October 3, 2011


Hank Williams Jr. - You Godwin Again
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:59 PM on October 3, 2011


Thanks, Monday Night Football. First, Dennis Miller and now this whack job.

Don't forget Broadway Joe and "I want to kiss you."
posted by Rock Steady at 7:59 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ha, BitterOldPunk got me thinking about Primus with the Bocephus mention. So thanks for that! Now as for this, you need look no farther than the weak-sauce crapology about 'respecting the office of the President.' You know, it's pure craven cowardice. You just compared the President to Hitler, you dipshit, and don't pretend you didn't. 'Respecting the office' is a far cry from respecting the man, from respecting the President. You just compared him to Hitler. You just said he's 'the enemy.' And you're backing away from it without really acknowledging what you did. Even your fellow redneck racist assholes are disappointed.
posted by Mister_A at 8:01 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


huh?
posted by smoothvirus at 7:52 PM on October 3 [+] [!]

sorry should have been clearer with my joke. the right (amongst them a lot of southerners) are really keen on tweaking American history (america was founded as a christian nation, reagan was a paragon of neocon ideals, slaves were treated fairly, and the south was just, godly and honorable, while the north was a bunch of meddling secularists).

i've actually met a few southerners who didn't know the south had lost. it just never came up.
posted by camdan at 8:04 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Rick Perry has a sigh of relief.
posted by rhizome at 8:04 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


At least Namath took responsibility for his actions.
posted by Mister_A at 8:04 PM on October 3, 2011


Fox and Friends - what an awesome name
posted by the noob at 8:05 PM on October 3, 2011


It's a vaguely porn-y name, isn't it?
posted by Mister_A at 8:06 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fox and Friends - what an awesome name
It's a vaguely porn-y name, isn't it?


Yeah , that or a kid's show.
posted by Liquidwolf at 8:08 PM on October 3, 2011


"When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job – it makes a whole lot of us angry. Something has to change. The policies have to change. "

See you at OccupyWallSt, Bocephus!
posted by auto-correct at 8:10 PM on October 3, 2011 [14 favorites]


Come on now. This isn't anything more than an example of the well known logical fallacy appeal to Hitler. It's an easy thing to use Hitler as an example because he is such an unambiguous figure. It's poor form in an argument and its a lazy way to make a comparison, but it doesn't mean he thinks Obama is as bad as Hitler, it's not as wacko and as extreme as it's being played out here. He's polemical an against compromise, and lacking some serious tact and rhetorical skill, but there's not a lot more that this reveals about him.
posted by brenton at 8:11 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh, that would have sucked.

What, if the south had won? Yeah, that would have been awful in lots of w..

Sweet-tea is gross.

EAT HOT GRIDFIRE, INFIDEL!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:14 PM on October 3, 2011 [13 favorites]


Old rich white guy pretends to be working class, hates Obama.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:15 PM on October 3, 2011 [44 favorites]


I'm so sick of the false equivalence of "both parties are like the same, man". I see one party routinely for tax cuts only for the wealthy, a voice to bigots and religious nuts, a platform that celebrates ignorance and calls into question evolution, global warming and vaccines, an anti-human philosophy of no social safety net, no social security, support of the runaway military machine and its various wars, etc and I see another party that might not be the polar opposite, but definitely on the saner side of the debate.

No, Hank, you're right, both parties are the same and the Tea Party nuts are the sane voice in America. Its a real shame we don't have a legitimate populist movement. One that isn't all about guns, gods, gays, crushing social services, hating gays/minorities and the worship of Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter. These knuckleheads are doing poorly because they've handed power to the George Bushes of the world and their corporate masters. Funny, when you keep voting to "help job creators" you're really just voting for the well-off guys to fuck you harder. Go home Hank, if anything you've proven that the Tea Party is a fraud and you have the political understanding of a pre-teen.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:15 PM on October 3, 2011 [19 favorites]


I don't know what the new Monday Night Football song should be, but I know who should sing it.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:17 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


He's polemical an against compromise, and lacking some serious tact and rhetorical skill, but there's not a lot more that this reveals about him.

Right, but it's a special kind of stupid to argue against compromise by drawing a parallel with a historical figure famous* for NOT compromising.

* in part
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:18 PM on October 3, 2011


His daddy deserved better. Perhaps it's a blessing he didn't live to see what a buffoon his son became.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:18 PM on October 3, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hank helped me feel empathy, for the first time ever, for Fox News anchors. They were like, "uh, holy shit Hank, that's pretty fucking crazy," and he's like, "well I don't like to sugarcoat it," and they were all, "well you just compared the President to one of the most hated people in the known universe; sugarcoating don't enter into it."
posted by Mister_A at 8:19 PM on October 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


I should also point out that Netanyahu is kind of a dick. The more appropriate comparison would have been to Golda Meir.
posted by Mister_A at 8:23 PM on October 3, 2011


I blame the Tea Party on Hank's song "Country Folk Can Survive," myself. Seeing HWJ, a man who couldn't make it five minutes without quality pharmaceuticals and doctors to restart his spasming heart, sing about how he could live off the land and shoot his own food after the apocalypse, well, it apparently gave a lot of people ideas. Next thing you know people are griping about socialism taking away their Medicare, and here we are.
posted by emjaybee at 8:24 PM on October 3, 2011 [12 favorites]


You Sure Hitler Done It This Way, Hank?
posted by Rangeboy at 8:25 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Right, but it's a special kind of stupid to argue against compromise by drawing a parallel with a historical figure famous* for NOT compromising. Look I don't like him and don't want to defend him, but I feel like you're deliberately misunderstanding him. He's unlikeable on his own, he doesn't need any help from you. His comparison wasn't (as you imply) that Obama is like Hitler, but rather that it is absurd to see people who disagree so vehemently playing golf, e.g. Netanyahu and Hitler playing. The point isn't "Republican candidates are like Netanyahu" nor is it "Obama is like Hitler." His point was enemies shouldn't play golf.

I disagree with him and I think he's a jerk. I don't think we need to willfully pervert what he was trying to say (aka "straw man" argument).

It's worth noting that Fox News has been under criticism for overuse of reductio ad Hitlerum and it is just possible that the newscasters reacted negatively to his comparison because they'd been berated themselves not to do that.
posted by brenton at 8:27 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm kind of fascinated how this redneck yahoo has suddenly become the poster child for egregious comparisons when "Hitler" and "enemy" have long since become acceptable shorthand among the tea party right for describing Obama, Biden, and the Democrats. "Bocephus" probably thought he was just repeating common knowledge, and, in a way, he was. Rush says Obama is Hitler every other broadcast. So do we need a new thread every time Rush shoots off his mouth too? Isn't Hank Williams Jr. kind of low-hanging fruit?

They were like, "uh, holy shit Hank, that's pretty fucking crazy," and he's like, "well I don't like to sugarcoat it," and they were all, "well you just compared the President to one of the most hated people in the known universe; sugarcoating don't enter into it."

Oh, give me a break. The Fox talking heads were being as disingenuous as they always are. Fox has been broadcasting dogwhistle insinuations about how Obama Is the Other and Obama Is the Enemy since before the man was nominated. Gretchen Carlson is the queen of disingenuous jaw-dropped gaping, no matter what the subject is. Maybe Gretchen got the memo from Roger Ailes that Fox is supposed to be more Moderate and Independent-Shiny now that the teabaggers are plateauing and decided this time to drop her jaw a little closer to the floor. That's the only discernible difference.
posted by blucevalo at 8:27 PM on October 3, 2011 [16 favorites]


What a jackass thing to do. Not the least bit shocking, mind you, but a stupid move. This sort of shit is why Junior has been so roundly ignored by decent people since 1987.

As an aside, I always cringe upon entering a MeFi thread that's even kinda about someone from The South doing a stupid thing. Junior does not, in any way at all, represent or speak for The South. He is a product we produced, sure... he just is not one most of us are interested in selling.
posted by broadway bill at 8:31 PM on October 3, 2011 [6 favorites]


The one thing I want to know is - is this a 1 game suspension or a permanent firing?
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:43 PM on October 3, 2011


He is, right down to the level of intoxication, the spitting audio image of the ninety year old blind drunk at my local who thinks Obama has crowned himself king and setting up death camps for white people.
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Look I don't like him and don't want to defend him, but I feel like you're deliberately misunderstanding him.

Hank is speaking from the POV of the Tea Party, a group that regularly compares Obama to Hitler, at rallies and in the media, and we're to believe he was just making some kind of Godwinesque "Perfect Strangers" comparison? I suppose it's mathematically possible. But it's not likely.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:44 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


I could not watch literally more than 1.5 seconds of this. It's like a magical, perfect storm of Do Not Want.
posted by swift at 8:50 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


America is more polarized than ever before. OK, I'll give him that (sort of), but that this somehow means that the parties shouldn't try to find common ground is ridiculous. If anything, it means that they should try harder to find common ground.
posted by asnider at 8:52 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Look I don't like him and don't want to defend him, but I feel like you're deliberately misunderstanding him....His point was enemies shouldn't play golf.

No, I got his point.

And he's wrong. Boener and Obama aren't mortal enemies locked in combat over the fate of the free world. They are politicians representing their various constituencies in the way they think is best, or at least will get them re-elected.

But even at that, if Bocephus wanted to complain about leaders compromising he could have used examples of people who actually compromised. I highly suspect that had Hitler invited Netanyahu out for a round of golf, it would have resulted in actual bloodshed instead of a peace accord.

The whole example is just layers of idiocy wrapped around something deeply stupid.

Anyway, the reason that I thought this was FPP worthy is because he is a (reasonably) well known media personality and putative senate candidate. This sort of blowout usually ends careers, although he's famous and well connected enough that this may not matter.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:52 PM on October 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hank is speaking from the POV of the Tea Party, a group that regularly compares Obama to Hitler, at rallies and in the media, and we're to believe he was just making some kind of Godwinesque "Perfect Strangers" comparison? I suppose it's mathematically possible. But it's not likely.

So what exactly is it that we're all so upset about again? Is it just that he is a tea partier, or was it the Hitler comment? Are we upset about the Hitler comment because we believe that he is drawing actual comparisons between the evils of Hitler and Obama, or is it because we have seen people lazily compare people they disagree with to Hitler so many times that we're sick of it and don't want that sort of rhetoric to come up any more?

I think it's option #1. We don't like him, and so we're pretending that what he said wasn't just yet another of the thousands and millions of poorly made comparisons to Hitler, but is in fact a dastardly reflection of his belief that Obama will willfully and intentionally do something of the caliber of murdering millions of innocent people. Yes, that's it. He really believes that Obama is going to be like Hitler, but instead of saying something like "Obama is as bad for the world as Hitler" he couches it in this tricky language that fooled me into believing that he was actually discussing opponents pretending to be friends. You got me. And also, he is guilty ad hominem any way because he is a tea partier, and some of them are racists.
posted by brenton at 8:57 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


KENYO-MUSLIM HITLER IS HERE ON MONDAY NIGHT!
posted by dirigibleman at 9:01 PM on October 3, 2011


Hank helped me feel empathy, for the first time ever, for Fox News anchors.

They get paid to be zookeepers; I can't feel sorry when one of their animals shits on the floor. Besides, as others have pointed out, this is win-win for FOX. Officially, the network can tsk-tsk what everyone there probably believes their audience thinks anyway. It isn't even surprising anymore, just another day at FOX/GOP.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:01 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


No, I got his point.

And he's wrong.


Fine. Disagree with him. Disagree with the stupidity of his example--as I said before, it's such a stupid way to make a comparison that there is a well known fallacy that is named specifically for that kind of comparison. So, yeah, you're not going to find a lot of people who think it was a very logical and well put comparison. Nevertheless, we categorize and name fallacies because they're extremely common. The fact that they are common does not give the reasoning legitimacy, but it does mean that we shouldn't instantly assume that someone who says something fallacious is an insane, wacko on account of using a fallacy. There are enough reasons for us to make fun of his idiocy (e.g. the title of this FPP) and we don't need to create fake reasons.

...sorry about that rant, I'm done now, I promise.
posted by brenton at 9:10 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Boy, remember when you risked being labeled a traitor when you criticized the President in time of war?

Good times.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:11 PM on October 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


So what exactly is it that we're all so upset about again? Is it just that he is a tea partier, or was it the Hitler comment?

If you'll allow me to speak for myself, it's his wrong-headed and hateful pushing of the Tea Party - his party - meme that Obama is Hitler. I think it's incredibly disingenuous to try and wring out a few drops of "Oops! He made a bad analogy!" when he quite vocally supports the group comparing Obama to Hitler, and just compared Obama to Hitler. That's what "we" are so upset about.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:23 PM on October 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


All this fine parsing of what the man said strikes me as weird.

I don't see how anyone can hear him say "They're the enemy" "Who?" "OBAMA", and think that his earlier mention of Hitler was merely to mention a guy who didn't compromise, and not to make a shout-out to the scads of tea partyers who have been going around drawing comparisons between Obama and Hitler for the last three years.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:27 PM on October 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


O-alalalalalalala-
My family is pretty hip – Au currant and with it.
But there is one member who’s thoughts we dread
when she speaks we all go red

O Racist Grandma! Racist Grandma!
She thinks blacks should know their place!
Racist Grandma! Racist Grandma!
She thinks queers come from Outer Space!

She calls Jose’ a wetback spic!
She told Colin he’s a dirty mic!
There is no race she does like.
She even called my boy a greedy kike!

Oh! Racist Grandma! Racist Grandma!
Don’t you know that times have changed?
Racist Grandma! Racist Grandma!
Why do other folks get you enraged?

She wouldn’t pay Jan to dig a hole
cause she won’t trust a filthy Pole!
He had it out, with Mrs. Von Naught,
and called her a drunken Kraut!

Oh yeah! Racist Grandma! Racist Grandma!
Will you ever change?
Racist Grandma! Racist Grandma!
Your opinions are deranged!

posted by The Whelk at 9:28 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait, we're shocked that the man who penned 'If the South woulda won' thinks Obama is Hitler?

So, I happen to have listened to "If the South Woulda Won" today, it's a pretty mediocre song, but I heard it a lot growing up, so I still get a hankering to hear it sometimes. The bizarre thing about the song is that it's pretty apolitical; you get two references to being tough on crime of the type that were all over country music of the time. The rest of the song is about what parts of the South have good cooking, and what dead country music stars should be honored with national holidays (Spoiler Alert: It's all of them). Obviously, that doesn't make the sentiment acceptable, but it's a very neutered version of the Lost Cause.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:35 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I lost it at, "did you see the USA Today poll?"
posted by Arthur Phillips Jones Jr at 9:35 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


His objectionable opinions aside, it looks like he is unwell in some way and I hope he gets help. This is just sad.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:05 PM on October 3 [3 favorites +] [!]


Definitely agree. Typically, healthy and sober people don't tend to wear sunglasses for a morning show interview. There's probably an in vino veritas aspect to this all, and I don't doubt that this guy's probably an asshole, but that doesn't mean that he isn't probably also hurting in a very real way.
posted by graphnerd at 9:36 PM on October 3, 2011


Definitely agree. Typically, healthy and sober people don't tend to wear sunglasses for a morning show interview.

He always wears sunglasses, no matter what, to hide some facial scars from a mountain climbing accident.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:38 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


The bizarre thing about the song is that it's pretty apolitical; you get two references to being tough on crime of the type that were all over country music of the time.

Is it Northern Urban arrogance to suggest that any and all references to 'being tough on crime' by country music in the late-80's is inherently political, in a very specific, racially-charged way?
posted by graphnerd at 9:39 PM on October 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Touche, Bulgaroktonos. I guess I was having flashbacks of James Brown's "I make love good, too" incident.
posted by graphnerd at 9:40 PM on October 3, 2011


Is it Northern Urban arrogance to suggest that any and all references to 'being tough on crime' by country music in the late-80's is inherently political, in a very specific, racially-charged way?

Oh those bits are clearly political and pretty racist, it's just that bulk of the song are lines like "The national treasury would be in Tupilo, Mississippi and I'd put Hank Williams picture on one hundred dollar bills," which is dumb, but not particularly political.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:43 PM on October 3, 2011


It might be a pretty neutered version of the reality, but the fact it is a song about how awesome it would be if the south had won a war which was inspired in part by a conflict over the right to own slaves. That kind of makes the fact the song doesn't have an explicit 'Gee, slavery was great' motif kind of irrelevant.

It also doesn't help that in general the gatherings I've attended where the song was played were not exactly bastions of racial sensitivity.
posted by winna at 9:43 PM on October 3, 2011


I feel like I've just Will Farrell's version of Tony Clifton.
posted by Dr. Zira at 9:43 PM on October 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


and what dead country music stars should be honored with national holidays (Spoiler Alert: It's all of them).

Well, probably not this guy. Though I guess it doesn't count since he's not dead yet.
posted by emjaybee at 9:47 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


vibrotronica: Hank Williams, Jr. was among the first wave of the jerk faces who neutered and destroyed country music. Hank Williams, Jr. can kiss my ass.

To paraphase Camus, every generation gets the Hank Williams it deserves.
posted by echolalia67 at 9:48 PM on October 3, 2011 [18 favorites]


I agree on some elements of the idea that the parties are far too friendly with each other, but Hitler comparisons are one of those things that instantly closes me to any point someone is trying to make. That goes for either side, Bush threads on liberal sites (even here) get Godwinned on a pretty regular basis which is why I've always found the vilification of the tea party for that same thing to be somewhat shrill. It's a minority on both sides that does this, but it is both sides at about an equal rate.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:51 PM on October 3, 2011


It’s easy to see without looking too far That not much is really sacred
posted by Ironmouth at 9:59 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, Fox & Friends is like a bunch of kids who think-- no, they know they own the schoolyard. And they're just hanging out at recess, shooting the shit, and making fun of a kid they don't like.

"Barry sucks!" one says. "I hate him."
"Me too," says another kid. "He looks weird."
"He smells weird."
"He wasn't even born here."

And then this one kid who's always been on the periphery of the group, Henry, the one wearing hand-me-down camo and whose dad is "on a very long vacation in Nevada" according to Mom, well Henry pipes up with "Yeah! I hate Barry too!"

The kids nod their heads at the boy who once came to school wearing a Bud Lite t-shirt and was forced to turn it inside out or go home. Suddenly he has an audience, so he continues.

"Barry sucks, and he smells, and his mom does it with their dog. I swear! I saw them doing it in the woods once when I was hunting quail. And Barry was watching too. I was going to shoot them all, but it would have been a waste of ammo."

Suddenly all the kids back away from Henry. A teacher is listening.

Later, they adjourn to build a fort on the outskirts of the playground but argue too much over who gets to be boss, and spend the rest of recess keeping the kindergarteners away from the slide. Henry gets Indoor Recess for the next two weeks.
posted by Spatch at 10:06 PM on October 3, 2011 [17 favorites]


Fox and Friends - what an awesome name

I'm waiting for the mashup.
posted by mykescipark at 10:21 PM on October 3, 2011



The voice of the rural south right there.
posted by timsteil at 9:56 PM on October 3 [4 favorites +] [!]


Bullshit. I am so fucking tired of that that I could scream. All of us in the rural south are not racist assholes. All of us in the rural south are not tea party morons.

I am in the rural south. I am a liberal, daresay other than gun rights, I am more liberal than most people around these parts.

I am by far not a racist, and do stand up and say something whenever I hear racist speech.

I belong to the Democratic party, but they are entirely too conservative and give in to the conservative, racist, assholes too much.

Get over YOUR prejudice against those who live in the South.
posted by SuzySmith at 10:32 PM on October 3, 2011 [26 favorites]


Hank Williams, Jr. does not like President Obama. He thinks the President is not fond of the national anthem. He believes that Obama's health care plan was intended to provide care for illegal aliens and to turn the US into Italy. He believes that Obama wants to ban the ownership of hunting rifles. In short, he says dumb things about the president, because he doesn't like him much.
posted by Cassford at 10:42 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hank helped me feel empathy, for the first time ever, for Fox News anchors. They were like, "uh, holy shit Hank, that's pretty fucking crazy," and he's like, "well I don't like to sugarcoat it," and they were all, "well you just compared the President to one of the most hated people in the known universe; sugarcoating don't enter into it."

And a fox news anchor has never equated Obama with Hitler? oh sure they were squirming - but I bet not for an instant they thought - hey hang on, this is just the type of evil polemic we're paid to foist.
posted by the noob at 10:50 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


What does Jesco White have to say about this?
posted by univac at 11:07 PM on October 3, 2011


Dumb Ape Who Sings Football Jingle Fired For Being Giant Bunghole
posted by dirigibleman at 11:19 PM on October 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, am I to understand that (almost) everyone here agrees that people who publicly criticize Obama should be punished? Does anybody see anything wrong with that?

Also, even though I have always despised Hank Jr, I thought the FPP was inappropriately snarky.
posted by williampratt at 1:09 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a frequent Metafilter critic of Obama, I must inform you that you should understand that this is not at all what people are saying.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:22 AM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


All four of them are assholes.
posted by Cerulean at 1:29 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


The voice of the rural south right there.
posted by timsteil at 9:56 PM on October 3 [4 favorites +] [!]





So, I guess it's still ok to make broad generalizations about a large group of people? As long as its the South?

your ignorance is showing....
posted by pearlybob at 1:36 AM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, am I to understand that (almost) everyone here agrees that people who publicly criticize Obama should be punished?

No, you are not to understand that. That would be a misunderstanding on your part. There's plenty of criticizing of Obama that happens on this website, and if you are unaware of that, it only means that you haven't been reading many political threads lately.

However, if you equate 'public criticism' with 'saying Obama is like Hitler', well, your thinking is definitely not in line with (almost) everyone who uses this site, and you may indeed have a problem with the culture here.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:41 AM on October 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


News: his daddy was a douchebag too, just a better songwriter.
posted by spitbull at 2:22 AM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


From Wiki:

On August 8, 1975, Williams was nearly killed in a mountain-climbing accident. While climbing Ajax Peak in Montana, he fell 442 feet onto solid rock, suffering multiple skull and facial fractures. Williams underwent two years[2] of reconstructive surgeries and speech therapy, eventually regaining his ability to speak and sing. In 1977, Williams recorded and released One Night Stands, The New South, and worked closely with his old friend Waylon Jennings on the album Once and For All. To hide the scars and the disfigurement from the accident, Williams grew a beard and began wearing sunglasses and a cowboy hat. The beard, hat, and sunglasses have since become his signature look and he is rarely seen without them.

Here's what he looks like without them.
posted by Optamystic at 2:30 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I truly don't get the surprise. Dumb shit redneck says dumb shit. Y'all should listen to David Allen Coe sometime. He makes Bosephus sound like Professor Cornel West.
posted by Optamystic at 2:31 AM on October 4, 2011


He's drunk with hatred, it's almost impressive.

Although it seems to me you guys are being played just as much as he is.
posted by fullerine at 2:32 AM on October 4, 2011


News: his daddy was a douchebag too, just a better songwriter.

Tell me more. Like, specifically, why you're saying that. Some reasons why you think Hank Williams was a "douchebag".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 2:53 AM on October 4, 2011


Tell me more. Like, specifically, why you're saying that. Some reasons why you think Hank Williams was a "douchebag".

Not that I want to step into this in any way, shape, or form, but I would surmise that spitbull is extrapolating an opinion based on some of the more sordid tales which are glossed over (albeit in a properly sympathetic way) here. It's part of the Hank Williams legacy that he led a troubled and tumultuous life and died too young. That's his official script. Some just play faster and looser with it than others.

This comment does not constitute an endorsement of the title "douchebag" in reference to Hiram King Williams
posted by mykescipark at 3:13 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


He was a raging alcoholic and drug addict, as well as a polygamist.
posted by Optamystic at 3:16 AM on October 4, 2011


So, people with drug and alcohol problems are "douchebags" now?

Ridiculous.

The polygamist bit is sketchy.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:18 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Can we get back to hating Hank Jr. now? Before the country purists start throwing chairs?)
posted by mykescipark at 3:29 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


So, am I to understand that (almost) everyone here agrees that people who publicly criticize Obama should be punished? Does anybody see anything wrong with that?

There was precious little - actually no, there was no criticism of Obama in that segment - there was bear knuckled, dumb, thoughtless, alcohol addled hatred and three simpering twerps who were confronted with a un-coiffed, crooked-toothed reflection of themselves.
posted by the noob at 4:09 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Remember when the Dixie Chicks criticized W and the country fans went apeshit and held record burning parties because how dare they be unpatriotic and say bad things about the president? Having your dumb football song yanked from tv is nothing worth whining over.
posted by FunkyHelix at 4:57 AM on October 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


It's interesting that whenever somebody famous acts like a jackass on a talk show, people automatically assume that he/she's drunk or high. Williams doesn't come across as either to me. Maybe it's possible that he's just that big of a buttwipe while (at least appearing somewhat) sober. I'm fairly certain it is.
posted by item at 5:04 AM on October 4, 2011


Good news, they found his replacement... Ted Nugent.
posted by fungible at 5:18 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fox & Friends is like a bunch of kids who think.

FTFY
posted by tommasz at 5:39 AM on October 4, 2011


Guy's a dick.

I just want to give props to the NFL. It's exceedingly rare to see a corporation quickly, efficiently and definitively do the right thing. I wish the concept would catch on.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:50 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe now we can go back to the original, perfect, Monday Night Football theme.
posted by whuppy at 5:52 AM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Surprised folks didn't know about that 1975 mountain climbing thing. He entire face was split open (the episode came soon after a suicide attempt, too). I'm sure that his comeback afterwards (sorry, dismissive haters, his mid-late-70s outlaw stuff with Waylon et al counts as pretty decent 70s country) is one of the main reasons a lot of older folks have a reservoir of good feelings towards him.

The jingoistic garbage he's made his trademark came soon after, but there were a few years just before and after his accident when his output doesn't deserve the all-purpose dismissive sneer it usually gets here. I almost said this in the recent Hank III thread, and don't expect it to get any better reception now, but it's kinda true.

Not defending him by a long shot; his politics are shitty and the music he's been making since the 80s has been generally awful. Just think it's worth understanding him a little bit as we laugh "Nice shades, Doofus."
posted by mediareport at 5:54 AM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Bizzare and rambling?

Bush/Palin 2012
posted by stormpooper at 5:59 AM on October 4, 2011


I knew about the mountain climbing accident, because I saw the made for tv movie many years ago. (I knew all that tv watching would come in handy some day, I just need a thread now that ties into "I Know My Name is Stephen" and I can yell BINGO)
posted by drezdn at 6:11 AM on October 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Make sure to check out "A Country Boy Can Survive," it's one verse short of cheering the apocalypse or a race war.
posted by drezdn at 6:14 AM on October 4, 2011


Wow, a whole thread full of hate.

Is there a clip where Hank Williams actually compares Obama to Hitler, or are we just apoplectic that he said "Obama" and "Hitler" in the same sentence?
posted by koeselitz at 6:25 AM on October 4, 2011


Why do people with such a great lack of understanding and empathy get so much air time?

So everyone else can point and laugh, and in pointing and laughing they can feel like they've accomplished something useful.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:36 AM on October 4, 2011


Faith Hill's theme for Sunday Night Football is better anyway. Goodbye, cranky ignurrnt old redneck. Hello, sexy voice of the future.
posted by anothermug at 6:54 AM on October 4, 2011


To counter Obama should compare Hank Jr to Billy Ray Cyrus.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:27 AM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's easy to dismiss, but the heart of the statement is right here:
"Working class people are hurting – and it doesn’t seem like anybody cares. "

He's coming from the same place that the Tea Party is coming from, the same place that a lot of the left are coming from, the same place the vanishing middle class is coming from, and the same place those wall street protesters are coming from.

America is in a very bad place right now, and people are understandably getting a little bit panicky about it. I don't agree with his analysis, or his politics in general, but the crux of the issue is in that quote above.

I don't think that dismissing these people off hand, laughing at them and shoving them aside is a very good response, even when they're being totally wrong headed about their approach.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:36 AM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow, a whole thread full of hate.

Is there a clip where Hank Williams actually compares Obama to Hitler, or are we just apoplectic that he said "Obama" and "Hitler" in the same sentence?
Try the clip linked to in the post:
"You used the name of one of the most hated people in all of the world to describe the -- I think -- the president."

"That's true. That is true. But I'm telling it like it is."
All this "Oh, he didn't say Obama was Hitler, he just made an analogy in which Obama was represented by Hitler" seems strange enough to me just on its face, but ignoring that, it's also factually untrue.
posted by Flunkie at 7:43 AM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


whuppy: "Maybe now we can go back to the original, perfect, Monday Night Football theme"

Are you talking about the 80s version or the impossibly groovy 70s version that makes me want to put on my Wonder Woman gold bracelets and scream DYN-O-MITE?
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:47 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]



Not defending him by a long shot; his politics are shitty and the music he's been making since the 80s has been generally awful. Just think it's worth understanding him a little bit as we laugh "Nice shades, Doofus."
posted by mediareport at 5:54 AM on October 4 [+] [!]


It's kind of offensive, honestly.
I'm not a big Hank fan, but considering why he wears those... yikes.
This thread is really hateful for a bunch of people that are patting themselves on their back for being liberal and intellectual.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:53 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Williams underwent two years[2] of reconstructive surgeries and speech therapy, eventually regaining his ability to speak and sing.

About that last part, the singing....
posted by wenestvedt at 7:55 AM on October 4, 2011


Maybe now we can go back to the original, perfect, Monday Night Football theme.
posted by whuppy


100%.

I have the old MNF theme as an MP3, and one of my favorite things to do at parties is to arrange for it to be playing as I enter a room. Preferably with some sort of flashlights-in-collanders lightshow going on. There is no possible finer entrance.
posted by COBRA! at 8:12 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


>So, am I to understand that (almost) everyone here agrees that people who publicly criticize Obama should be punished?

No, you are not to understand that. That would be a misunderstanding on your part. There's plenty of criticizing of Obama that happens on this website, and if you are unaware of that, it only means that you haven't been reading many political threads lately.

Let me make my point more fully. Here's what happened. A man made a public criticism of President Obama. However you might characterize the man, what he said and what you felt his motivation was, it was nothing more than a criticism. As a direct result, he was received concrete punishment in the form of loss of income. Looking through the comments on this situation, I found none that had a problem with this. So, I asked if (almost) everyone here agreed that people who publicly criticize Obama should be punished.

I still see little evidence that suggests otherwise. In fact, I see quite a few people reveling in the fact that he was punished, so perhaps it's more along the lines of people don't like Hank Jr, so that makes it okay. I think the correct position to take, to the extent that it should be a principle of a free society, is that anyone should be able to publicly criticize people in positions of power and not face material retribution. They shouldn't lose their jobs, or their income, etc. I think this should apply even when it's somebody I despise saying something I think is fucked up about somebody I really like - because if I didn't I would be an unprincipled opportunist. What he should face is criticism from people who disagree with what he said, either in its content, its form or its motivation.

As a frequent Metafilter critic of Obama, I must inform you that you should understand that this is not at all what people are saying.

Whether you are a "metafilter critic of Obama" or not is irrelevant to this, as that is not what I was talking about. Comments on Metafilter barely counts as public criticism. If one were to take my point above as a principle, then it must apply in any circumstance. In fact, I would say that it particularly must apply in the most public circumstances, such as on a major TV network, because that's when the criticism might actually have a real impact on society. The principle should not be "anyone should be able to publicly criticize people in positions of power and not face material retribution, except when it's done in a situation in which it might have a real impact on society."

However, if you equate 'public criticism' with 'saying Obama is like Hitler', well, your thinking is definitely not in line with (almost) everyone who uses this site, and you may indeed have a problem with the culture here.

Saying 'Obama is like Hitler' on TV is exactly a form of public criticism. As a category of speech, it is no different than saying "I am upset with Obama because he isn't doing enough for LGBT rights." You may think it's ignorant, alcohol addled, incredibly asinine, counter-productive, you may think it arises out of bigotry, or anything else you want. It is still nothing more than public criticism. He didn't use the n-word, directly threaten anybody with violence, or anything like that.

FWIW, I had my grad school funding taken away because, among other things, I was the main organizer for a large rally on my campus in which people had signs comparing Bush to Hitler and the like. A friend of mine of some renown, among anarchists anyway, got fired from his job simply because he had an anti-Bush cartoon in his cubicle. I could give you many more examples from my life and the lives of people I know. I have a problem with people using power to shut down public speech, whether it's the government or a corporation. And I'm disappointed to see so many people celebrating an example of this because (as near as I can tell) it's somebody they don't like saying something they don't like about someone they like.
posted by williampratt at 8:21 AM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Bullshit. I am so fucking tired of that that I could scream. All of us in the rural south are not racist assholes. All of us in the rural south are not tea party morons.

Well, no, but my Mom, a transplant to the rural south, has found it convenient to keep her liberal ideas to herself, especially around my raving Tea Party step brother.

And I did go to middle school with kids who would proudly boast of their parents' Klan membership.

And the day after Obama was elected, the teachers at the county schools where she lived showed up wearing black armbands.

So I'm perfectly willing to accept that you're not a racist tea party asshole just because you're a rural southerner if you say so. But if I had to draw one - or a couple hundred - rural southerners at random, that'd be the way to bet.
posted by Naberius at 8:33 AM on October 4, 2011


Saying 'Obama is like Hitler' on TV is exactly a form of public criticism. As a category of speech, it is no different than saying "I am upset with Obama because he isn't doing enough for LGBT rights."

Yeah but it's not.

One is a statement of political disagreement, the other is an embarrassing display of stupidity of a type that bothers even conservatives and media corporations.
posted by General Tonic at 8:42 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


No one has taken away Jr's free speech. NFL simply renegotiated their commercial contract with him - I'm sure there was the equivalent of a "morals" clause that allowed them to do so. He wasn't jailed or gagged.

I'm open to the argument that taking away someone's livelihood in response to their opinions is tricky ground, but I don't believe it's been inappropriately done here. YMMV, of course.

(Try to compare someone to Hitler in Germany, BTW.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:42 AM on October 4, 2011




One is a statement of political disagreement, the other is an embarrassing display of stupidity of a type that bothers even conservatives and media corporations.


So I guess, "Nice shades, Doofus," really cemented our stance on the moral high ground of debate hey?
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:52 AM on October 4, 2011


Yeah, but he's got a run for the senate planned. He was laying the basis of his political personality. It wasn't just wanking as an entertainer. Nice shades doofus.

Plus I hate that song. A bunch of atonal bellowing that sounds like it took him as long to write as it does to spool by. TV trying to turn football into professional wrestling.
posted by Trochanter at 9:07 AM on October 4, 2011


Drat! That should read: "Nice shades, Senator Doofus."
posted by Trochanter at 9:15 AM on October 4, 2011


I think the correct position to take, to the extent that it should be a principle of a free society, is that anyone should be able to publicly criticize people in positions of power and not face material retribution.

So if a person associated with a company says something loathsome then that company shouldn't be able to make the decision to watch its bottom line by disassociating itself from that person?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:17 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm open to the argument that taking away someone's livelihood in response to their opinions is tricky ground, but I don't believe it's been inappropriately done here. YMMV, of course.

I am a "yes and no" person on this. I don't think it's strictly kosher to fire someone for their opinions...however, private entities can legally do this, and it's up to them to deal with whatever fallout they suffer as a result. Ditto for the opinion holder. The First Amendment only guarantees that you cannot be sanctioned by the government for shooting your mouth off. It does not protect you from other consequences of your speech.

Freedom of speech really does not mean freedom from responsibility for your speech.


(Try to compare someone to Hitler in Germany, BTW.)

Mmm hmmm. It's a good way to catch an a beatdown, a trip to the unemployment line, AND a stay in Hotel Greybar - the first two by private actors, the last by law. I will never forget the look on a fellow exchange student's face after she got the tongue lashing of her life for answering our Politik teacher with "Ja, Herr Hitler." It was explained very clearly that such speech was legally forbidden and punishable by jail time. She got kicked out of our Gymnasium, and her exchange program sent her ass home.

She cried "free speech", too. Ignorance ain't always bliss.
posted by MissySedai at 9:18 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, am I to understand that (almost) everyone here agrees that people who publicly criticize Obama should be punished?

No, but I wouldn't be surprised if almost everyone here agreed that if:

A: You are a television presenter or similar personality, whose job revolves around having the audience enjoy watching you and selling advertising time, and whose presentation of self is entirely relevant to their job performance, and
B: You were not hired more or less specifically to be shocking or contrary, and
C: You say horribly embarrassing things that are likely to alienate substantial portions of your viewing audience and/or cause your show to lose advertisers,

then:

You are likely to be fired.

Extending this to people who are not television presenters, and who did not say horribly embarrassing things that were likely to alienate their customer base, is purely specious.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:18 AM on October 4, 2011


So if a person associated with a company says something loathsome then that company shouldn't be able to make the decision to watch its bottom line by disassociating itself from that person?

I would absolutely accept that position. Protecting free speech is more important than protecting a business's freedom or bottom line. No, it isn't fair, but there's no moral obligation to be fair to conceptual entities.
posted by jwhite1979 at 9:23 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


He ain't completely wrong. He also has a tear in his beer.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:23 AM on October 4, 2011


One thing that does make me uncomfortable about the "punishment" of people for saying truly outrageous things is that it doesn't stop people from having outrageous thoughts, it merely makes most of the thinkers realize that they can't be overt in their racism/hatred/sexism/whatever. So the thinking is still there, but it's only shared when its safe, and won't be countered.
posted by drezdn at 9:36 AM on October 4, 2011


For clarification, is the problem that Hank compared POTUS to Hitler, or that he compared the wrong POTUS to Hitler? I thought this happened with less fanfare during the Bush era.
posted by dhdrum at 9:38 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not a big Hank fan, but considering why he wears those... yikes.
This thread is really hateful for a bunch of people that are patting themselves on their back for being liberal and intellectual.


Truth told, I didn't know about the accident. I figured he was drunk/hungover and was trying to hide that fact. Could be both things are true. The whole conversation at the start about the crossed arms thing was bizarre, and it just spiraled downhill from there.

Credit where it is due - I was impressed he was wearing sleeves.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:42 AM on October 4, 2011


Don't we hate Obama too?
posted by Ad hominem at 9:45 AM on October 4, 2011


I thought this happened with less fanfare during the Bush era.

It only got "less fanfare" because the people doing those comparisons did not have as public a platform in which to do so. Plus they tended to get arrested rather than just fired.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:46 AM on October 4, 2011


I would absolutely accept that position. Protecting free speech is more important than protecting a business's freedom or bottom line. No, it isn't fair, but there's no moral obligation to be fair to conceptual entities.

I don't know. I guess this is one of those agree-to-disagree things, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I tend to see a difference between free speech and the obligation to give a venue for any and all opinions on a network. I mean, in this case, Williams was not stopped from giving his opinions, and the only loss he suffered for it was that ESPN stopped using his song as the theme for Monday Night Football. Should ESPN not be allowed to make that decision? Under a system like you're describing, if they change the theme song a year from now, should they have to fill out a form explaining why, just in case someone thinks it's over his remarks? What if it were a smaller company?

As someone said above: free speech is perfectly intact here, and free speech does not mean freedom from reactions to your speech. I mean, I thought it was supremely idiotic when Lipton pulled their sponsorship of the Dixie Chicks over the comments Natalie Maines made, but I think they had every right to do it and I don't see a systematic problem there. There's a lot of difference between "I think that's dumb," and "I think that shouldn't be allowed."
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:49 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


It only got "less fanfare" because the people doing those comparisons did not have as public a platform in which to do so. Plus they tended to get arrested rather than just fired.

Don't know if that is always the case. Gallery of 'Hitler=Bush' Allusions
posted by dhdrum at 9:53 AM on October 4, 2011


The only thing newsworthy here is that Bocephus said a peckerwood version of "Bush doesn't like black people," and that Fox is crying crocodile tears over the utterings of a movement they actively champion.

Pure narcissism on parade.
posted by rhizome at 9:56 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah but it's not. One is a statement of political disagreement, the other is an embarrassing display of stupidity of a type that bothers even conservatives and media corporations.

Whether it's an "an embarrassing display of stupidity of a type that bothers even conservatives and media corporations" or not is irrelevant. It's still simply a public criticism. You are implicitly taking the position that if enough people think a public criticism is wrong in some way, it is correct to use power to punish the person who said it.

No one has taken away Jr's free speech. NFL simply renegotiated their commercial contract with him - I'm sure there was the equivalent of a "morals" clause that allowed them to do so. He wasn't jailed or gagged. I'm open to the argument that taking away someone's livelihood in response to their opinions is tricky ground, but I don't believe it's been inappropriately done here. YMMV, of course.

Just to be clear, I wasn't making an argument based on what is commonly understood as the right to free speech in the US, the First Amendment and all. I disagree with the idea that suppression of opinion is only bad when the government does it. And I'm not making an argument based on what is now, or should be, legal or appropriate. My argument is based on a principle which I think should characterize a genuinely free society (ie, something other than the US). Whether the NFL or ESPN or whomever has some clause in a contract that "allowed" them to do what they did just gives a sheen of correctness to what I see as being fundamentally incorrect (ie, any form of power, public or private, being used to materially punish someone for criticizing a political figure). That Hank Jr faced something less heinous than what somebody in, say, Syria would face means that we're talking about simply a difference in degree, not a fundamentally different problem. I'm sure that Hank Jr has plenty enough money that the loss from having his crappy song removed from Monday Night Football is negligible (and it will probably be more than made up for by the street cred he'll gain among the many people who share his views). But I feel the whole thing reinforces the idea that it is appropriate for people to be punished for criticizing people in positions of power.

So if a person associated with a company says something loathsome then that company shouldn't be able to make the decision to watch its bottom line by disassociating itself from that person?

I did not comment about "loathsome" statements in general. I spoke specifically about the question of public criticism of people in positions of power. There are any number of possible loathsome statements from which I would consider it correct for an organization to disassociate themselves.

Freedom of speech really does not mean freedom from responsibility for your speech.

See my comments above. I am not saying that Hank JR shouldn't be held accountable for what he said. He should be criticized in return, roundly and vehemently, and thoroughly exposed. I'm arguing against facing concrete, material punishment for what you say.

People with power, whether it comes from a political position, control over resources or an organization, or whatever, should not be allowed be determine the bounds of public criticism of people in positions of power through the exercise of that power in the form of material punishment. Principles should be what guides the public criticism of people in positions of power.
posted by williampratt at 10:01 AM on October 4, 2011


Lovely instance of pot calling kettle black (or redneck). Just google "Instances of Fox anchors comparing Obama to Hitler" and you can see at a glance, Hank has plenty of company. What a crock.
posted by Kokopuff at 10:02 AM on October 4, 2011


Flunkie: “All this "Oh, he didn't say Obama was Hitler, he just made an analogy in which Obama was represented by Hitler" seems strange enough to me just on its face, but ignoring that, it's also factually untrue.”

Actually, he made an analogy in which Obama was represented by Benjamin Netanyahu. Did you watch the clip at all?
posted by koeselitz at 10:06 AM on October 4, 2011


from his wikipedia entry :

On April 10, 2006, CMT honored Williams with the Johnny Cash Visionary Award, presenting it to him at the 2006 CMT Music Awards. Williams joins an elite circle of gifted performers to have received this prestigious mark of distinction, including Loretta Lynn (2005), Reba McEntire (2004), and Johnny Cash (2003).

that gives me a serious sad.
posted by g.i.r. at 10:06 AM on October 4, 2011


Also, just as a point of clarification: As far as I can tell, Fox hasn't issued any statement on his comments at all and has not punished or rewarded him. He showed up on Fox and Friends, then said a bunch of crazy shit and that was that. He wasn't fired from anything.

What did happen is that, after he said what he said, ESPN decided not to use his song as the theme for Monday Night Football. ESPN and Fox are owned by different companies.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:09 AM on October 4, 2011


koeselitz, I'm genuinely not sure whether you're joking or not, but in case you're not:

He made an analogy in which Boehner and Obama were likened to Hitler and Netanyahu, without explicitly specifying which one is which.

He literally yelled that Obama is "the enemy".

When explicitly asked if he was comparing Obama to "one of the most hated men in all the world", he said that he was.
posted by Flunkie at 10:10 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actually, he made an analogy in which Obama was represented by Benjamin Netanyahu. Did you watch the clip at all?

Well, then it's just as bad that compared Boehner to Hitler.
posted by drezdn at 10:12 AM on October 4, 2011


Is comparing Obama to Hitler more wrong because it's an inapt comparison, or more wrong because you should basically never compare modern political figures to Hitler?

What if Williams had been carrying a "Bush = Hitler"-type banner in a 2003 anti-war march? More offensive, equally offensive, or less offensive?
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:14 AM on October 4, 2011


koeselitz: “Did you watch the clip at all?”

Of course you did, that's a condescending and frankly obnoxious thing for me to say – sorry, Flunkie.

All I'm saying is this:

Hank Williams, Jr, here seems to have pulled "Netanyaho and Hilter" out of the air as examples of people who are apparently unlikely to want to golf together. He doesn't seem to have been saying that either John Boehner or Obama is like Hilter or Netanyahu. We're upset here, I think, because Tea Party types have indeed uttered the "OBAMA=HITLER" crap before. But I think Hank wasn't trying to do that here.

Flunkie: “When explicitly asked if he was comparing Obama to "one of the most hated men in all the world", he said that he was.”

This is the thing – he didn't say that, actually. He just said "I'm telling it like it is." I presume that if he meant to say "Obama is Hitler!" he would have come out and said that. Hank Williams, Jr, is certainly not one to obscure his opinions carefully, even if he seems vague here.
posted by koeselitz at 10:14 AM on October 4, 2011


A few things.. Williams comes across as the stereotype of the uneducated masses. He doesn't see to have any real detail behind his thoughts, shooting from the hip and making wide sweeping statements of opinion.

Now, free speech-wise, there is nothing wrong with that. It may have been ignorant, stupid, lazy or whatever, but he's free to say whatever he wants.

From the NFL's or ESPN's perspective, they have an obligation to protect their brand and if they think it reflects poorly on them, then go ahead and fire him. there is nothing wrong with that. It happens all the time. And your free speach is protected in that you can't be criminally prosecuted, but that doesn't mean you won't have personal repercussions from your statements or actions.

To williampratt's comment "I'm arguing against facing concrete, material punishment for what you say."

I'm hard pressed not to see how you can't expect concrete, material punishment if you take a highly controversial public stance when you are a public face of a private (or even public) organization.

My main issue is the framing of Obama and Biden as 'the enemy.' And that goes for Obama supporters that term Boehner and others as 'enemies.'

"Enemy" conveys a very particular context that precludes the ability to work together and that your are working towards the other's utter failure. Regardless.

This is the problem with our situation today (not that it is new, but it seems vastly more popular and prolifant). The creation of a villian to rally support allows you to simply drop all rational thought, allows you to be lazy about your own goals and ways to solve problems, and eliminates any aceptance of good ideas or even shared ideas coming out fo the other side. This is exactly my problem with the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement. It's about creating a villian of Wall Street and an easy rallying cry, meanwhile the people there are so disparat in their goals, where many of their goals have nothing to do with issues that should be address around the financial sector.

In the end, people need to recognize that the masses are falling into an Idiocracy state, and this is simply a prime example. Arguments are no longer on the merits, but instead "that person is evil/bad/wants to take your favorite fluffy toy away." Rationality and 'the greater good' have fallen by the wayside to irresponsibility and self service.
posted by rich at 10:16 AM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jesus, koeselitz. He didn't "just" say "I'm telling it like it is." He said "That's true. That is true. But I'm telling it like it is."

As you might have noticed from the time that I previously quoted it in response to you.
posted by Flunkie at 10:16 AM on October 4, 2011


Do you really think he meant to say it that way? If so, why was he talking about Netanyahu?

I really honestly think he grabbed "Hitler and Netanyahu" out of the air randomly, and wasn't thinking "Obama is Hitler!" I haven't seen anything to convince me otherwise. I see that he was very confused; but – well, I really think we're assuming he meant something he didn't mean to say.
posted by koeselitz at 10:19 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


He was talking about Netanyahu to represent Boehner.

At this point, I'm going to assume that you're trolling. Goodbye.
posted by Flunkie at 10:21 AM on October 4, 2011


I'm seriously and sincerely not trolling.

I am saying that we on the left are very, very quick to say "the right is full of unconscionably immoral idiots!" – when that's not a particularly charitable or even factual way to read the situation.
posted by koeselitz at 10:25 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is he drunk or high? I can't tell.

Both?

It's rare to see someone display their personal prejudice so blatantly, especially on naational TV, but yeah:

It doesn't seem all that controversial, honestly.

I don't see the fuss either. A lot of smoke; no fire. I think he was going for an eXtreme oDd cOuple too, but failed miserably. (There definitely seemed to be a racial tinge over everything he said, but that could be my prejudice showing.)

His mannerisms and comments ("well, you know") as if implying that all right-thinking (white) people obviously think the same way is indicative to me of a delusional political mindset. I can't fathom people like that. I blame a lack of general literacy combined with an extremely inflated sense of privilege.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:27 AM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm hard pressed not to see how you can't expect concrete, material punishment if you take a highly controversial public stance when you are a public face of a private (or even public) organization.

What I expect to happen and what I think should happen are, unfortunately, typically mutually exclusive categories. I was speaking to what I think should happen, not what I expect to happen.
posted by williampratt at 10:34 AM on October 4, 2011


"So I'm perfectly willing to accept that you're not a racist tea party asshole just because you're a rural southerner if you say so. But if I had to draw one - or a couple hundred - rural southerners at random, that'd be the way to bet."

As a lifelong resident of the Rural South, I can assure you that would be a bad bet to make. If you want to make it anyway, though, as a lifelong resident of the Rural South I'd be more than happy to take your money...

Seriously, though; why is the unbridled judgment of an entire region, culture, and people so accepted here on the blue as long as the region is The American South? People here are a little too comfortable with tossing around gross generalizations about this area, a little too quick to shout "REDNECK!" and a little too quick to turn the rantings of one troubled and storied man into the collective voice of The South that they dream exists. It is not like that here. We have problems, no different from anyplace else. That's it. That's all. Frankly, it gets a little bit old being part of one of the few demographic groups that metafilter is okay with mocking.
posted by broadway bill at 10:39 AM on October 4, 2011 [13 favorites]


Seriously, though; why is the unbridled judgment of an entire region, culture, and people so accepted here on the blue as long as the region is The American South?

Totally agree, this is getting really old.
posted by sweetkid at 10:47 AM on October 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


"So I'm perfectly willing to accept that you're not a racist tea party asshole just because you're a rural southerner if you say so. But if I had to draw one - or a couple hundred - rural southerners at random, that'd be the way to bet."

Seriously, your prejudice is showing here. You might want to work on that.

If you honestly think that you wouldn't hear that same sentiment in rural New England, or the rural Midwest, or even downtown NYC or Boston or San Francisco, then I can only assume you don't get out of the house much.
posted by ralan at 10:49 AM on October 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


In my experience, when people say "I'm telling it like it is," they've generally just said something horrible.
posted by box at 10:55 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or, "You didn't have to tell it like it is, Marge!"
posted by box at 10:56 AM on October 4, 2011


why is the unbridled judgment of an entire region, culture, and people so accepted here on the blue as long as the region is The American South?

Because in other parts of the country, people only learn about the South in relation to the Civil War and the civil rights movement, and then in recent history southern states have repeatedly made decisions that fit right in to this image?

I'm not saying it's a justified stereotype. But some of those states really need to hire a good PR firm to recuperate their brand names.
posted by miyabo at 11:00 AM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rural New England here. My neighbor (who I think is pretty great in most respects) has made the Hitler/Obama comparison. The Palestinians are all terrorists, and hopefully the Republicans will save us. The father of one of my best friends talks the same way.
posted by jwhite1979 at 11:03 AM on October 4, 2011


Seriously, though; why is the unbridled judgment of an entire region, culture, and people so accepted here on the blue as long as the region is The American South?

...

Frankly, it gets a little bit old being part of one of the few demographic groups that metafilter is okay with mocking.

Or fundamentalists of any sort. I think Christians get it worse. (Deservedly so! ;)

If you honestly think that you wouldn't hear that same sentiment in rural New England, or the rural Midwest, or even downtown NYC or Boston or San Francisco, then I can only assume you don't get out of the house much.

I'm on the streets every day. I'll give you the Midwest, NYC, or Boston (maybe), but I'd be pretty surprised to run into someone like that in San Francisco. Honest. Look like that? Yes. Talk like that? Pretty hard to find, imo.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:24 AM on October 4, 2011


Ignorance knows no region. You can find the stereotype anywhere - in any social class, region (rural, urban, otherwise), race, politcal bent or whatever kind of slice and dice you want to try.

All the back and forth on south or north or whatever is a red herring to the real issues that people have brought up throughout the thread.

and back to williampratt: What I expect to happen and what I think should happen are, unfortunately, typically mutually exclusive categories. I was speaking to what I think should happen, not what I expect to happen.

I'm not sure I can completely agree, and I don't think that view is what the founding fathers intended with the freedom of speech.. If I'm running a business, I feel I should have the right to hire and fire someone that, as a public face of my business, does or says something that negatively impacts my business.

Of course, that gets us into the protected classes, where I do agree with the particular protections around sex, religion, race and so forth. But I find something like this akin to firing someone who's on youtube or facebook blindingly drunk making an ass out of themselves and they're my PR head.
posted by rich at 11:27 AM on October 4, 2011


mrgrimm: “I'll give you the Midwest, NYC, or Boston (maybe), but I'd be pretty surprised to run into someone like that in San Francisco. Honest. Look like that? Yes. Talk like that? Pretty hard to find, imo.”

I have met people that talk like that on the street in San Francisco. They're usually up from Orange County, admittedly. But Orange County is, as far as I can tell, probably the biggest Tea Party epicenter. I've honestly met more people there – or from there – that are hardline Tea Partisans than anywhere else.
posted by koeselitz at 11:32 AM on October 4, 2011


What Hank Williams III had to say (I am now a fan of this man):

Hank Williams III says most musicians are "not worthy" of political discussion.

"The only person out there worthy of mixing political views and music is Jello Biafra," added Williams III, referring to the Dead Kennedys musician who also ran for president under the Green Party of the United States in 2000, finishing behind Ralph Nader.

Williams III declined to share his political views with TMZ, saying, "I'm a musician ... not a politician."
posted by misha at 12:06 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am a Christian, born and raised in the South, I went to seminary school for one year, and I vote Republican.

Ignorant, judgmental asses don't bother me anymore. You get used to it.
posted by dhdrum at 12:30 PM on October 4, 2011


All the back and forth on south or north or whatever is a red herring to the real issues that people have brought up throughout the thread.

Agreed. It can be fun to take out our banjos and play "Dueling Anecdotes" but I don't think it gets us very far.

I don't think that view is what the founding fathers intended with the freedom of speech.

You're right but I am not concerned with what the "founding fathers" did or did not intend. First, they weren't gods. Second, I believe they set up a society which is unjust, in part because it allows the infinite accumulation of private power and then allows that to trump principle and rights.

If I'm running a business, I feel I should have the right to hire and fire someone that, as a public face of my business, does or says something that negatively impacts my business.

I wasn't making a comment about the very broad category of "things which negatively impacts a business." I was speaking to something quite specific - about which I'm sure we will still disagree. I just don't think the pursuit of profit should be allowed to trump basic principles of a just society. But in a capitalist society, I would expect that to happen.
posted by williampratt at 12:34 PM on October 4, 2011


I'll only disagree out of necessity (not that I need to disagree.. I mean that (any) society is necessarily unjust for a reason). All that is moral is not legal, nor is everything that is immoral illegal. I'm of a mind that a 'just society' would not be able to function in the long term.

A purely just society would be in conflict with itself, as what is just for one individual may end up being unjust for another; the group vs the individual as well. And of course, you then need to grapple with whose personal morality is the "most just" and should be used as the measuring stick on if something is just or not.

(a side note, I don't think the founding fathers were gods, though I don't think they intentially set up a society that is aimed at infinite accumulation of private power that would be allowed to trump principle and right. Actually, throughout their private and public correspondences, that is something they were significantly concerned about and took pains to curtail as much as possible. Though not with success all the time.)
posted by rich at 1:04 PM on October 4, 2011


Is comparing Obama to Hitler more wrong because it's an inapt comparison, or more wrong because you should basically never compare modern political figures to Hitler?

If you're going to compare a political figure to Hitler, you have to specify exactly how you're comparing them to Hitler. Let's look at a couple of examples.

For instance, according to his secretary, Hitler was a good boss; according to anonymous female staffers, Obama's White House is a sexist work environment. Clearly, Obama is a worse boss than Hitler.

By contrast, when President Bush wanted to invade Iraq, he asserted that Iraq was a threat and we needed to invade them because of imaginary WMD. He contemplated using a fake UN plane to get Saddam Hussein to attack first. When Hitler wanted to invade Poland, he staged false-flag attacks and claimed that he was responding to imaginary Polish aggression. Clearly, Bush is just as mendacious as Hitler.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:05 PM on October 4, 2011


UN plane link
posted by kirkaracha at 1:06 PM on October 4, 2011


Is comparing Obama to Hitler more wrong because it's an inapt comparison, or more wrong because you should basically never compare modern political figures to Hitler?

It's not limited to political figures. Just ask Megan Fox.
posted by litnerd at 1:11 PM on October 4, 2011


I'm not saying it's a justified stereotype. But some of those states really need to hire a good PR firm to recuperate their brand names.

We already gave y'all blues, jazz, country & western, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Barry Hannah, E.O. Wilson, SEC football, Coca-Cola, pork barbecue, fried catfish, and Tallulah Bankhead! What ELSE are we supposed to do?!
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:34 PM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


I will defend Hank Jr.'s music, at its best. He had some fine songs, although truthfully Merle Kilgore had as much to do with this as Fred Rose did for his father, and Rose's contribution is unduly ignored in assessments of the great one's oeuvre. "Eleven Roses," "Stoned at the Jukebox," and surely "Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound" are pretty damn powerful country songs.

It's easy for us to separate the artist from the person with the really great artists. Hank Jr. never really knew his dad, who, as I said above, could be reasonably considered to be something of a douchebag, not to mention a total addict and an abuser of women. Lefty Frizzell once called the great African American country singer Stoney Edwards the "N word" to his face, when Stoney had a hit on the charts called "Hank and Lefty Raised My Country Soul," deeply wounding Stoney at the time (I once interviewed Stoney). At the time, Lefty was busy drinking himself to death in a trailer, and he'd done time for beating people up in his youth to boot. Merle Haggard has turned into something of a populist radical with progressive sentiments, even, in recent years, but in the late 60s and 70s he spouted some jingoistic bullshit that makes Hank Jr.'s rant here sound tame (a different media era, perhaps, but he wrote the anthem for hardhats beating up hippies in "The Fighting Side of Me" and he proudly endorsed Nixon. The list is endless. Need I get started on George Jones? Or, broadening the field, Chuck Berry or any number of current stars?

Hank Jr.'s career has been washed up for 15 years, at least, arguably longer. I last saw him live in 1994, in Austin's Erwin Center, which was sold out. An African American father and son sat next to me, the boy only about 11 or 12. They were loving the show, frankly, until "If The South Woulda Won," at which point they got up and walked out. Not sure if they knew about the song and decided to come anyway, but it was clearly done in disgust and perhaps fear, as the crowd lustily cheered that song's odious implications. He's been hitching his act to the Tea Party thing since 2008, when he appeared at at least one Sarah Palin rally (and gave a grim performance that was painful to watch for anyone who'd ever seen him in earlier days, when there is no denying he was a hell of a showman with weakish material).

The man is just a sad case, more to be pitied than feared. I like to think he represents the true state of the American far right, behind the Portrait of Dorian Perry, and demographically -- an old white man struggling with irrelevance -- it's not a bad image.
posted by spitbull at 1:40 PM on October 4, 2011 [7 favorites]


A purely just society would be in conflict with itself, as what is just for one individual may end up being unjust for another;

Perhaps, but it doesn't necessarily follow. In the best situation, there will always be contradiction and conflict. I do think that it possible to get to a point where it is principle and not concentration of power (particularly based on class) which decides how that conflict will be resolved.

And of course, you then need to grapple with whose personal morality is the "most just" and should be used as the measuring stick on if something is just or not.

That's why I think it should be a question of principle not personal subjectivity. Granted, that's still something quite difficult to figure out but it takes the question to a higher level. I think if things are kept at the level of competing personal moralities then ultimately power will be the determining factor in deciding things.

(a side note, I don't think the founding fathers were gods, though I don't think they intentially set up a society that is aimed at infinite accumulation of private power that would be allowed to trump principle and right. Actually, throughout their private and public correspondences, that is something they were significantly concerned about and took pains to curtail as much as possible. Though not with success all the time.)

I didn't mean to suggest that I thought you do - my comment was just a general position reflecting my belief that no document/person/organization/whatever (even the very best one) is beyond question (in the circles in which I tend to move, such a comment tends to directed more to "Marx said..." kinds of things). I do not know enough to say with certainty what the "founding fathers" intended to create, but I do think I know enough to characterize what resulted from the framework they set up.
posted by williampratt at 1:40 PM on October 4, 2011


PS -- I neglected to mention that I followed that father and son out of the Erwin Center, only about 30 seconds behind, which is how long it took me to process how disgusted and ashamed I felt for still being there.
posted by spitbull at 1:48 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


And as I think about it, it was earlier than 1994. Maybe 1990 or 1991. Man, that was a long time ago.
posted by spitbull at 1:58 PM on October 4, 2011


Merle Haggard .... "The Fighting Side of Me"

One of the advantages of living in North Carolina is that I get to regularly see Eugene Chadbourne perform. He's been known to do a radical deconstruction of that song. But, then again, radical deconstruction is what he does.

& kudos for taking your leave. It was the right thing to do.
posted by williampratt at 2:00 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


We already gave y'all blues, jazz, country & western, William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Barry Hannah, E.O. Wilson, SEC football, Coca-Cola, pork barbecue, fried catfish, and Tallulah Bankhead! What ELSE are we supposed to do?!

Take down the confederate flag. Off your cars, off your houses, off your trucks, off your state flag (state flag II, state flag III, state flag IV).

And what the hell is this?

Q: Last time around, you were a supporter of Sarah Palin
A: Boy was I!
Q: Do you want her to get in this time?
A: ... eh, I don't know.

Is he actually trying to allude to the fact that he supported her because he thought she was hot? And now he doesn't? That's what it sounds like.

What changed, HWJ? What changed?!?!
posted by mrgrimm at 2:33 PM on October 4, 2011


Sweet-tea is gross.

Sacrilege!!
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 2:51 PM on October 4, 2011


Great comment, spitbull. Thanks.
posted by mediareport at 3:09 PM on October 4, 2011


Well, no, but my Mom, a transplant to the rural south, has found it convenient to keep her liberal ideas to herself, especially around my raving Tea Party step brother.

See, you're using your nutty brother to paint the entire South. That sounds like a family problem, not a Southern problem. For what it's worth, I'm very liberal, and I'm not shy about my views. My family is very southern (fishing, hunting, country music) and while they don't all fit your stereotype, many do (conservative, proud to be southern). I don't regularly bring politics up at family functions, but when I've had I've never had a problem. They didn't disown me (the time I showed up to the family reunion with an earring was much more touch-n-go). We eventually reached a 'agree to disagree' situation, but often times, much of the discussion did help shed light on our opposing views.

And I did go to middle school with kids who would proudly boast of their parents' Klan membership.

Middle School? Kids boast of a lot of things at that age to get a reaction. And now, based on that, you're going to have metafilter readers believing the Klan is alive and well in the South.

Look, I've lived in the south, from the gulf coast (actually Florida, but known as Lower Alabama) to Birmingham, for 42 years, and I've never heard the word Klan even come up, much less ever see anyone that belonged to the Klan. Not a single time. And considering the Klan is estimated at 5-8000 strong, among the millions and millions of people that live in the South, that doesn't surprise me.

So I'm perfectly willing to accept that you're not a racist tea party asshole just because you're a rural southerner if you say so. But if I had to draw one - or a couple hundred - rural southerners at random, that'd be the way to bet.
posted by Naberius


Your attitude use to really get to me. It made me angry at Metafilter. I would then spend the next 30 minutes writing and ranting... about how the first time I heard the N-word in years was stepping off a plane in Northern California. How the small New England town I visited every summer in my youth was as white as snow and liked it that way. How Morgan Freeman often says that he faces just as much racism in NYC than the South, but it's more insidious.

Don't get me wrong. I understand the problems of the South. I'm in it, and I'm not immune to it. I've seen it change slowly, and it still has a long way to go. I would love to see the nearly 40 percent that voted for Obama in Alabama rise up to 50. I'll probably never see it, but I can hope.

I use to think that being born Southern was baggage that I carried, and I needed to defend myself. But like any prejudice, that's not really the truth. That's YOUR baggage, and not my problem. I couldn't care less what you're 'willing to accept', but know that you are not helping, and that you are part of the problem.

Seriously, though; why is the unbridled judgment of an entire region, culture, and people so accepted here on the blue as long as the region is The American South?

Because it's metafilter, where you can still generalize and hate as long as you choose the right people. Also, I'm guessing much of Metafilter's experience with the South is a spring break when they were 19 or watching a couple episodes of the Dukes of Hazzard. Daisy Duke made quite the impression.
posted by justgary at 3:10 PM on October 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Take down the confederate flag.

and have yankees be the only ones who fly it? - and don't tell me they don't, they damned well do

likewise, you can avoid the south all of your life, which i pretty much have, and still encounter the klan

to me, the south are cultural cousins to midwesterners, with a lot in common, good and bad - and a lot of cultural crossover

hell, back in bocephus' heyday, i was listening to country music, along with much else - it's gotten awfully damned plastic in the last 30 years ... but it's been awfully damned popular in the midwest for decades - in the 60s my folks watched ren wall and the green valley jamboree boys every sunday on the kalamazoo tv station and they weren't really country fans

hell, i was told my great-grandfather was a champion fiddler - the roots run just as deep here as in the south, at least when it comes to celtic derived music

i don't like some of the history or the heritage or the people, but i still like my southern cousins and their culture, as it's not that different from what i remember of the small city midwest i grew up in
posted by pyramid termite at 3:31 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"A man made a public criticism of President Obama. However you might characterize the man, what he said and what you felt his motivation was, it was nothing more than a criticism."

Actually, it doesn't rise to the level of a "criticism." It's simply an insult, and an inflammatory one at that.

Look, the fundamental disagreement that you're not going to overcome is that content of speech matters with regard to determining the appropriate response. You said "He didn't use the n-word, directly threaten anybody with violence, or anything like that," but that's incoherent with your premises that calling someone Hitler is criticism (calling Obama "nigger" would equally be criticism, that is, not at all, really).

Further, the argument that he shouldn't face "concrete, material" punishment for what he says is silly in the face of the fact that he receives concrete, material reward for what he says, in that he is paid to talk on air.

So, I asked if (almost) everyone here agreed that people who publicly criticize Obama should be punished.

And the answer that you missed in your rush to trot out a simplistic defense of Bocephus under some proxy war for your old job is that the answer is, "Yes, depending on what he says and what the punishment is."

When you set up stupid premises, you end up with stupid conclusions.
posted by klangklangston at 3:43 PM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thanks, mediareport.
posted by spitbull at 4:01 PM on October 4, 2011


klangklangston: Seriously?

Actually, it doesn't rise to the level of a "criticism." It's simply an insult, and an inflammatory one at that.

I never suggested that what he said merited any attention or analysis, or that it wasn't stupid. My point is, so what if it's insulting and inflammatory? Seriously, so what? People should be punished and lose their jobs for insulting the President? I find that unjust and unjustifiable, no matter who is doing is and who the president is.

Look, the fundamental disagreement that you're not going to overcome is that content of speech matters with regard to determining the appropriate response. You said "He didn't use the n-word, directly threaten anybody with violence, or anything like that," but that's incoherent with your premises that calling someone Hitler is criticism (calling Obama "nigger" would equally be criticism, that is, not at all, really).

No, there is no incoherence, as I am actually in reality exactly taking into account "that content of speech matters with regard to determining the appropriate response." Comparing Obama to Hitler is stupid, erroneous, insulting, and plenty of other pejoratives you might want to throw at it. However, I feel that it's something different than being explicitly bigoted, or calling for him to be killed or whatever. Other people can reasonably have a different view of this and disagree with me. There could certainly be contexts in which comparing someone to Hitler would be something fundamentally different and go beyond that into a different category. I just don't think it does.

Further, the argument that he shouldn't face "concrete, material" punishment for what he says is silly in the face of the fact that he receives concrete, material reward for what he says, in that he is paid to talk on air.

My understanding is that he was being paid for his song to be played on Monday Night Football. Regardless, I don't see the relevance. It doesn't matter what someone's job is - I don't think anyone should lose it just for "insulting" the PotUS.

And the answer that you missed in your rush to trot out a simplistic defense of Bocephus

A) I never said a word of "defense" of Hank Jr. In fact I explicitly said I had "always despised Hank Jr" and that "[h]e should be criticized in return, roundly and vehemently, and thoroughly exposed." I thought I made my personal feelings about him clear.
B) My partner teaches 4th graders who understand the difference between defending a principle (such as the related right to free speech) and the character of the person exercising that principle (or the content of what he says). It's not rocket science. The fact that you think I rushed to trot out a simplistic defense of Hank Jr suggests that you didn't read very carefully.

under some proxy war for your old job

I don't understand this bit. I guess that's in reference to my losing grad funding and you're implying that I'm not arguing for principle just massaging some old grudge. In which case, its just another personal attack.

is that the answer is, "Yes, depending on what he says and what the punishment is."

No, that's actually not what I said.

When you set up stupid premises, you end up with stupid conclusions.

klangklangston, I'm sorry but you misrepresented what I said, threw around insulting words like "silly," "stupid," "simplistic" and "incoherent," made presumptuous, snide comments and generally made it clear that you had little interest in a rational debate - you just wanted to be petty and attack somebody on the internet. FWIW, I'm not impressed. You are free to return the sentiment.
posted by williampratt at 4:50 PM on October 4, 2011


"I never suggested that what he said merited any attention or analysis, or that it wasn't stupid. My point is, so what if it's insulting and inflammatory? Seriously, so what? People should be punished and lose their jobs for insulting the President? I find that unjust and unjustifiable, no matter who is doing is and who the president is."

An insult isn't criticism. And the position that no one should ever be fired for saying something stupid is so rife with absurdity that sustaining it is impossible.

"No, there is no incoherence, as I am actually in reality exactly taking into account "that content of speech matters with regard to determining the appropriate response." Comparing Obama to Hitler is stupid, erroneous, insulting, and plenty of other pejoratives you might want to throw at it. However, I feel that it's something different than being explicitly bigoted, or calling for him to be killed or whatever.

I'll grant that it's different materially from saying that he should be killed. However, the simple metric of what you feel isn't sufficient to distinguish "Hitler" from "nigger." They're both insulting, inflammatory and devoid of any critical statement. So, no, you're not taking that into account — you're inventing special categories and attempting an argument by semantics.

Other people can reasonably have a different view of this and disagree with me. There could certainly be contexts in which comparing someone to Hitler would be something fundamentally different and go beyond that into a different category. I just don't think it does.

And again, you don't support this with any reasoning. Why would those things be different in a way that is germane to the discussion? Either you believe that Williams shouldn't be fired for anything he says — so long as it's not criminal — or you don't.

"Regardless, I don't see the relevance. It doesn't matter what someone's job is - I don't think anyone should lose it just for "insulting" the PotUS."

Two things: The relevance is that he's being paid for his speech. That's what music is, that's what his comments were. There's a direct link that implies that it's fair to evaluate them. Likewise, I'm sure he signed a morals clause, and has benefited from the terms of the contract he willingly entered into with knowledge of said morals clause. Second, again, your oversimplification reduces to the absurd. No one should be fired for insulting the President? If Jay Carney stands in front of the press corps and says that Obama is a moron and no one should listen to him, he shouldn't be fired? Of course he should. Further, describing this as "just" insulting the president is incredibly disingenuous, and again gives the lie to the notion that you're considering content and context — the president has been insulted by many, and criticized by many, including by Williams in previous interviews. However, in this instance, it was taken to be over the top and he was fired. But if it was "just" for insulting or criticizing the president, then a lot of other people would have been fired, and Williams would have already lost the position. Ergo, there's something different about this rant.

"My partner teaches 4th graders who understand the difference between defending a principle (such as the related right to free speech) and the character of the person exercising that principle (or the content of what he says). It's not rocket science. The fact that you think I rushed to trot out a simplistic defense of Hank Jr suggests that you didn't read very carefully."

Fair enough. I'll rephrase by saying that you rushed to a simplistic defense of a mistakenly and simplistically absolutist view of free speech that's internally inconsistent, logically incoherent and at best a misguided policy that would leave both the principle and the world a worse place if followed.

"No, that's actually not what I said."

No, that's the correct answer to your loaded rhetorical question, which I gave. You can find what you wrote in the italicized portion of my comment. For someone so willing to suggest poor readings as the culprit for disagreeing with you, I'd hope that you'd be a little bit better at reading yourself.

"klangklangston, I'm sorry but you misrepresented what I said,"

No, I really didn't. You didn't think through what you wrote.

"threw around insulting words like "silly," "stupid," "simplistic" and "incoherent," made presumptuous, snide comments and generally made it clear that you had little interest in a rational debate"

Your position requires oversimplification in calling what Williams said a "criticism," is incoherent in that you pick exceptions based on convenience to your argument rather than a consistent principle, is silly in that it is easily refuted, and is stupid in that the conclusion reached takes a willful misapplication of a generally good principle.

I'm happy to have a rational debate when you're willing to provide one. Until then, I think you're wrong in a pretty presumptuous, sanctimonious way and don't feel particularly petty about telling you that.
posted by klangklangston at 5:47 PM on October 4, 2011


People should be punished and lose their jobs for insulting the President?

mechanical royalties from a song, and pay for its use, aren't a job

the thing i don't get about your whole argument is under what circumstances does abc have the right to change its theme song for monday night football? surely, there must be some - and if so, how does one say those are permissible and their present reason not?

and what of freedom of the press? - as a media organization, doesn't abc have the right to choose theme songs as it will?

you're treating hank williams jr's ability to have written and performed that theme song as if it was an entitlement of his - it's not - they didn't have to do that in the first place and they don't have to do it now

you call it a punishment for political speech, but what if they'd decided before the season that they were bored with it and wanted something new? - would that be punishment for nothing?

your argument is incoherent when it's examined closely - and i might point out that country stations are still going to be playing his music, so he's hardly been silenced or deprived of his livelihood
posted by pyramid termite at 5:56 PM on October 4, 2011


Likewise, I'm sure he signed a morals clause, and has benefited from the terms of the contract he willingly entered into with knowledge of said morals clause.

i don't know that he did, or that it would be necessary to have a morals clause for abc to say, "we're not renewing your contract for that song, we want to do something else"

tv networks cancel shows and change theme songs all the time without having to cite a person's morals as a cause

i'm sure that basically, the contract boils down to, "we'll pay you this as long as we're willing to play your song and once we decide we don't want to, that's it"
posted by pyramid termite at 6:02 PM on October 4, 2011


Hank Jr. would no doubt not wish to be defended on the basis of a claim of unfair discrimination, seeing as that would make him a victim, right? In any case, he once sang (in "Born to Boogie") of being such a motherfucker of a star that he could take or leave management's offer:

Now we were playing them halls and jamming them
And we moved it on over to MGM
They said this is the boy we've been telling you about
He lit a cigar and he stuck his hand out
He said, "Son, have we got a deal for you,
We're gonna make you a star, give you fifty thousand too."
I told him, "My Momma didn't raise no fool.
I'll take your money
I'll make your movie
But I can tell ya right now
I was born to boogie."


They took his money, and his movie, back.
posted by spitbull at 6:35 PM on October 4, 2011


I don't like it when people get outraged because they disagree with something stupid some celebrity said while drunk and now they want him fired. I don't even care for boycotts of advertisers of certain shows (always seems like they are being boycotted for something I approve of anyway, like talking about birth control, etc).

But I think there's a bit more context here than Monday Night Football 'punishing' HW jr.

First off, the league was under lockout just a couple months ago. Fans don't sympathize much when they can't watch their favorite sport because over-paid athletes want even more money to play. Now that the Season is on, neither the league or the network want to do anything that could possibly alienate their fans further. They have a strong financial interest in projecting a positive image for middle America and all those families, many of them Obama fans and many of them Jewish, both groups who might take offense at what HW jr. said.

And this was not someone caught off-guard being stupid, either. This was a celebrity using his celebrity status on a political program to espouse his weird conspiracy theories and call the President "the enemy" and Godwin the conversation.

If we had a user come in here and (unironically) try that, we'd give the user hell for it, and rightly so. It's a cheap, lazy and inflammatory tactic. So we would 'punish' them, yes.

They chose not to play his song for Monday Night Football this one week, and that's it as far as I can see. They probably didn't want people to associate MNF with Hitler. I don't think that's surprising.

When all this has cooled down, they might use the song--I imagine they'll be running polls and reading mail and checking all the Twitter trends, etc. before making up their minds.

It's all about maintaining their image to keep the big bucks rolling in. Hank Williams Jr. has been around long enough to know the score. He rolled the dice and took his chances and now he's paying for it financially, because what he said could hurt other people financially.
posted by misha at 6:45 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


"A man made a public criticism of President Obama. However you might characterize the man, what he said and what you felt his motivation was, it was nothing more than a criticism."

You lost me there. If you can hear someone talk about Hitler and think they were just trying to think of an example of a guy who disagreed with other folk, you've got a more dispassionate view of Adolf Hitler than I do.

There is no way he wasn't trying to connect Obama to Hitler. Hell, a quick google search [guess what google thinks you're searching for when you type in "obama is h"?] leads to this article on Forbes magazine's web site. Forbes is pretty mainstream; your dentist probably has a copy in their waiting room.

FWIW, claiming this fool is a typical southerner is bogus. Sadly, I think miyabo's comment is pretty valid. Not necessarily the part about getting a PR firm, but there is a very one-dimensional picture of the south in national media.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:50 PM on October 4, 2011


wait, abc pulled monday night football and it's on espn?

boy, do i feel old now ...
posted by pyramid termite at 6:58 PM on October 4, 2011


Wait, I'm still stuck on '...political analyst and future senator..." Wha?
posted by sundrop at 7:14 PM on October 4, 2011


mechanical royalties from a song, and pay for its use, aren't a job

In the interest of accuracy, I'd point out that those are performance royalties, not mechanical royalties.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:53 PM on October 4, 2011


Guess what? The red cross of the Florida flag is not a reference to the Confederate flag.

"From 1868 to 1900, the flag of Florida was simply the seal of Florida on a white background. . . . In the late 1890s, Governor Francis P. Fleming suggested that a red cross be added so that it would not appear to be a white flag of retreat hanging still on a flagpole. This was approved by popular referendum in 1900. This design resembles the Cross of Burgundy flag, which was likely used in Florida since 1559 with the founding of Pensacola, and definitely used since the founding of St. Augustine in 1565.[1]"
posted by oddman at 7:54 PM on October 4, 2011


Good to know! That just leaves South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama as states that used the Confederate flag into the 21st century!

Hint: if focus groups find that your brand identity is mostly associated with fiery painful death, it may be a good idea to change logos.

And, if you can, just change your whole brand name. I would recommend creative, spunky names for those five states. How about South Altria, North Altria, Accenture, Airtran, and Xe?
posted by miyabo at 8:11 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


With Christie out I think Bocephus has a real shot at this thing.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:56 PM on October 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


We need to have Unknown Hinson do the new song. At least no one can mistake him for a serious person, no matter how hard they try.

although even his most outre musical choices can be matched by some weird bit of beautiful madness from fifties c&w.
posted by winna at 9:00 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it makes Hank feel any better, I can honestly say this incident has not lowered my opinion of him at all.
posted by mazola at 10:37 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


If we had a user come in here and (unironically) try that, we'd give the user hell for it, and rightly so. It's a cheap, lazy and inflammatory tactic. So we would 'punish' them, yes.

I agree with your characterization of Hank Jr's comment. But when I talked about "punishment" I specifically said "material punishment," by which I meant something like losing one's job, income or something similar. I said that Hank Jr should face criticism, but not punishment, for making a public criticism of the PotUS. I think the appropriate response to "cheap, lazy and inflammatory" criticism is more criticism (hopefully of better quality which actually raises the level of discussion).

My concern is all of this arises from the fact that there is a very bad history in the US of people facing punishment, whether from the State or a private business, because of their political speech. I think it's very important to defend the principle of being able to do things like call the PotUS names without fear of punishment, even when I despise the person saying it or completely disagree with with the content and intent of the speech (as in this case). As I noted above, there are justifiable exceptions to this (bigoted speech promoting hatred, threats of violence, etc.). And, as I noted, reasonable people could disagree as to where to draw that line and claim that what Hank Jr said crosses that line.

mechanical royalties from a song, and pay for its use, aren't a job

Fair enough - I used the word "job" because I was tired of typing out "material punishment."

the thing i don't get about your whole argument is under what circumstances does abc have the right to change its theme song for monday night football? surely, there must be some - and if so, how does one say those are permissible and their present reason not?

There are innumerable justifiable reasons for them changing their theme song. I'm arguing that the present one isn't because he's being punished for criticizing the PotUS.

and what of freedom of the press? - as a media organization, doesn't abc have the right to choose theme songs as it will?

If by "freedom of the press" you mean the First Amendment, that doesn't apply here as that is about government infringement. If you mean that as a business they have the right to cancel a contract, I discussed that above. Short answer, yes they have the right to do exactly what they did but I don't think it's a good thing to do.

you're treating hank williams jr's ability to have written and performed that theme song as if it was an entitlement of his - it's not - they didn't have to do that in the first place and they don't have to do it now

No, I'm not treating as an entitlement. It's just a particular arrangement between two parties which could be legitimately ended for any number of reasons. I'm not saying that ESPN has to keep the song no matter what. And I'm not saying they don't have the right to do stop using it now. I'm simply saying that it's a bad thing to cancel it under these circumstances.

you call it a punishment for political speech, but what if they'd decided before the season that they were bored with it and wanted something new? - would that be punishment for nothing?

It wouldn't be punishment for criticizing the PotUS, which is my concern here. If they were just bored with it, or wanted something new, or focus groups made it clear that people wanted something different, then (as long as they weren't violating a contract) that's their business.

your argument is incoherent when it's examined closely -

I don't see how you've made that case. I don't think you're examining it closely. I think you're introducing irrelevancies and taking my argument argument in directions I clearly did not intend and which do not logically follow.

and i might point out that country stations are still going to be playing his music, so he's hardly been silenced or deprived of his livelihood

I already addressed this above. Just because the personal impact of this might be slight (and he'll probably ultimately materially benefit from it), doesn't make it not wrong.
posted by williampratt at 5:14 AM on October 5, 2011


williampratt, taking what you say seriously, what do you want to happen? A performer's career took a hit based on what he said. FOX and ESPN are private companies, and have a very free hand deciding who or what they put on their TV shows. Do you want/expect anything more than for people here to say "Shame on you ESPN"?
posted by benito.strauss at 7:10 AM on October 5, 2011


"It wouldn't be punishment for criticizing the PotUS, which is my concern here."

Except that, again, calling the president "Hitler" isn't a criticism.

"I don't see how you've made that case. I don't think you're examining it closely."

To be fair, you didn't respond to the close examination of your argument that I made, and seem to presume that the irrelevancies and lack of logical following (incoherence) come from others introducing those aspects, rather than realizing that they come from your argument itself.

For example, if people wanted something else, you'd be fine with them changing the theme, but not if people wanted something else because they didn't like Williams calling Obama "Hitler." And, of course, that would have to come from some sort of democratic focus group, rather than the general low-level executive acumen required to recognize that maybe you don't want to be associated with a guy calling the president Hitler. Because that would be punishment. And punishment is bad in all cases for some reason. Except when it's bigoted, then it's good.

I know that you can't see the difference between this and, say, the Dixie Chicks making a soft allusion to Bush and being punished for it, but if you treat it as a thought experiment, I'm sure you can come up with some important criteria that will allow you to distinguish the situations relative to the punishments involved, and by doing so, you may better understand why your argument is so unconvincing to the rest of us.
posted by klangklangston at 11:18 AM on October 5, 2011


I think you're introducing irrelevancies and taking my argument argument in directions I clearly did not intend and which do not logically follow.

i don't see how freedom of the press, freedom of speech - meaning, freedom not to have someone speak for you - and freedom to make or end contracts with someone can be irrelevancies here

in fact, i think i'd argue that your scruples regarding "punishment" for political speech are the real irrelevancy

Just because the personal impact of this might be slight (and he'll probably ultimately materially benefit from it), doesn't make it not wrong.

if he does materially benefit from it, it's hardly a punishment is it?
posted by pyramid termite at 1:52 PM on October 5, 2011


One thing the right's reaction to Obama's presidency has made me realize is how much I over-reacted to parts of Bush's presidency. I just hope the right makes similar realizations.
posted by drezdn at 2:01 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing the right's reaction to Obama's presidency has made me realize is how much I over-reacted to parts of Bush's presidency.

He's still a free man, so, no, you did not overreact. If anything, quite the opposite.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:22 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


mechanical royalties from a song, and pay for its use, aren't a job
Doesn't he sing modified lyrics for every week, based on the game? Like "Them Broncos are a-buckin' and them Jets are outta sight, all my rowdy friends are here on Monday night"?

I haven't watched Monday Night Football in years, but at least he used to do that. At least sometimes.
posted by Flunkie at 3:35 PM on October 5, 2011


Doesn't he sing modified lyrics for every week, based on the game? Like "Them Broncos are a-buckin' and them Jets are outta sight, all my rowdy friends are here on Monday night"?

Yes, but he sang and then lip synched them months ago. There is even a Spanish version.
posted by tomierna at 4:59 PM on October 5, 2011



In any event, he aint doin it no more.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:18 AM on October 6, 2011


Hank Williams apologizes spoof.
posted by Daddy-O at 11:30 AM on October 6, 2011


Mr. Williams Jr. has written a song about his tribulations.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:49 PM on October 10, 2011


Mr. Williams Jr. has written a song about his tribulations.

This probably isn't cool to speculate (so go ahead and delete if this offends), but I've long thought Mr. Williams Jr. had some seriously repressed homosexual issues and that photo (and his general performance style thru history) does nothing to dissuade me. There is a self-hating aspect to his performance that I recognize.

I usually am ashamed at schadenfraude, and I don't even like the NFL that much anymore, but with this story I am still so happy. No more fucking Hank William Jr. songs at NFL games. Huzzah!

I will think about it at odd times and smile. What a stroke of unexpected luck.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:58 AM on October 11, 2011


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