Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Write a Song About It, Hank

First of all, I rarely watch Monday Night Football. I don't watch it at all this year, over here in Korea. I frankly could not even have told you that Hank Williams Jr. was part of the show opening, so I certainly won't miss him when he's gone. And I never watch Fox "News." I am not the biggest Obama fan and I am not even the smallest Hank Williams Jr. fan. You might say I don't have a dog in this fight. But:

1. I have serious misgivings about the whole idea of "solving" problems by very publicly punishing certain outspoken celebrities.
2. Did anyone actually take a look at what Hank actually said? 
3. Hitler. Why does anyone still take this bait?

Earlier this year Kobe Bryant, in the heat of the moment of an intense basketball game, called a referee "faggot" and suddenly the entire nation(/world?) was weighing in on what he "deserved" as a punishment. I know, because none of us have ever called someone a name in the heat of the moment, right? And when the NBA fines him some ridiculous amount, we all collectively feel satisfied because - why? What exactly did we do, there? And why is it outrageous for him to say that but not outrageous for men to throw around the words "pussy" "douchebag" and even the more clinical "vagina" as derogatory insults to each other?  I maintain that the answer is the currency, the hot topic-ness, the "It Gets Better" trend, of acknowledging that people need to not be jerks (or worse) to homosexuals. It is not because of any actual sincere reflection about what it meant to use that term or what it means as an insult. The same is true in this situation. I actually fully support ESPN in standing up to Fox and Clowns Friends, and I wish more people would call them out on their 1.outrageous statements 2.lies 3.just plain nonsense. But choosing a political issue to publicly condemn someone for a statement is problematic. It's like this big show. It's not an honest look at what it means to have Hank Williams Jr. be a part of your program - it's just being caught up in the hysteria of the moment.

Furthermore: I saw all these headlines like "Hank Calls Obama 'Hitler'" and that is not what happened! What he SAID was that Obama and good ol' John Boehner playing golf together was like Hitler and Netanyahu playing golf together. This, my friends, is what we call an analogy. He exaggerated to make a point, because that is something that people do in arguments. When pressed (by some talking head who could just smell a controversy, and therefore ratings, on the horizon)  he explained that many people consider Obama and others in government the "enemy" right now, thus cementing in some people's mind the Obama/Hitler comparison. But he didn't actually start running around calling Barack Obama "Hitler."

And here's a question for you: So what if he did?  IF Hank had actually compared Obama to Hitler, so what? Why shouldn't he be able to do that? I mean, sure, he should then have to explain his thinking -- because there has been a U.S. White House occupant this decade who charismatically sucked people in with lies and perpetuated the slaughter of many, many people and his name is certainly not Barack Obama. But seriously, it's like the internet joke that within a certain amount of time someone will bring up Hitler to render any argument pointless. Why do people still fall for this? You seriously can call someone Satan and it goes over better than calling someone Hitler, but everyone still gets all high and mighty and the hysterical response just feeds the hysteria. I guarantee you Hank could have said it was like Satan playing golf with Jesus and no one would have cared and everyone could still have Hank on their football game on Mondays.

Now what really needs to happen is that all of you who went crazy on the Dixie Chicks in 2003 when they said they were ashamed of Texas/George W. Bush need to get together with Hank Jr. and call up the Chicks to apologize. And everyone - everyone! - needs to be able to have a feisty political discussion because feisty political discussions are awesome and they don't need to end with public shows of punishment or defriending on Facebook or whatever other simple-minded response people choose that feels good for two seconds but does nothing whatsoever to inspire or illuminate.

OK, maybe I am the smallest Hank Williams Jr. fan. I do love me some country music. But not when it's about "God told me to be a Republican fighting in Iraq." Stick to crying in my honky tonk beer and we can talk.



Anonymous said...

What ever happened to free speech in America?

Hank Williams intros to Monday Night Football have been going on for at least 15 years, and they are awesome.

Nuff said on my part.


Robert Hesterly said...

Psychiatrist Eric Berne wrote a best-seller book in 1964 called "Games People Play." In it he describes a series of "mind games" people engage in that are predictable, and usually counterproductive in establishing healthy communication. He labels one of these transactions as "now I've got you,you son-of-bitch," & another is "ain't it awful." It's a mind game used to hurt people & stop communication. Someone wins & someone loses, which is the aim of the game. It's not adult-like communications where people share ideas. You can still find the book on Amazon.com, or just search it on your search engine. Another book is called, "I'm OK, You're OK," by Thomas Harris. I enjoyed the article. "It's a Rainy Night in Georgia," is a very good song that Hank W.sangs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v36OLccQnTA&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PLA53110CF66D554F8