October 10, 2011

Hank Williams Jr.

Hank Williams Jr.

Whether or not it was at Foxman’s prodding, Williams apologized:

The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin’ [sic] and high fiven’ [sic] on a golf course, while so many families are struggling to get by, simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement, and I am very sorry if it offended anyone.

The media, showing its typical reluctance to insult white Southerners or ever depict them in even slightly unflattering ways, piled on with the redneck, hillbilly, and white-trash slurs as if they’re paid to do so. We were lectured that the Confederate apologist Bocephus should have been banished from popular discourse long ago because he once cut a track called “If the South Woulda Won” and because his logo—yes, he has a logo—is said to resemble a German eagle. It quickly became evident that the media did not deem Hank Williams Jr. to be the proper kind of person to be comparing people to Hitler and if anything, people should be comparing him  to Hitler.

Setting aside the fact that Jr.’s comment was far more an analogy than a comparison, as well as the fact that the entire case conjures multiple planes, matrices, and dimensions of Reductio ad Hitlerum ridiculousness from thin air, his summary dismissal from Monday Night Football still leaves several unanswered questions. Why was no one upset at being compared to Netanyahu? Or to the Three Stooges? Is it because they’re all Jews? And if he was comparing Obama to Hitler, wasn’t he at least saying that Hitler was bad? Doesn’t he get any points for that part of it? Have things reached the point where certain people aren’t allowed to even say anything negative about Hitler?

Or is it the linking of Netanyahu to Hitler that’s the real sore tooth here?

It’s too easy to compare people to Hitler. I spent a lot of my teen years comparing people to Hitler, and if I was on my death bed tomorrow, I don’t think one of my final regrets would be, “You know, I simply didn’t compare enough people to Hitler.” Maybe we should take a national time-out on all comparisons to Hitler, so long as we’re not Nazis about it.

And comparing anyone to Hitler sort of detracts from and, well, cheapens what it means to be Hitler, dunnit? Isn’t part of being Hitler the fact that no one is as “evil” as you are? Still, people compare other people to Hitler all the time. It’s like they can’t help it. I think the only person who never compared anyone to Hitler was Hitler himself.

Ultimately, this is a very real cultural struggle over who gets to enforce Godwin’s Law. Not only did Hank Williams Jr. compare the wrong person to Hitler, he was also the wrong sort of person to be making such comparisons. Never underestimate the political power of getting to designate society’s angels and devils.

Still, as dumb as he seems—which is “extremely”—at least Hank Jr. knows who Netanyahu is. Would Kim Kardashian know that? Would anyone on Dancing With the Stars know who John Kasich is? Would any of the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy homos have known? Bocephus should at least be given some credit for being more politically literate than your average TV prog-boob.

And although I empathize with the Jewish struggle to the point where if a Jew cries anywhere on the planet I can taste their tears, I must reprimand the entire world for neglecting the feelings of a far larger special-interest group—golfers. As far as my research has revealed at press time, HITLER DIDN’T GOLF, and now, because of Hank Jr.’s thoughtless comment, everyone’s going to think that all golfers are Nazis. How do Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus feel about this? There are an estimated five to seven times as many golfers in America as there are Jews—how do they feel about it? And why am I the only one who cares?

What’s most important—even more than the Holocaust—is that his wretched rectal prolapse of a song is now gone. If hemorrhoids had a sound, it would be his intro music to Monday Night Football. Hank Williams Jr. could have killed a man, and it would not have been as big a crime as what he perpetrated on the ears of America’s football-watching public for 20 years. He won four Emmys for that theme music; he should have received four felonies.



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