Hank Williams Jr., Monday Night Football, the South … wow

Enjoy this “discussion” on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on ESPN’s decision to pull Hank Williams Jr. from the opening to Monday Night Football.  Are you ready for some football, indeed.

UPDATE: A more extended version of the report that sets the exchange in context is here.

45 thoughts on “Hank Williams Jr., Monday Night Football, the South … wow

  1. Jeffry Burden October 6, 2011 / 3:28 pm

    There it is again:

    The South = The White South

    Southern History = Confederate History

  2. Jeff Davis October 6, 2011 / 3:41 pm

    Pol Pot

    The three most evil criminals in history. People make comparisons between them, and that can be acceptable. Indeed, politically there are similarieties between them to one degree or another, hence the comparison here should come as no surprise.

    Hank deserves to be fired, but he also won a lot of hearts and minds for publicly making an analogy that many, many folks had been thinking about for the past two years.

    The trouble with talk radio/TV is that it does not allow time to form a context to events or statements, or to really consider what one will say. Not defending the really poor analogy HW Jr made — it was an offensive comparison to make…way over the top.

    The discussion however, was ludicrous, as there really is no defense for using that specific analogy.

    In the end, all the discussion did was demonstrate the depth of the political divide in this country, and it did so by cherry picking the caricatures who took part in the discussion.

    These are truly dangerous days in America. I found nothing humorous in that clip, not even the facial expressions.

    I begin to have a better grasp now of how the average Joe felt between 1850 and 1860. I don’t like being backed into a pigeonholed corner any more than they did, and my frustration at the lack of compromise is likely less than theirs…they had experienced “compromise” on a major issue of the day on several occasions and it was never enough. I pray each day that the 9ssues faced today are not resolved as that single issue was in during the years 1860-65.

    • Margaret Blough October 6, 2011 / 11:57 pm

      Jeff-The group that often gets overlooked in terms of feeling backed into a corner in the antebellum period are white northerners. Ever since the Louisiana purchase and even more so after the Missouri Compromise, there had been one compromise after another with the slave states in order to meet the latter’s demands for protection. It was never enough. The demands got more and more extreme. The Fugitive Slave Law that was part of the Compromise of 1850 was bitterly attacked in the north as violating states’ rights. Many northerners didn’t like slavery but they hadn’t been prepared to do much about it. However, they saw the new Fugitive Slave law as forcing them to be slave catchers. The big problem was that there was very little compromise even at the best of times. The slave states refused to even discuss any thing other than affirmative protection of slavery

      • Mark October 7, 2011 / 7:54 am

        I would think that the big problem was that the compromises didn’t work, not that there weren’t enough of them. When you’re dealing with moral issues, compromises don’t work unless they can buy time and avoid war while social change takes place by other means. That was the hope, and it was reasonable to try, but it failed as that often does. That’s why all this “there isn’t enough compromise” talk is just a useless expression. Compromise often leads to worse outcomes than if there were none. In todays political discussion “compromise” = “magic bullet”.

        • Jeff Davis October 8, 2011 / 4:36 pm

          That is exactly to whom I was referring. I agree with your assessment. In my mind, no compromise by the South was a given. Perhaps I should have been more specific. Thanks for the intervention.

  3. Ray O'Hara October 6, 2011 / 4:35 pm

    Clearly Hank thought he was in friendly territory on Fox.
    Fox and friends imply what he said daily on that show.
    One also wonders how much fellow Southerner Jack Daniels was an influence.

    Fox has been also been implying that the Occupy Wall Street protest is the same as the French-Fascist-Communist-Revolutions {which are all the same in Foxworld}

    As Jeff pointed out Hank just said bluntly what many think and which Fox constantly implies.

    • Brooks D. Simpson October 6, 2011 / 5:09 pm

      The middle fellow’s just a honest version of Hugh Lawson.

      • Jeff Davis October 6, 2011 / 8:47 pm

        Wait…isn’t that an…oxymoron?

    • Charles Lovejoy October 7, 2011 / 6:07 am

      Ray, Since I fully support the “Occupy Wall Street protest” does FOX consider me a “French-Fascist-Communist” ? 🙂

      • Jeff Davis October 8, 2011 / 4:37 pm

        Probably not, Charles, but I might! ;>)

      • Ray O'Hara October 9, 2011 / 9:09 am

        Yes Charles it does. 😉

    • Buck Buchanan October 7, 2011 / 10:05 am

      “One also wonders how much fellow Southerner Jack Daniels was an influence.”

      Actually, HW JR has been on the wagon for decades. The reason for the beard and tinted glasses is he smashed his face falling down a mountain while he was drunk a long time ago, so he was sober when he said this….which removes THAT excuse.

      He might have had a fellow traveler in Charlie Daniels, though. Old Charlie definitely shares those views.

      I opften wonder why he wasn’t n Gods & Generals…eh probably could have brought his own uniform.

  4. Mark October 6, 2011 / 11:21 pm

    Its shocking to me that we have people implying that the depth of the political divide is anywhere close to what there was in the 1860s. Wow. I can see no evidence for this, and no reason to think it. Its just part-and-parcel of this “Hey look! There’s a crisis!” mentality that so many are invested in. The news media isn’t new folks. And it hasn’t really changed that much over the years. It was far more shameless, partisan, and sensational in the past. What we have now is very tame by comparison. But I’m sure someone will tell me why though that may be true, people are dumber than in the past and now believe it like never before so its worse now or something like that. Which is just another way of saying it’s a stupidity crisis. Just anticipating the probable response. 😉

  5. Mark October 6, 2011 / 11:25 pm

    Oh and by the way, I don’t see Fox news, and I don’t have cable. So can someone offer some evidence for how Fox advocates an analogy between Hitler and Obama? A video clip, and transcript, or something? I’m dubious.

      • Mark October 7, 2011 / 7:44 am

        Oh I’ve seen that and heard all about it because it was controversial and everyone picked it up. I was looking for evidence of the pattern of Obama/Hitler comparison that is being asserted here on Fox, not by you. The problem is that musicians and artists as a group have notoriously controversial and even offensive political views, and are often not shy about expressing them whenever they get a microphone. This isn’t anything new. What’s new is that the artist here said something outrageous and a non-Republican. The Bush/Hitler comparisons, assertions of fascism, and even assassination fantasies and such were common, and yes, displayed in just the same fashion by artists and many others and it was no big deal by the same folks who are adamant that this artist must be fired for what he said, even though he apologized and made the statement as he should have (if that’s how he felt) all along. That’s the problem.

        BTW, I’ve never forgiven Monday Night Football for replacing that wonderful elegant them music they used to use that I can still hear in my head with that horrendous HWJ song in the first place. I can’t stand the current song. I thought it was a travesty.

        • Brooks D. Simpson October 7, 2011 / 11:15 am

          I’m far more interested (for purposes of this blog) in what this controversy inspired in some quarters about people’s impressions of the South, a theme that came across very clearly in the exchange on Outside the Lines on ESPN. Williams’s original comment, like all comments that just casually link presidents and other political leaders with Hitler, just seemed stupid, and the big mistake (here and elsewhere) is not that entertainers have political opinions, but that news organizations sometimes privilege that opinion because of the entertainer’s status as an entertainer. One knows that Hank Williams Jr. can be outrageous, including ABC/ESPN: thus the rowdy friends. Ever read an interview where Alicia Keys shares her views on politics? The question remains: why should we care?

          • Mark October 7, 2011 / 1:02 pm

            I understand. I completely agree that we shouldn’t care. I ask this same question frequently to people I know. I can easily understand the curiosity, but if I were head of any news, media, or entertainment company I’d make it a policy that other than “man in the street” type of interviews, that they only asked explicitly political questions to people who we should have some reason to care, whatever their opinion might be.

            Though maybe it’s just that he’s a consummate businessman, Michael Jordan gets it. He’s the one who when taken to task by a colleague or friend over not supporting some candidate or other (and I have no idea whether he actually did support this candidate personally or not) said something like “Because Republicans buy shoes too?” HWJ should have the same attitude. It is a complete mystery to me why celebrities think we should care what they think about anything other than acting or singing.

          • Brooks D. Simpson October 7, 2011 / 3:04 pm

            Jordan did make one exception to his rule: he endorsed Bill Bradley’s presidential run.

    • Ray O'Hara October 7, 2011 / 9:12 am

      there is more

      • Mark October 7, 2011 / 12:50 pm

        Not quite. Calling someone a racist is like calling them Hitler? No. And Rush Limbaugh is on talk radio last time I checked rather than Fox news. The funny thing is that actual employees and spokesmen of MSNBC have called Republicans fascists, tyrants, and murderers without getting fired.

        But hey, since your citations lean towards scatter-shot confirmation bias, should I attribute this moveon.org bit to you? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpxmYvlLKXo&feature=player_embedded

        Don’t worry, I don’t. I’m quite sure you’re more reasonable than that. Honestly. Its too bad you don’t see others the same way. HWJ said something dumb, and I do have differences with what little I know about him, but it is almost amusing how folks want to say the country is going to Hell in a handbasket because of this type of thing and at the same time to deny ordinary people the benefit of the doubt for saying something stupid and act like thought police enforcers (“you’ll never work in this town again!”), a sufficient number of which surely would doom the country as fast as anything.

      • Charles Lovejoy October 7, 2011 / 1:12 pm

        These two are much more offensive to me than Hank Williams jr,

      • Charles Lovejoy October 7, 2011 / 1:44 pm

        Ray, Ill add some more to that. Those two (Beck and Limbaugh) in my humble opinion go beyond stupidity….. way beyond.

    • Steve Witmer October 7, 2011 / 5:14 pm

      Yes, it’s a comedy routine from Lewis Black, but he makes some very good points. Note that Glenn Beck’s show was one considered one of Fox’s crown jewels before Beck went too far off the deep end even for them and cancelled the show.

    • Jeff Davis October 8, 2011 / 4:38 pm

      I think the morning crew that was interviewing him were caught completely off guard and did express their discomfort at his comment.

  6. Tony Gunter October 7, 2011 / 1:02 am

    This is just the Trent Lott story part deaux. Racist jackass hangs out in the public eye for decades until he makes an off-the-cuff remark that coincides with a slow news cycle. Suddenly everyone is outraged. The real outrage is that it takes people so long to recognize these jackasses for what they are.

    • Mark October 7, 2011 / 7:48 am

      Are you saying that what HWJ said was racist, or was inspired by racism?

      • Tony Gunter October 8, 2011 / 4:10 am

        No, I’m saying HWJ is a racist jackass, and that these comments pale in comparison to what he has represented in the past in word or deed. Just like Trent Lott being the keynote speaker at a CCC event and nobody giving a damn, then getting blown out of the water for some off-the-cuff comments at a decagenarian’s birthday party.

    • Andy Hall October 7, 2011 / 8:57 am

      That was pretty much Jon Stewart’s take on it. In effect, why are you surprised by this?!?

      • Mark October 7, 2011 / 1:26 pm

        Andy, why on earth would you think think I’m surprised by this? No where did I say I was surprised by this. How could I be surprised by his when the “racism” term has been thrown about so indiscriminately and irresponsibly for so many years now? I am asking if it is true. That’s a different thing.

        I’m not surprised if that is what Jon Stewart thinks. He’s the man who mocks Herman Cain’s black dialect, but the racist is HWJ who plans to vote for Cain? If my explanation above wasn’t clear for why I wouldn’t be surprised if Stewart or those of his political stripe think the Fox interview displayed racism, does that make it any clearer?

        The question I asked was how it was racist, not what your favorite celebrity thinks! John Stewart is an entertainer whose opinion matters no more to me than HWJ, Bono, or J. Lo. He doesn’t even claim to be anything other than an entertainer. Who cares what he thinks?

        • Andy Hall October 7, 2011 / 7:30 pm

          Neither that rhetorical question, nor my comment, were addressed to you.

          Defensive much?

          • Mark October 8, 2011 / 1:55 am

            My apologies Andy, I realize that I was mistaken in how I thought the indentation worked for replies. I have to say I don’t like this style of thread notation. On other blogs I’ve seen the notation was linear and people simply quoted the text they were responding to. I can’t say I’m fond of the threading by indentation method. It seems ambiguous in many cases.

          • Andy Hall October 8, 2011 / 2:05 pm

            Eh, I’m cranky. Forget it, best.

  7. Leonard Lanier October 7, 2011 / 7:20 am

    Since Bocephus has such a long history of dubious decision making, I think the best way to measure this latest escapade is to place it on a “less than/greater than” scale of Dumb Hank Jr. Moves:

    Mountain Climbing Without Safety Harness > Hitler Comment > Marrying Hawaiian Tropic Model

    I also like the “up in Charlotte” comment made by Paul Finebaum toward Bomani Jones, although Jones actually works out of Durham.

    • Ray O'Hara October 8, 2011 / 9:14 am

      marrying a Hawiian Tropic model is a bad decision???

      • Mark October 9, 2011 / 12:44 am

        Somebody’s gotta do it.

  8. hw.reardon27@gmail.com October 7, 2011 / 7:58 am

    How many celebrities spent the entire Bush years shouting the “Bush = Hitler” meme from the rooftops? Moveon.org even made campaign commercials that did this in 2004.

    Yeah, it’s heated rhetoric but most of the people calling for Hank’s head on this are flaming hypocrites who couldn’t have cared less when it was done to a Republican president. Cut Bocephus some slack.

    • Andy Hall October 7, 2011 / 11:58 am

      Bullshit. Lots of celebrities said all sorts of ridiculous and over-the-top things about George W. Bush, and they caught hell for it in some quarters, including death threats.

      No one here is “calling for Hank’s head,” nor have I heard any sort of organized boycott of his music or his concerts. He said something stupid that embarrassed his employer, and they canned him. It’s the invisible hand of the market at work.

  9. Charles Lovejoy October 7, 2011 / 12:14 pm

    I think the point is being missed, Hank Jr has massive fans in the North just as in the south, it is more about politics than it is race in the south. He and his redneck fans hate Obama but will give full support to a black politician like Herman Cain. These same people worship Herman Cain. I don’t listen to country music or am I a fan of Hank Williams jr. I think what he said was stupid. But I consider the source. Hank jr is an alcoholic, drug addict and the only reason he is famous is of who his father was. What he says or thinks about anything is irrelevant to me. Some seem to be so focused on race in the south they miss the big picture. We quickly forget the nasty things said about Obama in the north by northerners. I heard much more offensive statements made last summer in bars in Jamestown Ohio and Buffalo New York about Obama than what Hank Williams Jr stated. In my opinion the things said by people like Sarah Palin about Obama, Unions and the Democratic party are much more offensive than what Hank Williams jr said. Keep in mind Sarah Palin is not from the south. Also Fox news is not a southern based news channel but CNN is. My point is, that is why many southern liberals like myself feel alienated from the national democratic party. I hate to break the news to some but it’s 2011 and not 1950, we are dealing with a whole new set of problems than Jim Crow is the old south.

    • Brooks D. Simpson October 7, 2011 / 12:41 pm

      People seem more interested in holding forth about Hank Williams Jr. than about the ESPN clip, which I think was more interesting given the function of this blog. I think the tension Charles identifies was present in that exchange, as was a debate over southern identity.

      • Leonard Lanier October 7, 2011 / 4:10 pm

        There certainly an issue here about viewing “southern identity” as confederate identity, Just consider Paul Finebaum’s follow-up comments quoted in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

        “Dave Zirin and Bomani Jones don’t have the right to insult every southerner,” Finebaum said on his show. “Zirin insulted every soldier who fought for the Confederacy. I don’t have relatives from the South, but I’m not going to let that person insult the good name of all these people because Hank Williams happens to be a country music star.”

        Referring back to the song “If the South Would Have Won” Zirin previously referred to on the show, Finebaum said, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, “It’s too bad they didn’t.”


        • Andy Hall October 8, 2011 / 8:11 am

          “There certainly an issue here about viewing “southern identity” as confederate identity.”

          Conflation of “the South” with “the Confederacy” is endemic among heritage folks. One of the senior officers of the Texas SCV recently put out an essay in which he argued for putting forward “a positive view of all we do to educate our friends and neighbors about who we (the South) are.”

          Well, the SCV is not “the South.” It’s a conceit, and a rather bad one at that.

    • Mark October 7, 2011 / 1:31 pm

      Exactly. Well said.

  10. Mark October 7, 2011 / 1:33 pm

    Not sure I got my comment in the right place. I was saying “exactly” to Charles 12:14 remark.

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