So, it seems some suits someplace are all worked up at the political opinions of Mr. Hank Williams, Jr.
Good for him. Moments like this are why we need a Hank Williams, Jr.
Just to be clear, he's the middle (and middle-aged) Hank Williams, the one with the Muppet beard, the one who has never crossed over into Barnes & Noble/Utne Reader respectability. The one best known for posing important musical questions: inquiring each week whether or not America might be prepared to enjoy a spot of football, but also on the topic of why he chooses to drink and why he chooses to roll smoke.
(ANSWER KEY: Yes; to get drunk; to get stoned.)
Anyway, this unhousebroken old coot was invited onto Fox & Friends this morning, where he shocked the hosts and America by doing pretty much the one thing you aren't supposed to do on Fox & Friends. He compared Obama to Hitler without putting a question mark at then end of his sentence.
For the record, here's Williams' actual words. Expressing his frustration that John Boehner would play golf with President Obama, Williams said: "That'd be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu."
Then, when the Fox hosts responded icily to this, Williams explained. "They're the enemy!" he said, referring to Democrats. He added, "Obama! Biden! The three stooges!"
In short, he spoke of the president in the terms that Fox & Friends usually only implies, the terms that the show's audience uses freely. (He also revealed a heartbreaking inability to count stooges.)
Wander middle America for a while with your ears open. From college cafeterias to Jiffy Lube breakrooms, this is simply how many people opposed to the president talk, which is not at all different from the way those opposed to the previous president talked. It's bellicose, over the top, pretty stupid, often funny, and, to be honest, just a nicety or two away from being the language of pundits.
How is Williams' comment an outrage when similar stuff is expectorated each night by the clods comprising Sean Hannity's Great American Panel? How is it any worse than the buffoonish rancor of Keith Olbermann? And how in the world is it more alarming than his own hit "A Country Boy Can Survive," that hard-rocking, kinda awesome tough-boy fantasy of driving north to shoot some New York City muggers?
For this, he is being punished: His terrible "Are you ready for some football?" song is being removed from Monday Night Football. (Now, like some un-tender lover, the ESPN show will jump right into things without first checking whether we're prepared.)
In making his Hitler analogy, Williams was only doing what country songwriters are born to do: Expressing what real people are actually thinking, even if that thing they're thinking is spectacularly dumb and quite possibly crammed into their heads by the very TV personalities who look mortified to hear their own subtext spoken aloud.
If they were honest, TV people wouldn't be taking Hank off the air. They'd be giving him a show.