In Honor of Monday Night Football this week, Jobu weighs in on the Hank Williams, Jr. Controversy… get your popcorn ready for the 100th post in Jobu’s Rum history!
As many of you know, last week, Hank Williams, Jr. was “fired” by ESPN following some perceived anti-Barack Obama comments he made in an interview on FOX and Friends, in which he compared the President to former dictator Adolf Hitler. I put fired in quotes because Williams doesn’t actually work for ESPN, he just sings “All My Rowdy Friends,” a song that has been used in the Monday Night Football (now on ESPN) telecast for over twenty years. How are we supposed to know when to get ready for some football now?
For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, this is what Hank actually said… When asked if he thought the “Golf Summit” (an attempt at finding common ground on the golf course by President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner this summer), Williams said “It would be like Hitler playing golf with Benjamin Netanyahu.” For those of you who aren’t politically savvy, Netanyahu is not a white Jewish reggae singer (that’s Matisyahu). He is, in fact, the Prime Minister of Israel. Williams went on to call Biden, Obama and Boehner (I think) “The Three Stooges.” That was followed by a couple of “come on man”s, and the segment ended with a segue into talking about the Monday Night Football song.
So here’s my problem with this whole thing. I think everyone is completely misunderstanding what Hank Williams, Jr. was saying, and it all starts with the FOX and Friends anchors. Brian Kilmeade immediately says he doesn’t understand the analogy. Later on, Gretchen Carlson speaks in disbelief of how Hank could invoke the name of one of the most hated men in the world to describe the President. Am I the only one who listens to words that come out of people’s mouths? He in no way refers to President Obama as Adolf Hitler. Yes, Hank goes on to call Obama and Biden “the enemy.” Yes, he calls the two (maybe Boehner too) of them the “three stooges.” When he invokes the name of Hitler, all he’s saying is that the two parties coming together to play golf is like watching Hitler and Netanyahu play together, right?
I’ll explain this to those of you Brian Kilmeades out there. He’s saying that the two parties should not be friends. They are on opposite ends of the political spectrum, and so compromise should not be sought. True Republicans and true Democrats cannot agree on political issues, and so compromise is impossible. He used the extreme example of Hitler and Netanyahu (Hitler was not a big fan of the Jews) to illustrate just how far apart Republicans and Democrats should be on the issues. Would Hitler every play golf with Netanyahu? Of course not! And Netanyahu wouldn’t hit the links with Adolf either (no one should, the man was evil!). Granted, this is a very extreme (and potentially offensive) comparison. Any time you use Hitler as a comparison, people are going to react (especially people who don’t fully understand the English language). Maybe he should have compared the golf summit to Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant playing golf with each other right before Wrestlemania III?
As for Gretchen Carlson’s comment, Hank Williams never said anything about Obama being Hitler and John Boehner being Benjamin Netanyahu (or vice-versa). He simply mentioned two names, and she connected them in her head as Obama is Hitler and Boehner is Netanyahu. I think that speaks more to what’s going on in Gretchen Carlson’s head than that of Hank Williams, Jr. If she holds feelings of ill will towards our nation’s president (and she probably does, working for FOX), then that’s on her. Don’t project your thoughts onto poor Hank Williams.
Finally, Williams didn’t say anything positive about Hitler. If he had been a Democrat, and come out and said “Obama is just like and early Adolf Hitler, with all these positive things he is doing for our country (Insert Marge Schott joke here),” then by all means fire the man because he’s insane. If he was, indeed, comparing Obama to Hitler, he at least used Hitler as a metaphor for someone he really doesn’t agree with or particularly like. He’s not parading around on television in an SS uniform, for crying out loud. All he did was mention the name Hitler.
At the end of the day, Williams’ comments were extreme for the sake of being extreme and insensitive, but is that enough to get his beloved song removed from Monday Night Football? He should have been given a segment to open MNF this week in which he apologized for his insensitive remarks and explain what his actual meaning was (which he did in a released statement shortly after his song was dropped from MNF), and allowed to sing the song again to kick off the show. Maybe a charitable donation could have been made in his name to Holocaust survivors too. Hank Williams, Jr.’s political views have never been a secret. That’s why he was invited to FOX and Friends in the first place. So is it cool that he’s a Republican unless he shares those views? I know another organization that once tried to silence those who had different views from theirs…
Oh yes, I went there.
Anyway, here’s the controversial interview, courtesy of Youtube:
feature image courtesy of: AP Photo/The Tennessean, Sanford Myers
2nd Williams image courtesy of: http://www.wsmv.com
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