Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hank Williams Jr. and the fine art of apology

hank williams, jr. is the latest hosebag to have to slink up to the microphone, tail between his legs, to apologize for some ill-considered remark he made in the media, after comparing obama to hitler on FOX:

Hank Williams Jr. apologizes for Obama-Hitler comment | Reuters: "(Reuters) - Country music singer Hank Williams Jr. canceled a Fox News Channel interview on Tuesday and said he was sorry for any offense given by his recent statement comparing President Barack Obama to Adolf Hitler.

The apology of sorts was posted on his website a day after the Disney-owned cable sports channel ESPN pulled Williams' theme song from its latest "Monday Night Football" broadcast in a rebuke to the country star for his Hitler remark."

this is all too common in the american public square, unfortunately. it appears that every week, someone speaks out of turn and his or her remarks are found to be offensive to some protected group or another, and are then forced to endure a brief period of public humiliation, utter an obligatory expression of regret for hurt feelings, before generally being allowed to continue just as loved and respected as before.

what is fundamentally wrong with this is that, as in this case, hank williams, jr. is simply expression his true personal beliefs. offensive or not, at least you know where he's coming from. if it weren't for the institutional disapproval his remarks generated in the mush-mouthed corporate world, this is just the bread and butter of the FOX news crowd. they all agree with it, and they are more than willing to tell everyone how they agree with it -- so long as it's in an anonymous internet posting, where they can threaten and abuse any critics.

this is a peculiar affliction of the right wing in US politics: they have a set of deeply held beliefs which they are not allow to openly express. in utter frustration, they often project these beliefs on the other side of the ideological divide: everyone knows barack obama isn't a racist who hates white people, but that glenn beck and his followers are racists and xenophobes of the most unsavory sort. forbidden from openly expressing their most innate convictions, they seethe with resentment that shows itself in the most bizarre manifestations.

hank williams, jr. is an everyman, giving voice to the everyman out there who shares the ideal of a monday night spent in front of the HDTV, bud in hand, to watch the NFL. it's unwise to censor his utterances, because it twists the political discourse into a false, sanitized caricature of what it ought to be. if nothing else, people ought to be able to say what they mean, and who are we to say you can believe it, and you can agree with it, but you aren't allowed to repeat it on TV?

No comments:

Post a Comment