The burly, bearded, bellicose, belching, beer-bellied, barrel-chested, leather-vested bard and balladeer known as Hank Williams Jr.—aka “Bocephus”—will no longer be belting out the Monday Night Football theme as he’s done for two decades now. That’s because last Monday morning on Fox & Friends, he played the “H” card, uttered the “H” word, and dropped the H-bomb, using an analogy that referenced Adolf Hitler, the international superstar, best-selling author, and notoriously evil German dictator who killed more Jews than you could shake a stick at.
For reasons that may never quite be understood, blonde robo-bimbo Gretchen Carlson told Williams, “I’d love to pick your brain about politics,” so pick away they did. Appearing to be drunk or otherwise chemically altered, Bocephus burped out some lecherous comments at Carlson before grousing and grumbling about a bipartisan golf game played in June among Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Boehner, and Ohio’s Republican Governor John Kasich. Calling it “one of the biggest political mistakes ever,” Williams said it was “like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu, OK?”
If you listen closely to the video, you can hear all three of the hosts shitting themselves.
Vole-faced co-host Brian Kilmeade appeared especially uncomfortable, squirming in his seat, looking off-camera at his betters, and feeling compelled to tell Williams, “I don’t understand that analogy, actually.” Williams tried to clarify by saying Obama and Biden were Boehner and Kasich’s enemies, just like Hitler and Netanyahu would be natural political enemies. Showing what appear to be severely limited math skills, Williams then likened Obama and Biden to The Three Stooges. After fluffing her lap once or twice and composing herself, Carlson chided Williams for using “one of the most hated people in all of the world to describe…the president.”
Williams was unapologetic. By week’s end he was also unemployed, at least so far as his 20-year Monday Night Football gig was concerned.
All of his life, Hank Williams Jr. has lived under the shadow of a far more talented and famous country singer. I speak, of course, of Johnny Cash. But in a way, he’s more the Frances Bean Cobain of country music—the confused spawn of a highly influential musician who checked out from this life before 30 in part due to opiates and despondent living. And since he began making records in the early 1960s, Hank Williams Jr. is living proof that talent often skips a generation. If asked whether I like his music, I’d have to say Nocephus to Bocephus.
As rocky as his personal life and musical career have been, even his face has undergone more reconstruction than the South. His melon was split wide open in 1975 after a 500-foot fall while rock-climbing in Montana, exposing his brains to the frosty mountain air and requiring two years of recuperation and plastic surgery. It also reportedly took him years to learn to talk again. Because even plastic surgeons can’t work miracles, Williams rarely appears in public without his beard, sunglasses, and cowboy hats, except for rare occasions where he gets arrested for allegedly harassing waitresses.
But despite all his personal suffering, last Monday the sometimes topless fiddler was still insensitive enough to either not know his comments would offend Jews or, even worse, to not care. All those millions of dead Jews have been publicly insulted yet AGAIN. Millions of living Jews worldwide were understandably appalled by his comments, as were millions of non-Jews who enjoy getting offended on Jews’ behalf. Entertainers should know that when it comes to making statements in the American media, one can never be Jew-friendly enough. It’s always wise to err on the Jew side. You don’t want to give Jews more reason to feel insulted than they already do. That asshole Hitler may have said, “Fuck ’em if they can’t take a Hitler joke,” but that’s why we don’t listen to people such as Hitler. As good Americans, we need to keep the Holocaust in the news at all costs, and the last thing we want to do is trivialize it or place it in historical context.
Abe Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League (shown in this picture demonstrating his patented and widely feared “Hebrew Death Claw” maneuver) pretended as if Bocephus had brazenly sung “Are you ready for another Holocaust?” and “All my rowdy friends are gonna kill Jews tonight!” on live television rather than what he actually did, which was to spew a clumsily hyperbolic metaphor about political enemies playing golf. Foxman gloated that ESPN did “the right thing” by yanking Hank from their airwaves and insisted that Bocephus apologize to Holocaust survivors and everyone who helped to fight the “Nazi menace.”
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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