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What happened to Hank's song?

October 17, 2011 - Michael Palmer
The Hank Williams Jr. song that has opened "Monday Night Football" for 20 years was not part of the opening of last week's Indianapolis-Tampa Bay game after Williams made controversial comments about President Barack Obama.

The allegations were that Williams compared Obama to Adolf Hitler, but that is a stretch of the comment which was an analogy about the leaders of the two parties, Democratic and Republican golfing together.

Regardless of the reasoning, it was another case of a corporation responding with a fist when I think a slap on the wrist would have been more appropriate.

The case involving comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who was fired by Aflac from his gig as the voice of its duck mascot in the wake of his controversial series of tweets about the earthquake in Japan.

The company released a statement saying, "Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac ... Aflac will immediately set plans in motion to conduct a nationwide casting call to find a new voice of the iconic Aflac Duck."

Gottfried issued a statement of apology for the “tasteless and offensive,” tweets.

I ask, are we truly, America the Offended?

Is anyone else tired of political correctness? It really has intruded in every aspect of life in America. You can get fired from a 20 year gig as a musician that kicks off Monday Night Football or a crazy duck yelling a company slogan by saying something that upsets someone else.

The ultimate goal of political correctness is the idea that you don’t ever want to upset anyone. What are you going to get done if you spend all of your time worrying about offending someone? Nothing.

The good news is that this was a beneficial controversy for both Hank Williams Jr. and ESPN, both sides win.

Monday Night Football's payoff is its biggest buzz in years and watch the numbers for tonight’s broadcast because there will be more fans tuned in.

Hank Jr. quickly recorded a song to protest his firing and offered free downloads of the tune on his website. The 62-year-old country singer’s lashing out at ESPN, Fox, and anyone who’s backing the “United Socialist States of America,” as he calls it, in a new version of his song “Keep the Change.”

After appearing on “Fox and Friends” and comparing a golf outing involving President Barack Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner to “Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.” Gretchen Carlson said that Williams used the name of one of history’s most hated men to describe the president, and Williams said, “well, that’s true, but I’m telling you like it is.”

Hank Jr. initially apologized. “My analogy was extreme,” he said in a statement, “but it was to make a point. … The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin’ and high fiven’ 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.”

Some have responded that while we are free to say whatever we please, there is a time and place for it. It seems that for the most part the divisional lines on this subject fall along the political lines between conservatives and liberals. However, first amendment supporters from Whoopi Goldberg to Jon Stewart have defended Williams.

At last count I heard there were over half a million downloads in 48 hours of the protest or revenge song as it has been called, meaning that there is much support for the country legend.

Hank, like many of us, has his opinions. As for me, I have been a Bocephus fan for a long time. He is a country music artist with a reputation for being “Rowdie” and uses the Ruger style black eagle emblem as his own personal trademark. I never expected he would be named to any diplomatic post within any administration, Democrat or Republican, so his comments did not shock this fan.

Personally, I think we are overreacting again on this issue.


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