For years, I hated Hank Williams, Jr. just about as much as I loved his dad! I mean, c’mon dude! A football rally song? A stupid smirky smile that looks like my grandma’s, and a dumb pair of opaque sunglasses that make me want to give you my license and registration? And ooooooh, line dancing crapola tunes!
But then I heard “Dinosaur,” a more or less classic honky tonk tune from the disco era which, aside from its homophobic comments against the singer of a disco band, is pretty damned good. I really feel like I know the way urban cowboys who worked at the factory must have felt about dudes in platform shoes boogie-ing it up to Donna Summer in their old stomping grounds when the country started moving away from its salt-of-the-earth roots.
But just when I was about to forgive Haw-Ju for his backwoods beard and flanger-y geetars, suddenly I read this today:
Hank Williams Jr. sure knows how to get a crowd goin’. On a small stage in the middle of a sea of red t-shirts at the Richmond International Raceway this afternoon, Williams stood a few feet from Governor Sarah Palin to sing the Star Spangled Banner. But it was his next song that was a surefire hit in this conservative crowd.
“The left wing liberal media has always been a close knit family. But most of the American people don’t believe it anyway, you see. Stop and think it over before you make your decision. If they smell something wrong, they’re gonna come down strong,” Williams intoned.
Arg! What a dick. It’s almost enough to make me go back to hating the pioneers of modern/soft country. But then today I read this amazing essay from Roseanne Cash:
Governor Palin was the mayor of a real town of 5,000 people. I have never been mayor of anything, but I have performed for crowds bigger than the population of Wasilla, Alaska, and I can tell you it’s no picnic getting the monitors just right, working with cranky and egotistical musicians, changing clothes in dirty dressing rooms and eating bad backstage food, handling the hecklers and technical problems during a show, and then getting on the bus to go somewhere else and do it all over again the next night. Also, my last record sold about the population of Wasilla times forty, and they all seemed to like it. But dealing with the public is really difficult and they all have opinions about you, which are usually all wrong, so I’ve developed a thick skin, another requirement for life as the VP. Lastly, and the importance of this cannot be over-emphasized, the guy’s head on the tail of the Alaska Airlines planes looks like my dad.