C’mon People, This Isn’t Hard

Shut up and sing:

“After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision. By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment
Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE. It’s been a great run.” — Hank Williams Jr

I was getting a hair cut earlier this morning, and the tv was on CNN, and when the Hank Williams segment came on, some redneck yelled “Did you see that stuff? Whatever happened to freedom of speech?”

And, of course, remember the queen bee of conservative idiocy:

In the wake of Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s decision to end her radio show after repeatedly using a racial epithet, she’s spent quite a bit of time talking about freedom of speech. “I want to regain my First Amendment rights,” Schlessinger said, contending that special-interest groups were limiting her freedom to express herself.

Sarah Palin jumped in and tweeted, “Dr.Laura: don’t retreat … reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”)”

That was soon followed by a second tweet:

“Dr.Laura=even more powerful & effective w/out the shackles,so watch out Constitutional obstructionists. And b thankful 4 her voice, America!)”

Have Dr. Laura’s rights been trampled? Are her critics undercutting the Constitution?

We have an entire generation of loudmouths who have no idea what the 1st Amendment means. Hank Williams didn’t have his free speech violated in any way, shape, or form. He said what he wanted on Fox, his employers said they didn’t like that, a bunch of people called him an idiot, a bunch apparently emailed him (in all caps, I’m sure) to support, he exercised his free speech rights one more time and resigned, and now I am writing about it. Free speech and 1st amendment right all over the god damned place. Just because your boss cans you because you said something you don’t like doesn’t mean your rights were violated. Hell, go try it- go call your boss an asshole. Get back to me.

I really wish these idiots would stop waving their pocket constitutions at anyone and everyone, sit down, and read the damned thing.

106 replies
  1. 1
    singfoom says:

    Ah the Conservative First Amendment: I can say whatever I want, with no consequences.

    Poor Hank. ESPN walked all over his right to have his song played before every NFL game. How hard is it to understand the subtle distinction?

    The government didn’t go in an oppress him and prevent the song from being played, a private corporation decided that using the song sent the wrong message to their customers.

    Free speech, UR DOING IT WRONG, Hank.

  2. 2
    cervantes says:

    Congress shall make no law respecting the intelligence of Bocephus.

  3. 3
    Winston Smith says:

    John, you missed a golden opportunity. You should have blocked comments on this thread so people could complain about their First Amendment rights in the next available open thread.

  4. 4
    angela says:

    Thank FSM we have free speech so these dickwads share their stupid comments with the rest of us, so we know at whom to throw our metaphorical rotten tomatoes.

  5. 5
    Judas Escargot says:

    I was getting a hair cut earlier this morning, and the tv was on CNN, and when the Hank Williams segment came on, some redneck yelled “Did you see that stuff? Whatever happened to freedom of speech?”

    Wonder how this very same redneck felt about the Dixie Chicks a few years back?

  6. 6
    cleek says:

    halp halp ahm bein oppresst!

  7. 7
    Baud says:


  8. 8
    MikeJ says:

    You know why we have so many homeless vets? The third amendment makes it illegal for them to live in houses.

    /wingnut logic

  9. 9
    Cap'n Magic says:

    Just a minor nit-the airwaves where he made his assertion were carved out via the FCC-a government agency, and they do have some ‘obscenity’ rules they wield-but this isn’t one of them. Bocephus, in short, fsck’ed himself.

    Freedom of Speech does not mean freedom from consequences-never has, never will.

  10. 10
    Yutsano says:

    One minor point: Hank was canned. He’s doing some revisionist history here.

    And the flip side to free speech is dealing with the consequences of said speech. Suck it Bocephus.

  11. 11
    Pongo says:

    Tbogg (as usual) describes these folks to a T in a post today “…low income, low information Branson-Americans…”


  12. 12
    geg6 says:

    Ah, wingnuts, alcoholics and drug addicts with self-inflicted brain damage, and the too stupid to live demographic all in one super dummy!

    What a clown.

    Brasfield sometimes did ventriloquist routines with a dummy named Bocephus, after whom Hank Williams nicknamed his then-infant son Hank Williams, Jr.; and also did comedy with June Carter.


  13. 13
    adolphus says:

    @ Cap’n Magic

    Does it matter that he said it on cable? Certainly there are no airwaves to speak of, but I lost track of the cable/FCC tango was going.

  14. 14
    Morzer says:

    “The Toes Of The First Amendment” really ought to be a tag – or at least a popular oath-taking formula. “I swear by the toes of the first amendment….” etc etc.

  15. 15
    yoyo says:

    Dixie Chicks.

  16. 16
    MattR says:

    To repost my comment from the previous thread:

    I think I get it. Hank Williams Jr had his First Ammendment rights violated by a company deciding they no longer wanted to do business with him, but the OWS protestors had no First Ammendment rights when they were marching in a roadway without a permit. (EDIT: I really should have ended that with “when the government prevented them from marching in a roadway without a permit” to highlight that difference)

  17. 17
    MMM says:

    Mr. Cole,

    I believe you should model the late Senator Byrd and carry around a copy inside of your Steelers jersey. I cannot believe some of these whippersnappers.

  18. 18
    Another Bob says:

    Maybe Fox News will show up those politically correct elitists at ESPN and offer Hank Jr. a job doing the intro segment for Juan Williams. Are you ready for some wing nut redemption?

  19. 19

    Don’t right-wingers constantly argue that every decision of our Galtian overlords carries the blessings of Jesus and the Founding Fathers?

    Where was Hank Williams Jr. on the Dixie Chicks?

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    @John Cole
    What is this “read” of which you speak?

  21. 21
    slag says:


    For those who are unfamiliar with the snowgrifter patois, Sarah will continue drawing funds from SarahPac (who will maintain their excellent work fleecing low-income low-information Branson-Americans out of a substantial portion of their disability checks) in order to finance her Grift Across America vacations whenever she feels the need to take a breather from from her Alaskan snowfort or her Arizona meth ranch.

    That’s one good thing about Snowflake Sarah. She is an exemplary muse for so many great artists.

  22. 22
    KG says:

    @Yutsano: I think he’s trying to do the “You can’t fire me, I quit!” routine.

  23. 23
    amk says:

    You must have not visited dkos, cole. There is a whinefest almost everyday there on how ‘progressive voices’ are being ‘silenced’ ? The loonies at both ends of political spectrum do whine a lot.

  24. 24
    yoyo says:


    … ESPn hire them for a new theme.

  25. 25
    Tonal Crow says:

    I really wish these idiots would stop waving their pocket constitutions at anyone and everyone, sit down, and read the damned thing.

    But if they did that, they might realize that they don’t have a leg to stand on. That would be bad, because it might reduce their enthusiasm for shouting inanities. Also their sheepmasters wouldn’t like it. And also too, it could lead some to become liberals. With risks like that, youbetcha they won’t read the damn things.

  26. 26
    Montysano says:

    I’ve worked in the stage lighting business here in Alabama for 20 years, and for about 5-6 of those years, Hank Jr. was one of our customers. A good friend still works for him.

    Hank is a boorish, lazy, cruel, spoiled asshole. He ought to be on his knees everyday, thankful for the life he’s lived in spite of his meager talent. As Hunter S. would say, good riddance to bad trash.

  27. 27
    Carnacki says:

    @MMM: The late, much missed, Sen. Robert C. Byrd never wore a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey. For one thing it would have clashed horribly with his leopard vest.

  28. 28
    rikryah says:

    he had a right to say whatever he wanted to.

    if it messes with his paycheck because others are offended by it…to bad…so sad….go fuck yourself.

  29. 29
    Gilles de Rais says:

    “Hank Williams Jr.’s reworking of “All My Rowdy Friends” is perhaps the ultimate sports anthem; in fact, the only thing missing from this perfect summation of the prime-time, middle American football-watching experience is a woman crying hysterically in the background.”

    More at Something Awful.

  30. 30
    Rommie says:

    Who needs to read the damn thing when the Truthtellers of Truth have already told the Truth about what it says?

  31. 31
    Scott says:

    Palin babbled about not wanting the Presidency because she didn’t want the shackles. Now I got it shackles = accountability = acceptance of consequences. These people do not want any of that.

  32. 32
    Baud says:

    @amk: Political disagreement is the most egregious First Amendment violation possible.

    That, and downvotes.

  33. 33
    Satanicpanic says:

    So, these wingnuts want government to intervene in the decisions of private corporations? But corporations are PEEPLE!

  34. 34
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    ESPN should have issued a statement that they shit canned him for comparing Boner to Hitler. That would have learned em.

  35. 35
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    And, of course, remember the queen bee of conservative idiocy:

    Mr. Cole! Mr. Cole! Sarah Palin’s counsel on line two!

  36. 36
    jeff says:

    Well, it’s more than one generation that fail to grasp the 1st. I don’t know how old Hank is, but he’s at least 30 years older than I am, and I don’t grasp the Constitution, either.

  37. 37
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Cognitive dissonance. You need to demonstrate your black belt in it before you can post at Red State.

  38. 38
    Rafer Janders says:

    Free speech, how the fuck does it work?

  39. 39
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ rikryah: Yeppers. At-will employment for thee, but not for me, seems to be the bigger issue…

  40. 40
    Morzer says:

    Isn’t there an amendment that states that the right of the public to enjoy Monday Night Football shall not be infringed by the screechings of some unwashed hilly-billy half-wit?

  41. 41
    Mary says:

    Imagine what would happen if they kept playing the song before games, but just didn’t give him any royalties.

  42. 42
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    There is a legal theory that, since corporations are chartered by government for their legal existence, they are in fact extensions of the state.

    Which explains why Obama was able to issue an executive order to ESPN to fire Hank Williams Jr., and ESPN had no choice but to comply.

    In theory.

  43. 43
    VOR says:

    It is called Accountability. Look it up in the dictionary. He said something stupid and now is being held accountable for his actions. He can say something stupid again tomorrow, or the next day, or whenever he wants. But ESPN is not obligated by the Constitution to keep broadcasting him.

    I thought these guys were all about personal responsibility for your own actions? Guess not.

  44. 44
    biff diggerence says:

    The National Football Leaque has a player roster which is nearly 70% black.

    The continued use of three chord, backwards-ass, country fucks for intro music has always been a puzzler.

  45. 45
    jibeaux says:

    @jeff: If you grasp that the US Government and ESPN are not synonymous, you’re a step ahead of Mr. Police Sketch of a Rapist.

  46. 46
    Brachiator says:

    I’m waiting for the inevitable, “libruls compared Dubya to Heeteler all the time, so what’s the problem with Hank speaking his mind? It ain’t ‘Murica ifn unless good ol boys get to knock that unAmurrican Mooslem interloper in teh Whut House.”

  47. 47
    David Hunt says:

    Reading this bit, I mistook the reference to Laura Schlessinger and briefly thought that this was a current reference to Laura Ingram. Boy was I disappointed when I figured out that particular Laura would continue to contribute to the grinding of my teeth as I scan through radio channels.

  48. 48
    ed drone says:


    Palin babbled about not wanting the Presidency because she didn’t want the shackles.

    Take these stripes, stripes from round my shoulders;
    Take these chains, chains from round my legs.
    No, these stripes, these stripes, they don’t bother me,
    But these chains, they’re bound to kill me dead.

    [With apologies to Huddy Ledbetter & Johnny Cash]


  49. 49
    slag says:

    @Gilles de Rais:

    Hank Williams Jr., you are a millionaire for being able to control your chili burps and chaw intake long enough to sing the names of two teams once a week during football season. Only in America could a cretin who looks like he crawled out of some Hills Have Eyes sequel cash in on the good name of his father to build an empire that celebrates the life of being a sour, bloated barbecue fart. At least Hank Sr. had the good sense to OD in the 50s and escape witnessing his son mutate into some kind of terrible pigman.

    Excellent! Sarahmuse now has a contender. Also, if ESPN doesn’t decide to replace their standard football opening with that MST3K clip, I’m ready to call the free market an incontrovertible failure. I never really liked MST3K, but that clip was HI-larious.

  50. 50
    ed drone says:

    @biff diggerence:
    Yeah! How about some nifty Ray Charles song? Surely we can find something from his Atlantic Records catalog that’ll fit, and his band was so tight, but lots more interesting than three-chord-country clucks.

    And no worries about him shooting off his mouth in an unfortunate manner, either.


  51. 51
    flukebucket says:

    Freedom ain’t free!

  52. 52
    Countervail says:

    If only it were about READING the constitution. The problem is that people can read it all they want but unless they comprehend what they’re reading, not simply interpreting what they’re reading, it’s a pointless exercise.

    Let’s take a survey and see what the average GPA was for Tea Party activist.

  53. 53
    Seattle Slew says:

    ABC used to have a great MNF intro, and as a kid I loved the halftime show with Howard Cosell. Hank’s dumbed down, Bud-light, Dukes of Hazard version always sucked.

  54. 54
    JWL says:

    My guess is Junior will likely be contracted to “sing” a new anthem for NASCAR.

  55. 55
    Roy G says:

    Hank Jr. probably lives in a bubble where this is typical breakfast table talk/casual banter, so he’s ginuwinely kinfused that folks wouldn’t take kindly to comparing the President to Hitler and calling him the ‘enemy.’ LOL.

    Probably never herd of that Godwin fella, neither.

  56. 56
    balconesfault says:

    @ed drone: I always liked the Pete Seeger cover.

  57. 57
    4tehlulz says:

    This is worse than the Holocaust.

  58. 58
    slag says:

    @Scott: No. See…The shackles are the symbols of the slavery that has been perpetrated on white people because of all those politically correct niggerheads*. Where have you been?

    *=And yes, I felt dirty for even saying it. How could you not? Unless you’re Rick Perry or any other Republican, that is.

  59. 59
    Jay in Oregon says:


    “Personal responsibility for thee, not for me.” That’s their credo.

  60. 60
    Hoodie says:

    Don’t you think, apart from being a complete dork, Hank Jr. was a bit dated, kind of like Charlie Daniels? I always killed the audio when that shit came on at the beginning of MNF anyway. Maybe ESPN was looking for a convenient way to ditch his ass for cause so they could move on to, say, Beyonce (which, BTW, would be far better than that lameass Faith Hill thing on NBC).

  61. 61
    Someguy says:

    They should hire the Dixie Chicks to sing the opener. Just to stick it to that fat redneck SOB. And by fat redneck SOB I mean Hank Jr., not Chris Christie.

  62. 62
    JPL says:

    IMO, Hank needs to go back to school. I wonder if he lives in a right to work state?
    @flukebucket: ditto

  63. 63
    Mike E says:

    Don Imus has his back

  64. 64
    soonergrunt says:

    @4tehlulz: I don’t know about that, but it’s certainly like those protesters in Iran a couple years back, and how the Democratic majorities weren’t doing exactly what the minorities wanted.

  65. 65
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:

    @Someguy: The whole thing of these songs starting sports broadcasts is so fucking over. It’s done down to the conference level in college football and hoops and it’s just annoying.

  66. 66
    singfoom says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That’s a silly theory that might have had some traction in the late 1800s when corporations were chartered by the govt for specific tasks, but is hilariously fringey now IMHO.

    When the government gets to ripping up corporate charters when a Corporation does something illegal, then it might have some more traction.

  67. 67
    Ash Can says:

    C’mon People, This Isn’t Hard

    Actually, for these morons, it’s damned near impossible.

  68. 68
    BDeevDad says:

    I know this ConLaw professor who could probably explain it to them, but I don’t think they’d listen.

  69. 69
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @cervantes: Could you actually pass a law respecting the intelligence of Bocephus?

  70. 70
    Jennifer says:

    Hank Williams Jr. is a Faux Steinbeck. For explanation, see my rather lengthy comment at alicublog on the same topic (the Hank Jr. thread). Or, just ask and I’ll repetez, sil vous plais.

    Also, too: new t-shirt design over at my joint, for those who grow faint at seeing, hearing, or thinking about the word “guillotine”. You know who you are.

  71. 71
    jayjaybear says:

    @cervantes: You can’t legislate imaginary objects.

  72. 72
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    They need to feel persecuted and oppressed. It’s all they’ve got.

  73. 73
    Hoodie says:

    @Raven (formerly stuckinred): Agreed, but mostly because the acts generally suck, either Nashvegas country or second division anthem (“This is our moment!”) rock. In contrast, I could get behind a Lil Wayne doing a George Jones remix.

  74. 74

    I don’t think reading it would help.

    You have an entire generation of conservatives for whom their interpretation of the Constitution is the only correct one, 250+ years of SCOTUS precedents and common sense be damned.

  75. 75
    piratedan says:

    and we’re surprised that some country music legacy doesn’t understand what the Constitution means when 30 percent of Americans can’t find Africa on a map much less know who their Congressional Representative is.

  76. 76
    Raven (formerly stuckinred) says:


    I feel tears wellin up
    from deep inside. . .

  77. 77
    AA+ Bonds says:

    Usually i wouldn’t do this but i like this post — there is a small typo in the explanation about who doesn’t like what “you” are saying to your boss

  78. 78
    Joel says:

    Personal responsibility, right?

  79. 79
    JPL says:

    Clear channel will play his music.

  80. 80
    JCT says:

    Yes, sirree, just one more nail in the coffin of the GOP as the Party of Responsibility.

    Of course, that ship sailed long, long ago.

    The level of stupidity with these REPEATED arguments over their “1st Amendment Rights” is truly awe-inspiring.

    I’m with John — go ahead, call your boss an asshole.

  81. 81
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Well, we’re dealing with the hilariously fringy, so I thought I’d throw that in.

  82. 82
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Um, according to Faux Nooze, “Africa” lies between Syria and Iran.

  83. 83
    RossinDetroit says:

    ESPN’s in big trouble with the Hank jr. fans now. Maybe they can atone by signing Toby Keith to take his place.

  84. 84
    Morzer says:


    But Toby Keith has apostasized and caved-in to the militant homosexual agenda.

  85. 85
    Jennifer says:

    @RossinDetroit: This must present quite the dilemma for your football-loving conservative redneck. Should I “support” the rich guy’s right to shoot off his mouth and still rake in mega-bucks, or should I continue to watch football.

    Heh. Reminds me of the cocaine addict brain-teaser: go up to a coke addict at a party and say, “see that guy over there? He’s got like, an OUNCE of coke. But if you ask him about it, he’s gonna deny it. And if you tell him I told you he has it, I’m gonna deny I told you.” Sit back, and watch the fun unfold.

  86. 86
    danimal says:

    Why read the Constitution when I can have El Rushbo explain it to me in simple, easy to understand terms?

    /conservative masses

  87. 87

    it’s only ok when it happens to the dixie chicks.

  88. 88
    geg6 says:


    Sadly, Toby is actually a registered Democrat and supports same-sex marriage. (And you have no idea how it hurt me to type this. I detest Toby Keith’s music and almost all current country music.)

    They got nothin’ and nobody left.

    Well, maybe Pat Boone.

  89. 89
    jayjaybear says:

    @Morzer: Ooh…is there video? Cause I’d pay for that…

  90. 90
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    You have Stepped on the Toes of Mah Freedom to yell Yee Haw at the Head soshulust Usurper!!

    This was not Written by some Publicist.

  91. 91
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Don’t forget Ted Nugent!

  92. 92
    RossinDetroit says:


    You saying they can’t replace Hank II with someone from Nashville who’s as big a douchenozzle? That’s actually kind of reassuring.
    Okay, I predict they just fall back on an old standard and show lots of boobies instead. Hank will be forgotten and ESPN will be forgiven.

  93. 93
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @geg6: Whaddaya mean, “sadly?” Hell, it just may be that Toby Keith is an example of my favorite adage, “just because a man is a ‘redneck’ doesn’t mean he’s a white-supremacist asshole.”

  94. 94
    geg6 says:


    It’s true. Even Faith Hill (whose NBC football opener is even more lame than Jr.’s, especially when they could have had the most ass-kicking woman in rock who actually wrote the fucking song!, Joan Jett) and her husband whose name I can never remember are Democrats!

  95. 95
    geg6 says:

    @Ivan Ivanovich Renko:

    I meant sadly for all redneck racist pigs who lurve them some Toby “America, fuck yeah!” Keith songs and think he thinks just like them.

  96. 96
    quizboy says:


    Another fun anecdote: My dad was good friends with one of the songwriters from the “Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound” album, and ended up personally meeting Hank Junior at one point (I think sometime around the mid-80s). He turned out to be a drunken asshole whose idea of a “rowdy time” was whipping out Little Bocephus and pissing on strangers’ shoes, like some sort of Country-Western R. Kelly. (Steve Doocy would no doubt praise this behavior as a helpful demonstration of trickle-down economics.)

  97. 97

    Does Williams understand the rules of capitalization? Or was he absent that day?

  98. 98

    So let me get this straight, a corporation made a decision based on concerns for how they would be perceived by their customers. Shouldn’t the wingnuts all be cheering “The Market Works!!!!”

  99. 99
    Barry says:

    @Judas Escargot: “Wonder how this very same redneck felt about the Dixie Chicks a few years back?”

    ‘That was different’ ‘Support our troops’ ‘They don’t love America’ ‘He kept us safe’

  100. 100
    Zandar says:

    Huh. Guess I deserved that, boss.

  101. 101
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Gilles de Rais:

    Walking on prior FP posts is a way of life here so get used to it. Better yet, join in on the fun!

    For some reason I like the multiple FP POVs on some topics so it works for me.

  102. 102
    genghisjon says:

    I like outlaw country.Never cared for Hank 2,but his son Hank 3 does some good shit.Can’t post link .Check out you tube Hank 3.

  103. 103
    El Cid says:

    “Insane Clown Pizza” is awesome.

  104. 104
    Jebediah says:

    Bobby Hill?

  105. 105
    johnnybegood says:

    The First Amendment prohibits the federal goverment explicitly and state and local governments by precedent from restricting speech. Last time I checked, ESPN is not the government. I’m amazed how many times I hear some idiot prattling on about “their first amendment rights” in situations where those rights are in no way violated.

  106. 106
    4jkb4ia says:

    Richard Sandomir:

    James Miller, the co-author of a recent book about ESPN, “Those Guys Have All the Fun,” said that the importance of “Monday Night” to the Bristol, Conn.-based empire has accelerated an internal debate about Williams. “Even before this occurred, there were people who thought the opening was past its prime and were advocating a new one,” he said. “Others want to keep it for its tradition and legacy.”

    But this thread was hilarious, especially 3.

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