The power of language: Reflections on Whoopi and Hank Jr.

Everybody got in a complete uproar on The View. Of course, I don’t actually watch The View. I just happened to be tuning across the dial and started watching. (Angry listeners to The Pat Lynch Show used to say that a lot!)

Anyway, Texas Governor Rick Perry’s father once belonged to a hunting club that had an unspeakable racial slur on a stone. I may not be getting all the facts straight. The goal line seems to move a lot on this story. The point is that somebody in Texas had impure thoughts about fellow human beings and gave expression to it in the crudest terms. What any of this has to do with Rick Perry (whose politics and general inability to interact with real life, I detest) is unclear.

Anyway, Whopi has no qualms about using the bad word. In fact, knowing that it is very naughty, she takes every possible opportunity. Elizabeth (full time puppet of the US Chanber of Commerce, Koch Brothers, and Republican Party) sees nothing inherently offensive in the word except the possibility that some whiner might get their feelings hurt. In fact, she compares “ni–er” with “brocoli.”

Oh, Lord! Now I’ve done it! Where will it all end.

It is a detestable word and I do not use that expression in conversation. It’s only purpose is to offend and intimidate. That is why the brocoli analogy was so totally lame. One intense part of the discussion was between Sherri Shepherd and Barbra Walters. Sherri is honest. She is not offended when Whoopi says it but freely admits that when Ms. Walters uses the word, she is offended. Sherri thinks white folks have no business using language like that. I tend to agree.

No gangs of hooded men ever once rode on horse back burning down houses, horsewhipping uppity black folks, and hanging their enemies shouting “brocoli!” White people have in our nation’s history used this expression to invoke fear and to intimidate. It is an insult and a mark of cruelty. It should not be spoken and, when it is, it should only be censored because of excessive repetition. People deserve to know that there are still a few heartless, brainless, soulless, morons among us who cheerfully and smugly commit murder in their hearts.

This brings us to the case of Hank Williams Jr. What kind of nitwits could possibly invite such an arrogant, self-possessed windbag to give serious political commentary. Yes, Hank compared Obama with Hitler, kinda’. This does raise the question as to whether Mr. Williams had heard of the unofficial rule that immediately ends all substantive conversation whenever der Fuehrer’s name is invoked. Oh, I forgot, no discussion that includes Hank Jr. could possibly be substantial.

My opinion is that, if Hank had only left it alone, he would have skated. The comparison was inferred and weak. Darn it all! He went back and reinforced his own bad judgment. It probably is a waste of time and energy to note that there is probably nobody in public life less like the infamous paper hanger than President Obama. The president bears with his enemies and does not return evil for evil. He does not appeal to resentment and does not paint entire racial groups with a single broad brush.

Mr. Williams referred to Obama, Biden, and unnamed others as “enemies.” That is the far darker side of his monstrously misinformed characterization. How would Hank Williams Jr. deal with enemies? What should happen to them? Since Williams admits the Obama-Hitler comparison, what has Obama done to him? Does he expect to be shipped off to an extermination camp? What exactly would Hank Williams Jr. do with his enemies. Since I am fairly sure that I would be included in that classification, I would like to know. Should I pack my bags?

It may be that Mr. Williams has some sort of brain disorder that causes him to say such nonsensical things. If that is so, ordinary charity would require professional journalists to refrain from interviewing him until Hank has regained at least some limited use of his mental faculties.


About patlynch
I am a broadcaster in Arkansas, a former freelance writer and political columnist in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Writing Coach. Speaker. Director of the Christian Foundations for Ministry program, and presently enrolled in the Anglican School of Ministry Master of Ministry program.

2 Responses to The power of language: Reflections on Whoopi and Hank Jr.

  1. yellerkitty says:

    This was such a good article … if only you’d spelled Whoopi Goldberg’s name correctly! Tsk-tsk! You’re too good a writer to self-sabotage like that. I’m guessing you were in a hurry, and that’s not something spell checker would be likely to catch, but it’s disappointing. Please tell me you spelled it correctly and that it got misspelled by someone downstream. My inner editor reacts badly to such things. Other than that, about which I have no doubt gone on for far too long, this was your usual outstanding article. Thanks for bearing with my criticism.

  2. patlynch says:

    Well, Mr. Yellerkitty, what the HELL do you think editors are for anyway? The creative genius write the brilliant column and the editor fixes all the insignificant, meaningless, inconsequential bits of trivia that do not add up to a pile of doggy doo-doo anyway. And I fixed the error, so you can stop twitching and settle down. That is the problem with editors. They have one drawer full of unused commas and another full of cheap gin. Now that I have departed the Democrat-Gazette, and with the assistance of such boy wonders as Gitz, Masterson, and Lyons, Greenberg’s gin consumption has been cut in half. Otherwise, it was wholly a pleasure to note your little corrective.

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