Monday, April 23, 2012

Wang Dang, Sweet Double-Standard Tang

Recently, venerable rocker and bow hunting enthusiast Ted Nugent provoked a firestorm of controversy when he made a very thinly-veiled threat towards President Obama at an NRA conference earlier this month.  Nugent told the crowd "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."  What followed was the cancellation of a scheduled concert at Fort Knox and a personal visit by the secret service to interview Mr. Nugent and assess the potential validity of his threat.

Now, if Ted Nugent wants to say stupid shit, that's his right.  Of course, one thing you don't have the right to do in America is physically threaten the president.  The secret service spoke with Nugent and didn't determine him to be a real threat to the president's safety, so the criminality issue of Nugent's statement is resolved as far as that goes.

However, there is the whole public opinion issue and how people would react to an entertainer who makes such a hateful and disparaging remark about a sitting president during a time of war.  I mean, remember how badly things went for The Dixie Chicks when singer Natalie Maines said she was "ashamed" to be from the same state as then-president Bush.  Outraged fans and conservative haters turned out in droves to burn Dixie Chicks CDs and the group suffered severe financial consequences for that statement.  Further, Fox News made the group the poster girls for "Radical, left-wing, anti-American hate speech" and likened their comments to treason.

In contrast, other than the decision by Fort Knox to cancel Nugent's appearance at the concert there, the reaction by conservatives has ranged from non-existent to staunchly defensive of Nugent's statements.  The financial impact of Nugent's remarks has been minimal at best and, if anything, Nugent's fans have been ignited to rally around the rocker and show their support for his vile and hateful comments.

Now, we all know why it's ok with conservative music fans for Nugent to threaten Obama and why it was absolutely unacceptable for the Dixie Chicks to criticize GW Bush, because the Dixie Chicks didn't know their place.  See, if you're a country music artist or "southern rocker", you're supposed to know who your fan base is - largely conservative and Christian middle-Americans - and you must appease them.  You have to sing about God and country and family and America and you have to support conservative ideals, at least publicly.  You can be a liberal and vote Democrat if you want, just don't be all "out" about it.  Much like gays, liberal country artists are expected to stay in the closet and keep their views to themselves.

Like I said, we all know this.  Liberal musicians and actors in other genres are freely and openly critical of conservative and Republican politicians and pundits and their careers are none the worse for wear for it.  But, country music, "southern rock" and other traditionally conservative forms of entertainment hold no tolerance for that shit.  Just like when NASCAR fans booed Michelle Obama and Jill Biden a few months ago.  If you're going to be a fan of those forms of entertainment, then you better know your place.

Because of this, my problem doesn't exist in a vacuum where there should be no difference between the prevailing political affiliation of the fans of one form of entertainment vs. another. I fully accept that country music, southern rock and NASCAR are among the entertainment properties staked out by conservatives.  My issue is with the blatant hypocrisy that those conservative fans are showing by being dismissive or outright defensive about Nugent's extremist and hateful statements while excoriating the Dixie Chicks for making a far less controversial statement.

Why is it ok for Ted Nugent to basically threaten to try to assassinate the Democratic president but it was completely unacceptable and treasonous for the Dixie Chicks to be embarrassed of the Republican one?

Why is making a veiled threat against the sitting Democratic president during a time of war ok with conservatives, but expressing shame and embarrassment towards the Republican president under the same conditions is tantamount to an act of terrorism?

Regardless of whether or not you are a fan of president Obama, whether or not you agree with his politics and whether or not you would like to see him re-elected in November, there should never be a tolerance for or defense of public figures making threats against a president, regardless of the president's political party.

Saying that you're "ashamed" of the Republican president might be career suicide for a country music artist, but insinuating that you would be arrested for, or killed while attempting to physically remove the sitting president should he be re-elected should be career suicide for ANY public figure in ANY genre of entertainment.  Making threats against the president is NOT protected speech under the first amendment.  Anyone defending Nugent's comments as acceptable is either a complete idiot or a hypocrite.


  1. I vote for the second answer on that Dave...Rediculous how they think God and man think only their way....not a good deal

  2. "Anyone defending Nugent's comments as acceptable is either a complete idiot or a hypocrite."

    or they're an American, who, unlike you can defend the rights of both the Dixie Chicks and Nugent to bitch about their President.

    Makes one wonder if you understand the concept of hypocrisy. Conservatards were critical of the Dixie Chicks because they support Bush. They aren't crying about Nugent because they oppose Obama. It's not hypocrisy simply because they disagree with you politically. Why on earth are Conservatives or any other ideologues obligated to give equal weight to arguments they disagree with? To be clear... in their minds Conservatives were upset that the Dixie Chicks made comments about Bush that were unwarranted, which Nugent's comments are warranted and even laudable. In order for it to be hypocrisy the comments would have to comparable in their minds.

    What is hypocritical is that you have an issue with Conservatives who went after Dixie Chicks and gave a pass to Nugent, while you fail to cry long and hard on the Internet about Liberals who have an issue with Nugent but were silent on the Dixie Chicks. In your mind, everyone should be up in arms whenever anything is said about the President right? How are Liberals any different than Conservatives, using your own logic.

    A logical observer actually realizes that from a macro POV, partisanship isn't "hypocrisy" in fact it's a pillar of Democracy. But in your case, since you have a moral issue with partisanship, shouldn't you be applying it to both Conservatives and Liberals? Failing to do so in your blog is the definition of hypocrisy. Come on Dave. WTF are you doing here?

  3. There's a world of difference between saying you're "ashamed" of the president and making veiled threats that you speculate would end with you either dead or incarcerated. I believe I stated clearly in my blog that I completely understood why the Dixie Chicks got heat for their comments, and I also clearly stated that I understand why Liberal artists, playing to Liberal crowds, don't catch heat for making far worse comments than the Dixie Chicks did.

    You see, the reason I take issue with the Conservative support for Nugent's hateful rhetoric is because they were the self-proclaimed authority on respect for the office and what defines true, patriotic American behavior. In fact, they still claim that moral superiority, even while making the same derogatory comments towards Obama that they labeled treasonous just 4 short years ago. The question I ask of Conservatives is a rhetorical one, because as I said, I completely understand why "their" guys get a pass and the other side doesn't - for the same reason Liberals give a pass to "their" guys and feign mock outrage when Conservatives do it.

    However, to the point you seem to take issue with me on, I do not retract that statement at all. If you think it is acceptable for ANY public figure to make public statements that any intellectually honest person can clearly recognize to be veiled threats of violence against the president, then you're either being a hypocrite and excusing borderline criminal behavior simply because you don't like the president those threats were made against or you are an idiot because you think it's ok to threaten violence against the president, or through your statements encourage someone else to do it.

    Trust me, if Natalie Maines had said she would be dead or in jail if Bush was elected, I would be shitting on her just as hard as I am on the Nuge. Partisanship is no excuse for that kind of ridiculous and irresponsible behavior.

    Sorry for my verbose reply, but due to your all-too-rare accomplishment of stating your impassioned dissent without resorting to infantile flame attempts, I had to give your comment a serious and at least somewhat though-out response. *D

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