Analysis

5 Hank Williams Jr. Classics That Would Be Canceled Today

   DailyWire.com
ATLANTA - MAY 26: Hank Williams Jr. performs for a record industry audience at Stouffer's Hotel on May 26, 1977 in Atlanta, Georgia. ( Photo by Tom Hill/Getty Images)
Tom Hill/Getty Images

Hank Williams, Jr. rocked the country world when he released his 1979 album Family Tradition. Whereas prior artists clung neatly to a cool and collected twang — save for Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and some others — Hank combined wild and rugged individualism with comedic lyricism. He blended rock ‘n’ roll with blues and country, and the result changed the face of the genre forever.

While Hank’s music was widely loved and commercially successful in his time, many of his pro-gun, pro-family, and pro-America lyrics wouldn’t stand a chance in today’s Cancel Culture era. 

Here are five songs that would struggle to pass the Left’s politically correct litmus test today:

“Dixie on my Mind” (1981)

This country-rock tune peaked at number one on the Billboard US Country Chart. “Dixie on my Mind” is a fast-paced song detailing Hank’s rejection or urban norms and notion that he would prefer (like George Strait) to live in Tennessee or anywhere else in the south other than New York city. 

While the song is devoid of any clear allusions to race or politics, the left would argue that this song is pro-slavery for referencing the word dixie, and probably surmise that Hank is a xenophobic, racist, scoundrel. 

But there is nothing of the like in this song. He is merely proud to be from the country, where things are calmer and more composed. 

He sings:

These people never smile or say a word,
They’re all too busy tryin’ to make an extra dime,
Oh I’d love to haul ’em all down around Spartanburg,
And show ’em how to raise hell in Carolina.

“Texas Women” (1981)

Also from the 1981 album Rowdy, “Texas Women” is a funny, endearing love-letter to women from the state of Texas. Here are two verses.

I’m a country plow-boy, not an urban cowboy
And I don’t ride bulls, but I have fought some men
Drive a pickup truck, trust in God and luck
And I live to love Texas womenI’m a pretty fair judge of the opposite sex
And I ain’t seen nothin’ that will touch ’em yet
They may be from Waco or out in Lampassas
But one thing about it, they all come from Texas

I can already picture it. What is legitimately an amusing song about Hank’s preference for pretty girls from the Lone Star state, would be turned on its head by the Left. Instead, you see, this is a sexist tune that discriminates against women from other states. It is supremely unfair for Hank to not like all women equally! Also, how dare he refer to hardworking people from the city as “urban cowboys.” That is geographically impolite and not politically correct. 

“If Heaven Ain’t a Lot Like Dixie” (1982)

The song is an upbeat, pro-America, and comedic tune about wanting Heaven to resemble Hank’s birthplace of the South. Similar to his other songs, he rejects urban homogenization of American life and describes a love for his roots. The chorus says:

If heaven ain’t a lot like Dixie
I don’t wanna go
If heaven ain’t a lot like Dixie
I’d just as soon stay home
If they don’t have a Grand Ole Opry
Like they do in Tennessee
Just send me to hell or New York City
It would be about the same to me

Leftist sociology professors would have a field day psychoanalyzing and deconstructing the song from a Marxist perspective. The fact that Hank would compare heaven to the South, I’m sure, would be a major trigger. Of course, this is a playful and un-serious song, but the left does not bode well with criticizing their strongholds like New York city. 

“Young Country” (1987)

Oh boy. The patriotism in “Young Country” would be mind-boggling to modern day leftists. Should the first verse of this song be performed on a college campus, Hank would be booed off stage. The first verse says:

We are young country, we are the pride
The sons and the daughters of American life
Our hair is not orange we don’t wear chains and spikes
But we know how to have fun come Saturday night

The left would characterize this song as stigmatizing, racist, and trying to claim the hegemony is only ‘young country.’ Of course, the allusion to people as wearing ‘chains and spikes’ would probably inflict a lot of speech violence — and be discriminating against gangsters, goths, and many others. 

“A Country Boy Can Survive” (1982)

The 80s in general were prime time Hank. There are few more patriotic songs than “A Country Boy Can Survive.” Hank swiftly rejects uniform mandates on how Americans should live their lives — and describes his proudness of being a man of faith. He also tells a story of a friend who was murdered in New York City, and details how he would have used his own gun to defend him if he were there. 

He used to send me pictures of the Broadway nights
And I’d send him some homemade wineBut he was killed by a man with a switchblade knifeFor 43 dollars my friend lost his lifeI’d love to spit some beech-Nut up in that dude’s eyesAnd shoot him with my old .45Cause a country boy can survive

The chorus famously declares:

Because you can’t starve us out and you can’t make us run
‘Cause we’re them old boys raised on shotguns
And we say grace and we say Ma’am
If you ain’t into that we don’t give a damn

This song was released at a time when people from the south, just as today, were caricatured and laughed at for loving God and guns. Both, being pillars of freedom, offend the left to no end. Hank is passionate about saying grace and being polite to others — and does not care if people (from secular America) have an issue. 

Gabe Kaminsky is a writer and student. His work has appeared in The American Conservative, The Washington Times, Washington Examiner, RealClearPolitics, HollywoodinToto, CBN, and elsewhere.

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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