Sunday, July 05, 2020


G. Dane Hicks of Garnett, Kansas, doesn't seem to be your typical Republican county chairman. For one thing, he's self-published two novels, one of which valorizes a nineteenth-century anti-slavery newspaper publisher. He also has a YouTube account where, last November, he published a cheery little home video in which he accompanied two young girls, presumably his daughters, in a spirited rendition of the Denis Leary song "Asshole." (One of the singers, I believe, is seen in another video singing the national anthem.)

But that's not why I'm writing about Hicks. I'm writing because he's a coronavirus denialist and, well, an asshole.
The governor of Kansas has called on a Republican county chairman to remove a cartoon from his newspaper’s Facebook page that invokes the Holocaust to criticize her order requiring Kansans to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The cartoon, posted on the Facebook page of The Anderson County Review, shows the state’s Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, wearing a mask emblazoned with the Star of David against a backdrop of people being loaded onto a cattle car.

“Lockdown Laura says: Put on your mask ... and step onto the cattle car,” reads a caption on the cartoon, which was posted on Friday, the same day an order by Ms. Kelly went into effect requiring Kansans to wear masks in public spaces and in places where social distancing is not possible.

The Anderson County Review is owned by Dane Hicks, the chairman of the Anderson County Republican Party. Mr. Hicks defended the cartoon, which he said he had made himself and planned to publish in the newspaper on Tuesday.

“Political editorial cartoons are gross over-caricatures designed to provoke debate and response — that’s why newspapers publish them — fodder for the marketplace of ideas,” he wrote in an email. “The topic here is the governmental overreach which has been the hallmark of Governor Kelly’s administration.”

He scoffed at the idea of an apology.

“Apologies: To whom exactly?” he wrote. “The critics on the Facebook page? Facebook is a cesspool and I only participate to develop readership.” He added that he “intended no slight” to Jews or Holocaust survivors.
Here's the cartoon:

Hicks has now removed it from The Anderson Country Review's Facebook page, with an acknowledgment that the cartoon was hurtful to Jews -- but no acknowledgment that it was an obnoxious attack on the governor.

Hicks still believes that the mask mandate is "creeping and abusive government authority and dereliction of due process" because he's a coronavirus truther. He wrote this in March:
Statistically, you have a better chance of being hit by lightning wearing a green hat while singing the National Anthem and watching an Andy Griffith Show rerun than of dying of the coronavirus. But why let facts get in the way of history's best made mainstream media panic ever?

... Despite the fact a couple of thousand poor souls have lost their fight with coronavirus so far compared to an estimated 600,000 who die worldwide from the flu every year, the American mass media has staked a frenzied claim in the coronavirus realm that surpasses even its obsession with mass shootings and hurricanes. But not tornadoes, because they happen mostly in the Midwest – New York and Los Angeles media aren't exactly sure where the Midwest is.

Though he'll never get credit for it, President Trump had the only logical comments on the “crisis” to have been uttered so far: It's like the flu, it'll pass, he told us. But he was immediately inundated by the tsunami of media crazy over the virus to the point he had to spend some federal money on coronavirus just to keep mobs from burning the White House.

Bare facts of the virus' insignificance aside, the impact of the surrounding panic is very real. Even though business, industry and employment in the U.S. and for the most part abroad are booming, trillions of dollars in value has been lost, hopefully temporarily, by retiree pensions, 401ks, kids' 529 college plans and other investment vehicles due to nothing but conjecture and flame-fanning. And all of it surrounding a sickness whose only real notoriety came from being listed on your bottle of Lysol as one of many bugs killed by the disinfectant. Coronavirus isn't even a player it the scheme of likely ways to die – it's the Beto O'Rourke of the virus world.
Mr. Hicks, 130,000 Americans would like to have a word with you. Oh, sorry, they can't, because although the coronavirus "isn't even a player it the scheme of likely ways to die," for some inexplicable reason, they're dead. Must be the libs' fault!

And oh, look -- here's Hicks in 2018 retweeting an Ann Coulter joke about Hillary Clinton being killed like Jamal Khashoggi! How droll!

I was planning to close this post with the video of Hicks and his family sitting around playing "Asshole," but it seems unfair to his daughters. So I'll post the original version of the song. The song is quite appropriate, because even after Hicks's semi-apology, he really is an asshole.

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