Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hoist some bubbly for Hank

The Pulitzer Prizes have been "honoring excellence in journalism and the arts since 1917" so maybe this honor was long overdue. Still we were as surprised as we were delighted at the Sanctuary to learn that Hank Williams, who has been gone but hardly forgotten for 57 years, joined the parade yesterday.

While divvying out this year's awards (our local paper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel won its seventh)  the Pulitzer Committee found time to grant  "a posthumous special citation to Hank Williams for his craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life."

We couldn't have put it any better. In fact we would have lobbied long and hard for Hank had we known there was even a possibility this might happen.  Previous Pulitzer special citations in music have gone to Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Bob Dylan.  Can you think of anybody else who is more deserving?

Newspapers typically treat this honor like a World Series championship, popping champagne corks and drinking the bubbly to celebrate their deserving victories. (They may not spray it in each other's faces, but who could blame them? It's journalism's ultimate prize.)

We are heartened today to remember the story a few years back of a young Asian-born journalist, still discovering the culture of America, enter a newspaper managing editor's office and ask: "Who is Hank Williams?"

Today she surely knows.


  1. Hank and Joseph Pulitzer K. are waltzing across Rainbows Bridge to celebrate!

  2. They ended up, on alcohol and pills ..

    No one ever deserved a Pulitzer more. Here's to Hank.

  3. Journalism today is in the same shape ol' Hank was before he died.