Egan’s isn’t going anywhere, but the idea of the Egan’s you may have known and loved from the not-so-distant past is now officially dead. It’s time to put the nail in that coffin.
Look, it’ll continue to generate money from now until however long it wants. The clientele there are fine people, I’m sure. The bartenders likely work as hard and are probably just as friendly as anyone who’s bar backed there in years past. I’d bet there is plenty of mirth to be found inside that shotgun shack still to this day.
But something conspicuous is happening since Egan’s turned over its ownership, all of which built to a crescendo in a late-night post on the site’s Facebook page.
“The President of the United States is always welcome at Egans Bar. Republican, Democrat, White, Black, Male, Female. We don’t care. We respect you because you are the Leader [sic] of our country” it reads. In order to digest that in more context, though, one has to backtrack a little.
Go back. This all had its impetus when Bob Weatherly — previous owner — sold Egan’s in May 2018. Many bemoaned this. (Full disclosure: we here praised the bar as if in elegy by hosting a podcast on our site created by Kevin Halbrook and recorded in the last days of the Weatherly owned dive; you can revisit the first of those interviews in the rambunctious, hilarious, and popular podcast here.) It wasn’t the end of the place, though. After a few months or renovations, the bar reopened. Many complained. Some didn’t. That’s fine and expected.
Fast forward to Halloween of this year, and Tuscaloosa music staple D.C. Moon was suddenly canceled as nightly entertainment with only three-days notice. It was apparently because previously mentioned Kevin Halbrook is not allowed to play there. Never mind that D.C. Moon and his bands have been featured at nearly every Halloween at some bar in Tuscaloosa since their inception. Never mind that the creative figure Moon had spent more money than offered for the show to cover costs of recording a live album the night of Halloween. Never mind that he got three days notice that he and his band couldn’t play. Those things happen. Maybe.
That brings us to this coming weekend where those LSU
Corndogs Tigers come to play the Alabama Crimson Tide. It’s a big enough event that the damn President of the United States decided to come to town. Never mind that he’s doing it because he’s been booed at his previous two sporting event appearances and needs his ego stroked; his using one of the places where he’s guaranteed to be hailed as the king that he thinks he is doesn’t go unnoticed. (Sadly, Alabama is still one of many infamous places that continually worships party over anything else, including its very people.)
It also brings us to the Facebook post, made at some wee hour by some brilliant mind. It covers its bases, that’s for sure. It nebulously screams We like everyone! My best friend is black! without stooping to those cliches. In truth, the Egan’s under Weatherly’s proprietorship really had the ethos that everyone was welcome, and most people picked up on that if they ever visited the dim, smoky air more than a couple of times. Having giving up the Egan’s life for greener pastures some time ago, that vibe may still be the case. Don’t count on me to tell you. All I have is the post. And that post –and maybe its reply more than the original — signals a goodbye.
To want Trump’s presence or his association or his business or his money is to approve tacitly of vile deeds and worse policies. Unlike other presidents, whose policies were worth discussion, debates, arguments, and disagreements, Trump’s are not. They are, almost wholly, wrong. Morally wrong in many instances. His actions beyond his policies are often worse: the affair with a porn star while his wife was pregnant, the claim to be able to kiss or grab any lady because of celebrity status, the insults to the disabled, the berating opponents rather than argue the issues, the use of Twitter, Rudy Giuliani, etc.. (I could offer the president some credit and say that his policies are so ignorant because he knows so little about policy or government or spelling, but that’s no excuse.)
More of the particulars of the original post are disturbing. What’s up with the capitalization of the word “leader” there? That doesn’t strike anyone as a little too reverent? It smacks of a third-world-country’s dictatorship. And sure, it could be a typo. But by dismissing it as such, it lowers the expectations and intelligence of who wrote it. The people are narrowed down to a simple “black” and “white.” Complexities — maybe saving space and time — are left on Egan’s barroom floor.
Arguably worse is the immediate reply and its tone by the likely same author. (Don’t ask me who runs their account these days.)
“Here’s an idea,” it begins. That’s never a good sign for an online reply. The piece de resistance, however, comes in the form of the ellipses, followed by “we will wait.” It’s nice that the author thinks there’s more than one making the post — the royal we of Egan’s, perhaps. It does at least attempt to clarify later in the same post that there was no praise of Trump; instead, it’s just “respect for the Office [sic] of the President, not one individual.” Wasn’t that obvious?
It’s also curious that the “crooks” listed beyond Trump are all Democrats. I recount no stain on Warren nor Sanders. Obama had no scandals. Cool that the poster acknowledges a lady could be president, though.
In the end, it’s about money, isn’t it? And that’s right up Trump’s — nay, capitalism’s — wheelhouse. If Trump came to Egan’s, the reply implies, there would be an air of “cool” about the place. And this is because it would generate business out the ass. Never mind that Trump wouldn’t even bother get an Egan’s regular to wipe his shoes. I’ll never be convinced of a New York elite being a man of the people.
It all adds up to what we former attendees of Egan’s know deep down: the old Egan’s, the Egan’s under Bob Weatherly’s hand, the Egan’s of true inclusively that need not be posted on social media would’ve never said that Trump is welcomed. This is because the old Egan’s valued odd, different, hardworking, weird (maybe to a fault), and intelligent. Never mind that this Egan’s doesn’t.
Never mind at all.
Read another take from head writer Trey Irby on the issue here.