So, it seems that lately (in the past few weeks, anyway) people have been rather up in arms about the heinous and hateful things that Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson had to say about gays in an interview with GQ magazine.
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” Robertson was quoted as saying. He went on to stress that to him, homosexuality is “illogical” because, “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus.”
And the world. Went. Crazy.
As if it was oh so shocking that this verifiable bumpkin and self-proclaimed bible-thumper might have some strictly right-wing viewpoints when it comes to homosexuality. Interestingly, it was the comments about gays primarily that made the world lose its collective mind and not the (in my opinion) more genuinely shocking (but still not so surprising from this asshat) statements Robertson made in the same interview about race.
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field …. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word! … Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Apparently Robertson would have us believe he grew up in Disney’s Song of the South or on an episode of The Cosby Show.
Again, however, not really all that surprising coming from this particular hayseed, is it?
A&E, the cable channel which airs Duck Dynasty leapt into action, suspending Robertson in true ABC-TV vs. Hank Williams Jr. style, until the realized that Duck Dynasty is one of the most popular shows on television (to this I can only ask, “why?”) and announced they would resume filming with Robertson and his entire (presumably) inbred clan. Clearly they know which side the duck is buttered on, so to speak.
What A&E had to say about lifting Robertson’s suspension is fairly typical corporate America doublespeak and they released the following statement, “Duck Dynasty is not a show about one man’s views. It resonates with a large audience because it is a show about family … a family that America has come to love.” Sure. Unless any of those Americans are gay or black or (shudder to think)… both. At least he fell short of actually using the “N” word, right?
The mini-adventures of Phil Robertson over the past few weeks, however, raise interesting questions about First Amendment rights. Just as the aforementioned issue with Hank Williams Jr. did a while back and, even before that, the firing of Don Imus over racist comments he’d made on the air. The recent issues experienced by cooking show butterball Paula Deen also come to mind. The question is not “should these people say these things?” because the answer is, “of course not,” but rather, should they be fired or suspended, etc. for saying them? There clearly is no hard and fast rule, as Ms. Deen remains unemployed from Food Network and Robertson resumes shooting Duck Dynasty episodes this year, but they are pretty much handled on a case-by case basis. It seems likely that if Paula Deen’s show had been putting up Duck Dynasty numbers, she may still be on the air today. And, interestingly, her termination had to do with things she’d said years ago, a trial attorney asking her Mark Furman-style if she’d “ever” used racist terms before. Clearly Robertson, Deen, and the others have every right under the First Amendment to think and say virtually whatever they like, free speech being meaningless if only “popular” speech is protected, but the rest of us have the same right to call them out on it for their racist and/or homophobic ideals. What I would like to see is the American public voting with their television remotes and not watching Robertson’s moronic show at all any longer. Sadly, that is not likely to happen, as last season’s premiere of Duck Dynasty was watched by over eleven million people. Eleven. Million. People.
What the fuck?
Clearly I am missing something amazing. That’s the only explanation. Or, this country is full of dumber fucks than the entire Robertson clan combined. If so, we deserve what we’re getting.