Intolerance Incoming? Duck!
I shall now exercise my First Amendment right and declare that we cannot agree with Phil Robertson’s condemnation of homosexuals and then using the Bible in the most despicable way to mask his bigotry. There! I said it! Sarah Palin be damned!
The unapologetic redneck star of Arts and Entertainment’s Duck Dynasty made a few insensitive remarks about gays in an interview published in GQ (formerly Gentleman’s Quarterly). He likened the gay lifestyle to bestiality in coarse language unbecoming of a publication geared for “gentlemen”. The article would not seem to be a good fit for either GQ or Robertson, but people on both sides obviously didn’t see anything wrong.
So, why couldn’t the author have sold his interview to Intolerant Country Hick Monthly?
Robertson made it sound like that attraction to a woman’s vagina was a no brainer for men and that men should be repelled by a man’s anus as a sex object. The backlash to his remarks came swiftly; A&E suspended Robertson from his show indefinitely. The backlash from Duck Dynasty viewers and the rest of the Robertson clan - who refused to go on without the family patriarch - prompted A&E to reverse itself after only two weeks.
Among Dynasty supporters was conservative pundit Sarah Palin, who condemned A&E’s action as an attack on free speech. Actually the concept of no retribution to free speech in American culture is only guaranteed when it applies to the government. The Constitution forbids the government punishing individuals for their views (i.e., imprisonment or exile), but the rest of us can act at our own discretion. Thus A&E was acting on its own right of free speech, albeit it wasn’t the wisest use of the concept.
A&E would probably have been better off by condemning Robertson’s remarks as being inconsistent with the network's stance on tolerance, and leaving further retribution to the network’s viewers. The network, obviously seeking to repair some embarrassing damage to its most profitable series, jumped too quickly when they suspended Robertson. Oh sure, the suspension gave A&E’s punitive action some teeth, but it also brought a lot of free publicity for the show.
Dag nab it! Suckered in by a manipulative use of the First Amendment again! When will we learn?
A&E and Robertson weren’t the only ones embarrassed by the GQ remarks. Palin’s self-righteous statement was later undermined when she admitted to Fox News that she had not read Robertson’s remark before she cried foul (or would that be fowl?). So much for her credibility, but honestly I wasn’t at all surprised.
Robertson may not have helped his case when he explained - post suspension announcement - that he was only quoting scripture. Really? Excuse me, Mr. Robertson, please satisfy my heathen curiosity and quote me the chapter and verse of all the Biblical passages which use the word “vagina” and “anus”. Take your time and research it for awhile. Don’t worry: I won’t be holding my breath waiting for your answer.
The entire episode of ignorance, suspension, and non-suspension has now emboldened the Duck Dynasty supporters. So what can progressives do? The show will likely continue as long as its viewership remains high, so it will most likely not go away very soon. Suggestion: sponsor boycott.
A few of us progressives must brave to view an episode long enough to record the names of the sponsors who display their willingness to put money over righting offensive behavior. Then we can stop buying those products. Oh sure, the sponsors will cry foul, but let them. After all, our refusal to support their company’s willingness to condone homophobic ideals would just be an expression of OUR First Amendment rights!
It’s time to take names and make some noise!
(Thank you for reading. Just say “Quack”, and “sprinkle profusely with crushed duck!”)