Let’s see, first off the whole emergence of Duck Dynasty as a successful television “reality” show is an indication of how ludicrous and stupid you can be and make a shit load of money. And, it’s about how the entertainment industry competes with each other to create these shows so that they can appeal to the lowest common denominator. The reality shows about gold mining are chronicling the systematic destruction of virgin permafrost in Alaska and the extinction of ancient forests in Amazon territories. There are the fishing shows about the Bering Sea, the Atlantic, and the Pacific. They show the liquidation of the crab, the disappearance of tuna, and the continued whaling by the Japanese.
There are the shows based in Alaska, where man battles nature by killing nearly every species of animal they encounter. There is even a show where the reality stars have to survive on an island naked and without help for a period of time. There is no end to these reality shows. And, Duck Dynasty is the lowest of them all. They admittedly celebrate themselves and their ignorance in a kind of redneck anti-logic. Just once I’d like to see a reality show about how Wall-street is piling up the money while the most of us count our pennies. But that’s another story for another time.
The problem seems that the patriarch of the whole Duck clan, Phil Robertson, went on a fiercely, hateful, anti-gay and well, anti-intelligence rant in a GQ interview. Now A&E, part of a huge American cable and satellite television corporate empire owned by Disney and Hearst, put poor Phil on probation. They plucked him right out of the show, like shooting a duck from the sky. And, what do have now: a vociferous debate on social media, the mainstream media, and the alternative press, centering on the Christian right which supports the Duck’s anti-LGBT rant, the neo-liberal establishment who support the corporate world and its false modesty, and what looks like nearly everyone else. Isn’t it great?
Many groups and individuals have now defended poor Phil stating that he was just following what the bible says. Well, not only does the bible say no man should lay with another man. It also explicitly recommends for women who marry and are not virgins, to be killed. It also says that loose women should be stoned to death. It calls for mutilation in cases of thievery. But, really, from where I’m standing, a lot of people who call themselves Christians now should have been stoned to death, or lost a limb, blinded, or crucified because they simply went to high school, rebelled and had sex. Oh, the horror.
I have been watching the duplicity of so-called Christians for years. How they pick and choose their verses to advocate, evangelize, proselytize, demonize, and basically weaponize Christianity is nothing short of brilliant. They use endless variants of verse from the bible to obfuscate political speech or vilify the utterings or behaviors of anyone. Their homophobia is a pillar of the entire Christian religion. As a church of haters, homosexuals are such an easy target, and they can’t resist. They have created an army of hate, intolerance, lies, and anti-intelligence that lavishes wealth on television evangelists while passing on a chance to fund food stamps for poor children. The poor can starve or drop dead but don’t mess with their Duck Dynasty.
The entirety of the Christian bible is filled with hatred, murder, war, torture and obscure behavioral warnings. Christian beliefs are malleable myths from which current followers use to marginalize groups, and pour hatred on individuals or groups which they think don’t belong, like the LGBT community.
My contention about the whole debate is that, hell, the man said what he thought was true, regardless of how truly uninformed he is, just plain stupid, or uninitiated in media-speak. I know that what he said was stupid, hateful and wrong. But, I also know he has a right to say that. That we recognize his ignorance is somewhat encouraging. But, as I write and cherish my ability to criticize what I think is wrong, I cannot stand by and watch corporate censorship. Nor can I violate the speaker’s right to say whatever he thinks is true as long as it does not incite physical harm (not protected by the First Amendment). I just don’t have the heart. To me, freedom of speech is not only sacred but extended to the point of prurient pictography or the KKK’s right to agitate. The ACLU, not the KKK’s favorite uncle, regularly defends their right to speak…especially any political speech—the most important of such rights.
Well, one of the arguments in the whole exchange was that “Freedom of speech is not a license to be stupid”. Well, yeah, it kind of is a license to be stupid. It’s on television 24 hours a day. Just watch MSNBC or FOX NEWS. That’s stupid and hateful, not to mention condescending.
If there are any genuine reasons to put Phil Robertson and the entire show on probation then I could suggest a few. First it sucks. Second, it’s a false representation of how anyone, regardless of their circumstances can overcome it all and become rich, that old US story of rags to riches, The Beverly Hillbillies in Louisiana.
Let’s face it, the only motive A&E has in punishing this rich redneck is greed. Shoot all the deer and geese you want but don’t mess with the bottom line. They have a lot of money tied into this franchise. The show generates around 500 million in revenue for the A&E corporate world. I can’t believe they are worried about the Gay Redneck audience. But, when it comes to advertising revenue and marketing of the show, or the myriad products for sale with the Duck Dynasty brand, they certainly will intervene. The show and its producers cannot be seen as anything not politically approved by the neo-liberal wider audience and the advertisers. It’s a fact of life in this country (US) that political correctness, or rather political thought, is anchored in corporate profits. A&E’s seemingly, loving defense of the LGBT world is NOT an indication of enlightenment. The only mantras they respect and repeat, is never, but never, insult the consumer, maximize profits, and count the money. After all, that’s what we represent to the corporate world and the religious world for that matter. We are the consumers. So fuck a duck and let the show die from a self-inflicted wound in the corporate swamp.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JP Miller is a disabled veteran, journalist, and writer who lives in the Outer Banks of North Carolina beside the Atlantic Ocean. He has published short stories and political essays in The Literary Yard, The Southern Cross Review, The Greanville Post, Pravda, Countercurrents, and Cyrano’s Journal.