Dec 23 2013

The Duck Dynasty flap

It is a measure of how out of touch I am with popular culture that I often learn about a media phenomenon only long after it has been around or if it goes down in flames. Sometimes the names associated with the phenomenon (Honey Boo Boo, Miley Cyrus, the Kardashians) lurk in the fringes of my consciousness because the news headlines feature them but I know next to nothing about them.

So I became aware of this whole Duck Dynasty thing only after the founder made some anti-gay remarks because, of course, he is a Christian. And what has been astonishing (apart from my surprise that was one of the most popular programs on TV) is how quickly Christians have lined up to support him and punish those who have criticized his words. It seems like all you have to do is invoke the name of Jesus to be sure of having allies for whatever you say.

It is quite extraordinary how rapidly this religious tribal instinct kicks in. Suddenly this Phil Robertson guy, the patriarch of the family in the show and the one who made the comments, has become seen by them as their standard bearer who must be defended at all costs because he happens to use the Bible to support his homophobic views.


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  1. 1

    Most of the critics who blast A&E for giving him the heave ho claim that his freedom of speech is being stifled. They forget that you have freedom of speech but that does not mean that anyone has to give you a forum.

  2. 2

    He has freedom of speech but of course working for A&E, they have the right to either fire or put him on non-paid leave. We as watchers of A&E (aka payers of A&E) can then choose to either support A&E by watching programs as well as buying their goods or not. I, as you may guessed, have done the latter. I find the show amusing although I am not a regular viewer of the show.

  3. 3
    Rob Grigjanis

    I wonder what these same folk had to say about the free speech of Dixie Chicks or Phil Donahue.

  4. 4

    Once again, christians willingly display their hypocrisy.

    In Colorado, a bigot is ordered to bake a cake for a same sex wedding, and the rightwingnuts call it “the end of capitalism”.

    Meanwhile, A&E practices free market capitalism and protects its bottom line, pleasing both the advertisers and the majority of viewers. The rightwingnuts then call it “censorship” and “violating his freedom of speech”.

    Make up your mind, chumps.

  5. 5

    Left0ver1under, I don’t believe the majority of viewers are who you think. If indeed you are correct then there would be an outpouring for the other side. I have not seen this at all. If you have please provide links to back it up. Regards.

  6. 6
    Doug Little


    There is no out pouring for the other side because unlike the poor persecuted Christians they don’t care, consider it a non issue or are satisfied with A+E’s handling of the situation. Just because your side has a massive knee jerk reaction to any perceived slight against something you agree with doesn’t mean all people act that way. What is the million moms stance on this, I smell another failed christian boycott on the horizon.

    Someone asked an ignorant christian about his thoughts on homosexuality, there was absolutely no surprise what his answer was.

    Anyway the whole gay angle is covering up the real controversy about him implying that African Americans were better off in the Jim Crow days.

  7. 7
    Doug Little

    Here are the demographics for A&E

    You decide if they made the right decision.

  8. 8

    Doug, although I can’t speak for Million Moms, I did just take this from the website:

    GLEE Mocks Christianity at Christmas

    Please send an email to this show’s sponsors and let them know that we will not stand for Christianity to be mocked. Urge advertisers to place the program GLEE on their “do not advertise” list immediately.


  9. 9
    Marcus Ranum

    It seems like all you have to do is invoke the name of Jesus to be sure of having allies for whatever you say.

    ….which has always seemed like a huge vulnerability for religion. It is ridiculously east to confuse them and make them look bad, by declaring yourself to be a pope or whatever, and then saying absurdly dumb things. After a while, change your mind and become a buddhist and say more absurdly dumb things. It would be fairly easy for a small number of creative trolls to drive the level of cognitive dissonance among the faithful sky-high. It would have the additional benefit of making all the other trolling religious figures be revealed as such – i.e.: one “reverend” might be the “reverend moneybags” who declares that god wants him to get rich off suckers – and other than that, use a straightforward evangelical pitch. If you can’t tell your leaders from self-declared assholes, you’ve got a problem. Colbert is doing exactly this to political conservatives, and it is working very effectively with the young.

  10. 10

    “but I know next to nothing about them”
    In general you’re better off if you keep it that way. Even the Duck Dynasty thing is only interesting because of “how quickly Christians have lined up to support him and punish those who have criticized his words.” These people need to read the Samaritan story every day before they go to bed.

  11. 11

    Again, why were they surprised that the star of their show about ignorant bigots said something ignorant and bigoted?
    There was a story about this in which it was reported that statements like these occur quite often during filming and have been scrubbed before the film goes to air. It isn’t new behavior. It was also pointed out that while this jerk’s pr man was there fore the start of the interview, the “reporter” and the old man went out for a ride on atvs and the pr guy didn’t go to protect his client. Bad move, as that’s where the stupid really began flowing.

    In the end the views, bigotry, and racism of the patriarch and the family isn’t surprising, given their strict biblical views. The demonstration of ignorance by people who support them, by claiming that there was nothing wrong with the comments and that A&E’s actions violate his right to free speech is amazing. It is scary to think there about the number of people who hold those views – especially since it is likely they vote.

    curious though – they didn’t show the same outrage about MSNBC violating free speech rights when they canned one of their employees. I’m sure it is just an oversight and not outright hypocrisy by these “christians”.

  12. 12
    Doug Little

    Furthermore it looks like their red neck hillbilly look is as much of a facade as their show is, reality TV my ass, more like a not so elaborate mechanism to part a rube and his money.


  13. 13

    Doug, I do see some old pictures from 10+ years ago. I myself have changed my hair style and facial hair style quite a bit since high school. Perhaps, the million moms post from me earlier, the pro phil facebook.com/westandwithphil, istandwithphil.com, faithdrivenconsumer.com, christianpost.com & I am sure many more have taken a little wind out of your sail. Being it is the Christmas Eve (the day before Jesus was born) I will simply wish you Happy Holidays & a prosperous 2014 for you & your family. Heading to church & then my family’s house to celebrate the day before Jesu…well you know. Regards.

  14. 14

    The answer to ugly speech is more speech, not less speech.

    A&E’s decision was hypocritical because they knew beforehand who they were getting into bed with, and they invited American to laugh at him, and then they stepped away from him when he went off script. Of course he no more went off script then the scorpion.

    A&E’s decision was hypocritical because if they truly were offended by Robertson, the principled action either be to a) distance themselves from his remarks but support his right to say them, or b) to cancel the show entirely and take the loss of revenue to A&E as the price they are willing to pay to demonstrate their abhorrence of his remarks. Instead they chose an action that maximized their profits while stabbing their employee in the back for little other than acting in the persona they had hired.

    Cries from others that they were offended by Robertson and demand his firing should be met with the Stephen Fry response.

    “It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more… than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what.”

    I am not fond of politically motivated boycotts, but wiki says threats of ostracism and threats of politically motivated boycotts are protected speech. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_free_speech_exceptions

  15. 15

    @Doug, interesting pictures indeed that don’t actually prove a whole lot, but jebus, what a horrible website! I thank you for the link, but not sure I can forgive you for the horrible acts that website forced my browser into.

  16. 16


    Paglia: Duck Dynasty uproar ‘utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist’

    The suspension of Phil Robertson from A&E’s Duck Dynasty is outrageous in a nation that values freedom, according to social critic and openly gay, dissident feminist Camille Paglia.

    “I speak with authority here, because I was openly gay before the ‘Stonewall rebellion,’ when it cost you something to be so. And I personally feel as a libertarian that people have the right to free thought and free speech,” Paglia, a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Thursday.

    “In a democratic country, people have the right to be homophobic as well as they have the right to support homosexuality — as I one hundred percent do. If people are basing their views against gays on the Bible, again they have a right of religious freedom there,” she added.

    Robertson has been suspended from Duck Dynasty due to comments he made to GQ that have been deemed “anti-gay.” According to Paglia, the culture has become too politically correct.

    “To express yourself in a magazine in an interview — this is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, OK, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic Party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades,” Paglia said. “This is the whole legacy of free speech 1960’s that have been lost by my own party.”

    Paglia went on to point out that while she is an atheist she respects religion and has been frustrated by the intolerance of gay activists.

    “I think that this intolerance by gay activists toward the full spectrum of human beliefs is a sign of immaturity, juvenility,” Paglia said. “This is not the mark of a true intellectual life. This is why there is no cultural life now in the U.S. Why nothing is of interest coming from the major media in terms of cultural criticism. Why the graduates of the Ivy League with their A, A, A+ grades are complete cultural illiterates, etc. is because they are not being educated in any way to give respect to opposing view points.”

    “There is a dialogue going on human civilization, for heaven sakes. It’s not just this monologue coming from fanatics who have displaced the religious beliefs of their parents into a political movement,” she added. “And that is what happened to feminism, and that is what happened to gay activism, a fanaticism.”


  17. 17
    Doug Little


    being it is the Christmas Eve (the day before Jesus was born)

    You know that if Jesus existed his birth was not on Christmas.

    A careful analysis of Scripture, however, clearly indicates that December 25 couldn’t be the date for Christ’s birth. Here are two primary reasons:
    First, we know that shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:7-8

    ). Shepherds were not in the fields during December. According to Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays , Luke’s account “suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is cold and rainy in Judea, it is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night” (p. 309).
    Similarly, The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues “against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted” shepherds watching over their flocks in the fields at night.
    Second, Jesus’ parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census (Luke 2:1-4

    ). Such censuses were not taken in winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating.
    Given the difficulties and the desire to bring pagans into Christianity, “the important fact then which I have asked you to get clearly into your head is that the fixing of the date as December 25th was a compromise with paganism” (William Walsh, The Story of Santa Klaus , 1970, p. 62).

  18. 18

    @#16: Brayton over at Dispatches did a nice takedown of the article you reference.

  19. 19

    I’m not seeing it as his site. Links are the magic of the Intenet. Can you give me a link?

  20. 20

    Oh here it is: http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2013/12/25/can-camille-paglia-just-shut-up-now/#comments

    That’s not much of a takedown.

    He disagrees with her so he says she says stupid stuff.

    What she says is this:

    ” And I personally feel as a libertarian that people have the right to free thought and free speech,” Paglia, a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Thursday.”


    “To express yourself in a magazine in an interview — this is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, OK, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic Party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades,” Paglia said. “This is the whole legacy of free speech 1960’s that have been lost by my own party.”

    And Brayton says this:

    “I think people have the right to free thought and free speech too, but that has precisely nothing to do with this situation. How does someone get to be a Serious Intellectual without understanding the difference between government action and private action?”


    I agree with her on college speech codes, but what does that have to do with this situation? Public universities are bound by the First Amendment; media corporations are not. And seriously, fascist AND Stalinist? Didn’t you forget “terrorist” and “Marxist” in that tired, moronic screed?”

    But Paglia is right, the legacy of the 60s free speech era and the legacy of the 70s Skokie NAZI incident was that the answer to ugly speech was more speech. And that wasn’t just when government restricted speech. That was ugly speech anywhere.

    From the Enlightenment up until but including the time of social justice warriors, humans have supported freedom of expression.

    Against the gov’t. Against the church. Against snake oil salesmen.

    Dialog and dialectic.

    But now in these dark times we insist that if it’s not government censorship then people’s speech should be repressed and they should be fired and they should have their lives ruined.

    You can have it and you can lap up Brayton’s apologia for suppression.

    Enjoy your meal. Hope it doesn’t come back up your throat someday when it’s your live being ruined for something stupid yuo said.

  21. 21
    Nathaniel Frein

    Phil Robertson was rich before Duck Dynasty. He’ll continue to be rich after Duck Dynasty. His life has hardly been “ruined”. He’s a typical martyrbater, that’s all.

  22. 22

    A&E makes hypocrisy even more shameful, publicly censors Phil but then airs an 11 hour marathon of Phil.

    Because their speech was about their support of gay rights and not about maximizing their profits.

    And libtards and #ftbullies lap it up and demand more.


    Showing FARK is a hell of a lot more sensible than the SJW of the #FTBBullies


  1. 23

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