Mark Chesnut: Viva Vince Vaughn

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Mark Chesnut writes: When actor Vince Vaughn recently took up for the right to keep and bear arms in a highly publicized British GQ interview, he made a very reasonable argument for the Second Amendment—one you seldom hear coming from the “Hollywood crowd.”

“You think the politicians that run my country and your country don’t have guns in the schools their kids go to? They do. And we should be allowed the same rights. Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat.”

— Vince Vaughn

“I support people having a gun in public full stop, not just in your home,” Vaughn said. “We don’t have the right to bear arms because of burglars; we have the right to bear arms to resist the supreme power of a corrupt and abusive government. It’s not about duck hunting; it’s about the ability of the individual. It’s the same reason we have freedom of speech. It’s well known that the greatest defense against an intruder is the sound of a gun hammer being pulled back.”

Vaughn also pointed out the danger of gun-free zones, detailing how only criminals intent on doing harm have firearms in those locations.

“All these gun shootings that have gone down in America since 1950, only one or maybe two have happened in non-gun-free zones,” he said. “Take mass shootings. They’ve only happened in places that don’t allow guns.

Gun rights activist Holly Cusumano, 18, waves a flag during a rally for the 2nd Amendment at the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“These people are sick in the head and are going to kill innocent people. They are looking to slaughter defenseless human beings. They do not want confrontation.” Vaughn even weighed in on the importance of armed citizens in protecting students. Asked whether he supported guns in the hands of good guys on campuses, Vaughn said: Ironically, the most vocal criticism came from some in the news media—those who are supposedly objective and impartial.

“Of course. You think the politicians that run my country and your country don’t have guns in the schools their kids go to? They do. And we should be allowed the same rights. Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat.”

One might expect such strong, pointed talk would draw lots of criticism from other actors, many of whom lean toward the anti-gun end of the spectrum. Ironically, the most vocal criticism came from some in the news media—those who are supposedly objective and impartial.

On Fox News’ The Five, Geraldo Rivera compared Vaughn to the perpetrator of the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 innocent people. “Doesn’t that remind you of Timothy McVeigh …?” Rivera quipped.

Geraldo went on to claim that armed self-defense is simply a figment of the imagination of those who support gun rights. Read the rest of this entry »


The ‘Racism’ Wrecking Ball

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Indiscriminate charges of racism do more harm than good, as Martin Luther King well knew

John Fund  writes:  Would America be better off if the Outrage Industry went on a diet for New Year’s?

We just spent much of December quacking and arguing way too much about the views of Phil Robertson, one of the stars of the Duck Dynasty reality-TV series. Most of the attention focused on Robertson’s harsh, mean-spirited comments about gays and on the subsequent, short-lived decision of the cable network A&E to suspend him. But people saved plenty of ire for his comments, offered in an interview with GQ magazine, that when he grew up in Louisiana in the 1950s he never saw “the mistreatment of any black person” and that African Americans in that era didn’t have complaints about white people.

That’s an invitation to call Phil naïve, blind, or a liar. But such descriptions weren’t enough for Jesse Jackson, who said: “These statements uttered by Robertson are more offensive than the bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, more than 59 years ago. At least the bus driver, who ordered Rosa Parks to surrender her seat to a white person, was following state law. Robertson’s statements were uttered freely and openly without cover of the law, within a context of what he seemed to believe was ‘white privilege.’” He wasn’t the only prominent liberal to go way over the top. MSNBC’s Michael Eric Dyson said Robertson and Duck Dynasty were “part of a majority-white supremacist culture.” Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Network Caves, Welcomes Phil Robertson Back to ‘Duck Dynasty’

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Less than two weeks after his anti-gay remarks prompted an “indefinite hiatus” for the reality patriarch, and a strong fan backlash, the network says he will remain on the series.

Phil Robertson, the patriarch of A&E’s Duck Dynasty clan who was suspended from his hit reality series on Dec. 18 following some incendiary comments about gay people, won’t be put on hiatus after all.

The network and the Robertson family announced Friday that Phil will still be part of the series — and since he didn’t miss any filming, his temporary suspension will have no effect on the upcoming fifth season.

An A&E statement to The Hollywood Reporter read:

As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principals.

That is why we reacted so quickly and strongly to a recent interview with Phil Robertson. While Phil’s comments made in the interview reflect his personal views based on his own beliefs, and his own personal journey, he and his family have publicly stated they regret the “coarse language” he used and the mis-interpretation of his core beliefs based only on the article. He also made it clear he would “never incite or encourage hate.” We at A+E Networks expressed our disappointment with his statements in the article, and reiterate that they are not views we hold.

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Twitter blocking petition supporting Phil Robertson

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Twitter is blocking links to a website set up in support of “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson, who was suspended by the A&E network last week following  an interview in which he was critical of homosexuality.

The petition, which is directed at A&E and has gathered nearly 200,000 signatures after four days online, says “I am asking your network to immediately reinstate Mr. Robertson to Duck Dynasty, and to formally apologize to him, his family, and the millions of viewers who tune in every week, stand by him, and share his worldview.”

“Mr. Robertson’s comments in GQ Magazine are simply reflective of a Biblical view of sexuality, marriage, and family — a view that has stood the test of time for thousands of years and continues to be held by the majority of Americans and today’s world as a whole,” reads the petition.

But Twitter isn’t allowing its users to circulate the petition.

“Oops! A URL in your Tweet appears to link to a page that has spammy or unsafe content,” is the message returned to users who attempt to tweet links to IStandWithPhil.com.

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The ‘Duck Dynasty’ Fiasco Says More About Our Bigotry Than Phil’s

philWhy is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them?

Last night, GQ released a story about Duck Dynasty which quotes Phil’s thoughts about homosexuality:

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

As you can imagine, everyone had an opinion about this statement, including GLAAD and Phil’s check-signer, A&E, who suspended the star indefinitely.

One of the conservative tweeters I follow—one of those Christians convinced that Obama is going to have him killed for his faith—lives for stuff like this. He quickly took to the Twitterverse and posted a side-by-side image of Pope Francis and Phil, with the following caption: “Both preach truth on homosexual sin. One is TIME’s Person of the Year. The other JUST GOT FIRED.”

The point is worth considering. Even though Phil used crass, juvenile language to articulate his point, what he was getting at was his belief that homosexual “desire” is unnatural, and inherently disordered. This opinion isn’t unique to Phil. It’s actually shared by a majority of his fans.

It’s also shared, to some extent, by the Pope. Yes, that Pope—the one on the cover not just of TIME but also of The Advocate.

Read the rest of this entry »


‘Duck Dynasty’ vs. ‘Pajama Boy’: Two Americas?

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Matt K. Lewis writes:  As you’ve probably heard, Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson has been suspended by A&E over what many are describing as “anti-gay” comments he made to GQ.

So what did he say that was so bad? Here’s an excerpt, via E!:

“‘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,’ he tells the magazine. Paraphrasing Corinthians, he says, ‘Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.’”

… “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

… ”We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ‘em, give ‘em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ‘em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

Much of the criticism coming from conservatives (regarding A&E’s decision) has focused on the fact that a). Robertson was merely stating an orthodox Christian position, and b). that this is just his opinion — and he’s entitled to it (and besides, why are people so offended these days?).

But I’ll make another observation: This may be an attack on “unsophisticated” country folks as much as it is an attack on orthodox Christianity.

When you consider the more effete, cosmopolitan America that “Pajama Boy” represents, you’ll get a sense for why the Duck Dynasty folks are out of touch with today’s acceptable norms. There is a huge schism between red state America and blue state America, and these two stories seem to symbolize the yawning chasm.

Read the rest of this entry »