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 »
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.
Betsy Woodruff writes: If you’d kept a curious but unattentive eye on social (and national) media for the past few days, you’d think some grievous, enormous, inconceivable terror had descended on our country. You’d think Americans had finally, for the first time, looked evil in the face. You’d think another Kennedy got assassinated. But you would be wrong. Our country is facing the equivalent of nationwide simultaneous cardiac arrest because some guy who for some reason got inexplicably famous for shooting ducks said something his bosses found distasteful about the sex appeal of men’s anuses.
It makes absolutely zero sense to me, but a huge number of Americans love reality TV shows. However, a huge number of Americans are also conservative Christians who don’t love, for example, fist-pumping, anal bleaching, and illegitimate-child-bearing. The Venn diagram of these two groups has a lot of overlap, which is problematic for those in the intersection. Enter Duck Dynasty, a magically lucrative institution that simultaneously 1) is a reality show and 2) features conservative Christians. It was a money-printing machine for A&E until — who could have predicted? — one of its redneck stars did something one may have expected a redneck to do and our nation faced its greatest peril since, say, the Cold War. Has Western civilization ever confronted such an existential imperilment as the suspension of man-on-man-sex-eschewing Phil Robertson? A pretty big sector of the Internet submits that it has not.
There are perfectly understandable reasons to be upset about Robertson’s suspension. But I, for one, am thrilled about it. I only wish A&E had gone further and suspended everyone on that stupid show, and also suspended everyone on all their other reality shows, and that all the other channels on TV that have reality shows had suspended all their stars too. Barring that, I wish great success to the Liberty Patriots who are boycotting A&E over Robertson’s suspension, and I hope all other Americans, regardless of their patriot status, will join the A&E boycott, and that the A&E boycott will spread to include all the other channels that show this kind of nonsense, and that we can finally just get rid of it all for good, forever and ever amen. I want everyone suspended. I want every channel boycotted. I want every show shuttered, and permanently. I want to watch it burn.
A Facebook page dedicated to defense of Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” has received well over 400,000 likes since it was launched just 14 hours ago. The page was created late on Wednesday evening, after news broke that A&E was suspending Robertson over his comments on homosexuality.
Within 10 minutes, the “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back on Duck Dynasty” page had 100 likes; in 30 minutes, the page had 1,200 likes. It grew exponentially from there; in three and a half hours, the page had 162,000 likes. The page states: “This page is to show support for the freedom of speech of Americans. Unless Phil is reinstated to the show, we refuse to watch the A&E Channel!”
**UPDATE** The Facebook page has now received over 510,000 likes.
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.