Thursday, December 19, 2013

A&E downs the ducks

By Capt. Fogg 

I didn't know who Phil Robertson was until just the other day when I stumbled upon A&E's Duck Dynasty and watched a bit before moving on. I had never watched the show, despite it's immense popularity, despite my fondness for shows about people who live in swamps, tiny towns and remote places -- People who hunt alligators, catch crawfish and run bait shops in towns like Pierre Part (the end of the world as the sign says) or Bayou Pigeon -- their cuisine, their music and culture, so quickly fading in an urbanizing country that still, as it always has, is forcing people into a cash economy, into paying jobs with regular hours while their environment - our country- is cut down, paved over and polluted.

In general I'm comfortable with people who love the 'outdoors,' that odd term we call the actual environment of planet Earth -- people who own fishing gear, snake boots, snowshoes, canoes and all that and still prize the ability to use them in unspoiled country. That's partially because such people are environmentalists although most will carefully explain that "they ain't no treehuggers or hippies."

That love of nature often sets them against entities like Florida's sugar cartel which has done more damage to our formerly vast wilderness than any terrorist could dream of, so you'd think that the rapacious right would despise anyone who didn't support fracking, strip mining, clear-cutting, toxic waste dumping, smoke belching and generally destructive industry, and perhaps you'd expect to hear the voice of the Right raised against such folks, but no. The American Family Association is calling him a New American Hero. now that the network has suspended the release of next season's show.

Robertson likes to spend his time:
"daydreaming about what he calls a “pristine earth”: a world where nothing gets in the way of nature or the hunters who lovingly maintain it. No cities. No buildings. No highways,"
says Drew Magary in a GC magazine interview. But he also hates sinners and takes the Christian Bible as the standard of morality for the world, or at least the nastier parts favored by the Christian Right. That's where we part company. He's a gracious gentleman, says Magary and he doesn't like swearing or any of the other things Bible thumpers insist God doesn't like either, like people who don't subscribe to current, Christian Right sexual prohibitions. Like the loathsome 'Reverend' Phelps's God, Robertson's god damns homosexuals and assorted other non-conformists.
“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,”
he says peremptorily and without regard to empiricism. Fox News and the extremists in it's orbit can hardly fail to come to his defense because impediments to religious authoritarianism attract them more than the Robertson's duck calls draw ducks to your blind. Now of course anything Fox Condemns, anyone Sarah Palin supports ordinarily demands my opposition, but I have to ask myself, should a man be fired for expressing his opinions because we don't like them?

That's not so easy to be sure about. If Fox had fired someone for an opinion, for saying their position was "just wrong," I wouldn't hesitate to make it slime time for Fox, so I have to question Robertson's suspension. After all, his opinion is that one never judges people but leaves it to God to sort out. He believes in redemption as much as he believes that legal behavior that hurts no one can be "just wrong."

I have no way of knowing whether his contract with A&E stipulated that he make no controversial statements, no expostulations on his religious beliefs, but lacking that, I have to wonder about silencing people for "moral" reasons no matter who does it. Certainly a network has the right to air or not to air any content, but it's not about the content of Duck Dynasty, but about the opinions expressed elsewhere.

Some small voice still continues to ask me something the ACLU is asked all the time: are we attacking our own freedom when we curtail anyone's ability to say what "we just know" are ignorant, nasty and disgusting things?

(Cross posted at Human Voices.)

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  • Uh...that quote is actually from Saint Paul and found in the Bible. Sad you critics do not understand Phil is quoting Paul. Such a poor command of Christian truth.

    1:9 Corinthians

    Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:13 PM  

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