I hate feeling like a cliche, and I don’t like feeling like I’m jumping on a band wagon for the sake of taking a ride on said band wagon with everyone else. Though, alas, now I’m irritated, so you’ll have to be subjected to the Denise take on an issue that I can already tell we’re going to be quite tired of very soon.
Living in the (very) deep South, I’ve been sick to death of hearing about the rednecks of Duck Dynasty for the better part of a year. The show has taken off and been marketed in this area in a big way. There is an entire section of the local Walmart dedicated to the show’s merchandise. I’m so incredibly tired of it. It being the sensation that it is, I wasn’t at all surprised to see that my Facebook news feed had absolutely blown up with thoughts on the fact that one of the cast members has been kicked from the show for statements that he made in an article for GQ. I know my fair share of very right-wing Christians, so I was pretty sure that I knew the comments that he made to put everyone else in such an uproar. After reading the actual interview, however, I was shocked at just how backward many of his comments actually were.
Phil Robertson on his family and their faith:
“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television… You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”
Phil on sin:
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong… Sin becomes fine… 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 says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “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.”
On his violent past:
During Phil’s darkest days, in the early 1970s, he had to flee the state of Arkansas after he badly beat up a bar owner and the guy’s wife. Kay Robertson persuaded the bar owner not to press charges in exchange for most of the Robertsons’ life savings. (“A hefty price,” he notes in his memoir.) I ask Phil if he ever repented for that, as he wants America to repent—if he ever tracked down the bar owner and his wife to apologize for the assault. He shakes his head. “I didn’t dredge anything back up. I just put it behind me.” As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him: “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?”
On the future of the show:
“Let’s face it,” he says. “Three, four, five years, we’re out of here. You know what I’m saying? It’s a TV show. This thing ain’t gonna last forever. No way.”
On sacrificing their privacy in order to spread the good word:
“For the sake of the Gospel, it was worth it… All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s eighty years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”
On why he voted Romney in 2012:
“If I’m lost at three o’clock in a major metropolitan area…I ask myself: Where would I rather be trying to walk with my wife and children? One of the guys who’s running for president is out of Chicago, Illinois, and the other one is from Salt Lake City, Utah. [Editor's note: Romney is from Boston, not Salt Lake City.] Where would I rather be turned around at three o’clock in the morning? I opted for Salt Lake City. I think it would be safer.”
On growing up in pre-civil-rights-era Louisiana:
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Don’t get me wrong, all of these statements are things that I’ve heard from people before, but wow. I’m not even going to attempt to address these comments individually; this entry would be much longer than you’d care to read, I assure you. There are, however, a few things that I would like to address about this current “Southerners saying backward things” scandal.
So many people that I know are posting and sharing statuses about how the man is being “persecuted for being a Christian”. I know that this feels like such an easy justification for his actions while painting the network at villains. I’m sorry, this just isn’t the case. The man lost his job because he works for a major television network and he said things that they deemed offensive. The powers that be are far more interested in not looking like the man’s opinions reflect their own. Many of the things he said in the interview went beyond Christian beliefs and wandered into the territory of hate, in my opinion. A&E isn’t interested in sticking it to the Christian faith. From what I understand, if this were the case, they would have been pulled off the air quite a while ago. What the network is interested in, rather, is their own public relations and bottom line.
Another thing that has many of my southern comrades up in arms is the fact that the concept of freedom of speech is being attacked. this is absolutely not what is happening. He expressed an opinion, and, if you’ll notice, the United States’ government did nothing to punish him for expressing those opinions, no matter how hate filled said opinions may be. If freedom of speech was being attacked in this manner, the people of Westboro Baptist would have been locked away many years ago, waiting on relatives to bring them hate cakes with files baked into them.
Mmm. Tastes like the disappointment of the American people.
(I won’t admit how long I scoured the internet for a picture close to what I saw in my head.)
No, freedom of speech saves individuals from the worry of Big Brother stepping in when your thoughts are expressed. this doesn’t limit private corporations from letting someone go for comments they made. In some cases, it doesn’t even limit government entities from firing someone after they say something that controversial. As a public school teacher, let’s go on a rant about race and sexual orientation and see if I don’t end up with a bit of legal trouble on my hands. Please, I’ve met people who keep their orientation a secret as adults for fear of repercussion at work. Doesn’t that go against their freedom of expression as well? People lose jobs over the wrong thing being said all of the time, the only thing that makes this any different is the fact that this person is in the public eye.
All of the THIS. I need to start simply posting this on people’s Facebook statuses.
Yes, we all have opinions. This doesn’t mean, however that these opinions need to be stated all of the time. I may think that you smell like raw onions and your shirt is absolutely hideous. If I believe that, does that mean I should say it? People are also using the fact that he’s from South Louisiana to justify his actions. Fun fact: I am too. Does this mean I should say things about how happy people were as they worked in the fields before the days of civil rights as well? No. The answer is no.
Honestly, for all of the outrage that the poor fans of this show are feeling, this may be one of the best things that happened to this family from a purely financial standpoint. Look at the attention that Chick-Fil-a and Paula Deen received after their respective scandals. The fans worried that the millions of dollars that they already had may not be enough, or people wanting to take a small political stand of their own and show support rallied around and spent money like it was going out of style. I honestly feel that this was a strategic move by the network because, God, it’s not like that show wasn’t getting enough freaking attention.
It’s funny to me, (and it’s the thing that was the catalyst for this entire rant…) a friend posted an article on Facebook about this situation that included the statements that Phil made. I usually try not to express many opinions about anything that could possibly be construed as offensive on Facebook, but I left a comment that said “Wow. I thought they were idiots. Now, I’m sure of it.” or something along those lines. Another woman that this friend knows made a comment back about how they are NOT idiots, etc, and she then referenced a status in which she spoke of his freedom of speech, etc. It was funny to me that she made a snotty comment to me about sharing an opinion and then immediately justified this man’s right to share his opinions without repercussion.
One opinion that I will freely share: Their beards are the worst. That says a lot. I usually am a fan of beards.