Friday, December 20, 2013

"Duck Dynasty" controversy throws up all over "A and E"

I’ve never watched A&E’s reality show “Duck Dynasty” (about hunting in a Louisiana bayou) but I was rather shocked at the brazen anti-gay and apparently racist remarks reported to have been made by Phil Robertson, in a GQ article.  He has been suspended by the network, so there can be no continuation of the show (USA Today report here ).  There has been an aggressive boycott petition against A&E on Facebook.  I have often watched A&E, History, and Biography channels on cable.
I still wonder where these sorts of comments come from.  Why does he attack people who have not harmed him? Is it out of a need to see the world follow his own idea of religious virtue?  Is it out of a need for power, and an excuse to keep it? 
Here’s the article.  I couldn’t find GQ in the Harris Teeter grocery this busy “start of a holiday” morning in northern Virginia, but the piece by Drew Magary, “The Gospel According to Phil” is here. Online, GQ seems to offer only a summary with comments.

It's worthy of note that something someone gets published in a mainstream periodical (not just self-published on Facebook or a blog) still gets someone suspended.   
It’s always perplexing when people make moral edicts for no logical reason, and just say “it’s God’s law, we can’t question it.”  Well, it’s some religious “authority’s” interpretation of scripture.  Because there are moral paradoxes in life – individualism and collectivism collide, and “personal responsibility” can collide with “responsibility for others” – it’s tempting to punt and let “scripture” decide.
I have to say (as I have on the LGBT blog) that I’ve always suspected that bias against me (going back to the 50s) had to do with the idea that, because I was physically non-competitive, I would “get out” of risk and responsibility that others take, when I depend on them. Yet I could also wind up in a cultural position to kibitz and decide on the “desirability” of others (to have families), closing a circle but maybe advancing a dangerous cultural precedent.
You have to be careful searching for “Phil” online, because Phil Robertson should not be confused with Dr. Phil, although the latter once foolishly allowed Joseph Nicolosi as a guest on his program.
Access Hollywood” with Billy Bush discussed the Duck controversy today, with the “freedom of speech” arguments.  “Duck” was described as a “fundamentalist Christian” and A&E knows it, Access said. 

Cracker Barrel Restaurants, which had been notorious in the early 1990's for anti-gay employment policies, has even taken some Duck products off its shelves. Note: Late Sunday, Cracker Barrel reversed itself on this matter, according to media reports. 

Picture: National Archives, Rubenstein "Records of Rights", online copy.

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