December 19, 2013

Duck Dynasty soup

I'm pretty open-minded when it comes to trying new foods, but never in my life do I intend to eat squirrel if I can help it. With that NOT irrelevant disclaimer out of the way, let me add my two cents on the latest Duck Dynasty kerfuffle. Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Robertson clan has apparently said some things in an interview with GQ, that didn't sit well with a lot of people.

Firstly here's some background via THR,  in case you missed the story:
A&E has placed Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson on indefinite hiatus following anti-gay remarks he made in a recent profile in GQ.
"We are extremely disappointed to have read Phil Robertson's comments in GQ, which are based on his own personal beliefs and are not reflected in the series Duck Dynasty," A&E said in a statement. "His personal views in no way reflect those of A+E Networks, who have always been strong supporters and champions of the LGBT community. The network has placed Phil under hiatus from filming indefinitely."
..."It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus," Robertson says in the January issue of the men's magazine. "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."
Do the comments surprise anyone?  Does this really matter that much?  I don't think so personally.

(1) In America, freedom of speech and freedom of thought still exist.  Phil Robertson is entitled to his opinions.  He does not speak for all of America, all of Christianity or all of Louisiana, he only speaks for himself in an interview.  There is nothing wrong with him having opinions or sharing them. You might think his thinking is wrong, but that is your opinion.  Opinions are allowed.  Offending people is allowed.

(2) In America freedom of assembly is still allowed.  Therefore anyone offended by his comments have a right, individually or collectively, to voice their disapproval and to choose not to watch the show.  It's quite likely most who were offended were not fans of the show to begin with, but they still have every right to voice their disapproval of his comments and/or the show.  They have every right to boycott the show or the hunting equipment his company sells.

(3) In America, freedom of association and freedom to engage in commerce still exist.  Therefore A&E are entirely within their rights to suspend Phil Robertson indefinitely.  They may feel his comments may reflect negatively on their brand image and/or the ratings on the show Duck Dynasty, so they are within their rights (unless contractually obligated otherwise) to suspend him and reduce or terminate their association and/or commerce with Phil Robertson.

I mentioned that I do not intend to eat squirrel.  I watch Duck Dynasty sometimes.  I find the show quirky and entertaining.  But I am not swayed to the notion that eating squirrel, something that occurs on the show at times, because I watch the show.  People often attach too much importance to the media.  Yes the media does influence people, but not absolutely.  Just as MSNBC attracts a certain pre-disposed crowd, so too does a show like Duck Dynasty.  The fact that comments made by Phil Robertson happened, does not mean that Americans will suddenly start stoning gay people in the streets.

By all means, protest and do what you need to do.  Those who support the show or Phil's opinions are free to do so in support of him also.  That's what democracy is all about.  I have gay friends and redneck type friends.  Being either does not make you a bad person.   The ones I know all seem like good people, with differing viewpoints.  Believing something is immoral is not wrong, it's tied to personal belief system.  That's true whether you believe homosexuality is immoral or condemning homosexuality is immoral.  Be happy that you live in a country where whichever side you of any issue you are on, you are free to speak your mind. But also be smart about it and know that anything you say can be used against you in a court of public opinion.

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