“However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.”
Okay, so you can click the link if you want to know more about the controversy. But that is Phil’s response. You’ll notice that nowhere in there does he a) apologize for his comments or b) express any sort of remorse for the way A &E has handled the situation. Do you want to know why? Phil doesn’t care. Phil is out there hunting right now, not sitting over a facebook page or twitter account and fretting over what some left-winger said about him that’s ugly or applauding what any defender is shouting back. Nope, Phil doesn’t own a computer. Or a smart phone. Phil has what’s important to him. All that’s important to him. He has the Lord and his family. In an interview on Fox New’s show The Five in August, Willie Robertson, Phil’s third son and the CEO of Duck Commander admitted that for his father, making his business an international name was never part of the plan. He could be and is ‘happy, happy, happy” with what God gave him.
Phil’s fears of the “yuppy”-ization of his children and way of life means he doesn’t really care what us yuppies in our cozy suburban cottages nor those in their Upper West Side apartments think. If anything, this “hiatus” as A&E calls it and “suspension” as the news media calls it means Phil can get back to his “happy, happy, happy” way of life. What’s not to love about that?
The reactions to this from both sides are tending toward that hysterical but no one is paying proper attention to Phil’s reaction which is one of compassion and understand. Similarly, when Morrissey refused to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live! because of the Robertson men appearing on the show because Morrissey saw them as “animal serial killers” to which Phil’s response was, ” Whoever he is, I don’t hold it against him.” And last summer when Robertson’s second son Jason “Jase” Robertson was mistaken for a homeless person by an employee at Donald Trump’s hotel in Manhattan, Jase responded in a joking manner that he was “facially profiled” and oldest son Alan stated the family hoped the employee would not be in trouble. So, if anything, what I’m seeing here is that the Robertsons tend toward charity when being insulted/detracted while the rest of us run around screaming like ducks with our heads cut off. But in West Monroe, LA, Uncle Si is still make reeds, Jase is still tuning them while Martin and Godwin and Jep assemble. Willie is making more and more business deals while Kay cooks up delicious meals and Phil hunts.
While it’s fair to say that A&E shot themselves in the foot with this action, it’s not fair to say the Duck Commander/Buck Commander crew are shedding any tears nor losing any sleep. It would appear that A&E and most Robertson detractors have short memories. Remember with Dan Cathy stated marriage was between one man and one woman? Remember how people were all keen to boycott them so a counter-movement rose up where people went and ate Chic-fil-A so that there were record lines and record-breaking sales? Nothing energizes the grass-roots conservatives (you know, those of us clinging to our guns and religion, oh and this document called the Constitution) like going after one of our own for being honest.
Oh and what about the Constitution? Well, we have some screaming about First Amendment rights but on either side of that argument it gets murky. On one side you have people saying Phil Robertson’s First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and religion are being violated by this suspension. The other side of this are the people saying that the First Amendment was not violated because this is a private company not the government. While there may be some validity to that second argument, I am wondering where the contract is that A&E had Phil signed stating he was not to express his personal religious beliefs as well as where he was allowed to express them. This was A &E’s official statement:
“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’,” the network 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.”
In reading that statement, what A&E has, in fact said, is that Phil Robertson’s comments were not in violation of any contract with A&E but go against their culture. There is a world of difference there. Basically, they don’t like what he said, so they’re kicking him off the playground. In fact, NPR host Peter Sagal tweeted today critical of an NPR report on the subject this:
One thing @nprmonkeysee doesn’t address in re: “Vaginas vs Anuses:” A&E must have lots of LGBT employees/allies. They need to be placated.
— Peter Sagal (@petersagal) December 19, 2013
Sagal points out that at the heart of A&E’s action is to please certain factions while ignoring others. Such as the majority of the viewing audience of Duck Dynasty.
All of that begs the question, why would A&E create a show that, in its essence, is essentially contrary to their entire culture? Well, what have liberal elitists always sought to do? Belittle and make fun of anyone not sharing their views, their ironic detachment, their sophistication. And so, why wouldn’t A&E go after their target audience hoping they would rake in money making fun of Uncle Si and the beards and the idea of eating what you kill? A&E never set out to make a show about family values, Christian living, and conservative political views. But that”s the show they got. And to their surprise, they ended up tapping a whole new demographic. It is safe to say the suits at A&E were not prepared either for the success of the show nor the failure of the family to bow down to almighty dollar instead of the Lord Almighty. The company has made millions on their cash cow which might have decided to withhold the milk. The Robertsons are not at the mercy of A&E at all, their following will go with them wherever they decide to call home.
But all that is secondary, hell tertiary, to the man at the center of the controversy. As long as Phil Robertson is hitting ducks on the wing, teaching his granddaughters how to fish and eating Miss Kay’s dinners, he doesn’t give a rat’s butt about A&E or what we think. And that’s the fact Jack.