Surprise, surprise: A member of the A&E TV show Duck Dynasty is a bit of a homophobe.
The internet was set ablaze the past few days with stories of a certain rant in GQ magazine by Phil Robertson, the head clansmember of the Robertsons – a family known for their scraggly beards and apparently-endearing lack of grammatical prowess. Oh, and they also are millionaire business-owners. Apparently, the ability to wear a suit not made out of camo doesn’t transfer directly to future income (I’m looking at you, Sternies).
So last week, papa bear Phil dropped a shocker in an interview for the January edition of GQ magazine. He isn’t a fan of the gays and can’t recognize racism when he sees it. Now usually, people don’t actually read the words of GQ, they scan the loose pages for a picture of Orlando Bloom in a three piece suit or Johnny Depp on the beach still clearly unable to let go of his Jack Sparrow role. But just as a picture of an attractive person can catch your attention, a picture of five slightly homeless-looking, camo-clad men with rifles and beards talking about squirrel-eating and bible-thumping may just catch your eye. Read the words; you won’t be disappointed with this one.
Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson began with a reasoned appeal to the gay man consisting of a clear, cogent message: not only are you a sinner, your sinning doesn’t even sound like fun.
“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.”
While we’d love to learn more about Phil’s idea of logic, there are even more entertaining lines later in the interview. Check out this gem: “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.”
There are a few things wrong with this statement. For a man who had spent the entire first page of the interview transcript judging homosexuals, it seems highly contradictory. If “gay men are going to hell” isn’t a judgment in-of-in-itself, then I think we’ve truly lost the meaning of judgment.
Also, let’s look at that last sentence: “…whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists.” One of these things is not like the other, no? To imply that a homosexual’s “sin level” is on par with that of a terrorist is ridiculous. One blows up building, the other might blow a credit limit while planning a truly kick-ass wedding. Not exactly the same, Phil, but nice try.
In response to Phil Robertson’s interview, Duck Dynasty’s network A&E released a statement distancing the network from Robertson’s statements and barring him from appearances on the show that garners more viewers a week than the finale of Breaking Bad.
Of course, the like-minded Bible-thumpers, Obama-birthers, hunter-gatherers of society went nuts. Most internet comments expressed a severe disdain for the lack of free speech in this country, and then roundhoused the comment back to Obama – thanks, Obama you are why we can’t have nice things.
To address any person who sees this as an infringement of free speech: yes, it is. But not in the classical, Orwellian fantasy-land of a conservative depiction of big government crackdown. No, this is a private company with the contractual right to fire someone for inflammatory remarks or otherwise limit their speech. This was not Obama, sitting in the Oval Office getting his daily fix of the bearded glory that is Duck Dynasty and thinking, “hey, that Phil is onto something; better shut him up now.” There was no executive order limiting Robertson’s free speech – it was a limit by the private company for which he works. I guess having to be respectful is the high price he pays to earn $200,000 an episode.
On the bright side, though: there’s (theoretically) no such as thing as bad publicity.