Friday, December 20, 2013

Some brief remarks about "Duck Dynasty"

I don't watch "Duck Dynasty" but I get an idea of what the show is about from what I've heard. There are three reasons I think A&E's move to suspend Phil Robertson from the series is highly unfortunate.

First, the whole point of the show, as I understand it, is to showcase what redneck Christian fundamentalists are really like. A&E profits from people's fascination with (and perhaps identification with) the Robertson family. If Phil Robertson makes offensive and ignorant remarks about homosexuality, is this shocking news? What else is a reality TV show for except to give us glimpses of what real people are like? Now A&E is punishing the guy for being exactly the type of person that they are exploiting for profit. Why did they even air the show in the first place?

Second, why not trust the public to decide how they want to take Phil Robertson's remarks? Let the viewers decide if they want to send in fan mail or hate mail, or whether they want to support or pity or have mixed feelings about a guy who compares same-sex relationships with bestiality. I think the general public would not have supported what Phil Robertson said in GQ, and he would have effectively hung himself. But now that the man is being shut down, it creates instant sympathy for him. Even I'm feeling sympathy for him, even though I found his remarks to be offensive and troubling.

Third, GLAAD's successful crusade against the show only plays into the hands of conservative Christians who have been claiming for years that the "homosexual agenda" is all about taking away freedom of speech from people who uphold the belief that homosexual practice is sinful. I, for one, am tired of hearing from Christians who are practically begging to be persecuted by gays and lesbians so that they can justify being even more morally outraged against homosexuality than they already are. Score one for them thanks to this fiasco. As a straight ally who is trying to help my fellow Christians understand gay issues better from within the conservative church, this sure doesn't make my life any easier.