In case you’ve been under a rock, this week Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the A&E hit reality show “Duck Dynasty,” related his views on homosexuality in an interview with GQ magazine. Although I’m not a Duck watcher, Robertson expressed his views on sexuality in what I imagine is the same forthright, scripture-laced manner he addresses other topics. But this time the Duck was quaking about a flash point topic and any statement at all is bound to be magnified in a big way.
Robertson was on a rant about sin when GQ asked Robertson specifically what was sinful, to which Robertson replied,
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there… Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers – they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
Setting aside the conflated use of scripture, I am flabbergasted at how quickly and vehemently the Duck was roasted in the press. For a couple of reasons: First, are we suggesting that freedom of speech doesn’t apply to Ducks too? Isn’t the Duck man entitled to say what he wants? Isn’t this what it means to live in America? If I’m subjected to “9 Sex tricks your man is hoping you’ll do tonight!” headlines at the grocery store, surely a redneck from West Virginia can express his sexual views too.
And that freedom of speech brings me to my second point: You can express your views about the Duck very simply: don’t watch the show. That’s the only opinion A&E is listening for. Are viewers going to watch? The network’s fear that we might turn the channel was the driver for his suspension. In response to this business decision, A&E is now beefing up security in the face of death threats and suspicious packages.
Geez. If only we could have real outrage about real issues. As a public figure, Phil Robertson will be held accountable for what he says in public. If what he says upsets the public or his audience then he’ll have the public’s retribution. Case closed.
Frankly, I’m more confused as to why so many of us even cared about this flap. When is a reality television show worthwhile for an interview with GQ or Barbara Walters. I mean really, Who the Duck watches this idiotic stuff?