There seem to be two types of people talking about Duck Dynasty right now: Those who love the show and are offended by the indefinite suspension of duckly patriarch Phil Robertson, and those who, frankly, could give a damn about the show but are tired of Christian fundamentalists promoting this hillbilly because of his views on sexuality. I hope you can figure out which category I fall into before you continue reading.
Before we begin to dissect the idiocy involved in the current debate, let me state that I have never seen an episode of Duck Dynasty. I do not watch television, except a handful of dramas, mostly BBC and mostly science fiction. Yes, I am a nerd or geek, whichever category you view to be cooler, and proud of it. I am, however, very aware of how popular the show has become.
For those of you who don’t know me, I’m from Texas; we do things a little differently around here. If you’ve been keeping up with me since I started this blogging thing, you know that I used to teach in a town where some children actually came to school on horseback, so when I say I am familiar with the type of people who might appear on Duck Dynasty, or at the very least wish they could appear on Duck Dynasty, you’ll know that I’m not lying to you. I have met those type of people, taught their children, and been to their church.
And, thankfully, I made it out alive and came to Houston, where my new mayor had this to say about the whole thing:
“What some redneck wingnut has to say about the LGBT community is irrelevant.” –Annise Parker
Now, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past week or so, there are actually two things that have gone Twitter crazy and that I want to discuss. The first is the GQ interview of Phil Robertson, the aforementioned mallardesque patriarch. In his interview, Robertson made comments paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 stating that homosexuality was in the same spiritual boat as bestiality and prostitution. He further goes on to say that black people, or African Americans to be PC, were happier before the Civil Rights movement of the ’60s.
Well, Christian religion perverted the science of Darwinism (science that fundamentalists would later state as blasphemous) to suggest that people of African descent were less evolved, and therefor acceptable to be kept as slaves, so maybe his views aren’t that far fetched (at least in his way of thinking).
Then again, the Christian right is still fighting (in Texas at least) to remove evolution from the science textbooks because it isn’t in the Bible. Perhaps things written down are only relevant in the time and context in which they are originally written? Or at the very least, their meaning may change as the time and context in which the texts are read changes.
What I do know is that Christian fundamentalists, and avid Duck Dynasty fans, are going bonkers about how his first amendment rights are being violated. They want him back. (7,000 signatures and counting…)
The other person who has become a hashtag phenomenon is Justine Sacco, who tweeted a comment that was highly racist, and beyond inappropriate about AIDS in Africa, and her not getting it because she’s white…
A white woman makes a racist statement on Twitter, just before she gets on the plane and has to turn off her electronics, and the internet explodes! #HasJustineLandedYet goes viral. Google puts her flight info up as the first item if you search her name. Her boss tweets an apology. Reporters are waiting for her when she lands. The entire world is angry at her.
Some people are issuing death threats and promising never to forget by keeping screen shots of the tweet going viral, while others are, interestingly enough, using this to solicit donations to charity organizations that help Africans affected by AIDS. So either you’re unjustifiably angry at her and being vengeful, or you’re using the guilt that she should feel to fuel your previously, I assume, unsuccessful charity campaign… Nice.
What’s the difference in these two cases?
An uneducated millionaire makes racist and anti-gay slurs, but because he hides behind his Bible when he says it, 50% of the population are on board with protecting his first amendment rights (which, by the way, weren’t violated). But a presumably educated working woman makes an off- color (no pun intended) joke and people are making death threats. I repeat, what’s the difference?
In my opinion, there really isn’t one. Both were wrong, and both were rightfully fired by their employers. Yes they have a right to speak their opinions, no matter how ignorant those opinions may be, but their employers also have a right to fire them for espousing beliefs that do not match the image that the employer wants to present.
Any time a person puts themselves into a public forum, they are representing not only themselves but also their family, their employer, even their church or religious community, and they have to remember that before they open their mouth or put something in print.
So, for those of you who support Phil’s right to be a jerk, more power to you, but quit filling up my newsfeed! Or I might just retaliate with pictures of kittens in Doctor Who costumes.