“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” - Captain Renault, Casablanca
Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Robertson clan of Duck Dynasty fame, has been suspended from the show indefinitely by A&E based on comments he made in an interview with Drew Magary which was published in GQ.com. Comments like this:
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men... 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.”
Robertson and family hail from outside Monroe, Louisiana, where the Missus, Elder Daughter, the Mistress of Sarcasm and I recently spent the night enroute back home from Texas. I was a frequent visitor to Monroe back in the days when I was employed by the Great Corporate Salt Mine, and I can tell you without much equivocation that it is not a bastion of, ahhh, progressive politics. On the contrary, it is populated by a whole lot of people with decidedly conservative views. That Phil Robertson should speak of gays in the same breath as sheep-shtuppers and drunkards is about as surprising (to me, anyway) as the notion that the sun might rise in the east.
These views cannot have been a secret to A&E... but I suppose the issue is that Phil dropped them into an interview where they cannot be conveniently edited out, as they would no doubt have been had he voiced them during the shooting of a Duck Dynasty episode. It is a bit disingenuous for a television network to take a family of rednecks (albeit rednecks with more money than Gawd) and trot them out in front of the American public in the context of a reality show and expect people to believe they are something other than what they are.
Me, I’m not a big fan of shows like Duck Dynasty and Honey Boo-Boo. With the former, you can at least pretend you give a crap about the Robertson family - who have managed to become very successful entrepreneurs - but both smack of the same cringeworthy “Let’s make fun of these Country People” mentality. OK, Honey Boo-Boo and her family may indeed be worthy of ridicule, but still, there’s something patronizing about these Redneck Reality Shows that sticks in my craw.
Look, Phil is entitled to his views on religion and sin, and he is free to speak them at will despite the fact that I disagree with most of ’em. (The Bible that condemns male homosexuality as an “abomination” likewise considers the eating of swine’s flesh an abomination, yet I don’t see these folks rushing to avoid their bacon or country ham. Just sayin’.) At the same time, the good folks at A&E are free to fire Phil at their whim if they feel that his expressing those views might negatively affect their business interests: It’s their call. But they’re the ones who put Phil and his family on the Teevee Pedestal to begin with - teed them up, so to speak- so a little more forbearance on their part wouldn’t have been out of place.
But I do have a Modest Proposal.
I think somebody should create a new reality show featuring an entrepreneurial family - one that has made its fortune in the Marital Aids industry. You could call it Dick Dynasty.