Why We Should Keep Talking About Phil Robertson

A lot of people want to stop talking about this Duck Dynasty stuff. They want it to go away and don’t want to hear about it anymore. Enough already! they say. Well, not so fast.

We shouldn’t be so quick to forget what Phil Robertson represents in 21st-century America. We should force ourselves to come to terms with the fact that a lot of Americans are under the spell of, or hiding their bigotry behind, bigoted Christian fundamentalism. It is similar (but not identical) to the kind of fundamentalism we all—conservative Christians included—have little trouble condemning when the zealot’s name is not Phil but Mahmoud, when the place is not Louisiana but Kandahar, when the religion is not Christianity but Islam.

A commenter wrote in regarding my last piece on Duck Dynasty (“Muck Dynasty”) and told me how much his liberal wife “LIKES the show.” He said his wife “thinks it is funny.” That she,

sees a family that “came out of a swamp” and has joined society in a productive manner, promoting many “good values” based on faith, “iron age theology” as Duane calls it.

Here is my response to the commenter:

First, let me start with what you said at the end:

Based on listening to an intelligent woman, a liberal woman, a kind and caring woman that “likes the Ducks”, I sense there is far more to that family than presented above in another rant from Duane against people of faith.

It’s fine with me that your wife likes Duck Dynasty. Heck, reportedly President Obama likes it, too, a fact that may send the show’s ratings into the toilet when producers at Fox “News” find out Obama is a fan and begin producing segments about how A&E and Obama conspired to create Duck Dynasty in order to embarrass evangelical Christians, rid the country of Christmas, and usher in an Islamic caliphate.

But what I really want to address is that last thing you said, about me ranting “against people of faith.” Nonsense. I know that people who don’t track (or read) carefully all of my writings about fundamentalist religion (including both Christianity and Islam, by the way), think that I am at war with people of faith.  I am not. I would defy you, or anyone else, to find anything I’ve written that disparages people of faith for simply being people of faith. I don’t disparage such people. As far as you know, I may be one of them myself, even though I gave up evangelical fanaticism long ago. And for the record, there are plenty of liberal Democrats who call themselves people of faith. Some even call themselves evangelicals.

What I do disparage, and disparage very loudly, is the adoption of the I-am-certain-because-God-said-so bigotry and ignorance of ancient tribes of religious zealots (and their literal and spiritual descendants), or the use of I-am-certain-because-God-said-so religious zealotry as a cover for the bigotry and ignorance that certain people hold independently of their faith. In short, I am not opposed to religious faith, I am opposed to the kind of religious faith that embraces or protects, as a badge of honor, bigotry and ignorance.Behind the Scenes Photo

As for your defense of the Robertson patriarch and his family—you said that you sensed “there is far more to that family” than was presented in my piece—I’m afraid you didn’t quite get what I was getting at. The focus of my piece was not the moral status of the white-trash patriarch (again, he described himself that way; why?) or his family (described on their website as “redneck royalty”; again, why?). Neither you nor I know what kind of people they are in real life (that show is not their real life, by the way; in our real lives we don’t have TV cameras following us around like flies; at least I don’t). You said the patriarch “does not hate gays or blacks.” Who said he did? I certainly didn’t. What I did say was this:

I’m worried about this country. I’m worried about it not because Phil Robertson is a dangerous man. He isn’t. He’s just someone to be pitied, in terms of his social IQ. I’m worried about the country because it is still pregnant with the kind of bigotry and ignorance that Phil Robertson represents.

You see? The point was not his personal morality, one way or the other, but his embrace and promotion of bigotry and ignorance. You asked in another comment why I used the term “social IQ” and what I meant when I said the man should be pitied because of his. Let me explain. Like the great Howard Gardner, a developmental psychologist of great renown, I believe there is such a thing as “interpersonal intelligence.” Here is a handy definition:

Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to understand other people: what motivates them, how they work, how to work cooperatively with them.

The kind of falsely-certain religious fundamentalism that Phil Robertson represents and celebrates, the kind that allows him to compare gay sex to bestiality, the kind that blinds him to the realities of African-American life in the Jim Crow South, is the dangerous thing, not Phil Robertson himself. Religious fundamentalism, whether it be Jewish, Christian, or Muslim (and there are additional examples) retards people’s ability to understand others and what motivates them. It makes it very hard to make any social progress, in terms of getting past “gays are sinners”—who are headed for hell—and past “blacks were happier”—before all that “welfare” stuff came around. Religious fundamentalism is an impediment to increasing one’s social IQ, an enemy of one’s ability to understand and thus to “work cooperatively” with others. It is an enemy, therefore, of social progress.

In a country with more than 317 million folks, in a world with more than 7 billion people, with gays, straights, and everything in between, with blacks, whites, and every shade in between, the last thing we can afford to do is embrace notions that make it not only more difficult to understand people who don’t act or look like us, but to make such folks pay a legal price for not acting or looking like us.

Because of such notions, we once kept black people as slaves. Because of such notions, we still regard homosexuals as second-class citizens (or worse) in so many ways. These ideas, and the fundamentalist nonsense that may spawn them or give them social cover, aren’t just silly notions in the head of one man who got rich making duck calls and who now entertains people with the not-so-real exploits of his Duck Commander family. These ideas represent something we need to address as a society, something that needs more discussion not less, something that ultimately needs to disappear, if we want to continue to advance as an inclusive and equitable civilization.

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27 Comments

  1. ansonburlingame

     /  December 22, 2013

    I don’t want to go to great length to comment further on Duane’s views of the “Ducks”. Such an exchange occurred on Duane’s first blog on the “Mucks”. He quoted part of my response above and his response back to me, in part again.

    I suggest, for anyone interested, for you to go back to the “Muck’s blog” and see the full exchange between Duane and me. Bottom line was I appreciated his response and suggested that we were not all that far apart on mixing religion and politics. I also offered that the story of the “Ducks” can be seen as a work in progress and not “perfection” in their “social rehabilitation”.

    Anson

    Like

    • You know, I don’t have a major problem with mixing religion and politics, if the mixing is limited to the fact that many politicians are also religious believers. That is to be expected, given our culture. What I have a problem with, and I suspect you do to, is when someone is fashioning a public policy based on completely religious notions. Anti-homosexuality, at least as it has historically been expressed here in the United States, was always tied to or supported by passages in the Bible. And the statutes in this country that were anti-homosexual were plainly unconstitutional (given we have a secular republic), even though it took a long time to get to that point.

      There are, though, notions associated with religion that aren’t exclusively religious ideas. Take the “Do unto others” meme. The Golden Rule is both a secular idea (especially if you consider ancient Chinese and Greek philosophers as secular) and a religious one. More broadly, a lot of ideas that we see might see as directly derived from religious belief, like, say, the “I am my brother’s keeper” meme, are so in tune with common sense precepts of civilization that they no longer need to be seen as religious ideas at all. They are simply the rules by which civilized people, secular and religious, have to live by in order to have a thriving civilization.

      Duane

      Like

  2. Troy

     /  December 22, 2013

    Does anyone remember the Dixie Chicks and what happened to them? Give me a break conservatives……

    Like

    • Oh, my. Thanks for bringing that one up. Conservatives attacked them mercilessly. That was a little over ten years ago, for God’s sake. That group went from being on top to being one of the most hated in country music. Such vitriol is why I have trouble listening to country music artists to this day. Very few artists at the time stood with the Dixie Chicks, as they were being pummeled. Their music was banned from many radio stations, their CDs were piled up and destroyed, and they had to put metal detectors up at their concerts because of the many death threats they received. All because Natalie Maines dared to speak her mind about the war in Iraq, which, it turned out, she was right about. She, unwisely in my opinion, also said on foreign soil that she was “ashamed the president of the United States was from Texas.” Today, politicians or would-be politicians can go overseas and trash the current president with impunity, with little outrage on the part of anyone, especially those “patriots” on the right.

      In the mean time, the Dixie Chicks remain dead to Nashville and country music. And for many of the same people who tried to destroy their careers to now call what A&E did to Phil Robertson “censorship,” is beyond hypocrisy.

      RDG

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  3. Duane has stated the case about the Robinson’s quite fairly in my opinion. I would, however, like to correct any impression that president Obama approves of Phil’s personal biases just because he has watched Duck Dynasty on occasion. As a Joplin Globe piece on the subject made clear this morning, the producers of the A&E show have been careful to vet the show’s dialogue so as to exclude the kind of stuff that got Phil in trouble. The problem arose in an off-air interview. I rather doubt Phil will be sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom any time soon.

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    • You’re right, Jim. President Obama gave an untimely (it turns out) interview and never had a chance to directly address Robertson’s comments. I suspect in time someone will ask him about them.

      You are also right that A&E’s producers went to a lot of trouble (and got into some arguments with Phil) to not air some of the more, shall we say, realistic views he holds and conduct he exhibits. That’s sort of strange for a “reality” show, isn’t it? The truth is that the network wanted to appeal to two audiences: those who share the Iron Age views of the Robertson’s family and those who reject the meat of those Iron Age views but find the family otherwise entertaining.

      Duane

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  4. Duane,

    So, when Voltaire says, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it,” I’m guessing you’re not going to fall on your sword for Phil Robertson.

    I must say, I’m not in your corner on this one. I see it as a free speech issue that’s been blown out of proportion. Phil Robertson (he’s just got to be related to Pat Robertson) could have said what he said to someone on the street with no alarms going off. The fact he said it to a magazine reporter, which was subsequently published, does not diminish his right to say it.

    Yes, he’s in the cast of a TV show, but that only makes him a celebrity and thereby a target for the media. But he didn’t say those hurtful things on the show. In fact, the only concern there is whether he pissed off the show’s sponsors, threatening the show’s financial success. Of course, the counter argument is also true — that the show will pick up viewers who side with his view of gays and blacks. (By the way, most TV’s these days come equipped with a gizmo that can change channels, along with an “off” switch.)

    Then too, Robertson is no Don Imus, who was fired for his “nappy-headed hos” comment, notwithstanding his on-air apology. Nor is he a Paula Deen, who ultimately lost her show for an off-the-cuff racial remark that, like Robertson’s, was made off the show.

    No, what I see happening to Phil Robertson is an Orwellian attack by the thought police. I believe free speech is one of the most important freedoms we have. Many have fought and died to protect it, most of whom probably never heard of Voltaire.

    In my view, censorship, unless needed to protect state secrets or protect life and limb, is to be avoided at all costs. Making speech conform to political correctness is verboten in this country. Or, should be. Remember the Smothers Brothers?

    And this view is shared by SCOTUS, which ruled in favor of George Carlin and Larry Flynt, saying, in effect, free speech is not to be trampled on lightly. Those offended by it don’t get to make the rules, they only get to use their right of free speech to protest or express their opinion.

    Of course, speech is not absolute. We have legal recourse against those who commit liable, slander, verbal harassment, malice, and the like. Ignorance and bigotry have not yet been declared a violation of free speech; just as the criticism of those who make offense remarks is not — present company included.

    Likewise, there is no infringement on free speech by virtue of lies, misrepresentations, deceit, and beliefs, much less thoughts – spoken or written – or ignorance and bigotry. Such prohibitions would put most politicians out of business, along with certain radio hosts and TV talking heads, and virtually all pastors/priests/ministers of the various sects of fundamentalist/evangelical religions.

    Phil Robertson has exercised his right of free speech. And unless his hateful comments cause some to commit acts of violence, his right is to be acknowledged. If he has reduced the “Social IQ” by his remarks, that just means society has a lot of work to do.

    Now, I may not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend your right to say it. (Nothing personal, but I won’t go as far as the death part.)

    Herb

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    • King Beauregard

       /  December 22, 2013

      Society says you have the right to speak your mind, but society does not also owe you a soapbox. Show me that Robertson is being charged with a crime of any kind or being fined by the FCC and you might have a point about censorship. Otherwise, it’s A&E making a shrewd business decision about an old bigot and an audience that has had enough of his type of crap.

      Like

      • King B,

        God, I hope you are right that the “audience has had enough of this type of crap.” I suspect, though, that a large part of the audience who watches that show hasn’t had enough of it. And judging by the confusion surrounding shouts of free speech violations, I fear we are likely to get more of it for a while, not less.

        Duane

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        • King Beauregard

           /  December 23, 2013

          It’s funny, even Jon Stewart weighed in with “… but I also have an inclination to support a world where saying ignorant sh*t on television doesn’t get you kicked off that medium”. Which is fair, because that WAS an ignorant thing he said; to take Stewart at his word, there is no degree of ignorant speech that he would deem beyond the pale, which is of course nonsense.

          Even if the “whoah, let’s not dare to deprive the bigot of a podium” crowd wins this one, the fact that Robertson even being challenged is a positive. Remember when gay marriage supporters had to taken on a plaintive, apologetic tone to even be heard? Well gay marriage supporters are now a solid majority in this country. Robertson and his kind are used to being on the other side of the steamroller and they don’t like where they are now, and I say, GOOD. Let the asshats suffer, either that or become better human beings. Despite what Anson thinks, it’s not difficult at all to decide that gays are people too and deserve to be treated like people. Blacks too.

          Like

          • Yes, when you put it that way, it is a good thing that there has been such an uproar. But I am dismayed that there is also quite a backlash. Conservatives are determined to see to it that there really is “two Americas.”

            Of course Stewart knows better. I imagine if he were caught on a secret video saying that he too thought gay sex was the equivalent of bestiality, that even Comedy Central would have a problem with that. Which goes to show that television, which operates in some ways out of a public trust, is a prominent medium for expressing public mores. If a television personality wants to take a stab at challenging those mores, or try to halt the tide of change that is sweeping the country on any given issue, then one should expect to pay some sort of price for doing so. I think of the civil rights marchers in the 50s and 60s, who knew there was a price to pay for changing the way the larger culture sees things. I think of Muhammad Ali who paid a price for his non-conformity.

            These days, though, those who think they are on what Rush Limbaugh laughingly calls the “cutting edge of societal evolution” don’t think they should pay any price at all for bucking a system they don’t now like. They misuse terms like “thought police” to describe those who want true equality for all Americans. I don’t give a damn what Phil Robertson thinks, but I care a lot about how the things he thinks translate into public policy. And if his type of people still controlled the public debate, Jim Crow would be alive and well and sodomy would not only be a “sin” but an unlawful act.

            Duane

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            • King Beauregard

               /  December 23, 2013

              Yes, yes, and yes.

              Now that their most cherished beliefs are under attack — and by “cherished beliefs” I mean “poorly-thought-out bigotries” and by “under attack” I mean “finally being recognized as the mark of a truly shitty person” — oh how they plead for sympathy and respect.

              And I do not buy any religious arguments against gay marriage; take your pick on reasons, but here are a few:

              1) If you have any familiarity at all with the Book of Matthew, you know how Jesus looks upon those who deny others basic happiness.

              2) If you truly believe in that one old Mosaic law about men lying with men, then as a special bonus you are obligated to take the other 612 Mosaic laws equally seriously, any number of which will send you to hell. How about the one against garments made of two different fabrics — you wearing any polycotton blends, SINNER? Picking up sticks on the Sabbath earns you a stoning as well, and seeing as the Sabbath is Saturday, anyone who does yard work on a Saturday deserves to be ritually murdered. So if you claim to take the Bible seriously to condemn homosexuality, that’s what you’re buying into.

              3) And then there are the exhortations of Christ’s that his followers must give up what they own. Know any Christians willing to take that seriously? Even accounting for cultural drift (i.e., the bare minimum required to function in today’s society is different from what was required back then), I don’t see too many Christians scaling down to the bare essentials. Not by choice, I mean.

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              • King B,

                In the context of this controversy, your excellent points are unassailable. Cherry picking orders from on high is a specialty of Christian evangelicals and fundamentalists here in the states. Jesus would have a hard time finding one, let alone twelve, followers he could count on here in this “Christian” nation, if he were picking from affluent believers.

                Thanks much, and Merry Christmas, my friend.

                Duane

                Like

                • King Beauregard

                   /  December 24, 2013

                  And a joyful multitude of holidays back at you! It probably hasn’t arrived in the mail for you yet, but I got you something that allows you to experience what it was like to be George Zimmerman, as his supporters see it anyway:

                  Like

      • Starting the eggnog a little early aren’t we King?

        Like

        • King Beauregard

           /  December 23, 2013

          I don’t know about you, but I’m in good spirits without alcohol. Looks like society’s rounding a corner where you can’t be a bigot and get away with it quite as easily; that brings me all manner of holiday cheer.

          Now if that same news brings you down for the holidays, well, that’s your character flaw.

          Like

    • Herb,

      Let me see if I understand you. You say that this is a “free speech” issue that you add “has been blown out of proportion.” Yet you offer no evidence that Mr. Robertson was denied his free speech rights. As I write this, he is as free as a bird. He is as free as any man can be. The government hasn’t attempted to restrain him; police aren’t knocking on his door; Obama has yet to send a drone after him. So, how his free speech rights were somehow violated is beyond my capacity to comprehend. He can sing his bigotry, shout his ignorance, from just about anywhere he wants. In some places, perhaps in Monroe, Louisiana, he could probably shout such nonsense in a crowded theater and never see the inside of a jail.

      What he was denied, at least for now, was his place on a television show that is owned and produced by someone else. Thus, if I am to follow your logic here, A&E has exactly no rights to police its “brand” or to enforce an employment contract, no matter what one of its cast members might say outside the friendly confines of a goofy television show. If Mr. Robertson sat on that IQ-sapping couch on Fox and Friends and told the world that there was no Holocaust, that 9/11 was an inside job perpetrated by Jews, that there is a Jewish conspiracy to bring down the country, or other such nonsense, would A&E have the right to ask him to leave its show? Or, how about if, in his free time, Mr. Robertson opined that A&E itself was part of a broader cultural conspiracy to, say, make the world safe for “queers”? Is A&E, based on your theory of “free speech,” obligated to keep him on its payroll?

      Like others expressing the same idea, Herb, your view here is logically incoherent, in terms of what our First Amendment actually means and how it is actually applied. I think in your better moments you understand that what Voltaire said doesn’t in the slightest way apply to what happened in this case. We don’t need Voltaire to tell us that Mr. Robertson has every right to say what he said. All Americans defend that right. But not all of us think that he has a right to violate provisions in his television contract that presumably give his bosses the right to terminate him if he says things they think are ultimately detrimental to their corporate bottom line (the so-called morals clauses). Hell, in the state of Missouri, you can get fired from your job for just about any reason (unless you are covered by a union contract, for instance), so long as it wasn’t because of provable discrimination based on race, sex, etc. Mr. Robertson’s lawyer could have negotiated a provision in his contract that allowed him to say anything he wanted in public without being suspended or fired from the show. But apparently there is no such provision.

      So, the only way I can make sense of your argument here is that you think Mr. Robertson’s obvious constitutional right to say dumb and offensive things to journalists trumps the legal right of A&E to enforce its employment contract. For his sake, for the sake of the Duck Commanders, I hope the family’s lawyers don’t have the confidence you have, otherwise a considerable part of the Robertson fortune will be spent on a protracted, and ultimately unsuccessful, lawsuit.

      Duane

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      • Duane,

        Apparently, I didn’t make myself clear about A&E and Duck Dynasty’s dastardly Phil Robertson. All I said in that regard is” “Yes, he’s in the cast of a TV show, but that only makes him a celebrity and thereby a target for the media. But he didn’t say those hurtful things on the show. In fact, the only concern there is whether he pissed off the show’s sponsors, threatening the show’s financial success.” My point being implicit that A&E could fire him if the “show’s financial success” is a threatened by Robertson being on the wrong side of history.

        Don Imus was fired by MSNBC for his racial slurs about a mostly black girls college basketball team. His listeners, of course, knew Imus was a shock jock and that he made disparaging remarks about lots of people on almost every show. But these particular remarks outraged the black community. Imus subsequently apologized profusely and appeared on some BET shows to do the same. Nonetheless, and after a lot of pressure, not to mention a strong recommendation by its PR department, NBC kicked him to the street, which they have the absolute right to do. My own personal opinion of this case was that NBC acted cowardly by subordinating free speech to political correctness.

        The Smothers Brothers Show on CBS, which I’m sure many of your readers never saw or heard of, is a wholly different case. The show ran in the late 60’s in the midst of the Viet Nam war, the civil rights movement, and psychedelic Rock and Roll. The brothers became satirical, attacking the usual suspects with their anti-establishment humor, in an effort to appeal to the 18 to 25 age market. But CBS caved to the pressure from the stodgy middle-aged and senior viewers, along with the U.S. Government, and cancelled the show in 1969. The Smothers sued CBS for breach of contract and won. But it was a hollow victory because the show never got back on TV. This is a clear case of censorship, where the U.S., through the FCC, felt the Brothers had gone too far. Another case where free speech was squashed; this time by the government itself.
        There are many other examples I could bring up, but I think you get my point. I’ve seen a few episodes of Duck but found little humor in it, so I don’t watch it. Anyway, like most other “reality” shows, this one is scripted. So now the onus is on the Duck’s producers and writers. Will they advance Robertson’s bigotry and ignorance through the show? Will A&E let them? Will the series be cancelled? Will Robertson become another Imus? Or will the Duck Dynasty go the way of the Smothers Brothers? Does anyone even give a crap?

        Noam Chomsky says: “If you believe in freedom of speech, you believe in freedom of speech for views you don’t like. Stalin and Hitler, for example, were dictators in favor of freedom of speech for views they liked only. If you’re in favor of freedom of speech, that means you’re in favor of freedom of speech precisely for views you despise.”

        And that’s really all I’m saying here. MSNBC and CBS have disrespected one our most important freedoms by censoring speech their listeners and viewers didn’t like. They affected people’s livelihood for the sake of speech that’s popular and to maintain their bottom lines. And by suspending Phil Robertson, A&E is committing the same abuse Shame on them. And shame on us if we don’t call them out for it. At least that’s my opinion.

        Herb

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        • King Beauregard

           /  December 23, 2013

          Show us where Phil Robertson is being fined by the FCC or is being put up to criminal charges. Otherwise, your cries of censorship are nonsense, and I think we both know it.

          Just because Phil Robertson wants a soapbox doesn’t mean A&E is obligated to give him one. Would A&E be obligated to give Hitler or Stalin air time? Does Noam Chomsky think that? I doubt he’s that dumb.

          Like

        • Herb,

          I think we are talking about two kinds of “free speech” here. There is the kind protected by the First Amendment, in the sense that the government is constrained in limiting the speech of individuals. Then there is the more generic free speech, in which people mistakenly think that anyone can say anything with impunity, including impunity from their employers. Regarding the former, Mr. Robertson enjoys the protection of the Constitution; regarding the latter, he speaks his mind at his own employment risk.

          Noam Chomsky’s remarks, if you don’t mind me saying so, are trivial and not controversial. I don’t know one single American, including those who don’t like what Robertson said, who thinks he doesn’t have the legal right to say it. Of course we all believe in the bigot’s legal right to speak his bigotry. That’s free speech, free in the sense that the government cannot restrain it. But if Robertson’s employer has a contract with him (or in many states without a contract) that allows the employer to essentially restrain him for bringing bad publicity its way, then too bad for him. And if those who might patronize A&E, or any of its sponsors, want to bring pressure against the network or those sponsors, that is also a specimen of free speech. That works with those on both sides. Just look at what happened to Cracker Barrel.

          You, or Noam Chomsky, might propose an amendment to the Constitution that restrains employers from terminating employees for saying dumb things, even offensive things, off the clock. But absent such an amendment, A&E is not committing an “abuse” of free speech, nor was MSNBC or CBS (even though I would have disagreed with the CBS nonsense). These entities were merely exercising their right to protect their brand, or to please their advertisers, who ultimately pay the salaries of the Robertson family, or paid the salaries of Imus and the Smothers Brothers. Employers often abuse their employees, and I wish more people got upset about wage and benefit abuse, for instance, but exercising rights under an employment contract to suspend or terminate an employee for cause is not abuse. Phil Robertson’s next contract ought to include a provision that gives him the right to make a fool out of himself, then we wouldn’t be having this argument.

          Finally, A&E censored a lot of nonsense the Robertson’s wanted to engage in on that show. Further, networks censor stuff all the time. Editing is censorship, my friend. No one has the right to a network or cable TV show in the first place, much less the right to say anything and everything they want on the show. And if they want the right to say anything they want off the show, then they should demand it in writing.

          In any case, Merry Christmas, my friend, and thanks for your contributions this year. I enjoyed them very much.

          Duane

          Like

  5. ansonburlingame

     /  December 23, 2013

    I wonder just how many readers of this blog have read the whole interview offered by Robertson. Yes, he said, in part, what Duane quoted. But he also said much more, in just that interview. Look that the “whole man”, not just a few cherry picked quotes by “thought police”.

    As long as Robertson does not call for “punishment” (in the secular world) of gays then he has a much right to express what he BELIEVES (but can never KNOW for sure) is “God provided views” on homosexuality as does Duane to reject, with vigor, such views, publicly.

    It is then for us to agree or disagree, in whole or in part, with both men. I am, on the “whole” in Robertson’s corner on the matter. Progress not perfection has been his path of “rehabilitation” at least in my view. But he still has a ways to go as well, just as we all do.

    Anson

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    • King Beauregard

       /  December 23, 2013

      “he has as much right to express”

      Nobody’s disputing his right to believe what he believes or to express what he believes. But I see people are disputing A&E’s right to choose to broadcast him, or not.

      Also: Robertson IS opposed to gays’ right to marry, which makes him the only person in this mess who actually wants to keep other people deprived of their rights. If Phil Robertson doesn’t personally believe in gay marriage, then the way he can express that without trampling anyone else’s rights is by not personally marrying a man. Anything past that puts him in the wrong.

      Like

    • To show you how confused you appear to be on this subject, Anson, I will quote from you:

      As long as Robertson does not call for “punishment” (in the secular world) of gays then he has a much right to express what he BELIEVES (but can never KNOW for sure) is “God provided views” on homosexuality…

      Huh? What can you possibly mean by that? Mr. Robertson most certainly could have called for real-time punishment of homosexual acts (a lot of Mr. Robertsons in the past used to do so) and still maintained his constitutional right to say so. For God’s sake, we used to have laws on the books of the several states that actually did punish people for homosexual behavior. That you think there is some kind of limit on his expression related to the gay issue, indicates that you don’t understand the First Amendment and how it is applied. He could go on Fox right now and say that he thinks anti-sodomy laws ought to be put back on the books and strictly enforced. He has every right to do so. But under your muddled interpretation of the First Amendment, apparently he doesn’t, even though apparently you think that if he did express such views A&E wouldn’t have the contractual right to suspend or fire him.

      Geeze.

      Duane

      Like

  6. ansonburlingame

     /  December 24, 2013

    Another instance where you won’t change my views (on Robertson) and I won’t change yours. So what?

    Merry Christmas to all of you (progressives). Along with getting your way politically, I hope you all find some serenity in the next day or so, even next year!! Part of serenity is accepting things you cannot change and doing the next right thing for someone else on an individual basis.

    Anson

    Like

  7. ansonburlingame

     /  December 28, 2013

    Just an update from me on my views on the “Ducks”.

    First, I actually watched part of one of their shows with Janet. To me it was like talking to people that I grew up around and still visit when I return home to Kentucky. Such people, good people by and large, still are around today, thankfully. I spoke at the funeral of one of them last July, an absolutely wonderful 87 year old woman that had been through more turmoil that ANY of us can imagine in our own lives.

    Many, well over 20 or so members of her extended family act and talk like “Ducks” today and I remain proud to be a part of that “family”!! They are GOOD folks, all of them.

    I also note that “greedy capitalists” have changed their minds as to what is socially correct now. The BIG duck is now back, or will be, on TV soon it seems. Popularity overcame social “correctness” it seems.

    Are all of you now going to boycot A&E or just rant some more about what goes on TV when it does not strike your fancy??

    I for one will not bother watching more of the Ducks. I can go “home” and see them in action in a real world, not just on TV!! If you cared to join me I would show you a meal of “home cooking” and family love that would make you stay at the table all night, with no booze offered either.

    Anson

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    • King Beauregard

       /  December 28, 2013

      It’s not the family love that troubles me, it’s the treatment of people who are considered outsiders. That’s the paradox with conservatives: they can be some of the kindest, most generous people in the world to those they consider “their own” by one measure or another; but if you’re an “outsider” to them it’s a completely different story. You have your lovey-dovey stories out of Kentucky; I will counter with someone who was pretty much pushed out of his IT job in Kentucky because he dared mention one time that he was an atheist. From that day forward he was no longer treated like a welcome part of the team, and first chance they got they got rid of him.

      But this is easily explained by evolution: those old primate tribal instincts are still in us, and some of us are far more given to dividing the world into “my tribe (the good guys, who must be defended)” and “enemy tribes (everyone else, over whom we must have the upper hand)”. But neither liberals nor conservatives see this clearly. Liberals tend to fight off those tribal instincts by assuming the other guy has a valid perspective until proven otherwise*, and so they don’t live in the world of tribe vs. tribe. And conservatives make it such a fundamental part of their mental landscape that they don’t see it, in much the same way that people generally don’t think about the air they’re breathing.

      *: American conservatism has long since been proven to be invalid. Supply-side doesn’t work, the neo-con agenda doesn’t work, deregulation doesn’t work, declining real wages don’t work, the list of conservative failures goes on and on.

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