Help me out please; sometimes I’m not so smart. Phil Robertson stars in “Duck Dynasty,” a reality series. In an interview with GQ, Robertson offers his real opinions about sexuality (in this instance homosexuality) and also about “happy” black folks in the pre-Civil Rights Era South. Pressured by gay rights advocates, A&E, the network that broadcasts Robertson’s reality show, suspends him indefinitely for speaking his real point of view. So let’s review: REALITY SHOW star speaks his REAL opinion and gets placed on ice for being too – uh – REAL. REALLY???!
So much for keeping it real.
I never thought I’d find myself in this place, but I’m beginning now to reconsider whether the so-called tolerance movement has itself become too INTOLERANT and whether political correctness has become much more incorrect and is outliving its usefulness.
While Robertson’s view that homosexuality is a sin may be out of step with increasingly popular secular dogma, it’s completely in step with those who share his religious viewpoint. His comments about black folks are a brilliant portrait of blissful ignorance with a healthy dose of perhaps intentional naivete.
Simpleness, ignorance and insensitivity, however, don’t of necessity equate to intolerance. It takes a heavy duty magnifying glass to detect a shred of intolerance on his part.
Well, perhaps there’s a thread of a shred if you place it within the broader context of the culture he represents. But in expressing his Christian view, he is no more intolerant than a broad swath of Christians who call themselves American citizens, many of whom watch A&E.
Robertson has the right to believe as he will and to express that view however unpopular it may be. He should appreciate that along with freedom of speech comes the consequences of that freedom. And the ironic twist here is that in this capitalist land that he loves so much, he plainly has fallen victim to capitalism at its most blunt.
A&E had to make a business decision. It weighed the backlash of the gay rights advocates versus the backlash of the vocal Christian community and decided that the Christian community’s voice isn’t quite as loud as it once was and as powerful as the gay rights folks now is. How smart a business decision that is remains yet untested.
The network is in the entertainment business. And the ultimate entertainment value here may be watching A&E trying to DUCK criticism and awkwardly extricate it’s foot from Robertson’s mouth. A&E has released a statement clarifying that Robertson’s view are not the networks. That sort of makes sense. After all, he’s not the network’s employee; he’s just a reality star giving his REAL opinion.
When did that become un-American?
(c) Copyright 2013, Jonathan Clarke, All rights reserved