On Phil Robertson – From The Left

It’s been fun watching the reaction to the whole Duck Dynasty thing.

It started out with his comments from the interview, then moved to his suspension.  From there, Cracker Barrel got into the game by pulling Duck Dynasty merchandise that only upset THEIR customer base.  After much complaining on the innertubes, Cracker Barrel relented apologized and put the stuff back on sale.

My take?

I think that an employer should be allowed to fire anyone for any reason, so I have no issue personally that Phil got the axe.  But we don’t live in my world – we live in the real world, where firing someone for their religion is against the law – or at least I think it is.  I can’t image that an employer, upon learning that his employee isn’t Christian, could fire him.

Anyway – so I think that Phil’s civil liberties were abused to a degree.  And if they weren’t, if there is a legal standing that A&E can rest on – think morals clause or spokesman – I have some trouble wrapping my head around the whole thing.  I mean, the whole show is based on the fact that these Robertson people are God Fearing evangelical Christian rednecks.  There isn’t one single person alive that would have thought Phil would think that homosexuality wasn’t a sin.

So, yeah, it’s been fun watching it.  But here is a take I didn’t expect:

I have to say I’m befuddled by the firing of Phil Robertson, he of the amazing paterfamilias beard on Duck Dynasty (which I mainly see via The Soup). A&E has a reality show that depends on the hoariest stereotypes – and yet features hilariously captivating human beings – located in the deep South. It’s a show riddled with humor and charm and redneck silliness. The point of it, so far as I can tell, is a kind of celebration of a culture where duck hunting is the primary religion, but where fundamentalist Christianity is also completely pervasive. (Too pervasive for the producers, apparently, because they edited out the saying of grace to make it non-denominational and actually edited in fake beeps to make it seem like the bearded clan swore a lot, even though they don’t.)

Now I seriously don’t know what A&E were expecting when the patriarch Phil Robertson was interviewed by GQ. But surely the same set of expectations that one might have of an ostensibly liberal host of a political show would not be extended to someone whose political incorrectness was the whole point of his stardom. He’s a reality show character, for Pete’s sake. Not an A&E spokesman.

Robertson is a character in a reality show. He’s not a spokesman for A&E any more than some soul-sucking social x-ray from the Real Housewives series is a spokeswoman for Bravo. Is he being fired for being out of character? Nah. He’s being fired for staying in character – a character A&E have nurtured and promoted and benefited from. Turning around and demanding a Duck Dynasty star suddenly become the equivalent of a Rachel Maddow guest is preposterous and unfair.

What Phil Robertson has given A&E is a dose of redneck reality. Why on earth would they fire him for giving some more?


14 responses to “On Phil Robertson – From The Left

  1. …and yet if you or I fire anyone for their religious beliefs, it’s a tort.

    • …and yet if you or I fire anyone for their religious beliefs, it’s a tort.

      I agree.

      He isn’t hating here, he’s simply stating his religious belief.

      • Indeed, and even though Progressivism is basically Puritanism without the metaphysics, no one gets fired for merely being a Progressive. On the contrary, being a Prog is necessary for most “elite” positions anyway.

  2. Meh – Robertson, Bashir, Baldwin, there are so many examples of celebrities that go on a little rant and then get in trouble. I think as a society we’re too easily offended. But as the Bashir and Baldwin examples show, the right is just as bad about whining about all that as a left. Everyone should just recognize we all say things that are stupid, or hold views on somethings that aren’t the majority, and accept that from others. Maybe extreme cases deserve the outrage, but most of the time I find the complaining by either side to be silly.

    • Meh – Robertson, Bashir, Baldwin, there are so many examples of celebrities that go on a little rant and then get in trouble. I think as a society we’re too easily offended.

      I totally agree that we are too easily offended.

      But as the Bashir and Baldwin examples show, the right is just as bad about whining about all that as a left.

      As for Baldwin, those of us on the right don’t necessarily are what he said, we’re pissed that a liberal jerk gets a pass when no one on the right would have gotten it.

      Bashir — I tend to agree with you. Nothing to see, but again, there are elements of the whole hypocrisy thing. I don’t think that the right would care if he mentioned that people should shit in Palin’s mouth if we thought we could say that same thing about Hillary. And you know that we couldn’t.

  3. I am sorry, but this equivalence of Martin Bashir and Phil Robertson is way too much for me. I do not watch DD and am tired of the whole story, but the Bashir matter is different.
    Baldwin is not a casualty of the right, I believe, so why is he paired with Bashir as an example?

    • Why? Because Erb’s argument is so weak he can’t think of a comparable example.

    • You guys prove my point. I could have said the Dixie Chicks too – remember that? Each side thinks that when they whine, it’s legit, but when the other side whines, it’s not. I’m the consistent one here, I don’t care if it’s right or left, people get all too huffy over little things – and they don’t seem to notice when their side complains (but see the other side as a threat to free speech). It’s not a threat to free speech, it’s just a culture where people get offended too easily, or prefer to play “gotcha games” on emotional issues rather than really discuss. It’s a sign of a weakened culture.

      • “I could have said the Dixie Chicks too – remember that?”

        I do, but apparently you don’t. Dixie Chicks only proves *my* point — they weren’t fired for their criticism of the Iraq War. They only took a hit with their fans, and any losses they suffered were due to that. Contrast that with A&E which went against public sentiment for ideological reasons in the Robertson event.

        • Are you kidding? They were bashed by the right, smeared, and there were massive efforts to pressure radio stations not to play them. A&E’s actions were like the radio stations that stopped playing Dixie Chicks. Face it, there are numerous efforts of the right whining when someone on the left says something they find wrong. Only an idiot would think that the “other” side does all the bad stuff, but their side is blameless. Unfortunately, there are a lot of idiots left and right in this country. My point is that everyone needs to chill and not get upset when people make comments they don’t like, that people on all sides of the spectrum prefer “gotcha” games that are at base emotional and not rational.

          • Again, you fail at reading comprehension. The Dixie Chicks were never fired for their religious beliefs.

            Your “point” is trivial — yes, people in the media say stupid things all the time and other people get offended. Your empty “both sides do it” routine is just a silly attempt to avoid the reality that toeing the Prog line will never get you fired the way simply being a Christian can.

      • You guys prove my point. I could have said the Dixie Chicks too – remember that?

        Yeah, I don’t see the comparison. The Chicks – an EXCELLENT act by the way – offended their own fan base who then stopped listening to them. There may have been radio stations that took them off the air, but they aren’t employees of those radio stations.

        In the Duck Dynasty case, he said exactly what 14 million people expected him to say – the folks complaining about his comments don’t even watch a show about Bible thumping rednecks. So they aren’t saying that they’ll stop watching, they’re saying that I should stop watching Phil.

  4. Scott,

    Come on, are there no standards? What could someone say that would have You say they should be fired? What Bashir said about what someone should actually do to another person is different than Robertson expressing his disapproval of another group. Also Bashir said it on his show. Robertson did not use his show to espouse his views. Those are significant differences to me.

    I agree with you on our gotcha culture. And the first amendment is really only a protection from governmental not private retaliation of free speech. A&E is free to do whatever they want. The DD viewers are free to not watch A&E. No government enforcement protecting influence wielding groups. We know who the government protects and favors. They sure ain’t the Robertsons.

  5. The government favors and protects the wealthy – money talks. I think the Robertsons are quite wealthy. The government does little to protect or favor the poor, minorities, and other groups. They may get a pittance of social welfare payments, but even those are often counter productive. Christians definitely get priority.

    I do see these examples as much more alike than different. One could say, for instance, that Bashir commented about a public figure while Robertson attacked and insulted a whole class of average Americans. A&E could say that they cannot be associated with someone who attacks so many of their viewers. The reason for any reaction is fear of a public relations disaster. And that fear only exists because people are far too easily offended. It would not occur to me to call for anyone’s firing over these sorts of comments.

    But until the right defends Bill Maher, Bashir, the Dixie Chicks, etc., or the left defends Robertson, (Phil and Pat), etc., I just think it’s a bunch of silliness. It’s even sillier that one side thinks they are more victimized than the other side (does the right really want to embrace the cult of victimization?)

    Take the people who get in a huff over “happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.” Or who think there is a “war” on Christmas. You have to admit that is ridiculous, especially when this is the one day that almost everything is closed and people celebrate. Why would anyone be offended by “Happy Holidays?” If anyone wishes me well in any form, even if it’s Happy Kwanza, I’ll thank them and out of respect for them respond with the same greeting. But some people get offended by “Merry Christmas,” some by “Happy Holidays” and then each side feels the victim. I’m sick of a culture where people are too easily offended and like to see themselves as victims.

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