OPINION – For fear of lending some legitimacy to any intrinsic worth that the television show Duck Dynasty contributes to society, I will hereafter refer to the now infamous star of the show as Duck Dude.
Duck Dude, aka Phil Robertson, aka the Duck Commander is the patriarch of the family portrayed in the reality show that has swept the country’s attention with off-the-charts ratings much to the benefit of its producers, A&E. But the perceived benefit turned to ire or at least discontent when Duck Dude’s right-to-center views on homosexuality and racism became uncontainable in an interview published in GQ magazine.
It is not the first time he has publicly made implications like the ones in the interview. He can be seen in multiple clips on YouTube as a guest speaker for churches across the nation espousing his staunch stance on what God has to say about gays and the like.
But who really cares what this guy has to say?
While I admit to diving headlong into the Facebook fury over the matter, making apparent my own hypocrisy – after all, if I really thought it was so irrelevant, why did I participate in long threads? – I will have to stand by my facetious assessment of him there as nothing more than a witty gaffe.
I posted: Duck Dude is a quack.
But deep down, we all really agree on that. No one from either side of the debate about his inflammatory and ignorant statements about homosexuality and racism will quarrel over his intellectual astuteness when he presents his argument like this:
It seems like, to me, a … – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s …. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: it’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical …
If someone were going to suggest that he is an advocate for the legitimacy and the authority of his faith, one would need only let him speak to refute it, or so it seems.
I contend something more revealing is at play here: that Duck Dude’s statements and subsequent release from A&E are really just a catalyst by which people predisposed to their own views can espouse those views with some anonymity – through him.
For the religious right, it is the opportunity to state emphatically that homosexuality is wrong. And for the liberal left, it is that those who espouse such a view are bigots.
But let us dismiss any notion whatsoever that this is about free speech or religious discrimination.
Surely those who would say that A&E is not justified in letting him go were not the same people who decried the gay community’s objection to being refused employment due to their sexual orientation? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?
I seem to recall that very case being made by the religious right and it is clearly a plank in their eye that is keeping them from seeing the sheer hypocrisy here.
It is almost too much to stand, this thinly veiled attempt to assuage outright bigotry by laying claim to free speech.
His freedom under the First Amendment was not and is not in question here. His intelligence? That is a matter unto itself.
A&E was within their rights as well to let him go. It will cost them a lot of ratings and revenue for sure. Or it will earn them some. Time will tell.
But what happened here quite literally is they both took a stand long before this incident hit the pages of the press.
Duck Dude’s predispositions about homosexuality are steeped in the tradition of his upbringing and faith, no doubt.
And likewise, A&E, likely governed by things like Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and its administrators’ own personal convictions, were predisposed to their own views.
The two simply reached an impasse.
What is likely the case with the most outspoken advocates for the Dude is that he mirrors what they themselves believe and cannot or will not state aloud. He is their vocal box. If they believe so much in the righteousness of their view, perhaps they should voice it publicly or at their place of employment and see what happens.
It sure would lend some credibility to the religious right – credibility, if Duck Dude is any indication of their positions, of which they are in sore need.
I find it curiously ironic that the religious right are laying claim to persecution here when in point of fact they relentlessly pursue an anti-homosexual agenda. In other words, is persecution defined in our minds by our own convictions being tried or does our right to our convictions extend equally to another’s right to his convictions?
Essentially, this is what we have just seen in a federal judge’s ruling holding Utah’s marriage statute unconstitutional, that law is not the place to constrain people to a particular choice that is inherently personal in conviction.
More succinctly, I would contend that perhaps a visit to a third world country in the Middle East where their contemporaries work as missionaries and philanthropists might shed some light on their definition of persecution.
There is for sure a battle being waged in the arena of civil rights and homosexuality is a forefront issue. I have long held that it is not about homosexuality, it is about civil rights and freedom under both U.S. law and divine law – man is given choice, the ramification of choices made is an entirely separate discussion.
This is likely the crux of what has given the sophomoric statements of a simpleton more influence than he would ever be granted save the ratings and profits of an inconsequential reality show. This is what has turned Duck Dude’s comments into a viral controversy about quite literally, nothing.
I do like the beard however.
See you out there
Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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