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December 19th, 2013

All my ducks lined up in a row... @ 09:16 pm

Current Mood: discontent discontent

So, the thing that everyone seems to be talking about is the man from Duck Dynasty who said wildly bigoted things for which he was put on indefinite suspension from taking part in a reality show currently being shown on A&E.

Let's not beat around the bush here: Phil Robertson is a bigot. If you consider homosexuals to be in the same class of people as a) terrorists, b) drunkards, c) people who cheat on their spouses or d) people who have sex with animals, you are a bigot. Maybe you're the nicest human being in the world otherwise, but you're still a bigot.

Things Robertson was not put on suspension for:
1) Believing in God
2) Talking about God
3) Talking about his belief in God
4) Being a Christian "bible-thumper"
5) Believing homosexuality is a sin
6) Talking about his belief that homosexuality is a sin

(Those last two things also make him a bigot, but had he resisted the temptation to be so colorful with his disgust, I don't think he would have gotten into any trouble.)

On my facebook now, there are many posts in support of this man. As far as I can see, there are three reasons to want to do that: 1) You believe that Robertson shouldn't be fired/punished for things he does or says on his own time; 2) You believe that freedom of speech protects folks like Robertson from being fired/punished when they employ unpopular speech; or 3) You believe that Robertson is completely correct in casting aspersions on gay people because gay people (or their sin) disgust you.

I would love to believe that the people on my facebook are in camps 1 and 2, but I'm far too cynical for that. If I were less of a coward, I'd posit the question on my facebook to find out exactly why the folks supporting him support him.

However, I am too big of a coward to posit that question. I fear that my cynicism would be vindicated, and I'm not sure I can deal with that right now. It's hard to reconcile that people I like or people who are friendly acquaintances are the same people who espouse dishonest, hateful things. It's also hard to know that there's naught I can do about that except to accept it as another reminder that people who do not necessarily see the world as I do are not necessarily evil people--or, to state it more simply, abhorrent opinions don't have to come from abhorrent people.

As for what I personally think about this issue... On the one hand, I believe that the first amendment protects unpopular speech. On the other hand, I don't believe that the first amendment protects one from the reactions other people have to one's unpopular speech. People have the right (and are right!) to call Robertson a bigot. People have the right not to buy Robertson's merchandise or to watch his show.

As for A&E, suspending Robertson is a wee bit hypocritical on their part. After all, when they decided to dedicate a block of television to watching the adventures of a family of unpolished, unsophisticated, bible-thumpers in the deep south, well, what the hell did they expect? I'm not trying to cast aspersions on southerners here--this is how A&E marketed this show! They market this show based on the idea of hillbilly/redneck charm and then they act shocked when they get what they signed on for. Can anyone honestly say that it's a surprise when one of the cast turns out to be a bigot?

Maybe when I'm feeling a little bit braver, I'll adapt this to facebook. For the moment, though, I just wanted to get it off my chest.
 
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