Friday, December 20, 2013

The World and the Heavens According to Phil



I suppose if you are sitting at the Boar's Nest bar having a few drinks and overhearing this kind of conversation, it doesn't really much matter, but finding it in GQ magazine is a little disconcerting.  Do we really need to give guys like Phil Robertson an international audience? Isn't it enough to let them just have their page on facebook or some other social network and garner "likes" like the rest of us.

This infatuation with "White Trash" is really something.  It seems like the cable networks are constantly tripping over themselves to find the next local bigot or racist to make into an overnight celebrity.  With All In the Family and Sanford and Son it was satire, but this new wave of cable reality show programming is all too real and Duck Dynasty has been a huge hit for A&E network.

I remember when A&E was about cultural programming, something sorely lacking on the major cable channels.  Now it has fallen into the same trap, or should I say duck blind, with Discovery, Food Network and TLC, serving up white trash on a silver platter.  Don't they have cable networks like CMT for folks like this?

You could just dismiss Robertson's religious conservative views as idle bar room chatter if it wasn't for his many supporters.  In his GQ interview, Phil equated gays with drunks and terrorists.  He also stated that blacks were "singing and happy" picking cotton, based on his own experiences working side by side in the fields.    Sadly, his views are all too emblematic of a wide cross section of this country, which stretches far beyond the Mason-Dixie line.

Robertson is the proud patriarch of a clan of duck hunters that has overtaken Deadliest Catch and other fishing and hunting reality programs, which have become the staple of cable television.  The show was launched just last year and Robertson was apparently negotiating an extension of his contract with A&E when he decided to broadcast his uncensored views. He and his family currently collect $200,000 per episode.  One can imagine the directors of this program had to do a lot of editing from week to week and had told him to be careful when giving interviews, but Phil is unrepentant.  He makes no apologies for his bigoted and racist views, knowing that he has God on his side.


What is disconcerting about all this is that it seems a direct reflection of how many people think.  Support has streamed in on facebook and other social network sites.  He has also garnered the support of Sarah Palin and Fox News.  His insidious remark about "singing and happy" cotton pickers fits right in with the Koch corporate view that persons are content just to have jobs.  Who needs living wages, health care benefits and pension plans?  You just hoe a straight row and that's a reward in itself.

Cable television has become complicit by making persons like Phil Robertson and Paula Deen overnight celebrities.  As you might recall Paula not only used racially demeaning language but apparently stole recipes from her black employees.  I'm sure Phil had a different view of cotton picking when he was working along side blacks in the field, assuming he ever did.

He hasn't always been a Bible-thumper.  Apparently, he was into all that psychedelic shit before he found God, and the rest as they say is history.  Now, he feels he should promote God and country every chance he gets and A&E graciously provides a platform.

Yea, I know these families are so damn likable, as Drew Magary notes, especially when they invite you into their homes and share a big repast and regal you in backwoods anecdotes and obscure Southern recipes, but that doesn't excuse their views.  Unfortunately, the viewing public seems to be drawn to these dubious celebrities, thinking they are watching the "real thing."

It seems like we are not even one step removed from those halcyon days in the Land of Cotton, as these persons continue to represent religious conservative interests when they should know better.   In the interview, Phil fomented on everything from the 2012 election to Obamacare, sounding like a politically paid spokesman for the Tea Party.  I suppose he can always get a job at Fox News.




10 comments:

  1. Funny, I was just reading about them: what's a duck dynasty anyway?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/12/20/9-questions-you-were-too-embarrassed-to-ask-about-duck-dynasty/

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  2. I never paid much attention either until this dust up, but man it is interesting to see people taking sides. The way Sarah and Bobby Jindal rushed to his defense you realize that this is 99,9% political. This ZZ Top look-a-like is mostly in it for the money ($200,000 per episode), squeezing every dime he can get out of it and hedging his bets that there are plenty other cable and radio channels that will take him and his brood if A&E decides to jettison the project.

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  3. http://upload.democraticunderground.com/imgs/2013/131220-palin-a-forceful-advocate-for-free-speech.jpg


    Palin sure loves free speech - unless it is directed at her.


    As for Robertson, if he is the born again Christian he claims to be he should read the New Testament and heed its warning to refrain from judging anyone.

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  4. Once again, Jon Stewart sums it up well,

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-december-19-2013/words-with-fringe

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  5. Not surprisingly, Phil's homophobia has long been on display,

    http://www.heavy.com/entertainment/2013/12/watch-new-phil-robertson-video-homophobia/

    I imagine we will see much more come out in the weeks ahead. Also interesting that Cracker Barrel chose to wipe Duck Dynasty merchandise off its shelves much to the chagrin of many customers,

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/12/21/cracker-barrel-pulls-duck-dynasty-items/4162125/

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  6. The red necks from that bigoted clan are back on TV as there was a massive boycott by their right wing allies against A & E. This actually doesn't surprise me as right wingers generally gang up and fight together. Sadly, liberals turn pussy (if you pardon the expression) and never fight back as they should have done when the Country-Western industry screwed the Dixie Chicks. I can never understand why liberals are so passive and wimpy when they should learn to fight back. But that's their choice.

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  7. I think liberals fight back, it is that mushy middle crowd that moves one way or other. The problems is that there aren't very many liberals left.

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    Replies
    1. 35% of the population call themselves conservative while 30% call themselves liberal :

      http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/number-of-liberal-americans-growing-number-of-conservatives-dropping-says-gallup/politics/2013/05/24/67452#.UsL3EvuFeIA



      The numbers are there but liberals lack the will to stand up and fight the way conservatives do.

      Delete
  8. Good piece by Michael Musto on "A&E Ducks for Cover," noting that MSNBC wasn't afraid to pull the plug on Alec Baldwin when he aired his homophobic rants, which he apologized for, unlike Phil Robertson,

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/12/30/a-e-ducks-for-cover-by-forgiving-phil-robertson.html

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  9. evidently, Duck Dynasty patriarch sees cradle robbing pedophilia as being advisable:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_YchVeJs50

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