The folks at Lucianne.com make an interesting point:
There's going to be a Duck Dynasty marathon? Why, yes:
Despite the suspension, A&E still has several hours of "Duck Dynasty" programming over the next week. For Thursday night, there is three hours of shows the network is airing. On Sunday Dec. 22, A&E will be airing the popular show from 5 p.m. until 4 a.m. the next morning. On Monday Dec. 23, episodes will air from 7 p.m. until 4 a.m. the next morning. On Christmas Eve, "Duck Dynasty" will be aired from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. And on Christmas Day, A&E will air "Duck Dynasty" episodes from 3:30 p.m. until 4 a.m. the next morning. All times are Eastern.If you're a TV performer and a member of the union (AFTRA), it's my understanding that you get residuals for every re-airing of a show you appeared in. I assume this would apply to Phil Robertson.
When Paul Reubens (aka Pee-wee Herman) was arrested for masturbating in a porn theater in 1991, not long after Pee-wee's Playhouse had wrapped up its final season, CBS immediately pulled the last five reruns of the show from its schedule. So far, A&E isn't doing anything like that. So A&E clearly wants to find a way to keep the Duck folks generating money without alienating the people Robertson offended. A&E is covering its ass by putting Robertson on hiatus while hoping to keep minting that sweet, sweet Duck cash.
I'm not sure the Robertson clan will let that happen. An official family statement says that the rest of the family
cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty.I'm sticking with my theory that this is bound up in the contract disagreements the Robertsons have had with A&E. Phil is challenging the suits. The suits slapped him down. The family is now challenging the suits. The outcome will seem to be all about this incident, but I don't believe that.
I regret I overlooked this assertion from Robertson in the GQ interview:
I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I'm with the blacks, because we're white trash. We're going across the field .... They're singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, 'I tell you what: These doggone white people' -- not a word! ... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.That will be lost to history, and our collective memory of this will be of That Time a God-Fearing Man Was Crucified Just for Having a Biblical View of Gays. Robertson should be on the hot seat just for saying this.
Oh, and I see that Camille Paglia is one more person who thinks A&E is a branch of the government:
"I speak with authority here, because I was openly gay before the 'Stonewall rebellion,' when it cost you something to be so. And I personally feel as a libertarian that people have the right to free thought and free speech," Paglia, a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, said on Laura Ingraham's radio show Thursday....Yes -- remember Stalin's terror-famine, when he temporarily deprived 10 million Ukrainian farmers of their right to appear on national radio broadcasts? This is just like that.
"To express yourself in a magazine in an interview -- this is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, OK, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic Party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades," Paglia said.
I'm sure Laura Ingraham didn't bring up the fact that Paglia has also argued that it's Stalinist to exclude the North American Man-Boy Love Association from gay pride marches:
Though I should note that Paglia's peculiar viewpoint on gay people and NAMBLA is that NAMBLA belongs in gay pride parades because pedophilia is an inherent part of homosexuality (for men, at least). Oh, and she thinks it's appalling that gay people are squandering their fabulousness and transgressiveness by fighting for gay-inclusive curricula and seeking to become teachers and Scout leaders. Paglia thinks all that is just wrong, or at least she did at the time of her book Vamps & Tramps:
Gay people shouldn't be teachers or scout leaders? Maybe Paglia and Phil Robertson would agree or more than you'd think.
Paglia brings up "PC" on college campuses. Charlie Pierce is worried about a different threat to speech on campus and in the workplace:
What good is a Bill of Rights if it protects us (increasingly thinly) against government, but subcontracts the job of abridging those rights to every other institution that affects our lives and well-being? As it happens, I had disciplinary action taken against me at the last newspaper I worked for because of things I had written on the Esquire.com Politics blog prior to coming to work here full time. When I asked my immediate supervisor why this happened, he replied, "My primary obligation is to the company." (I looked down to make sure I wasn't wearing a nametag with the word Wal Mart on it.) ...He goes on to write about a policy statement from the Kansas Board of Regents that forbids faculty and staff from engaging in "improper use of social media," which includes any communication that, "when made pursuant to (i.e. in furtherance of) the employee's official duties, is contrary to the best interest of the university."
Does your job own your civil liberties when you're off the clock? Does it own your thoughts, expressed freely, when you're home? Are we saying that the government can't abridge your constitutional rights, but that The Brand can? If you answer instantly, "yes," think again about what you're saying, and about the kind of country in which you want to live.It's a tough question. I'm not sure where the line should be drawn. I'll say this, though: If you categorically state that every employee in every job has an absolute right to face no job consequences for speech engaged in off the clock, then you accept that these guys should have faced no consequences from their employer, the City of New York:
Two firefighters and a police officer went to trial this week to fight for the jobs they lost after they participated in a controversial skit during a 1998 Labor Day Parade in Broad Channel.I should point out that, on free speech grounds, Al Sharpton defended them. One federal judge, in 2003, overturned their firings, but another federal judge upheld them in 2006. Your call as to whether that was appropriate.
The three men, dressed in blackface and Afro wigs, rode on a float that satirized the dragging death of James Byrd, an African-American, in Texas, the previous summer. A sign on the side of the float read "Black To The Future: Broad Channel 2098." The three men also threw pieces of fried chicken and watermelon slices to the crowd.
I'm not sure any of this is relevant to Phil Robertson's case, however. He agreed to be interviewed by GQ in furtherance of the interests of Brand Duck, which -- at least for now -- are inextricably linked to the interests of Brand A&E. He was a professional entertainer doing a publicity interview. He was on the job.