Thursday, December 19, 2013


If we're going to talk about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, let's start by remembering something: Martin Bashir actually lost his job at MSNBC. So did Alec Baldwin. A decade ago, Dan Rather really lost his job at CBS, and effectively lost his career with it.

Phil Robertson, a man for whom the right is crying a river of tears, actually hasn't lost his job, and isn't even being taken off the air:
A&E has placed Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson on indefinite hiatus following anti-gay remarks he made in a recent profile in GQ....

He'll likely appear in season four, which bows Jan. 15, since production is largely wrapped....
Oh. So if new episodes featuring Phil are already in the can and will begin airing next month, and filming for the season is nearly complete, how significant is this "hiatus"?

All the shouting right now is over one portion of Robertson's offensive remarks:
"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus," Robertson says in the January issue of the men's magazine. "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."

During a discussion about repentance and God, Robertson is asked what he finds sinful.

"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there," he says. "Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

He goes on to paraphrase Corinthians: "Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right."
That's what A&E focused on in its statement:
"Phil Robertson's remarks are not consistent with the values of our faith communities or the scientific findings of leading medical organizations," president Chad Griffin said in a statement. "We know that being gay is not a choice someone makes, and that to suggest otherwise can be incredibly harmful. We also know that Americans of faith follow the Golden Rule -- treating others with the respect and dignity you'd wish to be treated with. As a role model on a show that attracts millions of viewers, Phil Robertson has a responsibility to set a positive example for young Americans -- not shame and ridicule them because of who they are. The A+E Network should take immediate action to condemn Phil Robertson's remarks and make clear they don't support his views."
But let's not forget that Robertson also said this:
"All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I'll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That's eighty years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups."
Even if you give Robertson the benefit of the doubt and credit him for distinguishing "Islamists" from other Muslims, there's that bit about the Japanese. Their religion made them go to war? Really? So why aren't they at war now? Are they any more Jesus-y today?

Right-wingers are certainly going to forget that Robertson also said this. They're always going to portray this as pro-gay fascism crushing the poor, persecuted Christians. But Robertson would have deserved to face a backlash just for calling all Japanese people (and, in effect, all non-Christians) murderers. I think something would have happened to him even if he hadn't gone after gay people.

(And "murder" is an interesting word to use there. Do you know what the murder rate per 100,000 population was in Jesus-loving America in 2012? It was 4.7. Know what it was in Japan? It was 0.4.)

Some are saying that Robertson's words were offensive, but the suspension/hiatus/whatever is too harsh a punishment. But I wonder if something else is going on here.

Last March it was reported that the Robertson were holding out for a big salary increase, a dispute with A&E that held up filming of season 4. The dispute was resolved, though apparently the schedule had to be reworked, and it seems as if Phil is still a bit out of sorts:
"Duck Dynasty" season four finale means the fans now wait for the next "Duck Dynasty" season to roll out, but is the show going to be renewed? ...

According to Reality TV Magazine on Nov. 1, season four might have seemed a bit too short for the fans. The fans aren't wrong, the season was shorter than normal for A&E's most popular show. "Duck Dynasty's" Jase addressed the short season recently on his Facebook page:
"Season 4 seemed a bit shorter than usual was. However, we added another season to the filming cycle so actually there will be more total episodes when all is completed. The success of the show can be attributed to your support."
...Phil Robertson recently made a comment that he was "tired of taping the show" and that comment, along with no official announcement of another season as of yet from A&E, had folks wondering what the fate of TV’s favorite redneck family would be.

Miss Kay recently addressed Phil's comment saying that her husband is going to be just fine after "getting in some much needed hunting time." ...
I think A&E is responding to what Phil Robertson said, but I think this is also pushback in an ongoing salary fight, led by a star who's demanding a little more motivation, as it were, to keerp going with the show.

And he may be thinking either that he's a big enough deal now to say whatever the hell he wants and get plenty of offers even if he upsets his current bosses. Even before Duck Dynasty aired, the Robertsons built their duck-call business into a million-dollar enterprise. The show sells lots of books and a great deal of other merchandise, not to mention tickets to live appearances. Fox News seems to love the Robinsons. (Video of an interview with Phil appears at with the headline ("Phil Robertson for President?") The Robinsons were hanging out with Sarah Palin even before this story broke. (Palin, naturally, is crying "censorship!" now.) So maybe Phil thinks he can find a new TV home where he can talk like this freely. And maybe he's right.


Jim Donahue said...

The extreme-right-wing friend of a liberal friend (yeah, I don't get it either) blamed the complaints on "homofascists" in a comment on Facebook.

I replied:

Dear ---: Look, I'm told you're basically a nice person. You're also full of shit. "Homofascists"? When you get put in the concentration camps by me, you can use that word. Until then, what you sound like is "Wah, wah, wah, wah! Why won't you tolerate my intolerance!?" Really, I'm so angry that you would use the word "homofascists" that my hands are trembling with anger right now.

Oh, by the way: My husband and I have been together for going on 20 years. We married last year. Sorry for oppressing you like that. It must be so fucking terrible for you.

Oddly, she hasn't responded.

Greg said...

Right on, Jim.

Anonymous said...

He's technically correct about the Japanese.

They were war mongering assholes prior to WW2. They were killing, raping, and pillaging all through Korea and China. They were evil murderous sons of bitches, one of the nastier nations around.

Why... well it had a lot of do with their religion. However after WW2 that changed. Sure we let their god emperor live (namely because we realized they'd all rather die before they gave his ass up), but they made some changes. Japanese beliefs today are not what they were prior to WW2. Furthermore other religions are around as well... you don't see them talking about their god emperor anymore do you?

So on Japan, he's pretty much on the money. They loved killing people in horrific ways, mass enslaving women into "comfort women", their god emperor, really fucked up society. The nice polite Japan people think of didn't exist before WW2. Many Koreans and Chinese still hate them today for the centuries of terror the Japanese inflicted on them.

Roger said...

Where are all the gay-positive peckerwoods?

Victor said...

Who cares what some ancient homophobic douche-canoe Christianist asshole, on some lame-ass "Beverly Hillbillies" wannabe show without the jokes, or ceeeeeeeement pond, on some 2nd -rate cable channel, said?

You know what would be news?
If that old peckerwood was tolerant!
Old homophobic douche-canoe's are all over the place in Red America.
You probably can't throw a stick, or shoot off a gun, without hitting one.
Not a bad idea, that last one.

Ten Bears said...

Technically, Geese is right. Indeed, it's remarkable the similarities between twenty-first century "America" and Imperial Japan. The difference, of course, is in "America" today it's the dog-fucking christians that are the patholigical killers, baby rapers and daughter-fuckers.

Animals, less than sufficiently evolved, less than human, bow down to gods. Human Beings, do not.

True this: The University of Oregon Alumni Assiciation has filed petitions with the universities' legal counsel to file slander and defamation suits to shut down Duck Dynasty". Please do not mistake these cro-magnon with Oregon, the University of Oregon (Ducks), UO Alumni or Oregonians in general. Our hillbillies are smarter than that.

No fear, just contempt.

Anonymous said...

@Ten Bears

As bad as America is when it comes to violence we really can't compare to imperial Japan under Shintoism and the god emperor.

It's just an odd thing to bring up. They haven't been that way since WW2 ended. Nobody in Japan is going around mouthing off about the god emperor, they aren't militaristic anymore, they aren't the warring states. Shocker, times change and nations change with them.

Grung_e_Gene said...

In the name of tolerance i choose not to tolerate the intolerant.

Kathy said...

Go Jim! Well said, and congratulations on 20 years together.

Danp said...

A&E said "As a role model on a show that attracts millions of viewers, Phil Robertson has a responsibility to set a positive example for young Americans"

What a crock of baloney! Reality shows don't look for role models. They look for people who will humiliate themselves or entertain us with conflict. A&E is no different. I suspect they see this as good publicity, and can always point to this sanctimonious statement as a way of denying a share of the criticism.

Examinator said...

Geese, Some times you really should read a bit more widely before you go into writing.
Your comments were well out of context and well biased and OTT

Ever heard of China's long march? the millions that died. I suggest you read up on it and the threat it posed to Japan. The rape of Nanking was a picnic by comparison

Also note that most Japanese as a whole weren't hari kari zealots nor were they any more military minded as a people that any others. They simply had a different culture.
They were barely beyond Feudal. Oh yes as for the fighting to the last man hmmm historic facts would suggest ….not so much. Yes they fought hard for family and country honor but so did/do many other countries.
Did you know they were sending out feelers for peace well before the a bombing. But the USA wanted total surrender for internal political reasons (Pearl Harbor?)
Further facts of interest are are that according to my dad who was on the Burma railway, he categorically asserted that the real butchers mean SOBs were the Korean guards in the Japanese army.
As for comfort women that is true... also note that the US GIs etc used more women in the Vietnam war and left far more problems. The only difference was most were 'prostitutes' from poor families who had little or no means of support especially given their country was being bombed Agent Oranged, Naparmed, oh yes and mined etc. Do we mention bombing countries that the US wasn't at war with. Shall we also talk about the KNOWN rapes and known Atrocities the allies were involved in? Shall we also talk about US rapes in Okinawa etc.
Did I mention that it was the US who armed Ho Chi Mihn to fight the Japanese and promised them that The US would support their bid for independence but renegged.

NB I'm in no way white washing the brutality of the War in the pacific but like they say history is written by the winners and the first victim in war is the truth. Have a look at the PNG villages that were purged and many of the males hung because they were essentially tribal and ignorant to international politics at the time.
Whitie also forced the Chinese to accept payments for their goods in Opium 100, 000's died as a consequence
With every empire and war there are atrocities the US is simply the latest and it's hands are just as bloody.

Glennis said...

I know Phil Robertson's homophobia got most of the attention. And I know his other comments about African Americans got the secondary wave of attention. But did anyone think to wonder about how his radical ideas about African-Americans in the Jim Crow south might make us re-think modern scholarly narratives about American popular music?

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once....They’re singing and happy....Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.

Good god! Was Alan Lomax wrong?

Luigi said...

Do me a favor, Steve, and keep writing this blog. I read a ton of stuff (on a ton of different topics) everyday. And you never fail to hit the mark in logic and conciseness every single time. Even if, in my humble opinion, you may be grousing about things that might not matter or actually happen down the line, I find you thoughtful and your writing very entertaining. Thank you.

Jimmi the Grey said...

"...the greedy,...the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God."

So he thinks nither he or the shows producers will make the cut?

Jim Donahue said...

For the record, the woman I referred to above did eventually apologize, after some good old fashioned Internet shaming.

Steve M. said...

Thanks, Luigi. I really appreciate that....

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