*WARNING: CONTAINS OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE*
So was the whole Duck Dynasty brouhaha a manifestation of “the Culture Wars,” as some would have it? Or was it one family’s internal mini-civil war?
And, as a new season is set to begin on A&E, could we all just get back to hunting ducks?
Cranky old Phil Robertson – the patriarch of the First Family of Quack – put A&E in an uncomfortable position when GQ magazine rudely quoted him in graphic detail last December with his views on anal sex and the happy “pre-entitlement, pre-Welfare” Negroes of his pre-Civil Rights childhood.
A&E suspended the putative star of its highest-rated show for all of nine days before deciding he’d suffered enough (actually, he never missed a show). The network’s rationale: it accepted the Robertson family’s joint statement calling Phil’s comments “coarse” as something akin to an apology.
This would be shocking if A&E were still the channel to see ballet and theatre. These days it’s the channel of Storage Wars and American Hoggers, so you’ve got to know how your biscuits are buttered.
In a related occurrence, the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain initially announced it would be pulling Duck Dynasty products from its shelves. Two days of outrage later, that decision was reversed. In its announcement, the company called the removal “a mistake.” I’LL say it was a mistake. Guys, you’ve got the word “Cracker” in your name! How did you think that would go over?
So one lesson of Duckgate was that everything, including principles, is about money. Another is that politics can be played like a violin, even by putative hicks (whose I-grew-up-in-the-swamp look has been revealed as contrived).
While Phil was playing the role of martyr for the likes of Sarah Palin, son Willie was busy playing the “anti-Phil” by cozying up to the Obama administration, attending both the State Of The Union Address (as a guest of a Republican) and the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (for the second time). The previous year, the President had even professed to being a Duck Dynasty fan (obviously before the “happy Negroes” dissertation).
Willie, who is CEO of Duck Commander (the company that makes the Robertson clan’s patented duck call), was already in the bad books with the Tea Party crowd for campaigning in November for his “good buddy” Vance McAllister, a Republican Congressman who’d decided Obamacare might not be a half-bad thing to offer a poverty-stricken state. Willie’s endorsement helped push McAllister to victory over a Tea Party candidate.
So does that mean that Phil’s persecution has turned the Robertson family into (gasp) liberal socialists?
Uh, no. Phil’s still going around saying what he’s saying to church congregations and what have you. And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal – a Republican who led the outcry to put Phil back on the show he never left – apparently makes an appearance in Wednesday’s season premiere of Duck Dynasty.
All of which goes to prove, you can shoot your duck and eat it too. And there’s money to be made off them thar culture wars.
What Phil Robertson said to GQ
"It seems like, to me, a vagina - as a man - would be more desirable than a man's anus. 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."
"Everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong... Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behaviour and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
"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."