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1. Duck Dynasty is on television. Reality television in general has been a depressing development, and it makes for some of the lowest quality viewing available. Nothing happens during these shows, there is no plot, no reason to watch except to giggle at people bumbling along with their lives. A&E started out with a focus on biographies, dramas and arts coverage and has basically thrown in the towel and gone all in for reality TV. Is this show any better than the various House Wives spin offs or Honey Boo Boo?

2. GQ interviews Phil Robertson. Whether or not you respect everyone who has been interviewed by GQ, up until now, they have been people who have done something. Our media industry has been too quick to embrace the reality TV genre and assign its stars celebrity status. The article starts by describing Robertson and his clan as “a family of squirrel-eating, Bible-thumping, catchphrase-spouting duck hunters “. They got exactly what they expected to get, and were much too gleeful about their coup.

3. Phil Robertson’s comments. I view these as the least problematic aspect of this story. That does not mean Robertson is not willfully ignorant about the world around him. He comes across as an ignorant ass, although maybe not a hateful one. The bit about the vaginas and anuses is just that, it’s a bit. It sounds like something any vulgar stand-up comedian might say, especially pre-2000, when the mocking of gays by comedians was standard. The thing about Phil is, he can’t help mixing religion into everything, so it is half about sin, half a comedy routine about sex. The more troubling quote is about the civil rights era, and his claims that blacks were happy back then. This is willful ignorance and rationalization of the South's ugly past, versions of which I have heard from many a southerner. No one could have lived through that era in the south and not seen some things which troubled them. Again, not hateful, or even racist, unless denying the existence of racism is racism (a topic for someone else). Phil, of course, can’t resist throwing some religion in there, so it becomes about god, they had God back then so they were happy, with no comment on whether he thinks they have God and are happy now.

4. The liberal reaction. Let’s face it, many of us don’t like reality TV, bible thumping or guns. How excited were the blogs to learn that Phil was a racist homophobe. Instead of going after the guy with the beard, how about asking why A&E keeps producing this crap and why GQ is chasing down hicks in Louisiana and asking them for their perspective on civil rights (Next week, the swamp men talk about LGBT issues! Hold on to your Seat!). I really think this guy is a symptom.

5. The conservative reaction to the liberal reaction. Leave it to an idiot like Sara Palin make us all feel smart. First, she stands up for Phil, because he was speaking his mind, without actually reading his comments. Then, she defends her initial statement by saying that she didn’t need to read his comments, because Phil was talking scripture, and if we don’t like what he said, our problem is with the Bible. By the same logic, anything anyone says about the Bible must be true, which is of course impossible. Beyond her, there has been a lot of general rallying around the Phil. I can see someone feeling he has been treated unfairly, I myself lean that way a little, but when you hold him up as some kind of hero for making jokes about gays and Jim Crow denialism, you are telling us a lot about yourself. It’s like sending guns to George Zimmerman, which they have also been doing. The other big problem is their clear misunderstanding (or selective understanding) of the 1st amendment. The government cannot restrict free speech, but A&E can. In this case, they probably have been all along. I suspect Phil does his bit about anuses at least twice a day for anyone who will listen. He probably thinks it’s his best material.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I agree. except for number 5. I don't (8+ / 0-)

    have a reaction to the conservative reaction. I expect them to be full of shit. They don't disappoint.

    I especially agree with #4. We should just "jump over" Robertson and make our beef with GQ and AE. He should have already marginalized himself.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 11:52:18 AM PST

    •  Reality t.v.'s just 21st century Roman gladiators, (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GAS, lyvwyr101, dougymi, David54

      lions, slaves, and death for entertainment.

      Says (as much as or) more about the state of society and empire than it does about the quality of t.v. programming in general.

      "First, we make a commonwealth of our family. Then, we make a commonwealth of families. Then, we make of ourselves a political commonwealth. We engage in the ongoing process of self-government which, first and foremost, is a creative act." - C. Pierce

      by Superskepticalman on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 12:06:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I see it's still duck season...I thought it was (7+ / 0-)

    wabbit season already.

    Through early morning fog I see visions of the things to be the pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see...

    by Keith930 on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 11:56:17 AM PST

  •  The biggest problem I have with the whole affair,, (15+ / 0-)

    is that Robertson's defenders are trying to make a First Amendment issue out of it. Robertson has always been allowed to speak his mind without facing any penalty under the law. Whether A + E wants to continue to pay him is another matter altogether.

    "Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can't afford to double-down on trickle-down." Bill Clinton

    by irate on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 11:58:23 AM PST

  •  An interesting analysis. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101, SoCalSal, Tinfoil Hat
  •  Agree (5+ / 0-)

    Well thought out. You are looking at the bigger picture and offer a good take on our culture.  I agree totally about how depressing it all is.

  •  Reality television is the corporate (11+ / 0-)

    scab action.   Reality producers, directors and stars are nothing more than union busters.   Actors, real writers were union members.  
    No "formal" script means no paying of union wages for writers; no actors mean "wannabbees" get to do what they really have no talent to do.....act. Looking stupid, slapping people, cursing are all "melodramatic" forms of acting for those without the ability to be nuances.  

    Not all "real" actors are great, but reality "stars" are nothing more than scabs to me.  I have never watched a reality show and never will.  To me, it's the equivalent of crossing a picket line.  

    A&E, like all/most networks now, is corporate owned and it's all about the bottom line.....and lining the pockets of the suits.  Using greedy and/or stupid and/or ignorant people to get the stupid and ignorant to watch so the corporations can benefit is what it is all about.  It was a predicted dystopic world on Max Headroom...."20 minutes in the future" was where the 80s short lived scifi was set.  Uncanny how they hit the nail on the head.   A television network/corporation was essentially the government, and as such the network set citizens against each other using "reality" television.    It was a view, imo, of fascism of the near future and it is frightening to see it unfolding.

    “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both.” Louis D. Brandeis

    by Jjc2006 on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 12:10:38 PM PST

  •  Why would you choose the tag of Culture? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101

    I guess it's a rhetorical question but isn't the use of Culture is an incoherent tag for a commercial event of no value and limited notoriety?

    cul·ture
    ˈkəlCHər/
    noun
    noun: culture

        1. the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.
    "20th century popular culture" synonyms: the arts, the humanities, intellectual achievement; More literature,  music, painting, philosophy, the performing arts "exposing their children to culture" a refined understanding or appreciation of this. "men of culture" synonyms:    intellectual/artistic awareness, education, cultivation, enlightenment, discernment, discrimination, good taste, taste, refinement, polish, sophistication More "a man of culture"  the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group. plural noun: cultures. "Caribbean culture" synonyms:    civilization, society, way of life, lifestyle; More customs, traditions, heritage, habits, ways, mores, values  "Afro-Caribbean culture" the attitudes and  behavior characteristic of a particular social group. "the emerging drug culture"

    2. Biology
    the cultivation of bacteria, tissue cells, etc., in an artificial medium containing nutrients....

    •  i'll take definition 2, for 200, Alex (0+ / 0-)
      in an artificial medium containing nutrients
      after seeing the Robertsons before/after, maybe the beard medium is artificial...

      "Did they really think that we wouldn't notice? Nice try-- but we got you!" Rev. Al Sharpton

      by growingMajorityMN on Mon Dec 30, 2013 at 06:41:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What about media coverage? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lyvwyr101, jayden

    To me the story isn't a story about homophobia.  Its a story about the weakening of the conservative movement.  It used to be that the right had the power to enforce a political dialog that demonized GLBTQ and degraded African-Americans.  To me, it sounded like he needs to fill out a hurt feelings report.  The bad old days are not dead and buried but we are a bit closer than a few years ago.  

    I'm a 4 Freedoms Democrat.

    by DavidMS on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 12:38:47 PM PST

  •  Here's what bothers me (7+ / 0-)

    It is what has always bothered me.

    Supposedly, we watch people for what they are good at.   Nolan Ryan was good at pitching.   We watched him for the beauty of his pitch, not his wonderful personality.    When he pitched a fit, however, and beat up another player, people were shocked, shocked, shocked that he was not a perfect role model for their kids.   .  

    Why?   No one ever said he was the "best" at being an even-tempered person or a role model.  He was good at pitching.  He was not a role model.   He was a baseball pitcher.

    In the same way, Duck Dynasty are people who are good at making duck calls, and good at being stereotypical rednecks.  Guess what stereotypical rednecks do?   They have typical stereotypical redneck attitudes.   I am always amazed that people are shocked, shocked, shocked to discover that people who become famous for one aspect of their personality or abilities are not "perfect".   Especially if their skill or ability is making people laugh at how they are stereotypical rednecks.  

    I think there is some value in watching reality shows.  They are like little mini-sociology episodes.  Watch the monkeys in the forest brush.  Watch the rednecks in the swamp.  Watch the truck drivers on the icy mountain roads.   It's like going to the zoo.    But, don't expect they don't cuss, swear, spit and act like bigots, just like, sometimes, at the zoo, you might see one animal eat another animal, as happened recently.   They weren't put on this Earth to be role models for your children.   Learn something about them from watching them, but don't emulate them.   Children can cope with seeing the ugly in life.  Just help them see that it is ugly.   Or, at least, teach them to only emulate the aspects that they are actually good at.  Learn to pitch like Nolan Ryan, but don't learn to hit people upside the head like he does.

    I think Duck Dynasty has some value, in that it allows people to see the native redneck in his natural habitat and raises a discussion of bigoted attitudes, and religion's role in supporting bigoted attitudes.   Oddly enough, as familiar as it is to me, and for that reason Duck Dynasty has absolutely no interest for me, it's strange and unfamiliar to some people, and interesting.    I also think A&E took the right approach, in using separate messages to call out bigotry, and not trying to pretend that the rednecks in their native environment have had a sudden change of heart.   Because, they haven't.   I don't mind if that fact is publicized and emphasized.  It's a hardened attitude around here, and it doesn't hurt for more people to be aware of that fact.  Good or bad, it's the truth, and it's better that it be known, than for the redneck lifestyle to be glamorized, while the ugly reality of redneck attitudes to be hidden.  If we are going to show the redneck in his native habitat, lets show all of it.

    I have enjoyed other reality shows, like watching people who live in Alaska, or learning more about the FLDS -- very creepy.  It has caused me to ponder many things, like the state's responsibilities in intervening in a parent's relationship with their child.   Freedom of religion, versus issues of child sexual abuse, and other forms of neglect (failing to provide a child with knowledge or skills to live within society, or what appears to be a form of imprisonment), and where is the line between brainwashing, or teaching your child your beliefs?  I have absolutely no interest in rednecks, because I only need to look out my front window to watch those.  But, I do see some value in reality shows, in exposing people to a world outside of what they can see out their windows, and raising questions like pondering the relationship between homophobia and religion, particularly in the context of a people who have an obsession with guns and hunting.

    People still amaze (and deeply disappoint) me, though, when they seem to think that everyone they see on TV should be a role model for their children.

    I think it best, at an early age, to help your kids understand that no person is a role model.   Each person probably has one or two things that they can teach you, and every person has any number of things that you should not emulate.   But, you should never emulate every aspect of a person, indiscriminately.

  •  Note that Robertson is a multimillionaire playing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, a2nite, historys mysteries

    at being poor.   So it is really just TV doing what it always does -- the rich covering the rich (even when they are pretending to be poor.)    

    Look up Anderson Cooper's bio.

    •  Yes, a multimillionaire with masters degree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries

      in education, whose sons appeared to be very preppy not so long ago.

      At all times, day by day, we have to continue fighting for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom from fear, and freedom from want—for these are things that must be gained in peace as well as in war. - Eleanor Roosevelt

      by SoCalSal on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 02:45:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The real question is why does GQ print this junk (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, historys mysteries

    So why do we care that some guy on TV has racist or homophobic or has generally uninformed and stupid opinions?   What is the goal of repeating such trash?   So we can feel superior?    

    What it does instead is to make those far out opinions seem more reasonable and prevalent and give comfort to the bigots that they are not alone.  

  •  The Robertsons eat squirrel? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy

    I'll send them a few of mine.

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 01:54:03 PM PST

  •  Dear FSM - I am so bored with this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries

    I do not watch "reality" tv. I do not watch Who wants to be a gazillionaire, Big Brother, the X Factor, real Housewives of anywhere, or any of this pseudo fly on the wall, in reality scripted/planned BS.

    Therefore, I have zero interest in what Robinson, Kardashian, Snooky or any of these useless additions to the human gene pool have to say on any issue whatsoever.

    The whole thing is a contrived, false and condescending con trick on low information viewers, and I wouldn't be surprised if the whole Duck Dynasty BS was contrived by the marketing department.

  •  Duck who? (nt) (0+ / 0-)

    warning: snark probably above

    by NE2 on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 06:08:36 PM PST

  •  What bothers me the most about it, (0+ / 0-)

    personally, is that I've seen people on this very site defend him.

  •  A&E now owns anything the Robertson says (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    growingMajorityMN

    and does, if they do not speak out against marrying and having sex with minors. Especially since in most states a 15 year old is under the age of consent, how can she legally be married?

    They already own everything else the lovely family has said so far.

    A&E has now given Robertson tacit consent to say pretty much anything he wants.  And they have given him the microphone to do it.  So its on them.

    Main stream churches increasingly are accepting same sex marriages and more and more Americans are accepting as well.  That is a dead end that the right and pseudo christians are taking.

    With luck this will be part of the beginning of the end for the TeePeers.

  •  Good Post & Comments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IsaacKuo

    I suspect that a lot of people fail to understand that millions of Americans share Robertson's opinions. I've never watched Duck Dynasty but I think everyone who identifies themselves as a liberal should have to watch a few episodes to gain a better understanding of what it is (and who it is) that we are up against.

    We, as liberals, really need to understand these people and learn how to engage them in meaningful discussion without sounding sarcastic or condescending.

    John Galt is a fictional character in a poorly written novel by an adulterous Russian philosopher who believed that selfishness is a virtue and that God and the family have no place in society.

    by Hey Driver on Sun Dec 29, 2013 at 10:17:03 PM PST

  •  And you could probably add #6 (0+ / 0-)

    6) the incessant diaries and posts about the whole affair right here at DailyKos (yeah, I get the irony in making this very post . .. ).

  •  Can't exaggerate how ghastly and vapid (0+ / 0-)

    ...television programming is nowadays. It's immune to satire because no hyperbole can exceed what's actually being broadcast.

    Remember the James Caan version of Rollerball? Or 'Deathrace 2000'? They were both meant to be absurdly over the top satire, yet today they read as reality TV.

    Anything for a buck. I fully expect to see televised 'extreme combat' leading to the actual on-screen death of the loser within the next decade.

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