What’s Wrong with the World

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Let the Duck Flap Give you a Lift This Christmas

First, full disclosure: I don't have TV channels and don't watch any regular TV shows, including Duck Dynasty. I have a computer and can see a lot of stuff on Youtube, and I have several DVD-capable computers and a free-standing DVD player, so I probably could if I wanted to, but I've never done so.

But I'm going to take it as read that I have a very general idea of the nature of the Robertson family and the show. And of course all of my readers know what has happened: Phil Robertson, family patriarch, expressed disapproval of homosexual acts in an earthily worded interview with GQ. He even, shocka, called the homosexual lifestyle sin. The A & E network then tried to slap him down by suspending him while oh-so-graciously not suspending the rest of his family members who are also on the show. Perhaps A & E was hoping that the family would bring him to apologize or would try to continue the show without him. The family, however, is holding firm and indicating that they will not go forward with the show without him and that they stand with him and approve of his comments as an expression of biblical morality.

As I see it, while A & E's homofascist behavior is not good news, the story as a whole is at this point a win-win for Christian conservatives, provided the Robertsons continue in their stand.

On the one hand, if A & E will not back down and the family walks away from the show, we have a rare example of disapproval of homosexual behavior which is not followed by an apology. (Contrast the Barilla exec's complete capitulation in Italy, for example.) The network will lose big-time on the bottom line if the show is dropped, and that's good news in terms of seeing the bullies get their just desserts, though it is a sobering thought that the homosexualist religion means more to a TV network than cold, hard cash. On the other hand, if A & E blinks and brings Phil back, the family gets to keep its integrity while the bullies will have been made to back down at least an inch.

Right now I'm betting that the show will end but that A & E will get a costly lesson: A gigantic number of American people are not buying the lie that full approval of homosexuality is merely expected and mainstream. It isn't yet, anyway, as the support for Robertson shows.

If you're a curmudgeon on TV and celebrities, don't be so much of a curmudgeon as to miss the encouragement this story gives us. I don't watch TV, but I recognize a cultural showdown when I see one, and, as I read it, the good guys are winning this round. A & E's intent appears to have been to slap those rednecked Christians back into line, and it is backfiring on them. The Robertsons are holding firm, not to be bullied.

Yes, it's true, they can afford to do so, because they are already millionaires apart from the show. But there's no reason to be bitter on that account. If anything, that places even more of a responsibility on them to be that example and encouragement to their fellow Christians who are less fortunate and more vulnerable. That they've stepped up to the plate is cause for satisfaction and pleasure.

So, amidst the darkness of this world, here at this darkest time of the year in these northerly latitudes, let the duck flap give you a little lift going into Christmas.

The light shines in darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

Comments (13)

To be perfectly honest, I am still puzzled as to why this particular episode of liberal bullying has generated such a huge backlash. The main difference I can see is that Robertson is the star of a popular show among the red state rank and file, and if there's one thing an American wants left unmolested, by God it's his reality TV show of choice. Maybe it sounds as though I'm trying hard not to take heart, but that's really not it. It's just that I can understand why now, and why on this issue?

Whatever the answer might be, taken together with the Chik-fil-A business, the left's braying that they have won the final battle and are just in the cleanup phase, is still a bit premature, at least on the issue of normalizing homosexuality. I've never believed that there were nearly so many people who in the heart of hearts genuinely had no misgivings about homosexual "marriages," or the normalization of sodomy in general, as it sometimes appears.

Since I don't watch the show, I'm probably not in a good position to explain really eloquently exactly what it is about this family that appeals to people, but I think you _should_ take heart. I gather that many an ordinary red-stater has been pleased and encouraged by the unabashedly Christian nature of the family--their praying on the shows, for example. Now, that's a healthy thing. Then, when it turns out that A & E doesn't want Christians really to be Christians in their beliefs, that provokes a backlash. Much like the Chik-Fil-A flap, in fact. I think the bullying tactic has been too overt, too crude, too faux-shocked, and a lot of ordinary people are saying, "Enough is enough." This is all to the good. Entirely a good thing, I think.

I think, too, that it's a natural human reaction to find it easier to get behind someone whom everyone has heard of and where one feels that one is part of potentially successful move to make someone take notice. If some guy named John Smith is fired in Kalamazoo for standing up to homosexual bullying at Stryker Corporation (and something like that is extremely plausible, if you know anything about Stryker), people feel helpless and hopeless. They know they probably aren't going to get very far with a Facebook page called "I stand with John Smith." John Smith may be doing something a lot more heroic than Phil Robertson, because Smith may really have needed the job, but his supporters won't be able to generate a lot of momentum for helping him. I don't think this is necessarily a sign that people are superficial and only care about celebrities. It has to do rather with the desire for a standard bearer whom you don't have to explain about every time you start making a statement: "I know you all have never heard of John Smith of Kalamazoo, but let me tell you why I stand with him." And it's a sign that people like to feel that they are standing shoulder to shoulder with a larger crowd of witnesses than five. Maybe there's some shallowness there, but I'm somewhat inclined to excuse it.

So part of the answer to why here and why now is simply that this is a really well-known person who has taken a stand that a lot of people are afraid to take, and all the little people who feel somewhat helpless and voiceless are glad to have someone high-profile behind whom to rally.

As I think I said on the other thread, I suspect part of the reason folks are willing to "stand with Phil" is because he and the whole Duck Commander clan are so likeable -- these aren't just crazy rednecks but Bible-believing, business-savvy, fun-loving (in the sense that they don't take themselves too seriously and like to laugh at each other first and foremost) family. My girls and I just get to like them more and more as we watch more episodes -- we feel like we are really getting to know a lot of different, but enjoyable neighbors that we would never have living here in the big city.

By the way, Pastor Wilson was just great when he first wrote about the affair:


I particularly liked this part:

He [Phil Robertson] didn’t refer it to a study commission. He didn’t circumlocute the heck of it. He didn’t get well-known authors to blurb the comments he was about to make (for many of them, had they been asked, would have declined to do so). He didn’t check in with the feelings of Rachel Held Evans beforehand. He just went and said it.

Wilson's had some good follow-up thoughts as well -- you should check out his blog for updates.

(Contrast the Barilla exec's complete capitulation in Italy, for example.)

Yep. It's store-brand pasta for me lately.

Jeff, Wilson's column is pretty good, but I'm a little wry about the fact that he spends approximately half his words telling us that A & E has "every right" to enforce doctrinal purity. Yes and no. From a legal point of view, as I've said many times, we will get the worst of both worlds if we allegedly have non-discrimination laws (which allegedly include religion) but these are not enforced to protect Christians while being enforced to protect every loony religion and every perversion out there. It may be that Robertson is an independent contractor with A & E and that this gives them a legal out, but I haven't investigated that, and Wilson shouldn't be quite so quick even in legal positivist terms to declare that they "have every right." Second, the phrase "every right" sounds like there's *nothing wrong* with what they are doing, whereas, legality aside, there is *everything wrong* with what they are doing. Third, Wilson seems a little hesitant to say that the reason A & E is wrong is that their homosexualist religion is wrong, that truth matters, and that ham-handedly enforcing a perverted ideology is bad for reasons that go beyond hypocrisy.


All good points, but I took Wilson to be saying something different (maybe because I read him regularly, I know he has a strong libertarian side to him). I had the sense that what he meant by A&E should be allowed to enforce their "worldview" was that Christians likewise should be allowed to do the same, and all non-discrimination laws should go away -- in other words let us all associate with who we want to associate with. He was speaking of an ideal, not of legal realities on the ground, so to speak.

Now since I'm not a libertarian, I don't think this is a good solution in the long-run to how to build a just society; but it might point a way forward for America given our First Amendment and past tradition of federalism. Let California and/or New York City turn into modern day Sodom and Gomorrah but let us traditional Christians run the rest of the country the way we want to run it with no so called "same-sex" marriage, criminalized homosexuality, illegal abortions, public celebrations of faith, prayers in schools, etc., etc.

Yes, I too have a very strong libertarian streak and would ultimately advocate tossing out all non-discrimination laws. In fact, I might even regard that as a good solution in the long run, because non-discrimination laws lead inexorably to quotas and are also bound to be subjective and high-handed in much enforcement, reaching as they do to minuscule details of motivation in a zillion hiring and employment decisions. That being said, I think Christians should fight within the current state of law so that we aren't the one religious group to whose functional ostracism the law turns a blind eye while requiring us to associate with employees, etc., who mock at and flaunt our beliefs--in other words, fight the double standard. Whether Wilson would say that or not, I don't know. The thing is, though, that he probably should at least say that what A & E is doing is morally wrong, regardless of libertarian ideals, because they are out of touch with truth and reality at multiple levels. In *that* sense, they certainly *don't* "have a right to" do what they are doing, any more than they "have a right" to promote sexual perversion.

Those of you that haven't watched it should watch it. You'll understand why Phil has gotten so much support after watching a single episode where he really goes into his background and faith. He's not like most Christians on TV. He's the real deal and you can almost quite literally feel it through the TV.

Lydia, I should've been more clear that I do in fact take heart, whatever the reasons for it. And your speculation that Robertson is a person people can in some sense feel connected to, and that as a public figure his persecution is more likely to be seen as symbolic, is very plausible. (It's also more charitable than my initial impression, so it has that going for it too.) In any case, as surprising as all this has been to me, it has also been very encouraging. Even some of my more libertine associations have expressed satisfaction at the public backlash over all this. So one of the things we might safely conclude is that the radicals in places at HRC and GLAAD do not really command much love or loyalty among the general public, any more than do PETA or Greenpeace, both of whom have squandered their good names by...well, by being leftist loonies.

It's worth noting, by the way, that in response to a predictably crushing response by its customers, Cracker Barrel has backed down from its mind-numbingly insane decision to pull all the Duck Dynasty swag from their restaurants. What is so nuts about this kind of thing is that these companies appear to be operating on the assumption that most people are big homosexual rights advocates, or at least that most people are very close to some offended homosexuals.

This is a case of propaganda eclipsing reality, though, as most people are not big homosexual rights advocates, nor (in my experience) are they nearly as comfortable with homosexuality as they claim to be, nor are they particularly well acquainted with lots of homosexual couples whom they regard as close friends or family. It's easy to see how the people at A&E might lose sight of the truth, given who actually runs that joint and what the prevailing culture is there. What is more bracing is how thoroughly the lie has been perpetrated on the public (to include business leaders) that homosexuals are approximately as numerous in America as are, say, Hispanics. I've read elsewhere that Cracker Barrel has a history of being hounded by these people, but still, it's almost inconceivable that they'd really think it made more sense from a business standpoint to alienate viewers of Duck Dynasty, than it would to offend the truculent types who give money to GLAAD and would walk out if they saw a Duck Dynasty shirt on sale.

In the end, I think that's what has really gotten people to cry "Enough!" There is something transparently tyrannical about the notion that a group of people that everyone knows deep down represent neither a sizable minority nor even a normal and well-adjusted one ought to be calling the shots for the whole of society.

That's _exactly_ right, Sage. When liberals burble about A & E's prerogative to do what it did, they (probably deliberately) ignore the paralyzingly transparent pretense here: That Robertson's comments were horribly offensive to the mainstream majority of Americans. They are trying to make that true by pretending it is true, but it isn't true. The ordinary American is tired of being treated as invisible. A & E doesn't really want to be thought to be a wholly owned subsidiary of a small, devout homosexualist sect, and their defenders shouldn't use the equivalent of a religious liberty defense. Their faux outrage is supposed to convey the idea that *everybody* is outraged by Robertson's position, that being enthusiastically on board with the homosexual agenda is, now, simply The American Way. They need to make up their minds: Are they really telling us that they are just reflecting the views of their viewership in this decision, or are they really telling us that homosexualism is the private, minority religion of the A & E execs and that they are living as they believe their god would have them live?

(Btw, I believe Cracker Barrel only tried to pull the Duck Dynasty merchandise that had large pictures of Phil's face on it. But they had to back down on that as well, thus showing that Cracker Barrel execs, at least, are still maintaining their ties to the actual opinions of the majority of their actual customers, not a religiously zealous commitment to homosexualism as such.)

Your nuance on the Cracker Barrel merchandising situation is basically right, and I also note that the apology they issued to their customers is an astonishingly forthright and sincere-sounding one. No weasel words, no devil-made-us-do-it excuse-making, no vague references to "whoever may have been offended," etc. Just a simple "We screwed up, we were wrong, we're sorry."

Contrast that with K-Mart, who responded via Facebook to the disgust expressed by its customers over a racy Christmas ad with the words, quote-unquote, "Haters gonna hate."

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