What the Duck?
I bet you think this week’s column is going to be about Duck Dynasty, the A&E reality show that in recent days has undergone a public outpouring of support due to one of the main characters outspoken behavior. If you don’t know about this story then you are either living in a cave or like me, just don’t care. What I do care about is freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
Let me fill you in. Phil Robertson, a hunter, family man and the entrepreneur behind the brand Duck Commander gave an interview to GQ Magazine. Duck Commander is a license brand of hunting gear, everything from duck calls to camouflage wear. Long before the television network A&E brought the Robinson family in to the national spotlight, Phil and his family were doing quite well with their product sales.
Five years ago, the television executives thought it would be a great idea to put these backwoods geniuses in a reality television series called Duck Dynasty. After all, these gun totting, Jesus loving, family dinner table hosts would make for great fun for viewers to laugh at and with during their day to day grind as duck call / hunting gear manufacturers.
During the series run, off camera, the leader of the flock, Phil Robertson complained about A&E video editors. Phil made claims that the family, as well as himself, had been censored even bleeped when there was no profanity used. The bad word “Jesus.” Phil’s complaints fell on deaf ears at A&E, after all Duck Dynasty was their product and neither Phil of Jesus was going to stop that cash truck from rolling on.
What a product Duck Dynasty has become. CNN Money calls Duck Dynasty a retail-merchandising powerhouse. But there s more, boosting A&E’s ratings as much as 18%, A&E’s new feathered friends were a gold mine and the network was going to be saved. Nothing comes close to Duck Dynasty, but it was a powder keg waiting to blow.
Though I do not watch this camo clad clan, many and I mean many people tune in and a new season is scheduled to start, but wait, did you read the interview with head quack Phil Robertson? The A&E executives did, and they were not happy with the outspoken Phil.
It seems that Phil Robertson is a self-proclaimed bible thumper that just talks about the “sin of homosexuality compared to bestiality” and well, some other comments that won’t make this story. It would also seem that Phil Robertson is the same person A&E decided to jump into business with and they got what they bargained for. It was really no surprise to fans that Phil Robertson thinks homosexuals are committing sin, so you have to ask yourself, was A&E really surprised? Well, they sure are acting as though it is a big surprise. A&E has decided that Phil needs a timeout and announced that Phil must sit in the corner until he learns to behave. The family has disagreed with the ban and A&E and issued a statement that proclaims they will no longer do the show for A&E if the ban on Phil is not lifted.
Fans of the show have flocked together with a call for a boycott of A&E as well as petitions in support of Phil. Can A&E afford to lose their cash cow? Will they buckle under the pressure of the shows loyal followers? It is a lot of loyal followers according to the Neilson ratings, over 12 million, that is 2 million more than the final episode of Breaking Bad.
As I have stated I just don’t care. I never have liked extremism and now I can add Phil Robertson to my list. Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Slusinger and now Phil are all off my Christmas list.
What I do care about is Phil’s right to say what he said and his right to religion. You do not have to agree with what a person says, but you need to respect their right to say it, no matter how nutty it may sound. Phil Robertson appears to me as a person who never really cared about public opinion. Having researched this story I get the sense the man is devout in his beliefs and is not willing to back down for any amount of money.
That is cool.
Having strong convictions, when you can afford to have strong convictions is one thing. But with a personality like Phil’s, in my opinion, he could be living under a bridge and his religious conviction as well as his outward look at homosexuals would not be altered. He really feels the way he speaks and that just might be the attraction for fans; Phil and the rest of the family’s outspoken honesty regarding their beliefs and opinions.
Regardless of who you are or your beliefs, it is your right granted by the constitution of the United States to speak, it is also up to you to decide if it is the message you want to hear.
Dennis Phillips / Publisher