Like everyone else I’m watching the Phil Robertson / Duck Dynasty dust up. Unlike Paula Deen, who was shouted into obscurity, I do not think the Robertson clan will go gentle into that good night, nor should they. In fact, some of the loudest noise being made betrays a cultural hatred of the South and Southerners in my opinion. Unfortunately it is against that backdrop that pandering politicians inevitably enter the fray insuring any sort of meaningful dialogue will never result. That said there are a couple of pieces of punditry on this I thought were provocative and excellent:
A&E Cannot Bear Very Much Reality ~ Andrew Sullivan
The Duck Dynasty Fiasco Says More About Our Bigotry Than Phil’s ~ Brandon Ambrosino
Ambrosino, a professional dancer from Baltimore, comes the closest to the reality here:
I’m undecided on whether or not I think Phil actually is homophobic, although I certainly think his statement was offensive, and not only to the LGBT community. But I also think that if I were to spend a day calling ducks with Phil, I’d probably end up liking him — even in spite of his position on gay men. It’s quite possible to throw one’s political support behind traditional, heterosexual marriage, and yet not be bigoted.
My own two cents is Phil is what he is. In the rural deep South, life is still about God and family. Most of those folks try to live their lives by the Good Book and if the Book tells them certain things such as homosexuality are wrong you’re not gonna convince Phil otherwise. It is a discussion I’ve had many times with people just like Phil in fact.
Not surprisingly, folks like Phil view their way of life as being under attack by secular forces they can’t control. Celebrities like Matt Stone and Trey Parker over at South Park, whose body of work includes the Most Offensive Song Ever, are generally celebrated by the media while Fundamentalist Christians like Phil are simultaneously pummeled for their beliefs. I can see their point even as I disagree with mixing their religious doctrine with the functions of the Government.
In my 25 or so years traveling all over rural Mississippi, never once has my opinion that every citizen of this country deserves the full slate of civil rights guaranteed under our constitution been held against me by folks like Phil. The South is a complicated place or as Richard Ford once observed that Mississippi “has so many writers, because it has so much to explain.” There is a difference between choosing to lead a simple life and being a simpleton. Phil’s loudest critics would be wise to understand the difference.