Critique and Illustration by: Chris Talbot-Heindl
This whole Duck Dynasty thing has gotten out of hand.
Let’s ignore the fact that no one should be watching this garbage in the first place or give two shits what Phil Robertson thinks about homosexuals or anything else. I didn’t know this show existed until a few days ago, and my opinion after watching quite a few stupid clips is this: why does anyone care what this man thinks? He makes a living teaching people how to fool ducks into thinking they are about to get laid so he can riddle their bodies with bullets. He was an alcoholic, abusive asshole who found Jesus and is it really any wonder that he made an anti-homosexual remark considering his geographic placement, his born-again Christianity, and his choice in livelihood (reality TV; I’m sure duck hunters are very forward thinking).
Let’s ignore that.
Let’s also ignore that what the man said is not what the mainstream media is saying he said. He did not exactly say that homosexuality and bestiality are the same thing. He did not compare a sexual act between two consenting adults who happen to be of the same sex to a person having non-consensual (because an animal cannot consent) sex with an animal. Again, I’m giggling a little considering that he teaches people to fool ducks…oh, nevermind.
What Phil Robertson actually said was that a sin is a sin is a sin. This shouldn’t be surprising at all considering his faith. All sins are sins and it doesn’t matter if you lie or kill, it’s still a sin. According to Robertson, homosexuality is a sin.
In other words, this particular discretion isn’t akin to what Mike & Molly or as I like to refer to them as, Myopic & Malicious did where even after a meeting with GLAAD, they made a transphobic episode – they meaning an entire team of writers, directors, executive directors, and actors. This was one, fundamentalist’s opinion taken out of context.
Let’s ignore that. Partly, because that isn’t the argument here, and partly because in 2010, he actually did say something far more offensive about homosexuals, so he does believe it, even if he didn’t actually say it (this time).
I want to talk about all this hoopla surrounding the first amendment. I don’t think it means what people think it means.
The first amendment doesn’t insulate you from any and all consequences to the things you say. You can’t say, “I love me some crack cocaine,” and not expect to be investigated if you are the mayor of Toronto. You can’t say, “My boss is a son of a bitch,” in the middle of a corporate meeting and expect to keep your job.
If you are on a reality TV show that is hosted by a television network that has ratings and ad revenue to consider and you piss off a large chunk of the population by saying something that could be interpreted as “homosexuality is akin to bestiality because Jesus” [I’m paraphrasing], you may be suspended from said television network and show.
You may have the right to say anything, but you also have the right to the consequences of the things that you say.
Mayor Ford doesn’t have a constitutional right to smoke his crack cocaine; you don’t have a constitutional right to your job after you insult your boss in front of clients even if he is a son of a bitch; and I think everyone knows that Robertson doesn’t have a constitutional right to be on a reality TV show.
This isn’t a first amendment issue. And that is that.