About a month ago I went to my local CVS and found myself walking past a display of cups with the faces of really homely bearded men on them. They looked something like a biker gang, totally incongruously placed next to a display of singing Christmas elves. This was my introduction to Duck Dynasty.
You see, I am a coast-hugging liberal elitist.
I paid it no mind, since I was pretty sure these guys were not lovingly raising prized ducks but probably doing something related to firearms and the demise of said ducks. Not my kind of show. And certainly not my kind of drinkware.
And, then, of course, this week. The family patriarch said something about women’s vaginas being more alluring than men’s anuses (ani? I am not particularly drawn to either, so I’ll refrain from opining on that specific topic). He said some racist crap too. And A&E fired him. Errr… “indefinitely suspended” him.
So, the central question is not whether the duck-murdering redneck is a racist and homophobe, but about what ideas can get expressed in the public square. Lots of people are throwing around claims that the Duck Man’s First Amendment rights are being violated. These people have apparently never read said amendment, which begins “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” (There’s some stuff about religion in the middle of all that too… Congress can’t outlaw the hillbilly’s church either, even though it turned him into a homophobe and a racist).
So… Congress. Not A&E. A&E, being a for-profit enterprise, can do whatever it wants to protect itself from the outrage against Duckie’s nonsense. I’ll even bet there is a good, strong clause in the Quacker’s contract saying just that.
Now, having said that, do I agree with the firing? I’d be a hypocrite if I said that I do entirely. I don’t particularly respect the culture of banishment that political correctness has created. I thought the Bashir thing was blown out of proportion, along with many other such instances in which someone said one wrong thing and got their whole livelihood taken away from them. I can’t only believe that when people from my end of the political spectrum are affected. If I’m principled, that is, which I’d like to believe I am.
More people watch Duck Dynasty than tuned in to the much-heralded season finale of Breaking Bad. So, yeah, it’s apparently a thing. And this guy has just bought himself serious martyr cred from the Sarah Palin-loving crowd. He’ll be fine. He will be a rock star on their speaking circuit and their show will pop up under a different name on some other more redneck-tolerant outlet. (Perhaps back-to-back with the Pat Robertson show?). His livelihood, far from being ruined, has just been assured. But it still bothers me that A&E was so weak-kneed. They knew who he was when they were profiting from him. They regularly cut out his more born-again nonsense in editing. The pearl-clutching is a little disingenuous.
So, in sum, kids, no one violated the Quackmaster’s First Amendment rights. You’re fighting the wrong battle, people.
A note to hunters: to the 6% of Americans who actually hunt to put enough food on their family’s table, no disrespect is intended. My issue is with hunting for sport, not nourishment. I am a meat eater and I’m aware that my food is also murdered. I am conflicted and not judging you.