Yikes! It has been a long time since I have written, and verbally lacerated someone or something, and it’s not that there have not been worthy candidates, but family, work, wedding, you know things get busy, but recently there has been something a brewing that makes my brain boil, and I felt it necessary to add my two cents while I have a little time off from work for winter break (see I didn’t say Christmas there, uh oh!…but more on that stupid topic later).
That something you ask? Well unless you have been living under a rock, the controversy over Phil Robertson’s indefinite suspension from A&E’s ratings cash cow Duck Dynasty has people all a tither. Seriously. This is something people are getting worked up about. Not quite sure what that says about the prioritization of issues in the lives of Americans, but that is an issues for another article.
So here is the background, in case you have actually been living under a rock:
Phil, the patriarch of the family that is really wealthy for inventing some duck call thing-a-majig, answered a question in an interview for GQ magazine, and his remarks were homophobic and racist (I’ll let you look those up on your own, or assume you have already read/heard them), and apparently this is not the first time he has voiced this sentiment.
In a recently unearthed video from 2010, Robertson is seen stating, “They (homosexuals) committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion,” he added. “They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant God haters. They are heartless. They are faithless. They are senseless. They are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.” Yup.
A&E (which is partly owned by Disney) didn’t want to be associated with these statements, so they quickly distanced themselves from the situation by suspending Phil indefinitely. Ok. That should have been it. A&E is a corporation, they want to save face, save sponsorship, and money. In the end it is all about money, but so what? They are a business, they have the right to do what they deem in the best interest of the company. This is why any company/brand that has a celebrity or athlete endorsing their product that ends up in the middle of a scandal, is quickly dropped, a la Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant, Alec Baldwin etc.
So why are people so up in arms about this particular situation, you ask? Good question. Because free speech, and The Bible, and people are stupid. It’s like Einstein said, “There are two things that are infinite: the universe, and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the universe.” Well it is probably good that dear old Al didn’t live to see the internet age.
So let’s tackle these issues one at a time.
1st: Freedom of Speech
The first item on the list, and coincidentally the first right guaranteed to the citizens of the United States of America in the Bill of Rights (the Founding Fathers are probably rolling over in their graves) is the first amendment.
Here is the actual wording of said Amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Fairly clear language, and yes, you have the right to say whatever you want. HOWEVER, what many (far too many) people don’t get is that freedom of speech does not equal freedom from consequences.
When Sarah Palin tweeted, “Free speech is an endangered species. Those “intolerants” hatin’ and talking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for…” she didn’t get this simple fact, or many simple facts for that matter, but again, that is an issue for another article.
And isn’t it just a little/a lot bit hypocritical that Palin and her Tea Party compadres are coming to the defense of the first amendment, but when Martin Bashir called Palin a “world class idiot” for comparing the United States borrowing money from China to slavery, his resignation was called for by Palin and Co., and granted by MSNBC. No issue there for them, but hypocrisy is probably too big of a word for her to understand, and let’s be honest, if Sarah Palin is coming to your rescue, you’re probably screwed.
Ok, back on track. Sure, say whatever the hell you want, but just be aware that you can be sued for slander, libel, harassment, or used against you in a court of law, or fired, or in my case, the people that are saying stupid shit on my Facebook feed are finding themselves quickly de-friended.
You see how that works? You have the right to say whatever you want (Yay! First amendment!), and post any inane status that you think people are interested in, but I have the right to de-friend you, A&E has the right to fire you, and it’s still all on the up and up.
Is that enough to settle that argument? I feel like it is enough, and fairly understandable, but I am sure there are probably some people that still won’t get it, and thus I will defer to those wise words of Einstein.
On to issue two: The Bible
Ok, I am going to tread VERY lightly here, and try to remain as objective as possible, but I fear some sarcasm and snark will just creep in… So, beyond people sighting the first amendment as reasonable logic for Phil not being suspended (which I think I stated was much to the contrary in the above section), people are also saying, “Well, he is just stating what is in The Bible, and you can’t fire someone for their beliefs etc. etc. etc.” I super paraphrased that from a lot of quotes in a lot of articles for instance, this gem from the spawn of the aforementioned Sarah Palin, Bristol (Remember this is the girl that was an unmarried pregnant teenager, and no judgment from me, but I think The Bible has some passages on that topic too.), “Everyone needs to leave Phil Robertson alone for expressing his beliefs. I think it’s so hypocritical how the LGBT community expects every single flippen person to agree with their life style. This flies in the face of what makes America great – people can have their own beliefs and own opinions and their own ways of life. Everyone needs to treat others like God would, with love. ” My brain just imploded.
I don’t. I can’t. Where to begin? First, I don’t speak for the LGBT community here, but I am pretty sure they aren’t saying you have to agree with them, just don’t spew your hate, vitriol, and bigotry at them, which is what Phil was doing, and not treating people like your God would. So? Yeah. And let’s not forget Phil’s racist remarks as well, or is too much for African Americans to ask for you to agree with them in believing that they should be equal, and not discriminated against on the basis of race. Oh right, but Jesus and Santa Claus are white, so I think we have some issues here…(ok, I couldn’t avoid that one. Megyn Kelly set up that perfect spike).
Also, The Bible cannot be the go to defense for everything because not everyone believes in your Christian God, or is religious, or has the same interpretation of The Bible as you. I am not going to get into a whole long lecture about the history of The Bible, the meaning of the phrase ‘lost in translation’, or how many pick and choose hypocritical believers there are out there who have never actually read the entire bible, and truly misinterpret the message it contains (and yes, I studied this a lot in college).
I think it is fair to say that one thing Bristol said was fairly accurate; God just wants you to love, but that wasn’t what Phil was doing with his remarks. Why is it so hard to just say that? Why are people picking this guy to throw down the gauntlet for?
He had his right to say what he said, but it was deemed hateful and ignorant, and he is now suffering the consequences. Case closed. No more posts, statuses, or chain message needed. It’s a stupid show. Get over it. That’s my right to say that, and you can de-friend me if you want, that is your right. End rant.