As you may have heard, Phil Robertson, of “Duck Dynasty” fame, has been suspended after slamming gays in an interview (that appears in the January issue of GQ).
To be clear, I have never watched Duck Dynasty, but not having had my head completely buried in the sand I am well aware of A&E’s hit show.
This is not about the value (or lack thereof) of the show. This is not about the value of ducks.
This is about the conflict between the right of an individual (no matter how stupid and misguided) to express his opinions (no matter how stupid or misguided) versus the right of society (and a network) to say that there are some opinions that are so offensive we will not tolerate them. Especially not when they are blurted out by a Big Star in a Very Public Way.
It’s not an easy issue.
I saw a (very unfortunate) post on LinkedIn commenting on A&E’s decision to suspend Robertson: For telling the truth …. ??? If they suspend one of us, they suspend all of us Therefore I’m done with A&E
What’s even more unfortunate is that a lot of people not only agreed but went even further in their rhetoric.
Part of the problem is trying to understand who gets to define “truth.”
Apparently, Duck boy spoke the truth as he believes it. Of course he did it in an incendiary and provocative way that did nobody any good. A&E stated the truth as they see it. But who gets to decide which one is right (besides me, I mean).
I think this is an issue that We The People are going to have to deal with in the not too distant future. It’s not just about Duck Dynasty and the LGBT community. In a way, it’s about Edward Snowden (yes, I get that there are real differences, but there are real similarities, too). It’s about a crazy coach getting “carried away” during a press conference and seriously dissing his own team. It’s about how politicians behave during campaigns (and while in office) and how we behave on social media.
It’s worth thinking about.
For the record, I think A&E did the right thing. I believe people are entitled to an opinion (especially my opinion) but there are generally reasonable ways of expressing those opinions and Duck Boy didn’t bother with those. I also believe people are entitled to keep their mouths shut. And too often people don’t take advantage of that right.
Extra points to the fab Annie for giving special meaning to the phrase “It is time to duck.”