Ah the pitfalls of fame and fortune.
Phil Robertson, the founder of the Duck Commander corporate empire and an old wild game poacher, has stepped into the 21st century and found times have changed.
Robertson and his family are the stars of A&E's reality TV series, "Duck Dynasty"--one of the highest rated cable shows on the air. It is so popular Wikipedia notes the season four premier drew 11.8 million viewers. Basically, it is an unscripted remake of the "Beverly Hillbillies" without the presence of the always angst ridden Milburn Drysdale. I'm not sure what this says about the United States, but it probably isn't entirely flattering.
During an interview with GQ magazine, which in itself is a tad inexplicable, Robertson was asked what sin is. His reply went this way, "Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there--bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."
It slid downhill from there. While explaining his views he said, "We never judge someone on who's going to heaven and hell. That's the Almighty's job. We just love 'em, give 'em the good news about Jesus. Whether they're homosexuals, drunks, terrorists--we let God sort 'em out later, you see what I'm saying." He went on to rather loosely paraphrase Corinthians as he told the interviewer gays, among others, would not inherit the kingdom of God.
Predictably the gay community and in particular, GLAAD spokesperson, Wilson Cruz were outraged. In a statement Cruz was quoted as saying, "Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe." He added, "He clearly knows nothing about gay people, or the majority of Louisianans and Americans who support legal recognition for loving and committed gay and lesbian couples."
Yes, as Kurtz said in a different context, "The horror, the horror."
Wilson, my man, what exactly did you expect? The rube was born in rural Louisiana in 1946 and has lived there all his life. He married his wife when she was 16 and turned down a pro football career partly because it interfered with duck hunting season. He became a mean drunk in his mid twenties, was baptised as a born again Christian at age 28, sobered up, and now makes a handsome living by selling duck calls, deer calls, and other hunting accessories.
Let's face it, when he sits down to dinner the odds are he shot, gutted, and skinned the main course himself. We're not talking about Oscar Wilde here.
The truth is ol' Phil probably doesn't give a rat's ass about what Cruz thinks. A while back the singer, Morrissey refused to perform on Jimmy Kimmel's show one night when Robertson was due to appear, calling him, "a serial animal killer." Roberston simply shrugged the insult off, saying something like, "Whoever he is, I don't hold it against him."
Watching him you get the impression if the show and all the hubbub gets to be too much, Robertson will walk away from both without a second thought. It is kind of easy to do that sort of thing when your business did $40 million in sales last year.
Actually there is a lesson in reality here which the good people of GLAAD need to heed. Obviously gays should continue to vigorously campaign against discrimination both in the work place and at the altar. Hopefully, some day, they will enjoy the benefits marriage provides in every state in the union. However, you can't force people to like you and you aren't going to change Phil Robertson's mind, or shame him. Especially when he is convinced God is on his side. Just move on and continue the fight. After all, when it boils down to it, Phil Robertson and his family are not going to sway either the court of public opinion, or the legislature.
Fairly soon the Robertson family's fifteen minutes will be up and the show will go off the air. All the interviews and guest appearances on talk TV will go away. In short order they will be forgotten by the vast majority of the public. On the other hand, after they are gone, it is fairly certain the gay community will still be around.
Indeed--he who quacks last, quacks best. It is the way of the world. Keep it in mind.
The smoking lamp is lit. If you're looking for me, I'll be on the patio.