If it Quacks Like a Duck

I wrote this downstairs:

I would like to say here and not that they ONLY thing we learned from the whole Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty) fiasco is that most people in America who use the Internet have no fucking clue what the right to free of speech entails.

And imust wrote:

Sounds interesting. I think I understand what you are saying, but can you expand on that thought a bit? (A post would be most excellent!)

Only for you imust. Because I really don’t want to write a post about Phil Robertson or Duck Dynasty. I don’t think they’re worth the pixels. I’m certainly not putting his picture here because I think he’s ugly. And his mother dresses him funny.

They’re not even real rednecks. Go ahead and Google “duck dynasty, yuppies” without the quotes. The only thing real about reality TeeVee is the money.

Personally, I don’t care one way or the other what happens to Phil or the show. I don’t watch the show. I don’t watch reality TeeVee (except for the Amazing Race on occasion, but only so I don’t miss the beginning of The Good Wife, which does not begin on time if a sporting event pushes into 60 Minutes). Of course A&E knew what he would say in an interview–it’s part of his mystique.

So, this is the expansion of my comment from below.

The usual suspects were quick to mount their self-righteous indignation soapboxes:

From Palin on FB (with a photo of herself with the cast of the show):

Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on the Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.

(Yes, she had an opinion without even reading the interview!)

From Jindal:

I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment.

Fact is, I don’t care what Palin or Jindal say either. What finally did get my last nerve was the incessant posts in my Facebook feed where people (ordinary citizens educated on our tax dollars) proved how little they learned. If you’re gonna wave the Constitution in my face, at least have the decency to read it. This is the first amendment to the constitution:

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.

Phil was not put in jail for voicing his opinion. Congress nor any state enacted an Anti-Phil law because of what he said. The government did not prevent Phil from exercising his religion in any way he saw fit. While we’re at it, disagreeing with Phil is not intolerance and it’s not infringing on his free speech. It’s called having your own opinion and exercising your own free speech. Intolerance is jailing, torturing, beating, berating, denying employment, denying rights, and withholding common privileges from someone because you disagree with them. What happened was that Phil was suspended from his job.

A&E is a company, not the government. Companies have workplace harassment rules among other rules. The reason they have rules is not because they really are people and have some morality. It’s because they don’t want to get sued by anyone who gets offended, say for example, other workers. I know this because we recently completed our annual training on this and several related topics where I work. As it happens, there are a number of things that are perfectly legal that we are not allowed to do as employees. Even off-hours and off property. You would be amazed. For example, I cannot tell another employee that they look like they lost weight because they JUST MIGHT have a disease and now I’ve crossed a line and harassed them for an immutable characteristic.

Back to Phil. What the Constitution Ho’s saw was the free market in action. First A&E thought they might lose profits or get sued over what Phil said, so they suspended him. Then A&E realized they could make even more by bringing him back on, so they did. Frankly, I would not be surprised if the whole thing was staged by A&E to generate hype. As if you couldn’t see this coming, Phil Robertson supporters are hosting a Chick-Phil-A Day.

No constitutional amendments were harmed in the making of this fauxrage. But we were.

38 Responses

  1. Great post! The Duck Dynasty nonsense was the headline story at CNN.com for days! Crazy! I agree on the first amendment confusion. However, I am curious on the laws that are suppose to protect workers. Aren’t there labor laws regarding wrongful termination? If I innocently think that I am complimenting a fellow employee and then get fired for the comment, seems that I might have a case of wrongful termination.

  2. To Sophie’s post: Signed.

  3. imust, most employment in CA is ‘at will,’ which of course means the employer can get rid of one for any reason or no reason at all. There’re two constraints on ‘at will’ employment: Title VII employment discrimination/hostile-workplace law and regulations and me-too-type state laws and regs.; and Calif. public policy. I think an employer would be beyond idiotic to fire one for merely offending another employee’s feelings — particularly without a prior warning and counseling — over a weight-related comment, but I don’t believe there’d be any legal restriction on his/her doing so.

  4. Imust asked:

    If I innocently think that I am complimenting a fellow employee and then get fired for the comment, seems that I might have a case of wrongful termination.

    That’s why they have the training. So you don’t “innocently” ask. And believe me, a lot of this stuff is not intuitively obvious.

  5. In one of the exercises in our training, this was one of the NOT allowed scenarios:
    You walk into the break room and say of an “ethnic” dish, that looks or smells good.

    Also, it is in my permanent record that I made a disparaging religious remark. When Pope Benedict retired and Pope Francis took over I asked if he gets to keep the red pumps. It didn’t matter that I’d lived about 3/5 of my life as a Roman Catholic. It also didn’t matter that Francis rejected the red pumps as much as I did.

  6. OMG! You actually got in trouble for a joke like that? smh

  7. Right?! Stupid. but there it was. I should complain that my free speech and religious expression rights were violated!

  8. Talk about over sensitive people! Wow! Yeah, maybe you could say you were exercising a religious ritual. You are a member of the sacred, but little known, Shoe-thodox sect of the Catholic faith. Every day at 10, 12 and 2 you must get down on your knees, face the nearest Nordstrom store, while saying a prayer for every credit card in your wallet. The statement about the Pope’s shoes was merely a reading from your scripture.

  9. The whole thing was a set-up. Who would expect a swamp creature to give a GQ interview and have it go well? A & E’s owners, Hearst and Disney, surely know how to handle the “talent.” They just wanted to ensure all the Duck Dynasty merchandise sold out for Christmas.

    I’m disappointed in Jindal’s ignorance of the law.

  10. I’m tellin’ ya! I really do think this was an A&E Op! Or a Phil Robertson Op. I mean, these guys are not the caricature of hillbillies. Seriously Google duck dynasty, yuppies

  11. Could have been a ploy by GQ to boost sales.

  12. Coulda just posted that instead of writing a rant!

  13. I’ve seen him on a talk show and he is a bit of loose cannon and really rough around the edges. But, you are correct; they are not poor white folks. Phil played football with Terry Bradshaw, NFL QB for the Steelers. They didn’t just crawl out of the swamp.

  14. LOL at the tweet from “God” about the duck calls.

  15. Really though, this should have been, maybe, a one-day, side story on Entertainment Tonight, or TMZ. But it was on the major news sites for days as a lead, headline story!! What’s up with that? A squirrel, as Sophie implies in her post to distract us from what’s really going on?

  16. I also agree with the guy in the video about how offensive it is to have those dirtballs representing Southerners. I thought stereotyping was a no-no.

  17. Yes, imust. 1.3 million people are losing their unemployment benefits, but the man who tricks ducks still has his job. whew!!

  18. And the media’s role in dragging this nonsense story on for days is nicely explained in this article from NPR. It’s the internet’s fault!

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2013/12/29/257364508/this-is-not-the-most-important-story-of-the-year

    ‘There’s nothing new about silly stories getting a lot of attention, but the Internet has upended old news values that demanded you put war and the economy on the front page and relegate fluff to Page 18…”There was a structural way newspapers kept all that stuff separated,” says Robert Thompson, a pop culture professor at Syracuse University. “The Internet totally annihilates that kind of structure.”‘

  19. Of course, the internet’s fault! At least they’re not blaming Hillary Clinton….yet. But seriously, isn’t it the 4th estate’s job to keep the powers that be in check? If they covered things like NDAA, perhaps the general public could at least decide which story they’ll click on first. As it is now, the serious stories don’t even make the cut.

  20. I believe the professional left will be issuing a statement wondering why Hillary hasn’t yet weighed in on this issue. Must be because she’s running against Warren.

  21. Has anyone else read that times story on Benghazi yet? I’m curious about what you think. Hillary is not mentioned in the whole story and the nut jobs on the Interwebs insist that this is proof that the NY Times is clearing her for a 2016 run. Like the NY Times loves the Clintons!

  22. I haven’t read the whole thing either Sophie. But I have seen the comments you’ve talked about….that the NYT is helping Hillary.

  23. DD is a show with a cast playing lowlife scumballs none of us would want to meet up with anywhere at any time. Anybody who enjoys watching these ballscratchers is hardly someone most of America would want to do lunch with. I have no idea what has happened to the USA when being or even acting like, or worse IDENTIFYING with an ignorant unwashed crudball who looks like he never bathes is a source of pride. Scuse the pun but,…JESUS!

    I am so sick of this phony religious shit I could just spit. They are like a crazy lynch mob, or witch hunters. Or something. Whatever it is that they are, I wouldn’t spit on any of them if they were on fire. The only thing that separates them from the batshit crazy sharia freaks is they live in a country where it’s illegal to rape babies, marry 7 year olds and kill people for the hell of it.

  24. Beware the NY Times at all times.

  25. Great post, Sophie, and great comments all. I have seen this duck crap everywhere I look, but haven’t had the time to look into it. The tv show looks boring. I remember when A & E was new, it was geared towards Art & Entertainment. What the heck is Duck Dynasty? Good grief.

  26. I read the NYT piece. It’s interesting, but not well documented and way too brief. Guess we have to wait for the book to be released. But, the info provided in the article is as believable as anything else we’ve heard. The truth is probably a mix of what both sides are saying as far as what happened on the ground that night. FOX is reporting that insiders are furious and ready to blow the whistle . Good! Tell us instead of letting Issa, Graham & McCain rant.

  27. The Duck Dynasty clan-male members (tee-hee) bear a strong resemblance to Taliban types.

  28. Apparently the American-taliban-looking old dude from duck dynasty also preaches that 20 yo males should choose a 15 yo girl to marry provided she is a good cook and carries a bible. Why are people defending this creep?

  29. That should gain him a few more worship percentage points, socal, among the kind of creepy crawlies who watch that show.

    Let’s face it. I am willing to bet not one person who reads this blog would walk 20 feet to get this totally unwashed scheevy piece of garbage’s autograph. Which brings us to exactly what kind of person watches his show ‘religiously’?

  30. I watched it once because I saw it as I scrolling by on my way to Aerial America on the Smithsonian Channel. They act like a bunch of juveniles. Not much focus on actual ducks. But, I do know plenty of people who just love them. Generally, those are gun-toting, hunter types, none of whom are members of Mensa.

  31. But I wonder if they are fake, as Sophie suggested. Most of that reality tv is probably fake, or at least staged. The Kardashians, Snooky & co., The Real Housewives of ________ [fill in the blank city], etc. What is the attraction to these shows? I do not know. But if people weren’t watching, they wouldn’t be on tv.

  32. No, I wouldn’t go near him.

  33. Once again, Hillary is the Most Admired Woman:
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/166646/obama-clinton-continue-reign-admired-man-woman.aspx

  34. SophieCT said: Once again, Hillary is the Most Admired Woman:

    Well, of course, but why is President 37 to 40% the most admired American man?

  35. And most admired by a huge margin. Hillary ’16

  36. Screech…

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