I watched an episode of Duck Dynasty a few months ago, simply to see what all the fuss was about. Frankly, I was underwhelmed.
But the media controversy over one of the star’s comments recently published in a magazine interview, and A&E’s rush to pull him from future filming, illustrate the ridiculousness of where we’ve come as a society when it comes to “public discourse” – if it can even be called that anymore.
The rush to declare anybody or anything that does not toe the politically correct line as “Offensive” and “Unacceptable” has reached warp speed and intensity. Should you dare utter anything that betrays a sentiment counter to the prevailing cultural orthodoxy, as defined by a handful of activist groups and the media elite (an overused term which nonetheless seems to apply here), then you are to be publicly excoriated and removed from participation in at-large society. Ideally, you will also be shamed and ridiculed, and stripped of your livelihood – not merely by present job loss but by the permanent taint attached to the individual who shows either an accidental ability (i.e. someone who just happens to step in it) or an intentional willingness (e.g. Phil Robertson, who probably knew his views on human sexuality could be seen as controversial) to break stride with the moral mandates placed on us all by today’s liberal cultural elite.
These tendencies are unhealthy signs for the emotional maturity, logical ability, and pluralistic capability of our free society.
It does look like the Ducks are fighting back. The family has said they cannot imagine going forward without Phil, and various public figures have chimed in with support for the show. Camille Paglia, the left-libertarian social critic and lesbian feminist, has called the attack on Robertson “utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist.”