Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Duck Dynasty Kerfuffle

Quack! First of all, I don't watch Duck Dynasty. I watched 20 minutes of one program selected at random when it was on Netflix and it was so dumb I switched it off and never gave it another thought. I'm not a TV watcher anyway—I've never followed one of the so-called reality shows. In fact, other than Downton Abbey, A&E's Longmire, and Steelers games I haven't gone out of my way to watch anything in years.

In the Duck Dynasty episode I saw a bunch of guys were sitting around in a warehouse busting on each other like guys often do. I tended bar for a few years in my early years so I watched this sort of stuff every working night. One of the guys wanted a girlfriend and the other guys were making fun of him. So they all decided to go over to his house and see if it was presentable. Some of their wives went with them. They got to the house, which was actually fairly tidy, and continued to mock him. I remember something about socks and mustard packets. I gave up and turned it off. I grew up with three brothers and spent much of my working life in engineering firms so there was nothing new there—well, except for the mustard packets.

So I am blissfully going about my life not thinking about television other than mildly looking forward to the next season of Downton Abbey when suddenly every news program and my Facebook wall are full of all this brouhaha over this Phil Robertson guy. [Side note: To the next person about to create a media firestorm, please, please, please don't be homely as a mud fence. Your face is going to be everywhere—have mercy on those who have not become inoculated to it by previous repeated viewing.] Controversy is raging! People are outraged. My Facebook wall is polluted with demands to Stand-By Phil!!!! This is ridiculous. So I read a few articles, listened to a few news programs, and read the rantings and ravings of some people I sort of considered to be friends. It was mind-boggling. Who are these people??? After a couple weeks of listening to this stuff and a few heated exchanges on Facebook I have considered the following:

THE THIS-IS-TELEVISION FACTOR: It's not real life. I know this is supposed to be “reality TV” but who buys that? It is highly scripted and even if it isn't, just from watching you know that the film crew spends hours and hours and hours shooting footage that then gets chopped down to 45 minutes—45 very carefully selected minutes. This meanseven deducting 8 hours a day for sleepingviewers get to see .67% of their lives each week. That means 99.33% of their lives is not included. These folks may seem real—but only in 45 minute segments.

THE CHRISTIAN FACTOR: There was a lot of huffing and puffing about Phil's “Christianity.” I personally am completely skeptical of people who tout their alleged Christianity as a banner under which they get to behave in highly unchristian ways. True Christians do not use their public platform to belittle and berate. True Christians practice acceptance and generosity. If Phil's Christianity tells him it is okay to publicly berate homosexuality why doesn't it tell him to publicly berate men with (ahem) long hair? I'm tired of Cafeteria Christians. I understand that Phil is a very rich man who calls himself a follower of Jesus. In Matthew 19:24 Jesus says it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. I have yet to find anything that Jesus had to say about homosexuals.

THE PUBLICITY STUNT FACTOR: Call me a cynic but isn't it just a teensy bit coincidental that all this explodes just 2 weeks before Christmas? And within HOURS social media explodes with calls to Stand By Phil! And the best way to do that is to show support by running to Walmart and spending tons of money on A&E licensed Duck Dynasty merchandise. Seriously, you never thought about that? Seriously?

And now it's all over. A&E and Phil have kissed and made up, the show will go on with no change in anything, a whole lot of people spent a whole lot of money on Duck Dynasty merchandise, Phil's still a bazillionaire, and life goes on. Quack!

Thanks for reading.

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