I've never watched Duck Dynasty. I didn't even know Phil Robertson's name until the whole media melodrama unfolded recently. The most I knew about him was that he bore a striking resemblance to my friend, Andy Campbell, who blogs over at "The Crooked Mouth."
And now, suffice it to say that I know far more than I care to.
I still never plan to watch the show, and I couldn't care less if they stay on the air, move to another network, or sleep on a giant pile of ducks every night, while praying to the little baby Jesus. Their media presence just doesn't matter to me. But what does matter to me is that so many people have become inordinately impassioned about the whole thing.
First things first: I'm not going to detail the Duck drama for you again here. You can find that story plenty of other places. And if you don't know by now, lucky you. Stop reading now and walk away.
I've been asked by a number of folks to respond to the Duck debacle, so here goes. Yes, the Duck people have their right to free speech, and no, it does not extend to the TV show, on which they are paid to appear. Yes, the network, A&E (from whose name the word "Arts" should be permanently expunged), is perfectly within their rights to censor anything and everything that appears on their airwaves.
Also, the Duck divas are welcome to be incensed about it, and to hold out for what they want. If they're violating their contract by doing so, A&E is within their right to cancel the show, at which time the Duck dissenters are within their purview to explore other options.
I should also add that you are not only within your rights to turn of the idiocy and all that has transpired since; you should, by now, feel entirely compelled to do so. So watch the Duck-heads at your own peril, and bid adieu to the grey matter that will gradually ooze from your cranial orifices as you do. It's within its rights never to return for such abuse ever again.
My greatest concern is that people seem to feel the need to pick sides in all of this. You're either standing up for the Duck rednecks and their desire to spread the gospel by Duck-call (and therefore you love baby Jesus), or you're a breathless advocate for A&E, that perennial bastion of intellectual thought, critical social commentary and cultural enrichment.
Frankly, neither should matter this much. To anyone. They both want something from you, and my tuning in, you're indulging both. It's neither shocking that a band of rednecks are fundamentalist, homophobic Christians, or that a basic cable network will pander to the lowest common cultural denominator. Rather than feeling enraged, incensed or emboldened by any of it, you should feel exploited.
Duck 'em both.