File this under: "Things I didn't need to read today," as I was perfectly content in domestic bliss decorating the Christmas tree, addressing holiday cards, cooking a chicken tetrazzini supper for my husband and cleaning up cat mess, I checked my email and someone had sent me a link to comments made by one Phil Robertson, a ZZ Top clone at the head of an outfit called Duck Dynasty. Mr. Robertson said, in a GQ interview:
"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," he says.
Then he paraphrases Corinthians:
Don't be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers -- they won't inherit the kingdom of God. Don't deceive yourself. It's not right... It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. That's just me. I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical.
So, a bearded, Southern, Christian duck hunter is anti-gay. Stop the presses! But why did he even make the statements? Is he branching out from duck hunting into sociology? Maybe he's trying to get Pat Robertson's gig, or he's making the moves to develop a chain of Duck-Fil-A restaurants. And again, out of the blue, here was yet another person I had never heard of making a hateful statement about gay people that I didn't need to hear. I had just begun to recover from the statements of a Russian actor I had never heard of saying that he would burn gays alive in ovens. And there was the American Evangelical character I had never heard of talking about how in 2014, America will turn the tide against the satanic LGBT rights movement. Then there was the leader of a Christian hate group that I had, unfortunately, heard all too much about, who is upset that gay people are signing up for Obamacare.
Let's see -- they don't want us to have health care, we're going to hell, we're satanic and into sex with the family dog, and we need to be put in ovens. And that's all before lunch. I had no idea I was doing anything satanic; maybe it was the way I was prepping the chicken. And the bestiality statements always crack me up. In the entire history of the gay movement, there hasn't been one pig-banging Alabama farmer who came out of the woodwork and said: "Good, I can talk about it now."
I was trying to figure out the actual news value of the above incendiary statements. I came up with zero. Unfortunately, the populace is welded to the Internet and it's sadly become the center of life. The Internet has created many wonderful benefits to living. It has also opened up a bottomless Pandora's Box of crazy, allowing people we never would have heard of, to let us know their opinions we don't need to hear. After a day of Manhattan Christmas shopping where I saw "Merry Christmas" in store windows and heard "Jingle Bells" until I was blue in the face, I learned that a half-term governor from Alaska and a Fox News host insist there's a "War On Christmas." Here I was, enjoying myself, and now there's a war? Thank God I got out of Macy's alive!
In the halcyon pre-Internet days, Mr. Robertson's comments would have been confined to those who read GQ. We would not have heard at all about the Russian actor's comments, unless we were in Russia. And the Evangelical's comments would be confined, most likely, to the walls of the church. And in the pre-Internet days, I would not be writing this piece, because I would have never heard of the subject I'm writing about, and you all would be spared my observations. In the interest of world peace, I would be more than willing to go back to those days.
In fact, the more time I spend online, the more my mind is clogged with useless bilge I don't need to know. I don't need to know about the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo, Larry Klayman, O.J. Simpson, Ann Coulter, Martin Bashir, Todd Starnes, Donald Trump, "Gangham Style" or Duck Dynasty, even though it looks like a fun show. I'm happy I found out about Sweet Brown exclaiming, "I got bronchitis! Ain't nobody got time for that!" because it's hysterical. But just as I know that someone should only pay attention me for a comic's view, and hopefully a few laughs, I would only be interested in Mr. Robertson's opinions if I wanted information on ducks. Unless I'm looking for a new duck a l'orange recipe, I don't.
Predictably, Robertson's comments reignited the Christians vs. Gays war, liberals condemning him, and conservatives praising him for standing up for what he believes in (isn't it funny how people only praise you for "standing up for what you believe in," if they agree with you?). Then the left wing sites are filled with damning "how dare you" statements about Robertson, and right wing sites accusing liberals of "attacking Christianity," and playing the victim, and so on; and dweeb after dweeb post their incendiary opinions in the comments sections, in another episode of the endless Merry-Go-Round of total bullshit that gums up our waterworks.
My mother always said: "Just because you have an opinion doesn't mean you have to say it." So in the spirit of the season, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everybody, and if you have a nasty opinion, please keep your mouth shut. On that note, feel free to disregard this entire piece, and for those of you who didn't previously know I wrote about here, my apologies for letting you know. Happy Holidays.
(Postcript: Immediately after this blog was submitted, A&E announced that Robertson is indefinitely suspended for his comments, and that A&E "supports and champions" the LGBT community. Some people are already screaming that their beliefs are being trampled on, and that they're losing their freedom of speech. What they don't get is that, in this series, Robertson isn't just a person, he's a character, but most importantly, a brand. And he said things that spoiled the image of the brand. No one on the show was suspended for praying, saying "Praise Jesus" or any of that. But when your star says gays are going to hell, while working for a network that says gays are not going to hell, it damages the brand, and puts a large business at stake. MSNBC took swift action when Martin Bashir implied that someone should defecate into Sarah Palin's mouth. That's the way it's done in corporate America. Someone need to teach Corporate 101 to Phil.)