Until this year, I wasn’t aware of the phenomenon that was “Duck Dynasty.” The program follows a northern Louisiana family who got rich making products for duck hunters. Also, they have long beards. That’s about it. It takes very little to score success among conservatives these days.
Unfortunately, unlike the other rural Southern family Americans have been inviting into their homes through their TVs over the past couple of years, it seems that these folks don’t have that simple sense of goodness and tolerance, if their patriarch is any indication. Interviewed by GQ, Phil Robertson, the head of the family, had a lot to say about how he’s an out-and-proud bigot:
Out here in these woods, without any cameras around, Phil is free to say what he wants. Maybe a little too free. He’s got lots of thoughts on modern immorality, and there’s no stopping them from rushing out. Like this one:
“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.”
Bigots are always so obsessed with the mechanics of gay sex. It gets worse:
What does repentance entail? Well, in Robertson’s worldview, America was a country founded upon Christian values (Thou shalt not kill, etc.), and he believes that the gradual removal of Christian symbolism from public spaces has diluted those founding principles. (He and Si take turns going on about why the Ten Commandments ought to be displayed outside courthouses.) He sees the popularity of Duck Dynasty as a small corrective to all that we have lost.
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”
What, in your mind, is sinful?
“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.”
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there.” Because, in the mind of the unrepentant, uneducated bigot, homosexuality is the root of all other sin.
As far as Phil is concerned, he was literally born again. Old Phil—the guy with the booze and the pills—died a long time ago, and New Phil sees no need to apologize for him: “We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”
Also, being gay is just as bad as being a terrorist. But God’ll sort ‘em out, right?
I’d like to step in for a moment and point out, as a Southerner myself, that things aren’t all bad around Monroe (pronounced MON-roe), Louisiana, where the Robertsons take up residence. Nearby Shreveport just passed an inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance and there is an active gay community in both cities. Moreover, though it’s a completely different world, they have to share their little state with my very favorite city in the world, New Orleans, which, aside from San Francisco and New York, may be the most gay-friendly large city in the nation. Baton Rouge isn’t bad either.
To register your displeasure with A&E for bankrolling programming that is only “pro-family” as long as you’re a straight, white fundamentalist, shoot an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.