By now everyone has heard that the beloved patriarch of Duck Dynasty’s Robertson clan, Phil Robertson, has been suspended for some remarks he made concerning homosexuality. Perhaps the most colorful of them being:
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.
People have asked me what my take is and it is simply this. I don’t know much about what gay men find attractive, but if someone were to come out with a self-lubricating asshole with a little spot on top that makes your partner cum you can’t convince me that gay men wouldn’t be all over that shit. There would be a run on those like no product you have ever seen since the Cabbage Patch dolls (editor – no dolls were sodomized during the writing of this blog post — at least not unwillingly.)
I am perfectly comfortable with homosexuality and would never deny someone the chance to love who they will, as they will. We need more of that rather than less. But from a logical standpoint, Phil is certainly correct as far as he goes. What he doesn’t understand is that gays can’t help who they are drawn to sexually any more than straight people can help it. To paraphrase a great warrior, you have to screw with the sex organs you have, not with the ones you wish you had. (Editor, Oh my God, you didn’t? Phil is not the only one who is going to be suspended!)
Which brings us to the rest of Phil’s statement that people have found objectionable.
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.”
OK, that seems like pretty much what many, if not most, Christians believe. I don’t agree with all of it, but it is certainly not something out of the mainstream. Nor is it something someone should lose a job over. A&E doesn’t get to define what sin is any more than Phil Robertson does. That is something we each have to decide for ourselves, or we have to allow our religion to decide for us. But either way we have to be able to discuss these things openly and express our opinions.
Some people have tried to claim Phil is equating homosexuality with bestiality when he is clearly just making a list of sins and not detailing the relative severity of them. Adolf Hitler and I are both flawed, white males, but I like think my flaws are less than his were (Editor, some days I just don’t know…). But we are both parts of the same set if you define it widely enough, and sin is certainly a very wide set. Humans are ingenious and industrious little buggers when it comes to creating new sins.
I think Phil looks at it too much from the sexual aspect rather than from an attraction standpoint. If you are attracted to men, and are a man yourself, then the range of sexual options open to you are different… not better or worse, just different… than with a heterosexual couple. But you see, we could discuss these things if we weren’t just so dead set on punishing people for being members of the wrong tribe.
As far as A&E goes, it is pretty clear they are embarrassed by what they have created. People were supposed to laugh at the Robertsons, their ignorance, their political beliefs, their lack of sophistication or knowledge of such important topics as arugula, or fair trade quinoa. I doubt their pants even have creases in them. Instead people laughed with them. They were supposed to be the Beverly Hillbillies that everyone could take advantage of… only the network forgot who always ended up getting fleeced in those old sitcoms. The suits at A&E forgot who the moral agents were.
A&E was surprised that people actually could identify with this family and see themselves in the Robertsons. They tried to edit out the name of Jesus, and edit in bleeps that covered no real cursing, but none of that really worked for them. Just like suspending Phil won’t work for them. People know sincerity when they see it, and they can accept it even when the beliefs that are sincerely held are not their own.
This isn’t Al Gore railing about how THE WORLD IS GOING TO END if we don’t stop all aspects of modern life, and return to the soil from which we sprang, while he himself flies around the globe and buys huge mansions on the coast line he has just warned us will soon disappear. This is a family that is not privileged or elite, who has not won their riches by fraud or force (a rarity in Obama’s America), and who will stand together when one of them is wronged despite the money it will cost them to do so. Good on them for that. We need more of this as well.
It will be interesting to see what Mr Drysdale… I mean the A&E execs try to do next. They have pretty much cut off their own avenues of retreat and shit-canned their biggest show over the prospect of a protest from a gay community which does not even watch their shows, and which has mainly come out in support of Phil, if not his remarks. Good on them for that too!
Demographically and financially A&E has shot themselves in the foot. Perhaps they should have taken shooting lessons from a few unsophisticated rednecks out in the woods before they tried to start a feud that they can’t win over something no one cares about. Whatever blow back they were trying to head off is going to be ten times worse now and people on every side of the issue will hate A&E no matter what ultimately happens.
If the execs at A&E really want a reality show about a bunch of unsophisticated rubes who act in a repugnant fashion, and who are too stupid to know what is best for them, then they could hardly do better than to turn their cameras on themselves.