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Before the nation got angry over 'Duck Dynasty' there was a great champion
December 23, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
I consider, for purposes of this commentary, my friends and family to be average Americans.
And when I said I just didn’t get why there was so much furor, vitriol, and outright hatred being vented about Phil Robertson and his suspension from his wildly popular “Duck Dynasty” TV show, I got a veritable eyeful on social media.
It’s not that I don’t get the whole free speech, standing up for what you believe in thing. Not that at all.
But it’s the near constant barrage of stuff I saw Thursday night on Facebook that one never sees when Congress screws, for example, veterans out of some of their pension. Indeed, I tried to bring that up Thursday night.
My newsfeed was end-to-end pictures of Robertson and his family, beards a-growin’, camo in full bloom. Nothing else appeared to have happened that day in anyone’s life.
I should note here that I have scrupulously avoided the show since it debuted. I put it right down there with “Dance Moms” and “Survivor” and the Food Network’s bubba barbecue set from over the summer. Sorry. Just not my cup o’joe. And that's my opinion. Am I allowed to have it?
I’m sick of the mountain-manning of America, basically. And I could care less about his Bible-thumping indictment of behavior, regardless of whether I agree or not. He invented a duck call and got a TV show and now that qualifies him as something so major that we must be angry Americans over his treatment and hang upon every word he says as if it actually impacts us.
I got into an argument or two asking why the heck I should care about the head duck-caller guy making a statement in GQ, which, by the way used to bring to mind images of well-groomed, well-dressed men setting fashion trends. Unfortunately, the navel-length beard and camo apparenlty are the leading American fashion trends, if the response to my comments is indicative. And, apparently, Phil is more of a symbol of religious freedom to some people than the right to reject elements of the president’s healthcare system for religious principles. Surely he’s easier to understand. And he looks, unfortunately, like much of America.
I got into a battle over, apparently, a real Amurrican here, and I was unable to raise the question about how our standards have fallen.
Comparatively few raised any ruckus over Edward Snowden who actually, not with reality TV involved, wrecked his life in the name of something he considered important, namely, revealing how much spying the U.S. is doing on each and every one of us.
Which prompted only a weak chorus of “I’ve got nothing to hide” and only a blessed few of us seemed to understand that if the right elected officials decided you were on an enemies list, all that hidden data in that server farm in Utah could be quite useful in the manner of theShah of Iran/Saddam Hussein/Joseph Stalin, or at least Joe McCarthy.
But no, Snowden doesn’t matter. Phil Robertson does. Real American making real statement gets sacked. To these folks, I wonder if Snowden is just some long-haired traitor wrecking a good thing that protects the nation from various bogeymen.
See, I’m wondering here. At one time, we got into a national conversation about a man who chose to be referred to by his Muslim name and who said he could not go fight in Vietnam because it was against his principles.
His name was Cassius Clay before he chose to become Muhammad Ali, and his dodging the draft in the Vietnam War era led to losing three years of his boxing eligibility. He never did a day in jail, which angered a lot of people. But Ali stood his ground, just like Phil Robertson. And he eventually rose to be the champion of the world in boxing. Again and again.
Ali's actions prompted a national discussion, in those days when the Internet was still a gleam in the Defense Department’s eye. I wonder what the impact would have been today if Ali was saying “no” to military service in the era of Facebook and Twitter. Would he be castigated? Would underlying racism, anti-black and anti-Muslim rear its ugly head?
Or would only a few rant for a single evening and move on.
Interesting to think about.
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