Monday, December 23, 2013

If It Quacks Like A Duck

Dear Phil Robertson,

Wow, you've had kind of a bad week, huh? It really sucks to be held accountable for your speech, doesn't it? And it's even worse when people deliberately conflate issues, like when politicians try to make a First Amendment issue out of your suspension. A couple of things about that. First of all, the government had nothing to do with your suspension. Second of all, Sarah Palin, who was at your side commiserating about those big old meanie head liberals as fast as she could drag a camera crew along, led the charge to have Martin Bashir fired -- not suspended till the controversy blew over but deprived of his livelihood for daring to suggest she might be stupid. You might want to keep that in mind on the off chance you ever run afowl of her.

Let's talk about your suspension for a second. One of the many positions I've held in my lifetime was in personnel. You were not fired from A&E. You were suspended which means you won't be on-camera for a little bit. I have not seen the terms of your suspension anywhere and they're probably not publicly available anymore than the terms of your original contract were because those are private, between you and your employer. All we can do is speculate about what those terms might have been and common wisdom has it that there was probably a clause inserted that covered A&E's ass in the event that you or anyone else involved in Duck Dynasty did or said something boneheaded. That's pretty typical and it was such a clause that covered them when Duane Chapman delivered a racist rant onto an answering machine in 2007, leading to the suspension of production of the wildly popular Dog: The Bounty Hunter.

I have to say that the cynic in me finds the timing of all of this mighty interesting. It all came down a week before Christmas, the spending season in full swing. Shoppers already emotionally manipulated into buying the War On Christmas just might be motivated to buy a piece of Duck Dynasty merchandise in an effort to take a stand for something with their wallets. Suspension or not I highly suspect you'll be laughing all the way to the bank.

Before I finish I'd like to introduce you to a few women whose committment to freedom of conscience I really do admire. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Aloykhina of Pussy Riot were released from prison today, convicted over a year ago of "hooliganism." Please make sure you read that correctly: PRISON. As in, the government of their country deprived them of their freedom in a very real physical sense because they expressed their opinion. The amnesty order read in part that they were being released because they are both mothers with young children. Your own children are grown and your place at the head of your family's table is secure even if Uncle Si will be leading grace for a while. Count your blessings and start with living in a place where you won't actually be jailed for saying what you think.

11 comments:

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    1. That's just what I was going to say! So +1 to what Phylly said! :)

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  2. I was really suspicious, too, that this was a gimmick planned for a slow news week.

    And I can't underline enough that your free speech rights don't protect you from your employer. Not even (cough) if you are a state employee, and not even if you insist that you have "academic freedom."

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    1. The Sarah Palins are making this about homosexuality due in large part to the fact that they're losing the marriage equality debate in a way that is their normal fall-back position, on a state-by-state basis. Ask me how hysterical I find it that Utah is the 17th state to have marriage equality (more than I can possibly express in a coherent fashion). That aside, though, he said things about Jim Crow that are demonstrably untrue. He lied. Lies are not protected speech.

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    2. Wait wait wait...New Mexico was 17. Utah was 18. Thank you, Land of Enchantment.

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  3. agree re: Jim Crow / African Americans. The double whammy makes the whole suspicion that this was a media stunt even stronger -- and of course, Palin herself is not immune to that kind of thing.

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    1. I found his "no one was singing the blues" crap particularly galling. "Strange Fruit," anyone? "Northbound Blues"? "Jim Crow Blues"? Half of the blues catalog before the civil rights movement is about Jim Crow laws.

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  4. I'm so happy for Pussy Riot , even if it is all about improving Putin's media image.
    Happy Holidays! and all the best in New Year, Jazzy . Hugs!

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    1. I'm glad they're back with their families, too. Merry Christmas, Joanna.

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