Why Phil Robertson Got Suspended from Duck DynastyPosted: December 30, 2013
“Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts used a Facebook post to acknowledge what friends and co-workers have long known: She is gay.
Excuse me please, but what is this doing on the Front Page of my morning computer? It is very much as if I am supposed to care. Now there in starts even a bigger and often times more bitter go around.
Personally I could care less about a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or which bathroom they would care to use. As a matter of pure unadulterated fact these entire issues are making me rather ill.
More often than not I try and read or gain information on the case that made some people uncomfortable at first, yet in the long term believing that those involved with the boycott came to their senses about their individual liberties. But most importantly it was not about what was contained within the magazines but it was very much about control.
Now and please stay with me here, how is it that one person during an interview mentions his personal feelings about gays and some sort of racial remark, to get the largest special rights organization – GLAAD – among many, many other advocates to the LGBT cause start screaming with hatred how this man has abused their right – somehow.
Ambrosino, a gay writer from Baltimore, was conscientious to point out that when it was first founded in 1985, GLAAD did good work for the gay and lesbian community by holding the media to inclusive standards and aiding in the normalization of gays in our society.
Whenever I hear that someone is anti-this or that, I immediately think of the old quip about MADD – are there any mothers for drunk driving? – And ask myself if anyone is really in favor of the particular thing being protested. Think about that.
Founded in 1985 in the wake of the AIDS crisis, GLAAD was formed to protest skewed coverage of LGBT issues and “to put pressure on media organizations to end homophobic reporting.” The original name was an acronym for “Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation,” and although the organization has recently rebranded itself by deciding that the letters G-L-A-A-D aren’t actually going to stand for anything anymore, their reputation for protesting defamatory speech is well known both within and without the LGBT community.
When a media figure gets suspended for making an offensive statement, the tricky thing often is figuring out which part of it he or she got suspended for.
Star and duck-call mogul Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, for instance, was indefinitely suspended by A&E Wednesday after an interview with GQ Magazine in which he called homosexuality sinful — like, in his words, drunkenness, bestiality, promiscuity, and terrorism — and in specifically anatomical terms saying why he thought being gay was “illogical.” Where is the anger?
But which was the actionable part? Was he suspended for believing that being gay is a sin? For saying it aloud, or for saying it in those unghastly terms?
In TV, writers talk about getting notes from the network to “make the subtext text.” That is, rather than be subtle, or hint at the meaning of a scene or dialogue without saying it in so many words, you need to make it clear so that nobody in your audience misses it. Robertson got in trouble, for once in TV history, for making the subtext text — for being explicit about the conservative Christianity that, when it was subtext, was a selling point for him and for his show.
But for at least part of the huge Duck Dynasty audience, the Robertson’s’ faith is part of the appeal: the fact that they are public, devout Christians with a public platform, even if their faith was mostly background to the zany family antics. They might not be preaching, but if you cared enough you knew: they were keeping it real. And then there was the part of the show’s vibe that was less religious than cultural, but was still connected: that the show was about nostalgia, for the authentic ways, old days, and down-home values.
For tomorrow we will lead with how this particular action of GLAAD influencing A&E to the point that the decision made to put Robertson on “Hiatus” from the show was devised actually prior to GQ actually released the first copy of the interview.