‘Duck Dynasty’ Gave You Want You Wanted
A fortnight ago I had never heard of a television show called Duck Dynasty. Now that I have, I am very disappointed in the show not being about aristocratic ducks. A missed opportunity if I ever saw one.
What the show is actually about is a family business based out of Louisiana. Starting in a garden shed they whittled duck whistles. From here they built a global empire selling hunting equipment and are best described as redneck multi-millionaires. If the concept wasn’t real a sitcom writer would have come up with it. With their long beards, down to Earth attitude and Royles Royce’s they are something to behold. Turning a hobby into a massive fortune is quite admirable, but it doesn’t answer the basic question: why are they on TV?
Simply, it’s because people want to laugh at them.
Like many rednecks on television recently they are here to be paraded like a circus while the rest of the world stares in disbelief. ‘Redneck Royalty’ has became a sub-genre on reality TV. There’s no doubt that this group of people must be the most amusing since Duck Dynasty is the highest rated non-fiction cable show in history. I haven’t watched the show and I don’t intend to – this form of television has never held any interest for me. Still, millions of people out there are hooked on their exploits. The cast would argue, slur and espose folksy wisdom and all was well in the world.
But then one of them crossed the line. The father of the clan, Phil Robertson, went on a live interview and expressed the opinion that homosexuality is a sin. He equated it with adultery and bestiality, and explained that he doesn’t understand why people would find members of the same sex attractive.
All of a sudden people forgot about that pesky ‘free speech’ thing and the offending party was suspended from the program while the public demanded that he immediately apologise for what he said. This has been discussed at length in the media recently, complete with some baffling attempts to discredit the show further. These have included pictures of the family pre-beard and the ‘shocking’ revelation that the producer of the show once acted in a movie that examined the gay porn industry, (goodness, what a terrible hypocrite).
On the flip side of the coin some people or actually PROTESTING Phil Robertsons exclusion from the show, because of all the things happening in the world this is the wrong we should be trying to right.
With all the attention focused on this ‘controversy’ there are two things I keep coming back to. The first…and the simplest…is this: who cares?
Sure it’s a popular show but it’s hardly going to redefine the zeitgeist. It is the latest in a long line of reality TV shows designed to get a chuckle of disbelief from the viewer before it is replaced with something else. What this family does and says on television does not matter in the slightest. If, for some reason, you looked to these people for inspiration rather than amusement then Phil Robertson’s comments likely reinforced your attitude rather than challenged it.
The second thought is directed more at the viewer. Isn’t this exactly what you wanted? We took a bunch of unusual social misfits, loud spoken and opinionated, and put them on television for entertainment. The marketing of this particular brand of ‘reality’ TV focuses on the conflicts within the show and the outrageous behaviour of the subjects. With the redneck shows it’s all about their misguided beliefs and values. It’s well known that Phil Robertson takes a traditional Christian viewpoint so his opinions on homosexuality should not be a surprise to anyone.
If you’ve been watching the show and and are shocked or offended by these remarks you have no one else to blame but yourself. You tuned in to watch them, effectively giving them a global mouthpiece to express themselves, and they gave you what you wanted. Perhaps they crossed a moral line in the sand, but he is just one person with an opinion and forcing a scripted apology out of him with change precisely nothing. If it bothers you so much then watch something else. He’s not a role model, he’s the appointed court jester and expecting anything else is elevating him above his worth.
Whether you want to kick up a stink, boycott the show or demand Phil Robertson’s reinstatement to this ‘reality show’ (the fact that this is something that can happen should tell you every you need to know about reality shows), the result this time next year will be the same. Duck Dynasty will fade into obscurity and some other new ‘sensation’ will have risen to take its place.