As humans, we seem to have a tendency to, sometimes in our minds and sometimes overtly, reject things that are different than ourselves. To that end, I should admit that I avoided Duck Dynasty for what must surely be that reason. I watched an episode very recently and I have to admit I laughed. A lot. It was fun. That family is different than any I have encountered and there are aspects to their lives I definitely do not agree with. I mean, those beards must be SO hot and itchy! Also, I’m not religious and not a fan of guns. Let me make this clear: these are my opinions and I’m entitled to them.
Switching gears, I am not a fan of Justin Bieber. It may be because I’m 44 years old or it may be because his music just irritates me. His antics do as well. But he’s 19 and he’s famous and he has a ton of money and bad judgement. Seems like his lifestyle had a better than good chance of occurring the way it has. So what?
Back to Duck Dynasty: Phil Robertson made some less than acceptable conjectures in an interview. One might consider them ignorant, especially if you consider there’s a vague possibility he’s misinterpreted the bible, and one might also consider them unacceptable. Personally, for my life, I find them both ignorant and unacceptable. Thankfully, I didn’t make them. Also, this man is not in my life or the lives of my family and friends so I don’t have to worry so much about him affecting me directly. I do not believe that by watching his show, I’m going to turn into an ignorant homophobe. I’m probably also not likely to watch his show all that much, either. That decision is based on what I choose to entertain me.
This brings me to what I really wanted to say regarding Phil Robertson and Justin Bieber and countless others like them in the spotlight. I have a diverse group of friends on social media and they are from all walks of life. There are varying opinions about music, fashion and lifestyle and I respect that. They might not see me expressing my opinion that often out there in social media because I tend to remain quiet about my views. But the following is what I believe:
It is okay to be outraged by what a public figure says and does and when they choose to do it. It was ill-advised for Mr. Robertson to say what he did in an interview and he should fully expect repercussions. One of my friends pointed out that while what he said did not break the law, it does not mean he should be held unaccountable. At the time, he was representing his franchise so, in short, ‘working hours’. If any of us said something offensive on the job, we might be held accountable by our employers as well. Whether or not he was truly offensive or hateful is really up to he and his employers to work out.
Here is what bothers me: Phil Robertson, Justin Bieber or anyone else that may say or do offensive things still do not deserve hatred spewed back at them. I mean true hatred – name calling, belittling, etc. Doing that just makes us as bad as we feel they are. A celebrity makes a remark against our LGBT society or says something that is inferred as discriminatory such as ‘Anne Frank would have loved me’ (to paraphrase) or even inferring that a reporter is a pedophile (thanks Rob Ford) and we take these things as offensive, but to turn around and call them long-bearded, ignorant hicks or little idiot or, and this one really gets me, ‘fat fuck’, really only illustrates that we are just as capable as them of being pretty darn stupid, inappropriate and judgemental.
I am not saying take such a high road that we don’t hold EVERYONE accountable for their mistakes when those mistakes are hate-filled, offensive and really, really bad examples to set for our young. I’m just saying, why would you want to repeat their behaviour? To me, it’s like teaching a child to hit by hitting them. Why not just say ‘I find this remark/behaviour/example deplorable and as a result I dislike this person and will no longer read/watch/listen to them.’ And there’s the rub, you have a choice to not pay attention to them. You also have a choice to lead by example. That’s how lessons are taught and learned.