Sunday, December 22, 2013

You Might Be Worried about Phil but He Isn't Worried About You




Well, I guess I have to write my obligatory article about all the hoo-hah surrounding an article in GQ Magazine in which Phil Robertson, patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan, was interviewed. Sounds like Ole Phil stirred some shit and made a lot of people upset to the point of A&E suspending him. I really don't care very much. My world will go on just fine, with or without Phil Robertson.

Incidentally, here's a link in case you want to see for yourself what all the uproar was about - Duck Dynasty.

I will say, this has absolutely nothing to do with the First Amendment which has never protected us from repercussions by our employer should they believe we are tarnishing their brand as many athletes, television anchors, actors and others have discovered that to their dismay. It is worse for celebrities because they get so much attention. It is part of the downside for all that money and fame. But if you think it can't happen to you, go out and say something that puts your employer's business at risk and see what happens to you.

It also has nothing to do with religious freedom. Phil has a right to say what he thinks; gays have a right to react to what he said. It's a two-way street.

My takeaway from all of this is to wonder why in the world so many poor or near-poor people are so intensely concerned about rich people. We went through this back during the Paula Deen fiasco. Oh, my God, people on Facebook howled about what they characterized as Paula's unfair mistreatment. They signed petitions; they sent her messages of support; some of them sent her donations!

A lot of these folks probably wonder how they are going to make the house payment every month. It is a budgetary crisis when the car needs new tires but what are they worried about? Poor Paula's bank balance dropping from $100 million to only $50 million. Oh, the unbearable pain of it!

And now we have Phil and the same scenario. The Duck Dynasty family is rich, people, and they will continue to be rich whether they stay with the show or leave it. They were rich even before they became television stars. They don't really need us to boo-hoo over Phil's supposed victimization.

Conservative politics seems to have taught many of us that money equals value. We are worth as much as we have in our Cayman Island tax shelter. Our top one percent are the top one percent precisely because God approves of them more and so that means we should reward them more too. Bigger tax breaks, more subsidies. Hey, there, Mitt Romney up on your pedestal!

We cry and whine over Paula and Phil Robertson and yawn when Congress cuts food stamps and unemployment benefits because you know, those people wouldn't be in the position to need them if they'd just get off their lazy asses and go to work. And if their kids suffer right along with them, well, they should have thought of that.

Why is it, do you suppose, that we shrug off the serious problems of the poor and working class (to which most of us belong) while becoming obsessed about Paula Deen and Phil Robertson who, trust me, will be just fine without us. And that's a fact, Jack.