The Widdershins

Phil Robertson, Freedom of Speech and some other thoughts

Posted on: December 30, 2013


Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.  (emphasis mine)

I hope that this entire brouhaha with Phil Robertson, his dynasty, his duck calls, his opinions and everything concerning him will go away soon.  Frankly I’ve had enough of him, Sarah Palin, lil Booby Jindal and any and every person who has screamed about poor ole Phil’s “freedom of speech”.  As the text of the first amendment above shows, the part about freedom of speech only relates to the fact that Congress shall make no law trying to stop freedom of speech.  As far as la Palin is concerned, she had to jump on the bandwagon, but when questioned by Greta van Sustren, had to admit that, alas, she had not even read the GQ article.  And no, Widdershins, I’m not linking to the GQ article.  I think we all know what ole Phil said.

When pressed by Fox News host Greta Van Susteren whether the language Robertson used when talking about his opposition to homosexuality was graphic and offensive, Palin admitted she didn’t know what Robertson had said.

“I haven’t read the article. I don’t know exactly how he said it,” Palin said Monday on Fox News’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”

Jesus wept.

And as far as lil Booby is concerned, I’ll only add a bit of his comments here.

“Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana,” Jindal said. “The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment.”

Again, another individual who is confused over what the First Amendment involves.  A&E did not take away that which they could not give.  They “punished” Phil for making some crude and offensive comments.  And I’m not even going to go into his thoughts on the happy, singing and dancing blacks in the South in the 60s.  Let’s just say that if Phil never heard a black person say anything untoward about their situation back then it’s probably because given the time, the state and especially that part of the state they were in, they would have had to be out of their minds to do so, whether Phil was chopping cotton alongside them or not.

And further, for those of y’all who would like to just blow ole Phil off as being a typical ignorant Southern redneck, I will tell  you that he is most assuredly not; he does have an education.   Phil attended and graduated from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston La. and also played football there for three years.  He graduated with a degree in physical education.  One thing you might make note of, is that when Robertson was at La Tech, the guy behind him on the

Ducky guy in college

depth chart was Terry Bradshaw.  Furthermore, after graduating, Robertson taught school for several years while working on, and receiving, a master’s degree in education.  So folks, his words aren’t the words of an ignorant redneck.  No, Phil’s thoughts and opinions are part and parcel of his Christian beliefs.  Now, Bob Mann, on his blog explained it perfectly:

In the interview Robertson said:

“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong. Sin becomes fine. . . . Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” 

Next, Robertson paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Robertson is clearly entitled to his views on homosexuality. I suspect had he just said, “Homosexual behavior is not consistent with my Biblical beliefs,” few people would have noticed. He’s an Evangelical Christian, living in one of the most conservative regions of the country. Who would expect him to embrace gay marriage?

But that’s not what Robertson said. Instead, he compared homosexuality to sex with animals.

And Bob is correct that had Robertson just mentioned something along those lines that would have been the end of it.  And Bob does go a bit further in another post:

Maybe it’s time to start condemning those who use the Bible as a cloak for their bigoted, hateful views.

Personally, I don’t care what the Bible says about homosexuality — any more than I care what it says about slavery or the treatment of women or the stoning of disobedient children. Indeed, the jury is out on whether homosexuality is really regarded as a sin by the very flawed 1st Century people who wrote the Bible.

But I’m no longer willing to give bigoted Bible thumpers a pass when they use the Bible as a tool to incite hatred and fear and division.

If you want to be a bigot and make bigoted statements, you have that right. But for God’s sake — For. God’s. Sake. — quit misappropriating the Bible to do it.

But none of this is anything new with Robertson.  He’s been banging on this drum for some time.

And then here:

As a gay man, I found offensive everything that Robertson said about gay people.  He needs to get over the fact that in more and more states, two men or two women may now get married.  Perhaps he doesn’t understand those marriages have been performed as civil ceremonies and were not ‘before the eyes of God” so to speak.  He needs to understand those marriages will never affect him personally in any way.

So Widdershins, I think we can probably agree on a few things here:

  • Phil Robertson, like the rest of us, has a constitutionally protected right to free speech.
  • A&E did not take away Robertson’s First Amendment rights.
  • Robertson had a perfect right to say what he did.
  • Phil Robertson is an asshole.

And now using my constitutionally protected right to “free speech”, even though it doesn’t apply, here is my opinion of what ole Phil said:

don't give a f_ck

I have never watched your show Phil.  I have never bought a duck call you or your family made.  I have never purchased any product that you and your family shill, either on tv or at Walmart or any other store.  I am sure this will not bother you in the least.  Bless your heart.


30 Responses to "Phil Robertson, Freedom of Speech and some other thoughts"

LA Tech is also the alma mater of Kim Gandy of NOW fame, and Brigadier General Susan Desjardains USAF. Hell, for that matter, every poster that we have except Mad is a graduate if a state school in the Dirty South. I assure you that it is not his post-graduate education that floated these theories. Further, while I am tres sympathetic t Phil’s freedom of expression, I wish that the right fringe would recall that Repubs exhorted us to get rid of “job crushing Regulations” and “job killing unions”. One man’s job killer is another man’s due process.
Also, I hope that the right fringe will retroactively extend this here freedom of speech thing to the Dixie Chicks. Remember when they said that they were embarrased to be from the same state as Dubya? Remember the demonstrations at radio stations complete with called-in death threats against Deejays who dared to play their music?
We would all do well to recall that the First Amendment is a big umbrellaa/

Just one remark: some of those gay marriages were performed ‘before the eyes of God” by an ordained minister in a filled church auditorium. There exists a world north of the Mason-Dixson line. (Not that all southerners are prejudiced nor that all yankees are not!

@molly: the Mason-Dixon line isn’t the important part. However, most of the legal marriages that have been performed were civil ceremonies. I think we can both agree it’s highly unlikely that Robertson’s church will be conducting any marriage ceremonies for gay folks whether it was legal or not in Louisiana.

Agreed. Less Mason/Dixon and more so urban/rural. The same mindset is present in midwestern small towns and in those sparsely populated square states out west,

chat@1: I don’t recall anyone making disparaging remarks about Robertson’s choice of his alma mater. In fact I was trying to dispel the perceived notion that he is an uneducated backwoods redneck. To the contrary he is an educated backwoods redneck.

Robertson went to work as a schoolteacher for several years after graduating from Tech, obtaining his master’s degree in education via night classes, with a concentration in English. “I kinda liked ol’ Shakespeare and them guys, you know,” Robertson said. “I went back and got my master’s just in case. I thought, if I ever needed it, I’d have the sheepskin to show people no matter how dumb I looked, actually I was about half intelligent. I got the degree to let ‘em know I wasn’t as dumb as I acted.”

I heard one teevee commenter make a snide remark about state schools in the South. And, your point was made exactly.

chat@6: Ohhhh, okay. I wonder what “they” think the difference is between the land-grant colleges of the South and public colleges in the North?

Perhaps the commenter was unaware that writers like Faulkner and Walker Percy attended universities in the South.

Or that the school with the largest number of Rhodes scholars (Ole Miss) is in the South? Or the only school to have simultaneous Fulbright, Truman and Rhodes scholars (UGA), well, you get my drift. Or that the uber prestigious Peabody Award is granted by a Southern public university (also UGA).
I had the feeling that they (1) were denigrating public colleges, and (2) were denigrating most especially Southern public colleges.
@7: Both good SAE lads? Phil is a TKE.

Excellent post Fredster. Your selection of the cartoon of Mr. Robertson seems to befittingly connote he’s of the Taliban persuasion. Given his theocratic views, he would be right at home in a cave in a hillside in the Tora Bora mountains.

I find it quite interesting when the fringers call for silencing those who dare posit opinions that run afoul of their theocracy and then revel in the hate speech flung by the likes of Robertson. Someone mentioned the Dixie Chicks, but I would imagine Alec Baldwin or Martin Bashir would have an opinion on this matter since they both lost their shows this year because of untoward utterances. For that matter, we can also look to Bill Maher and Dan Rather. Then there’s Mel Gibson and Michael Richards. It seems the banishment is primarily one-sided in the culture war.

One other thing — doesn’t it seem a little convenient how this has panned out. To get in GQ, it is a coveted interview, someone had to fight to get him in it — conveniently, right before Christmas. The suspension came right before Christmas again, conveniently putting Duck gear at the front of everyone’s minds. It was also right before a DD marathon on A&E. And now, the suspension is over and he, along with the other mallards, can again collect their $200K per episode salaries. Just a little too convenient for my cynicism.

Phil is a TKE

That figures! 😆

Prolix said: It seems the banishment is primarily one-sided in the culture war.

Yes indeed it surely does. And of course my conspiracy theory antennae did start twitching when ole Phil got a GQ interview. His would hardly seem the audience to browse the pages of that magazine.

And poor Cracker Barrel: “take the Phil stuff down”. “Okay, put the Phil stuff back up.” LOL!

Oh and Prolix we can’t forget the idea of lil Bobby chirping his opinion on this. I mean, the man graduated from Brown and is a Rhodes scholar and still doesn’t understand the concept of the First Amendment?

I think you can rt. click the image to view it full sized.

@10 so are Reagan, Huckabee, Terry Bradshaw and the Everly Brothers.

Chat, I don’t know how true this is, considering the source, but if so, then kudos to Bradshaw.

chat@13: Not exactly a stellar group there. 😉

Aw geez…guess I didn’t want to watch this network anyway when it debuts.

@15: I like the Everly Brothers.
@16: I’m cancelling my pre-order., That whiiney voice…….. I guess we’re stuck during the NCG.

Radaronline has a post up that says that this creep also advises young men to pick 15 year old girls who can cook and carry a bible for wives. Apparently he goes around giving speeches about these things at various venues and events. I don’t care where he lives or was educated. He is a pig, a homophobe, and a misogynist, among other things. It disgusts me that he is given a soapbox by A & E, which used to stand for Arts & Entertainment and used to feature a much classier lineup. He’ll probably end up founding a new American taliban movement.

I was just teasing chat about the E.B., not so much about Huckabee and Reagan.

annie, I head a soundbite of that thing about marrying the young girls. I can only hope that he wasn’t serious.

You are right about A&E., but it’s owned by Hearst and ABC/Disney now. And now it’s all about the almighty buck. The duck brings in the bucks. 😉

@chat: Well I’m glad that Ole Miss finally woke up!!

Go, Rebels!

Robertson’s wife was 16 when they married, which was fairly commonplace when I grew up. You could go to high school married, just not with a visible pregnancy, and any number if my classmates were married when we graduated.

Fredster, I think he is dead serious, since he did it himself. Personally I think it is insane for teenagers to get married. My poor grandmother married at 15 and had her three kids before she was 20. She didn’t enjoy life until she was in her 30s and divorced my drunkard grandfather. I knew a few girls who got married in their teens, none of them lasted. Since your brain isn’t developed until your twenties, it seems pretty silly to me to allow your kid to make such a life altering decision. But Robertsons comments were to the point of marrying ’em young enough to be moldable and do whatever the male wants. Notice his caveat of making sure you like her cooking. No thought of sharing the cooking (like my parents did), or school or careers. Just pick a bible trained child that can cook, bear children, and “pick ducks”, whatever the hell that is. Poor ducks.

We are attending Albert Lee’s birthday party next month & I think the Everlys or one of them are expected to show up.

I am sooo jealous. Love the Everlys.

socal@25: Well I was hoping…

My maternal grandmother got married very young, something like 15 I believe. I think she was divorced within a few years or so.

I don’t know if the “pick ducks” means getting the feathers or what but I did find this.

Now that is talking about picking the feathers off of live ducks and I don’t think that’s what Phil deals with. 🙄

chat: Annie and family always have neat places or concerts they go to! I’m so j over that!!

Well whup-de-frakin do. Seems that two of the ducky dynasty folks are going to go on Fox news to discuss ole Phil’s GQ comments.

Great choice of venues people!

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