Duck Dynasty Has Freedom of Speech, Not Freedom From Criticism

I don't watch reality television. After a brief stint on a reality show two years ago, I know that there's about as much reality in such shows as there is in an episode of True Blood.

Needless to say, I don't watch Duck Dynasty. A show about people with ZZ Top beards who hunt ducks sounds about as interesting to me as sitting through an extended version of Sunday mass. But as someone who's up on the blogs and someone who is staunchly pro-gay everything, I figured there was a reason most of my friends who don't hunt duck and DO own a Norelco were tweeting and posting about Phil Robertson, one of the main guys on Duck Dynasty.

Long story short, this guy gave an interview to GQ (yeah, the irony doesn't stop there) where he went on a rant about a lot of things -- Jesus, the Bible, privacy, sin, gay people, bestiality, black people... a whole variety of topics rife with sound bite quality.

Somewhere in between stating his educated views on how a vagina is more desirable than an anus (tell that to the insane amount of gay AND straight dudes I know who love anal) and his rationale that since he never saw blacks getting mistreated in the 1960s in pre-Civil Rights Era Louisiana, they were probably way happier because they were always singing, some people got pissed. GLAAD, notably, made a statement. Fox News predictably came to Robertson's defense, trying to assert that since Robertson's comments in a national magazine weren't overwhelmingly accepted and supported, it's proof that "Christians" can't have opinions in this world. Right.

Here's the thing. I get the right wing, ultra-conservative, Tea Party Christians want to be the victim. I think it's a complex that because the majority of these people are older, white men, they have NEVER really been a victim, they want in on that party. But the thing is, this sense of false victimhood is embarrassing. On a lot of levels. The assertion that the only way a person is able to "hold a belief" is if they are capable of saying it aloud, in public, to the masses, without one ounce of criticism is a little crazy guys. You have every right to hold whatever belief you like. You believe in Jesus? Cool. Think I'm going to hell because I'm a slutty slut? Fabulous. Think gay people are the same as people who shtoop dogs? Okay, sure. Think black people were happier under Jim Crow era laws? Uh, okay. You're totally entitled to your belief, crazy and out of touch as they may be. But when you go sharing that belief with the entire country via one of the most popular men's magazines, don't be surprised when a lot of people just DON'T AGREE WITH YOU. It is within our right as much as yours to come back against your assertions, to counter your opinion. This is America, you're not just entitled to an opinion if you're white, Christian and anti-gay. I am all for Roberston giving his interview! Being a hypocritical Bible thumper (he claims gays won't inherit the kingdom of God, he forgot that part in the Bible where God says it's easier for a dude to get a camel through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter heaven, unless Robertson's own net worth of $15 million is no longer considered "rich" in this country) and telling the world that much like his hair cut, he hasn't changed his political views in the last 40 years. I support his right to lay his crazy all over the map!

But this victimhood that right-winged people are claiming simply because people like me who don't agree with anything this dude said, and actually find some of it offensive, aren't sitting back and just letting it slide is hilarious! If someone told you (and millions of other people) that your marriage to your husband or wife was akin to you screwing a goat or a dog, would you just sit back and say, "hey, they're entitled to their opinion and I'm not going to comment?" Of course not! You'd get on the horn and blast that person because clearly you know that your relationship with your significant other isn't the same as someone making sweet love to a hedgehog and you'd be pretty pissed if someone insinuated that. And you want to be able to defend yourself from such statements. That's freedom of speech. One person says one thing, another person can agree or disagree with it. Freedom of speech is not freedom from criticism or disagreement or disapproval. If you can't stand the fact that your pretty out there statements about people you don't even know might draw negative attention and discussion, then don't make them. But don't expect the world to sit back and just allow dudes like Robertson to insult a whole lot of people and not hear any follow up.

No, Christians, you are not the victim. You are allowed to say whatever you like whenever you like to whomever you like. You are allowed to hold opinions and beliefs that are counter to science and reality and that are downright mean and insulting. But just because you are Christian, and just because this is America doesn't mean you are immune to people's responses about such beliefs and opinions. This guy willingly gave an interview, said some stuff and now the people he's insulted and their supporters are countering it. Plain and simple. No one said he couldn't say it, no one is saying he can't say it. But just like you're entitled to your opinion, I am entitled to mine. And I will vocally tell you your opinion is kind of crazy and slightly hateful and more than a little uneducated. If you want to come back at me, have at it. Because when someone responds to something I say or write, I don't consider it hateful or anti-Stef. I consider it a discussion. A chance for me to win an argument, to prove my points, to use proof and reason to explain to someone else why I am right and maybe even change a few opinions. A process of thought and ideas. Something the right wing and Fox News seems to have a big problem with.