So, I have a friend on Facebook who is a Professor of Sociology at a university in Massachusetts. He’s a good guy (I used to play darts with him in Columbia) although he brings a decidedly leftist viewpoint to his political discussions. Which is fine, he’s one of my few liberal acquaintances who is actually willing to engage in a serious discussions of the issues of the day. We had a marathon session one night at my house while enjoying a bottle of whiskey which was a very pleasant experience.
So anyway, a few days ago he posted this on his Facebook page:
Here’s something I want to cautiously offer to the conversation – while we’ve been having important conversations about tolerance and silly arguments about free speech, more and more attention is being given to a media figure who’s real life has been managed and distorted into a stereotype of a poor person. That stereotype simply isn’t the whole picture, just take a look at the picture of the Duck Dynasty family from a few year back included in this article. Let’s try to see more of the picture, and also think a bit about who benefits from the perpetuation of the stereotypes.
From the article: ‘As long as we keep our concerns on the ideological bigotry expressed by one type of loser in the system, no one notices the corporate or government policies and practices that are the real problem. While all eyes are on the poor, rural, white, Southern bigot, we fail to see the owners of media corporations sitting comfortably in their mansions making decisions about which hilarious down-trodden stereotype to trot out next. Sexist, homophobic, and racist ideology gets a voice, while those who really benefit laugh all the way to the bank.’
And here’s the article he linked. Give it a read and then come on back.
I wasn’t going to respond at all because I could see in the FB comments that the article was blood in the water for the lefty sharks who follow him. But with the article still in mind and my holiday magnanimity satiated, I wrote the following comment:
I hesitated weighing in on this because I’ve never watched Duck Dynasty and didn’t believe that anyone who watches “reality” programs of this ilk actually think of them as real. But I read the linked article anyway and came away wondering what was more astounding–the smug arrogance or the blatant hypocrisy. And talk about stereotypes! All the liberal gospels right up front and center. You’ve got your classism, evil corporate exploitation, conservatives as racists, and oh yeah, “white privilege” all together at last! And make no mistake, the article did in fact call Robertson a bigot in the classical sense of the word.
I don’t personally care what Robertson says or believes, I don’t care if he is faux redneck, and I don’t care if A&E cancels his silly show. I don’t expect he does either. In the grand scheme of things this kerfuffle is just another pointless distraction from the issues that should matter most to the American people. But since we are on the subject I want to state once again how personally offended I am by this whole pseudo-science doctrine of white privilege. How is it different from any other race based stereotype?
Now, just a couple of weeks ago I was reading how incensed y’all were about the college professor who was taken to task for offending her white students by calling them out for their obvious (to her) guilt of being members of a privileged race. But hey, she’s got as much right to her religious beliefs as anyone, right? I just don’t understand the double-standard being applied to Robertson. I for one like the concept of a free marketplace of ideas, even the ones I don’t personally care for. I just wish my friends on the left could be so open-minded and inclusive.
But I digress. You wanted a conversation about stereotypes of the poor. Well, guess what? We are not as yet a collective and most folks can think for themselves and tend to act in an individualistic manner. Robertson no more represents the poor than does the “welfare queens” or “gang bangers” we see frequently on display in popular media. A media controlled largely by the left, if political donations to democrats are any indication. But the reality is people don’t fit in the neat little boxes to which they’ve been assigned by their intellectual betters. And that’s a good thing I reckon. Otherwise, as a person who believes in limited government I’d be nothing but a racist, homophobic, Tea Partier, right?
The best article I’ve read on this subject serves as a nice counterpoint to the one you linked. I humbly invite you to take a step outside of the echo chamber and give it a read. If you dare! http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2013/12/19/angsty-emo-outrage-and-ducks/
Glen Reynolds had the best line I’ve seen on the topic: “A&E is now cancelling “Duck Dynasty” and replacing it with a new show about life in the White House. It will be called “Duck Responsibility.”