Liberal Alec Baldwin had a show on MSNBC for a very short time. He called a paparazzo who was harassing him and his family a “cocksucking fag”. Baldwin was swiftly suspended, then fired, from MSNBC. The right sort of shrugged, torn between its animus for Alec Baldwin on the one hand, and gays on the other.
Liberal Martin Bashir had a show on MSNBC. He criticized Sarah Palin for likening the national debt to “slavery” by explaining what, precisely, slavery was. Specifically, he explained how the complete control of the master led oftentimes to unspeakably horrific treatment of his chattel labor – in one case, scatalogically so. Bashir said Palin should see what slavery really was before making such ignorant comparisons, and that a slavemaster should shit in her mouth. There was an outcry from Palin and the right. Bashir was suspended from MSNBC. He apologized. Palin accepted the apology. He left the network anyway. The right wing was outraged and demanded Bashir’s removal from TV.
Some bearded person on a so-called “reality” show about very wealthy redneck manufacturers of duck calls has said some hateful and ignorant things about gay people and black people. A&E has suspended him. The right wing have gone ballistic, calling this a PC witch hunt and otherwise bemoaning the degradation of Biblical values, apple pie, Chevrolet, bearded freaks, and hate speech. Duck Dynasty guy equated homosexuality with bestiality and terrorism. He said the blacks had it better under Jim Crow, when they didn’t bitch to him (a white guy) about anything.
Pretty base, ignorant stuff there. Well within the same wheelhouse as Bashir’s and Baldwin’s misdeeds. (I will note for consistency-lovers that I have not defended Bashir or Baldwin in any way, in any forum, and that I had no complaint of any sort when either of them were fired. To me, talking-head cable shows are a huge part of what is killing American discourse and thought, and I’d just as soon see them all gone.)
But we live in a nation that is sick beyond help – not because of the infiltration of the “gay lifestyle”, but because ignorant bullshit has gone mainstream.
Never one to miss a chance for publicity, Sarah Palin posted on Facebook: “Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin’ and taking on theDuck Dynasty patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.” (Only Palin could claim that a person who has just voiced intolerant comments like Robertson is being attacked by “intolerants.”)
Of course, when Martin Bashir made despicable comments about Palin, she didn’t defend him by saying, “Free speech is an endangered species.” Nope, instead she slammed Bashir’s comments as being “vile” and “evil.” And officials at Palin’s political action committee demanded that MSNBC punish Bashir.
First of all, the First Amendment right to free speech was not invoked in any of these cases. The Constitution limits the government’s power – not MSNBC’s, and not A&E’s. Bashir, Baldwin, and Duck Person are all entitled to think and say exactly everything they want. The networks on which they appear are likewise entitled to air, praise, condemn, or remove anything they see fit.
Secondly, if you believe that Baldwin and Bashir should have been fired, consistency and fairness begs you to think the same of Duck Dynasty guy. If you think that Baldwin and Bashir should both be on MSNBC, then A&E should be boycotted.
I have seen arguments defending Duck Dynasty guy because he was just repeating what the Bible has to say about, e.g., gay people suffering eternal damnation for their heinous crimes against God. That’s nice. But just because your holy book or religion says a thing doesn’t make it right, does it? Are we to excuse every ignorant and hateful thing that any religion has to say? Like I said, you can believe whatever you want – but when you equate homosexuality to terrorism, you have every right to be accountable for your words – to suffer consequences. Like when you call a photographer a “cocksucking fag”. Like when you suggest that a public figure should have someone shit in her mouth.
The right wing didn’t have much to say about Alec Baldwin, after all. The only thing they brought up was that GLAAD were hypocrites because they didn’t condemn him (they did). It’s ok to defame gay people if you’re conservative, after all. Not just ok – encouraged. When Duck Dynasty guy defames gay people (and blacks), and gets suspended, they are outraged. When it’s Alec Baldwin, they shrug. To me, defaming gay people is wrong, full stop.
A few months ago, “cook” Paula Deen was effectively drummed out of show business because her long history of racist thoughts and words came to light. Now, there is a miniature store selling her cookbooks and spatulas in a largely empty plaza in right-wing Clarence. She became a hero to the right because, evidently, saying ignorantly anachronistic things about black people is ok, because “free speech”. Similarly, Duck Dynasty guy is cheered on the right for saying ignorantly anachronistic things about gays and blacks.
I don’t see how – and it’s the Christmas season, incidentally – a time of love and cheer – nominal Christians and “conservatives” can go around defending people who have so much hatred in their hearts, thoughts, and words. If conservatism means preserving age-old hatreds, jealousies, and slanders then I don’t quite get why so many people would call themselves that.
If Duck Dynasty guy is smart, he’ll apologize, A&E will reinstate him, and he can cash out what remains of his 15 minutes of fame. From the looks of it, he and his kin are digging in, standing firm, and telling those “cocksucking fags” and liberals to piss off and, literally, go to hell.