In a rather odd trip to Walmart last night (it was mom’s idea), my family was in the “holiday” section looking through half-priced Christmas leftovers when my 17 year old nephew walks up holding a “Duck Dynasty ‘Si’ Clock.” He pushes the button, and asks me what I think it’s saying.
I thought he’d asked me “who” it sounded like, and told him I didn’t know. No, he said, WHAT’s it SAYING?
My mom and my other nephew, before I could even answer, both respond: “Heil Hitler.”
Mom was so convinced that the toy was saying “Heil Hitler” that I had to explain to her that it was likely (well hopefully likely) that the toy manufacturer did not intend to have the Duck Dynasty clock honor the Führer. Still, it was awfully weird. And the timing couldn’t have been worse.
Duck Dynasty is a reality show on A&E that has been in some hot water lately for the racist, sexist and homophobic words of one of its stars, Phil Robertson.
Now, I have a hard time believing that A&E intentionally created a Duck Dynasty clock that says “Heil Hitler,” but I can tell you that four of us there in Walmart last night, including my 84 year old mom, couldn’t figure out what the clock could be saying, OTHER than “Heil Hitler.”
Here’s a video I took of the Aryan timepiece. You can make up your own mind.
I was talking with Mike Signorile last night about the whole Duck Dynasty brouhaha, and how the largest American gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, appears to have given Duck Dynasty’s Robertson a pass on his homophobia simply because A&E has promised to run some public service announcements about tolerance during the TV show.
The problem for HRC is that even if one accepts that homophobia is somehow okay if it’s cloaked in the Bible (which is what Robertson’s defenders are claiming), that doesn’t really answer the question of why it was also acceptable for Robertson to promote racism and sexism. Does the Bible excuse that bigotry as well?
The sexism charge is based on Robertson’s earlier comments that men should marry 15 year old girls because they’re easier to mold, or something:
Robertson’s racial comments are even more disturbing, and have not received an adequate explanation from either A&E or civil rights groups like HRC that are now providing cover for Robertson’s racism. Here’s what Robertson recently told GQ:
Phil On Growing Up in Pre-Civil-Rights-Era Louisiana
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!… Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”
Many interpret Robertson’s comments as suggesting that African-Americans had it better, were happier, godlier, before the Civil Rights era came along. And that “entitlements” and “welfare” somehow ruined blacks. It’s a popular, and racist, point of view in some uber-conservative circles.
And regardless of whether you believe that the Bible somehow exonerates Robertson’s homophobia, no one in their right mind would claim that the Bible justifies racism (many still use the Bible to justify sexism, but not racism).
So I’m confused about how Robertson has suddenly been let off the hook – why he was suddenly unsuspended by A&E – when he hasn’t adequately explained why he thinks African-Americans were better off during segregation. When A&E answers that question adequately, then we’ll talk.