In which the GQ Duck Dynasty flap forces me to ask, what the hell IS Duck Dynasty?
by Alaina Mabaso
All I know is that I’m in Walgreens, wondering why at age 30 I still feel embarrassed about buying tampons from college-age male clerks, and suddenly I notice all these “Duck Dynasty”-brand greeting cards and paper party favors with disheveled bearded guys glaring at me from all sides.
Like any good girl ignorant in the ways of the world, I asked Mom what Duck Dynasty is when I was home over Thanksgiving.
“A bunch of wall-eyed outback guys who eat squirrels,” she said. “They’re bigger than Honey Boo Boo.” The remote was in her hand and she asked me if I wanted to watch it.
“No,” I said.
Things like Miley Cyrus’s gluteal exploration of Robin Thicke’s crotch filter into my consciousness slower than you can spoon an unfamiliar food into a baby. Only after the whole area is splattered and scraped with the spoon again and again will I decide to have a taste.
It’s always the same. Some new entertainment icon starts to shine hotter and more omnipresent than the Eye of Sauron, but I just can’t bring myself to click until the party in question makes some kind of sexual or bigoted faux pas and the resulting paroxysm across all media platforms breaks through even my avoidance.
Last night, all I knew was that Duck Dynasty was a TV show about growing beards in the woods — plus what Mom said about the squirrels. First thing this morning I see that one of the men behind the beards has apparently unmasked himself as the next Dan Cathy.
Self-described “milquetoast” writer Drew Magary of GQ magazine visited the reality show stars at home, and ever since, I assume he’s been counting down the hours til his story would hit newsstands and go viral on the strength of the quotation, “it seems like, to me, a vagina —as a man —would be more desirable than a man’s anus.”
But sinners aren’t logical, patriarch Phil Robertson explains.
I decided it was finally time for me to research who or what Duck Dynasty is. I found out that the dynasty is three or so generations of the exceptionally hirsute Robertson family, who have their own duck-hunting-gear business and live on 20,000 acres in Louisiana. They hit the airwaves on A&E in March 2012 and have been breaking ratings records ever since.
These are the things I was surprised to learn:
- The show has a strong Christian theme: the “Bible-thumping” clan’s exploits are a family-friendly, God-loving, non-cursing oasis in the crass seas of liberal American TV.
- The same people who are devoted to a TV show featuring fervent prayer, wild game and backwoods antics like blowing up beaver dams are also looking to buy the newest men’s fragrance lines from Chanel and Burberry, if you go by the ads that accompany the story on the GQ website.
These are the things I was NOT surprised to learn:
- A troupe of Bible-thumping hunters from Louisiana sees gay sex as the bedrock of all sin: “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there,” to “bestiality” and other ills.
- A troupe of Bible-thumping hunters from Louisiana can’t discuss homosexuality without fixating on the male anus and how gross it is.
- Following Phil’s announced suspension from A&E, conservative intellectual dynamos like Sarah Palin immediately confused losing a starring role in a TV show with the total loss of freedom of speech in general.
- Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is among those who believe that true tolerance is all about giving fair space to mega-platforms for people who are not tolerant.
- Phil’s an all-around bigot. According to Magary, Phil thinks black people in Louisiana were better off before the Civil Rights Movement. Back then, “the blacks” worked for farmers and he did too because he was “white trash.” This enabled Phil to see firsthand that black people were “happy” in the 1950’s South and never sang the blues until after entitlements like welfare appeared.
- This blatant racism turns out to be kind of a footnote in the general outrage.
And thus by the grace of Jesus, ladies in the drugstores of the Philadelphia suburbs are buying camouflage-print gift wrap. I would go on but this marks the exact moment that I have had enough of Duck Dynasty for life.
Next time, the subject won’t be Duck Dynasty. Want to follow along anyway? Visit the homepage to subscribe.