Even if you don’t watch “Duck Dynasty,” you probably know what happened to the star, Phil Robertson. He made some derogatory remarks about homosexuality, equating it with bestiality, and he was promptly put on “hiatus” by Arts and Entertainment.
A&E is the network that carries “Duck Dynasty,” the show that has become one of the most popular on television. Although A&E has every right to suspend Robertson, what I think is equally unjust is the spotlight given to the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s comments about how awful the Duck Dynasty’s star’s comments were.
If you missed hearing them, the Rev. Jackson said that Robertson’s observations were worse than those made by the bus driver many years ago when he insisted that Rosa Parks, a black woman, move to the back of the bus. Naturally, the media not only gave full exposure to Jackson’s observations, but considered his own past remarks were not worth mentioning. Granted, it was many years ago, but Jackson’s description of New York City as “Hymietown,” not once, but twice, are, to borrow a phrase from Franklin Roosevelt, “words that shall live in infamy.”
“Hymie,” if you’re not familiar with the term, is as notorious a slur about Jews as the infamous word about black people.
Why the double standard, wherein infamous words or phrases uttered by conservatives – usually white males – explode with condemnation in the liberal media, but their left-wing equivalents are downplayed or ignored completely? Lest you think I reserve my hostility to personalities such as Jackson, let me disabuse you of that idea. Occasionally, when I’m searching the channels on Sunday morning – usually while I’m waiting for a broadcast of a Raiders or 49ers game – I come across a “sermon”, if you want to call it that, by an extremely right-wing preacher.
When I hear some of these “men of the cloth,” I almost get the chills. They are spiritual descendants of the fire-and-brimstone pastors, if that’s the right term, going back to Martin Luther and beyond. They have a very real belief in hell, where people like me are destined to go. Very creepy, but also very popular, or they wouldn’t have so much face time on Sunday morning television.
I’ve always wondered why, over the years, certain people become famous even when they have no special talent or position, or worse, no real understanding of what is going on in the world. Not only that, in many cases when they appear on television or a talk show on the radio, there is no opportunity to rebut them. Have you ever heard anyone try to argue with the Rev. Billy Graham or Jerry Falwell?
Growing up Jewish, I attended Hebrew School, in addition, of course, to public school, and I may have been the most obnoxious student in many classes over the years because I questioned everything. Well, maybe not everything, but enough to drive many teachers crazy.
I do ask questions of these notorious TV celebrities, but my wife Clare is the only one to hear them.
Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at Bsteven254@aol.com.