…then I Facebook snooped into an old acquaintance’s profile and saw that she and her husband were clearly very upset by A&E’s decision to boot Phil Robertson off of the show for his idiotic and homophobic comments about homosexuals. In thinking some more about it, I decided that at least in my own little tiny corner of the interwebs I’d stand up not just for the sake of my own gay friends but for all of the LGBT community who has every right to be hurt and offended by what the Bible-thumping bearded fuckstick said about them…and that’s to say nothing about his shockingly ignorant and stupid comments about people of color and their struggle for equality in this country.
In Phil Robertson what you have is the prototypical white conservative male. Or you know — the prototypical white guy with a victim complex. They don’t hear the discrimination in their words because they don’t think what they’re saying is discriminatory. They don’t think it’s discriminatory because they themselves claim to be the victims whenever someone rightly points out how stupid and baseless their unabashed bigotry is. “Oh don’t trample my First Amendment rights here, man,” they all shout from the rooftops. Funny, I thought my First Amendment rights gave me permission to publicly call you an old fashioned American Bigot.
People like Robertson — modern day Archie Bunkers — don’t see how even remotely judging someone for their completely normal and healthy sexual behavior is just plain wrong. They don’t see how comparing bestiality to homosexuality (and don’t get it twisted — by invoking bestiality at all the comparison is being drawn) itself is just stupid and illogical in 2013. You would think that someone who professes to follow the teachings of one of history’s most accepting people would have more sense than to spout the kind of bullshit Robertson did in the GQ piece, but then again sadly I’ve come to expect hypocrisy from the church I left.
I feel like it just needs to be said, and repeated over and over and over again until it either sinks into these unevolved simpletons get it through their skulls — being a homosexual to a homosexual is no different than being a white, middle-aged conservative is to a white, middle-aged conservative. It is who they are and no, there is no difference between the bigots of the 1860s that fought a war to keep their right to own black people as property and the bigots of 2013 who just think gay sex is icky and therefore they feel entitled to repress the fuck out of people who identify themselves as being gay.
You know, it’d be really easy for me to take the “oh who cares what this reality TV star fame-whoring, double-dipped douchebag of derp has to say about anything, much less the LGBT community?” But that’s a cop-out. It’s a cop-out to pretend as if this guy spouting his ignorance isn’t important because as much as it pains me to admit it, a lot of goddamned people watch these terrible TV shows. And enough of them watch to be actually outraged over a private company disciplining one of their employees — something that usually gives conservatives massive hard-ons. So clearly it’s a fight that we have yet to win, and therefore any and of all us who see the bigotry for what is — bigotry couched in religious freedom of expression — have an obligation to speak out against it when we see it.
It’s not easy sometimes to face down bigotry in its face, especially when a segment of the population has embraced it so tightly, but don’t forget that God was invoked to excuse away all kinds of abhorrent behaviors. From wars to slavery, the Great Creator has been given as a reason for the most terrible of mankind’s sins against itself. The First Amendment absolutely gives Phil Robertson a right to believe whatever stupid bullshit he wants to about my gay friends without fear of retribution from his government. It doesn’t, however, give him the right to say these things without fear of rebuke from society at large. The same is true for anyone defending his comments on any grounds whatsoever. I’m not a militant atheist. I don’t really give to squirrely shits who or what anyone worships. But I refuse to take a backseat to inhumane treatment of people I love and care for.
Lastly, there’s going to be a backlash from some who are going to say “oh, who cares about this guy anyway?” Or they’ll argue that it’s a manufactured controversy and therefore isn’t worth discussing. On the face of it, I tend to agree. Before this week I had no idea how to tell one bearded guy from the other on the show. But I’ll point this out — one, if people really are “above it all” they’d not even say a word about the controversy one way or the other. Secondly, and most importantly — just because it’s a manufactured controversy that doesn’t negate our responsibility as a society to speak out on behalf of the oppressed whenever the chance is given to us. It’s still a big deal that in 2013 people think it’s still their God-given right to judge someone else for what they do under the covers with another adult. It’s still a big deal that in this day and age an idiot like Robertson can feel free to spout his ignorance and hate.
Sure, it would be nice if Robertson had said something the NSA spying so that we could have a dialog about that, but guess what? LGBT equality isn’t exactly an issue that isn’t important, especially to those who are still being made to feel like “others” in our so-called land of freedom and equality. Maybe the vehicle by which it was delivered is a vapid, media made one, but the issue of human rights is not one to be sneezed at. So please, if your baseline response is “no one should care because it’s reality TV” take two seconds, get outside your cynical little bubble and look at the larger picture. Enough people are angry about his firing to show you just how important the issue truly is. There’s clearly a lot of progress yet to be made on this issue and if every time we’re given a chance to educate we turn a cynical, too-cool-for-school cold shoulder to it, we’re never getting anywhere.
There was a time in this country when segregationists could feel completely free to exercise their First Amendment rights to spout the racist bullshit they believed. People like Jesse Helms, Strom Thurmond and George Wallace made long careers out of being outright and overt racists. Now you have people like Robertson, Rick Santorum and Pat Robertson doing the same thing with LGBT issues — playing to the cheap seats. So you know what? It doesn’t make you the cool kid in class to sit back and not comment when some patently untrue, vile and stupid shit is said in public by a very public figure. Like it or not, reality TV is here to stay, and society for some reason has decided to give a shit about what the clowns who perform on them say and do, so get up off your asses and care for once.