Duck Dynasty, A Pipeline and a Lot of Quacking Over Nothing
I sometimes wonder why it is that the extreme right doesn’t see itself reflected in the extreme left or is it the other way around? It’s sometimes difficult to tell them apart. Both sides are way way out there on the edges of reality mired in conspiracies and perceived threats to everything from freedom of speech to the sanctity of the environment.
This week we have two more examples of just how whacked or quacked out it gets.
Yesterday, the National Energy Board approved the development of the Northern Gateway pipeline which will provide the means to get bitumen from the Alberta Oil Sands to the west coast of Canada where it can be loaded on ships and delivered to the Pacific Rim.
That’s very good news even if it did take two years of wrangling by environmental activists who did everything they could to present the oil from the Oil Sands as ‘unethical’. Politicians can, and frequently are, unethical but not inorganic products like oil. It’s just oil and the distortions, half-truths and outright hysterical lies from opponents of the pipeline did nothing to advance their cause. In fact, it undermined the credibility of it but that doesn’t mean we won’t see and hear more of it.
In fact, it’s already started.
There are dire warnings about threats to the Great Bear Rainforest which, coincidentally has been being logged for decades and the elimination of a long-standing moratorium on tanker traffic off the coast of British Columbia. The only problem with that is that there isn’t, and never has been, a long-standing moratorium on taker traffic off the coast of British Columbia. It’s pure fiction dreamed up by environmental extremists to try and support a cause that is pitifully weak on facts.
They have even gone so far as to try to claim that the plan poses a threat to the Great Bear Sea and to tanker traffic because the area has some of the most treacherous waters in the world – according, they claim – to Environment Canada.
There is no Great Bear Sea and never has been and Environment Canada has stated unequivocally that it has never labeled the area in question as treacherous. In fact, it is part of the Hecate Strait which has regular cruise line, commercial tanker, ferry and pleasure boat traffic throughout the year.
In other words, most of the claims being made by opponents to the Northern Gateway are just so much hysterical nonsense.
But then, that’s the way it is with true believers these days. The light of Jesus shines from their eyes, the kool-aid flows freely and everything is presented as a crisis out of all proportion to the actual issue.
Nowhere has that been more evident this week than with the ridiculous flap over Phil Robertson and Duck Dynasty.
The extreme right, taking a note from the tactical playbook of the extreme left, have wigged out over what they have described as an all out assault on freedom of speech and freedom of religion by the left. The mighty ducks are being portrayed as victims of a vast liberal conspiracy to shut down Christian conservatives and all because A&E decided that comments made by Mighty Duck #1, Phil Robertson, were not in keeping with its policies and accordingly they suspended him from the show.
They didn’t cancel the show, they simply suspended Mr. Robertson who is being presented by the extreme right as a simple man living a simple life and who is under assault by the urban left who hate the people who live in what Sun News Network’s Brian Lillly referred to as ‘fly-over’ country.
What a paternalistic crock of batshit!
Let’s get some facts on the table.
A&E didn’t act because it was overwhelmed by complaints from left-wing fanatics out to lynch simple Christian conservatives. It didn’t have any complaints. That’s just one more myth and distortion of fact that is the same as the claim in 2012 that the left were complaining about the Ducks saying grace before dinner during their show.
Even Phil Robertson exposed that as nonsense.
“The rumor that A&E told the Robertsons to tone down guns and prayer is not true. We continue to partner with A&E to make a great TV show that reflects our family’s values.”
In other words, just like the fiction created by left-wing environmental extremists, this is a bit of fiction created by right-wing extremists eager to prove their conspiracy theories about the left.
The simple fact is that this is a dispute between two privately-owned corporations: A&E and Duck Dynasty. It is not about the suppression of free speech. A&E has the right to exercise control over its programming standards and Phil Robertson continues to have the right to express his opinions in public as he did in GQ and online recently. People need to get some perspective; Facebook curtails more freedom of speech of its users than A&E has ever considered.
The Ducks run a highly successful business – Duck Commander – which makes various accessories used by duck hunters including what some claim is the best duck call in the world. Their television show is popular and profitable for both A&E and the Ducks and merchandising will generate another $400 million in 2013 alone.
The Ducks aren’t stupid people nor are they poorly educated. (Phil Robertson, the head duck, is very well educated with a masters degree in education). They’re smart business people with a solid work ethic who have earned the success they enjoy.
In other words, far from being a bunch of humble backwoods boys impersonating ZZ Top being victimized by the left, Duck Dynasty is exactly that – a successful conglomerate that makes good products and that understands marketing.
Good for them. I think it’s great when people succeed and even more so when they remain true to their basic values and principles. Duck Dynasty isn’t my cup of tea but then neither is Antiques Road Show or Dog the Bounty Hunter. I find reality television boring.
If I want to watch people going about their day, I’ll sit on my deck and watch my neighbours cut their grass and wash their cars.
A&E is also a successful privately owned enterprise and just as the folks at Duck Dynasty have every right to make decisions that they believe are in the best interest of their business, so has A&E and the network made the decision that recent comments by Phil Robertson were not in its interest. Whether you and I agree with them or not is a moot point. They have that right and they’ve exercised it. The fact is that there is a contract between Duck Dynasty and A&E that most of us do not know the terms of but that hasn’t prevented the extreme right from deciding that this is an all out assault on freedom of speech.
Whatever is in that contract, it defines what both parties have agreed can and cannot be said and done. If A&E has decided it can suspend the head duck without violating its contractual obligations, then there must be something in that contract that supports their belief. The fact that the Ducks haven’t disputed it would tend to further support that fact.
What is also missed is that the Ducks and A&E are currently in a bit of a salary contract wrangle with the Ducks now wanting $200,000 per episode. Considering the size of the audience they draw, they’re probably worth it but that’s for A&E and the Ducks to work out. It does, however, put some context around the current situation.
None of this matters to the hard-right, of course. This is an anti-Christian, anti-conservative assault by the left who are presented as an intolerant lynch mob frothing at the mouth to eradicate all and sundry who don’t agree with them. The Sun News Network’s Faith Goldy even dressed in camouflage to deliver her opinion about the vast liberal conspiracy against freedom of speech – just to show solidarity for the Ducks who also like to wear camouflage.
Power to the people!
My first thought was to wonder how it was possible for a reasonably intelligent woman to fail to see how foolish it all made her appear and how it undermined her professional credibility but then I remembered that this was the Sun News Network or CCN (Canada Conspiracy Network) as I call it.
This is the same network that has soft-pedaled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s lies, crack smoking and drinking and driving admissions even as it spent weeks decrying the threat to our children by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s admission that he had tried marijuana once. Oh the horror of it.
This is the same network where Ezra Levant delivered one of his rants in drag and another dressed up as David Suzuki (another of the extremely wigged out that distort reality) as if that somehow would enhance the validity of his message.
It was almost painful to watch the Network try to weave around the conservative belief in free enterprise while at the same time linking a private business decision to a conspiracy to stifle free speech by suspending Phil Robertson for comments he made. It’s interesting that they didn’t rush to the barricades to defend free speech when Martin Bashir was forced to leave MSNBC as a result of derogatory comments he made about Sarah Palin.
No double standard there.
The simple fact is that if there was to be a vast left-wing conspiracy to silence the right; surely to God, it could find bigger and better targets than a reality show on a cable news network. While it may be entertaining to those who enjoy the show, the reality remains that Duck Dynasty is not all that important in the greater scheme of things. It’s just one more bloody reality show that is about as pointless as the Kardashians.
What extremists on the left and the right share in common is an absolute inability maintain any degree of balanced proportion. It’s just an unrelenting barrage of conspiracy theories and perceived threats which usually ends up being exposed as utter nonsense at some point.
A recent movie called, The Purge, tells the story of a society where once a year the rule of law is suspended and people can commit any crime they like including murder without repercussions. We are living in a kind of intellectual purge and it isn’t one day a year. We’re living in a time when those who make very little intellectual investment in their opinions are driving – or trying to drive – the agenda.
Is it making our societies better? Are we more united or divided? Are we better able to resolve issues together or less able? Are we more prosperous, more innovative, more productive or less so? Do we have more trust in government, politicians, business, unions, the media or less?
You can answer those questions for yourself but I’ve already answered them for me. There are no vast conspiracies, left or right, just a lot of poorly-informed, heavily biased, intolerant and usually single-issue people who look at the world through fun house glass.
It’s a sad, distorted reality in which they live. I thank God that it ain’t my reality!
© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
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