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Don't take the 'Duck Dynasty' bait

OPINION

  • Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty"
Phil Robertson of "Duck Dynasty"
January 05, 2014|By Stephen Markley, @stephenmarkley | For RedEye

Let me ask you this: Could you imagine how the civil rights movement would have gone if Facebook had been around back in the '60s?

I picture finding a post in my feed right as James Meredith was attempting to enroll at Ole Miss.

"I'm sorry, but my dad did not fight the Nazis in World War II just so some black guy could have the right to trample my freedom of speech by coming to my historic university! We have a tradition to uphold, and we shouldn't be held hostage by the federal government for standing up for what we believe in!"

If that sounds ridiculous, well, you're probably one of the annoying people who would actually comment on that person's post in an attempt to rebut.

Let's get four very obvious things cleared up:

>>That "Duck Dynasty" guy is an idiot. This is what we left-leaning, cosmopolitan snobs are talking about when we say that many conservative opinions are really dumb. It's because that guy probably also believes equally asinine things like President Obama is secretly trying to enact Sharia law, or tax cuts for rich people produce economic growth, or global warming doesn't exist because winter is happening during winter.

>>Who cares if that "Duck Dynasty" guy is an idiot? Why, my liberal tribe, do we spend so much Facebook word-space worrying about this effluvium, these pop culture stand-ins for the issues of the day? When your uncle posts a link to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, just roll your damn eyes and let it go! We don't need an Oxford-style debate every time a Vikings punter gets fired (possibly) for his stance on gay marriage. We're going to win this one. It's the fourth quarter and we're up by like nine touchdowns. Just calm down and go eat Chick-fil-A.

>>People who think it counts as a free speech violation when a person says nasty things about homosexuality and gets his reality show momentarily taken away or a person gets denied a head coaching job because he's a bigot: In the above fictional James Meredith example, you are the moron-in-hindsight. If this hasn't dawned on you yet, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq had absolutely nothing to do with the "Duck Dynasty" guy's right to be an a-hole. The people you know who went to war there and/or died were not fighting for the Minnesota Vikings' special teams coordinator's right to use homophobic slurs. Homophobic slurs would do just fine even if we ended freedom of speech tomorrow.

>>Finally, can we all just take a breath? Can we take the vehemence of our public conversation about reality TV and football players and all the other pop culture outrages and maybe just inch it ever so slightly toward a more substantive conversation? Can we stop impatiently swinging between over-hyped stories of umbrage, spun up by crazed talk-show hosts on 24-hour news networks? No?

OK, good. Because I heard Steven Seagal is about to run for governor of Arizona.

I assume that means the greatest pop culture-political mashup clusterbomb of absurdity is about to come out of that guy's mouth, and I can't wait to write about it.

RedEye special contributor Stephen Markley is the author of "The Great Dysmorphia" and "Publish This Book."

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