Tonawanda News

Columns

December 29, 2013

DUVALL: Duck Dynasty's free speech, free market lesson

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Last I checked, the First Amendment (that document all those Tea Party troglodytes love to say we ignore) says: “Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech.” Did I miss an act of Congress prohibiting duck whistling dipsticks from expressing their opinions about gays?

Was Robertson jailed for his remarks? Did the police show up and raid his home? Did the FCC force A&E to cancel his show?

No, it was that pesky invisible hand of the free market — a conservative cause celebre to be preserved at all cost — at work. A&E feared a backlash from viewers who find Robertson’s opinions offensive so they suspended him. Just like what any employer might do if an employee did something to jeopardize profits.

And just as I’m satisfied by that outcome, I must also shrug my agreement with A&E’s decision to bring him back. 

Fans revolted and promised to boycott the show. The network recalculated its dollars-and-cents decision and brought him back (all while dimwitted fans bought “Duck Dynasty” merchandise in droves to show their support for Robertson — profits from which go to the employer who suspended him).

The free market has spoken. It’s a sad statement, but I’ll accept it. I profoundly disagree with his position but a rational conclusion is obvious: My rights are no more abridged whether that guy is on television or not.

And besides, if cable network executives are the ones we’re counting on to preserve for civil rights and civil discourse we’ve got much bigger problems than the future of “Duck Dynasty.”

I think Paul Robertson is stupid. I think his show is stupid. Neither of those facts separates him from a majority of stupid people on television and their right to say stupid things to other people stupid enough to watch their stupid shows. 

The “Duck Dynasty” quack can flap all he likes about gays, lesbians, heaven, hell — whatever is on his bird-sized brain.

And that’s the lasting beauty of the First Amendment in a media-saturated, contrived-crisis generating 21st century America: Just because you have the right to say something dumb doesn’t mean I have to listen to it. I’ll just change the channel.

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Columns
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  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

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