CHRIS SCHILLIG: The only Duck Dynasty that interest him is Donald's

Alliance Review Published:

So, a big, furry guy from "Duck Dynasty" made some controversial comments and got himself suspended from his TV show, and now people are taking sides.


I have never seen an episode of "Duck Dynasty." Until about a month ago, I had no idea it was even a live-action TV show. When people talked about it, I assumed they were referring to a Disney cartoon with Uncle Scrooge, Donald and his three nephews.

My consciousness was raised (or lowered) one day when I was walking through Walmart and saw the bearded Ducks, all of whom look like refugees from a Grateful Dead concert, staring out at me from a rack of T-shirts.

Further enlightenment came when one of my adult students showed me a copy of the "Duck Dynasty" Christmas CD. I haven't heard it, but I imagine it's on par with the offerings of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, both of whom traded on their success in a television franchise of an earlier decade to record albums that range from pedestrian to horrific.

All of which means that I wasn't really too impacted one way or another when Phil Robertson (I had to look up his name), the leader of the Duck flock, expressed his disapproval of homosexuality and his belief that blacks were happy in the Jim Crow south. Nor was I too surprised when A&E, the network that airs the show, suspended him indefinitely. Now his family is saying the show can't go on without him, which means that a program I've never watched, starring people that I don't care one whit about, may end.

I repeat: Yawn.

Some people are saying that Robertson's freedom of speech has been impinged, which is, of course, hogwash. He wasn't censored by the government. Nobody told him he couldn't speak his mind. His network merely chose not to associate itself with his opinions and severed the relationship, either temporarily or permanently. Freedom of speech does not equate with freedom from consequences.

The cynic in me wonders if this whole incident isn't playing out in a predetermined way to benefit both A&E and Robertson. After all, you couldn't buy the publicity both sides received over the last week or so. Given the manipulative formula of reality TV, where episodes are edited to magnify conflict and create heroes and villains, is it such a stretch to ponder how much of this "controversy" is scripted?

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Robertson apologizes, not for his comments (which appeal to a conservative demographic and are, therefore, valuable) but for the strident and blunt way he presented them; and then if A&E reinstates him, along with some tepid mea culpa of its own. When the show returns, even more viewers will tune in to see what Robertson says next. If it's a ploy, it's a brilliant one.

Really, though, why do so many Americans care so much what celebrities think? Just because somebody's job involves having a camera pointed at them for a significant amount of time each week doesn't make his opinions more informed and important than the nation's working class stiffs.

What Robertson has to say about gays, blacks and religion is merely one person's opinion. He's entitled to it, of course, just as others are entitled to share their views. It's a free country, after all.

Now when Donald Duck or Scrooge McDuck speak up about gay rights or racial equality, I'll pay more attention. That's the only duck dynasty that interests me.

Chris Schillig is an Alliance area educator and journalist. Contact him at or cschillig on Twitter

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  • taggr,  I don't assume it is all real.  You can easily tell it is scripted.

    I just like the fact that it is a TV show where the whole family can sit down and watch it together without anyone getting qeasy or uncomfortable while watching.

    I miss those shows and I know many out there do.  Problem, is, the TV networks don't realize it and keep putting out this other garbage.

    TV is no where near entertaining like it used to be.  Glad I watch very little of it.

    As I see it now, including childrens TV, Duck Dynasty is pretty much the only show that doesn't carry profanity or debauchery in it.


    Martin Fleming

  • Amen Martin Duck Dynasty is truly a reflection of the way people lived back in simpler times. Nothing dumb going on in this show. It's all real. wink, wink

    I've lost all respect I had for you man! You give new mean to the word quackery.

  • Phil Roberston is the epitamy of what men should be like.  He does not consider himself a celebrity and does not promote himself as a celebrity.  A&E is doing that and this was most likely just a ploy by A&E to boost the ratings to begin with.

    Men like Phil Robertson are a dying breed and they represent the thoughts of our fore fathers and how man and his country are one.  Today, very few men or women have this intellect and we have wound up with what you see around you now.  The garbage they show on TV.  The drugs, the sex the multitude of debauchery and most are mesmerized by the lack of intelligence it takes to make these.

    But you get a fresh show like Duck Dynasty that takes us back to simpler times and a simpler life and those with a lack of intelligence don't understand it and make fun of it.

    I've had it with the crime scene, pretty girls, and all the other dumb down shows people like to watch on network television and WE, Life, Bravo and the junk channels.  Haven't tuned to any of those channels unless the Bears were on.  Don't watch any local channels and haven't for years.  Programming is not there to watch.  And you know what, haven't missed it at all.

    Martin Fleming

  • Celebrities are like psychic readers, the people will take whatever the celebrity says and adjust their beliefs to agree. Studies have shown this to be the case. The sheeple need somebody to tell them what to think. They always will.

  • It's funny that Chris Schillig should even write this article.  Until the name Duck Dynasty appeared I always found him to be a hum drum writer and after this article, I understand why.  He is a shallow man who is calling for attention and jealous of the fame they have accumlated over their personal values which in turn what just about everybody (but Chris Schillig), is desiring today.

    In the past Schillig has written the most mundane and boring crap that has ever been printed in the Record Pub or printed in the Record Courier and this guy has the audacity to give his take on it.  Does he even know Smart Phones or Tablets exist?  I bet he knows who Miley Cyrus is though.

    This even furthers the stance of Phil Robertson.  Maybe the Record Pub could get rid of these out of touch and out of date writers and put in some fresh ones who know what is going on in the world.  Geesh, this guy is writing for the paper and is supposed to know what is going on in the world.  Come on Record Pub, get some better writers or put a rug on this one.

    Martin Fleming

  • It is certainly curious that people pay so much attention to the utterances of celebrities, whether or not those celebrities have anything intelligent to say.  Perhaps it is because the celebrity is saying something the listener (or reader) agrees with, so that the listener feels that their own voice is amplified.  On the flip side, if the celebrity's opinion disagrees with the listener's, perhaps the listener views the celebrity as a representative of his opponents on an issue.  Consequently the celebrity becomes a visible focal point, and therefore easier to respond to than other, mostly unseen, opponents.

    in the Robertson case, there is no doubt that there is an additional component of affection for the character, which causes his audience to want to defend him.

    In any case, I tend to doubt that the opinions of public figure actually determine listeners' opinions, unless that figure is seen as a political or religious figure who is seen to have either moral authority or power on his side.  They merely serve as focal points for opposing views.

    i doubt that these tendencies are confined to Americans, or that they are likely to go away.

  • "why do so many Americans care so much what celebrities think?"
    Answer: Because the majority of Americans are lazy weak minded followers. 

    I stated before, A&E knows exactly what they are doing. They are counting the piles of cash, while the followers get their panites all in a bunch.

  • A&E blatantly violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by suspending Robertson from his job because of his religious beliefs.

    Robertson was asked a question about his religious beliefs (GQ asked him what he considered sinful), Robertson answered with his religious beliefs, and A&E said they suspended him because of his answer.

    It's no surprise that the extremist liberal writer of this article is unconcerned about civil rights when it comes to religious beliefs; he has openly expressed his religious bigotry in prior columns.

    This writer's hypocrisy is on display since he vigorously refers to the same Civil Rights Act when gays are discriminated against.

    And the Record-Courier should be ashamed of the bigoted cartoon they published in this issue.

  • Best statement I've seen in print in years, and something told repeatedly to me by my parents:  "why do so many Americans care so much what celebrities think?"

    My parents would add "think for yourself". Whether it's athletes, popular music stars, or any other celebrity, adopting a belief they hold because you like their "performance" is very easy and convenient, and something most of us have done at one time or another; however, it's often not sound, and can be attributed to many things from intellectual laziness to just wanting to fit in.  We have a multitude of facilities, campuses and edifices dedicated to higher education in Northeast Ohio, along with huge staff and budgets. I just hope we as a society are teaching the young to think for themselves and actually presenting more than one opinion or position on an issue:  And that we educate the young men and woman, and the younger boys and girls, how influential the media around us is in shaping our beliefs and opinions.