Phil Robertson is at it again. The “Duck Dynasty” patriarch launched into a series of bizarre tirades during theWestern Conservative Summit in Denver over the weekend. At various points he tugged on his beard, vowed to never use a women’s restroom and screamed about the Supreme Court’s decision last year legalizing same-sex marriage, according to clips posted online by DailyPolitics. But the strangest moment of all may have been when he offered “proof” of Jesus Christ: the calendar.
“It is 2,016 years since Jesus showed up, right?” he said. “So don’t tell me he wasn’t here.” He then went on:
“By the way, if your calendar is dated of all the human beings who have ever walked on the Earth, and your calendar is dedicated and predicated to just one of ’em, evidently something rather large went down back then.”
“‘How come we say it’s 2,016 years, I don’t believe in this Jesus stuff,’” he said, mimicking a supposed rival argument. “I said, ‘well you’re counting time by him dude. Face it!’”
While the calendar year is based loosely on certain assumptions about the birth of Jesus, it also honors a few other deities. March, for example, is named for Mars, the Roman god of war. That hasn’t stopped the family from repeatedly offering the calendar as “proof” of their faith; last year Si Robertson said anyone who uses the date is acknowledging Jesus Christ.
“There’s no such thing as an atheist,” Robertson, who is brother to Phil Roberson, told the Christian Post. “I’m serious, because there’s too much documentation. Our calendars are based on Jesus Christ. Whether you believe in him or not, every time you sign your calendar, you add down the day’s date, you’re saying he’s here, OK? That’s documented.”
... Just kidding, he completely misunderstands the idea of a calendar and used it as apparent "proof" that Jesus was real, and then spewed a bunch of ignorant and bafflingly disconnected opinions on gay marriage and the necessity of not having a beard in women's bathrooms. So do with that what you will (read: nothing).
But I didn't post this story to take shots at Phil Robertson or the rest of the Duck Dynasty gang, I genuinely could not give a fuck about them or what they say, and I don't think you have to go any further than reading this dude's quotes to realize that these guys are crazy dumb. No, I posted this because what the fuck? Why is this a story? Why is this on Huffington Post? Why is this guy speaking at a Western Conservative Summit that features prominent members of the conservative party such as Sarah Palin and that one dude, what's his fucking name?... Oh yeah, DONALD TRUMP. You know, one of the two people with a realistic chance of becoming our next president? Yeah, he was the head speaker at this very same convention. So basically this duck hunting tv show* guy's thoughts and opinions are sharing the same platform as the next potential leader of our nation? Again, what the fuck?
Why are we, as a society, so intent on giving people like Phil Robertson, or the countless other famous people on both sides of the political spectrum (we like to believe all of the crazies are righties but we know they're not), a platform to have their opinions heard and consumed by the masses? Why do we give a fuck? This guy was on a fucking show that exploited the backwoods nature of his family, and now he has an opinion on gay marriage that I should pay attention to? Why does "celebrity" justify ideas of fear, hatred, ignorance and just downright stupidity gaining any sort of traction in the collective mind of humanity? Again, what the fuck?
I guess the real question is how do we go about eliminating the desire in this country, and really the whole world at this point, to seek out the opinion of somebody based on nothing beyond their glorified popularity... but honestly, is that question even worth asking? Would we ever even sniff an answer there? Probably not, which is a depressing notion. Mankind has always been obsessed with celebrity in it's own way, and that's not going to change. But what sucks about today's world is that, because of social media and free information sharing, celebrity is even more fickle and meaningless than ever before. You can make a video about your friend Daniel's white vans and a week later you're on Ellen. A month after that and you're most likely giving your thoughts on gun control for your millions of new twitter followers. And hey, maybe you even have a good thought to share, but guess what? It won't matter because even if you do, the other hundred morons who got famous that week will also have thoughts, most of which will be ridiculous, and people will herald the one that most aligns with their own sensibilities, making each idea and opinion equally impactful and meaningless all at the same time. Welcome to the information era!
I used to be a guy who thought initiating dialogue on issues was important. That the only way to tackle major issues such as racism, abortion, gun control, LGBT rights, immigration, etc. was to develop a conversation that allowed any and all ideas to be shared with the hope of eventually landing on a communal understanding that would allow for actual progress. But now I don't know if I believe that anymore. Now, I see that we're already having the conversations, and they're infuriating and most likely detrimental, or at the very least potentially so. Now, literally EVERYONE has a platform, and all that it seems to be doing is oversaturating the opinion market, causing every great or terrible idea to drown together in a sea of screaming voices displayed in 140 characters or less. I still really want to believe that establishing a healthy dialogue will lead to the changes that most of us (I hope) want to see, but when the conversations seem to constantly turn in to digital yelling matches that lead to nowhere, it's hard to envision them producing the sort of results we yearn for. So what is the answer?
Fuck if I know, I write a meaningless blog on a relatively small comedy site. But I'd venture a guess that it starts with examining our obsession with celebrity. Maybe if we can identify why we desire the opinions of a Phil Robertson, or a Kanye West, or a Dr. Phil, or an Oprah, or a fucking Trump, we can start to diminish their perceived importance. We've always heard that perception is reality, and these days that's more true than ever. Just look at how many fucking editing options you have for one goddamn Instagram photo. There's like a hundred potential steps to take to ensure that your desired self-perception is displayed properly. So if perception is so important, then maybe by understanding that, at the end of the day, it's nothing more than a facade, we can start to see through the shitty ideas that truly don't matter and hopefully start pinpointing the ones that actually do.... Or not, you know, who cares. The world seems to be heading in a solid direction, right? Let's just keep doing us.
P.S. I think I watched the new Bo Burnham special on Netflix too many times.... Which by the way, you should watch. He's got a lot of interesting things to say about celebrity. And yes I know the hypocrisy in telling you to watch a celebrity talk about the pitfalls of listening to celebrities, but in a way this entire blog post is a hypocrisy, so at least I'm consistent.
* Is that what Duck Dynasty was? Never saw it, nor will I ever, so I just assume that it's a show about that psycho family hunting ducks together. See? Perception is reality, guys.