If It Walks Like a Duck…


Who would have thought that the call of resistance to leftist cultural fascism would be the sound of a duck?

But the attempted roasting of “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson touched a nerve among an American public that apparently has reached the limit of its patience for the unending, remorseless assault on Judeo-Christian moral propriety.

Duck Dynasty LogoNot that the American public had been all that noticeably staunch in standing up for any kind of propriety. For a long time now, the default setting on moral outrage in this country has been Live-and-Let-Live.

Indeed, the old whine that gays are subject to a constant barrage of persecution is as phony as a hand-painted mallard decoy.

But the LGBT blackshirts overplayed their hand this time.

I’ve never seen “Duck Dynasty,” and I have no way to gauge the sincerity of the Robertson Family’s Christian commitment or their personal rectitude. I do know that, a few days before the controversy erupted, Barbara Walters had included them in her broadcast retrospective on the year’s most noteworthy people. Think what you will about Barbara Walters (her number-one pick for the year was Hillary Clinton — go figure), but getting attention from Baba Wawa does constitute a certain kind of pop-culture bona fides.

All would have been ducky if Phil wasn’t quite so candid (and accurate) in describing the homosexual practices he found distasteful while sharing his moral perspective in the pages of GQ. Such spontaneous honesty threatened to undo years of crafting a wholesome gay facade emphasizing love rather than anal intercourse.

Phil’s “intolerance” was absolutely intolerable, and had to be dealt with fast. So companies associated with “Duck Dynasty” and its related merchandise received the usual avalanche of  leftist outrage. One of the most prominent, Cracker Barrel Restaurants, proclaimed its shock at Phil’s retrograde views, promising to cleanse its retail shelves of all offending products.

Cracker Barrel had second thoughts, however, when thousands of customers complained that it was complicit in an attack on a favorite show and beloved pop-culture icon. The company reversed course, taking a stand in defense of Phil’s free-speech rights.

Which proves that businesses actually do listen to their customers— a heartening discovery.

Things went a bit better for the blackshirts in Florida. There another pop-culture icon, Bob Newhart, had been booked to perform at the annual convention of Legatus, the international Catholic business leaders fraternal organization. Newhart then backed out of the gig in a flap over alleged homophobia.

Legatus LogoAs it happens, I do know something about Legatus — quite a bit, in fact — since I once worked for Tom Monaghan (founder of Domino’s Pizza), who started the group and remains its biggest cheerleader.

Legatus expresses Tom’s vision of providing opportunities for executives to grow in their Christian walk and share the distinctive experiences of people working at high levels of corporate responsibility (many of which experiences have definite moral/spiritual aspects). I’m sure Bob Newhart seemed a perfect headliner for its get-together in Orlando, his star status well polished and his Catholic identity and religious practice well known.

Legatus has never taken any kind of public stand on homosexuality or gay rights — none that I’m aware of, anyway. But it appears that, at some point, somebody noticed the organization’s advocacy of Catholic moral precepts. (What a scandal: a Catholic group adhering to the teachings of the Church!) Or perhaps they saw the article in Legatus’ membership magazine in which an ex-gay described giving up the lifestyle and coming to Christ (believe it or not, that sort of thing does happen).

At any rate, Newhart began to get heat — which, in reality, may not have been all that hot. I wouldn’t speculate on his feelings about homosexuality or the Church’s teachings on the subject. But there’s just no discounting the influence of the circles in which we move. Newhart is a fine performer, and he seems like a nice guy. But he’s a Hollywood guy who has lived in a very peculiar world for a long time.

And, giving the benefit of the doubt, it must be noted that in show business, contractual obligations involve more than just the star under contract. The original “Bob Newhart Show” (one of the best TV comedy series ever produced) is still in syndication. For instance, it’s carried on MeTV, the television classics channel.

MeTV is owned by Tribune Broadcasting, a subsidiary of the Tribune Company which owns, among other things, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times. There’s also a distribution agreement with MGM. I receive MeTV via the local Fox affiliate.

I don’t know if any of these entities figured in Newhart’s decision to stiff Legatus. But when corporate connections like those are involved, there are multiple points at which pressure can be exerted.

Whatever way it was done, the fix was in, and Newhart was out.

My wife suggests that Legatus ought to book Phil Robertson for its convention, and I think she’s onto something. Phil isn’t Catholic, but he hasn’t ducked out on defending Judeo-Christian moral propriety. As they say, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck

I’m sure those Catholic business leaders gathering in Orlando would grab their Duck Commander duck calls and greet him with a rousing 21-quack salute.

After all, birds of a feather


NRO LogoNational Review columnist Kathryn Jean Lopez cites some ironic contrasts between Bob Newhart’s withdrawal from the Legatus convention and comments he made on the relationship between freedom and humor as a commencement speaker at Catholic University of America. In fairness, she also notes that he was under ideological pressure…

“The goal of efforts like the successful bullying campaign against Bob Newhart is to beat the faithful into submission to a gospel of secularism, one that all too many of us have a track record of submitting to in our daily lives.”

Ouch! A painful truth, even for those of us who aren’t famous, beloved comedians. Read her thoughts — which cover a lot of moral ground — at…



Fox News Online LogoParticipating as a panelist on Fox News Sunday, commentator George Will made a wry observation about how the “Duck Dynasty” controversy fits into the ongoing high pitch of righteous indignation maintained by the left…

“What we do see here,” Will said, “the new biggest American entitlement is the entitlement to go through life without being offended. People think they have a right not to have their feelings hurt, not to have their sensibilities in any way exacerbated. I would refer them to Jefferson who said, ‘It does me no harm if my neighbor believes in 20 gods or 1 god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.’”

Catch the entire statement at…




Ya gotta love the Free Enterprise System.

The “invisible hand” of the market (in Adam Smith’s famous metaphor) not only satisfies our material needs by bringing us the world’s productive output — transcending divisions of nation and culture, incidentally — it eventually settles all disputes and clears up all misconceptions.

That hand no doubt touched the management of A&E, and — whaddaya know — they now realize that “Duck Dynasty” does indeed reflect the network’s core values, which are “centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that — as noted by the Hollywood Reporter — the series averages “13.4 million viewers and 7.6 million adults 18-49” weekly and has “multiple brand tie-ins.”

Welcome back, Phil. It was all just a big misunderstanding…

Hollywood Reporter Logohttp://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/a-e-welcomes-phil-robertson-667647





  1. Dana says

    I wish there was an anti-like button for this. I respect your right to voice opinions that make me sick (and the Duck guy, too), but I’m ALL about calling out redneck bigotry and intolerance in all of its ugly forms, including and especially the so-called religious right.

  2. Jim says

    Bill — to quote directly from your blog post: “Indeed, the old whine that gays are subject to a constant barrage of persecution is as phony as a hand-painted mallard decoy.”

    Bill, do you have any idea how f—ing offensive that is? Not only are people being denied basic rights and dignity because of their sexual orientation, they’re still being beaten up. Gay teenagers are still committing suicide at a high rate, due to socially reinforced bigotry, not to mention rejection by their families. But oh, no — to you, that’s just an “old whine.” You honestly seem to think there isn’t any persecution. Bill, you can f— yourself. You’re a f—ing bigoted, blind-as-a-bat lunatic. Just kindly do the whole world a favor and crawl off into a hole and die.

    And preferably soon. Without posting any more of your stupid bulls—.

    Oh, and by the way — I’m at a loss whether to blame your Catholicism for your ignorance. Does the Catholic Church attract dumb-ass bigoted m—–f—ers, or does it turn ordinary people into dumb-ass bigoted m—–f—ers? I don’t honestly know, but it’s clearly one or the other.

    • Bill Kassel says


      You are absolutely right that the so-called “gay” life is fraught with rejection, frustration, injustice, occasional violence — a great well of human sadness and tragedy.

      This is indisputably true. No one can deny it.

      But what is the cause of this?

      Human sinfulness — surely on the part of those who abuse people burdened by sexual confusion. But not only. Not only. Not by a long shot. Those who are mired in homosexuality have their own failings to answer for.

      “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

      Open your mind, Jim. Think about it.

  3. Jared says

    There are some issues with your portrayal of the underlying actors in your article, Bill. I think your caricaturing of the social left as a bunch of lock-step fascists belies the diversity of opinion and intensity with which socially leftist individuals hold those views. A large and growing swath of U.S.-based media consumers seem to have little tolerance for biologically and socially ignorant statements from public figures. Cultural conservatives are free to watch “Duck Dynasty” on cable, and petition to void Robertson’s pink slip. However, when management decides it is in their network shareholders’ best interest to fire Robertson, I think it is disingenuous for conservatives to blame leftists, when the man who is clearly defaming a significant portion of the population is let go. Jim (above) already breathlessly touched on your apparent disconnect with gay teen suicide and bullying statistics. Some Google searches into this matter may enlighten you as to why social leftists might be so deeply offended by what you said. Happy New Year.

  4. says

    Unfortunately, in this day and age of Internet Trolls, it is sometimes difficult to have a civilized debate. I think people type things they would (one hopes) never actually say outside of the safe anonymity of cyberspace. I disagree with many of the sentiments of your side, but I believe in being respectful. And, at least you don’t use religion as an excuse not to think. I can deal with that. I don’t believe the Duck guy spends a lot of time thinking deeply about this or any issue based on what I’ve seen.

    Jim actually made some good points — too bad they got lost in the sea of F bombs and death wishes.

    From my experience with friends, as well as following the emerging science on human sexuality, I absolutely do not subscribe to the notion gay people are confused, choose a ‘lifestyle,’ or are mired in sin. A complex combination of neuronal hard wiring and environmental influences (e.g. prenatal sex hormones) dictate sexual behavior, just like every other behavior. The data do not support a learned model for sexual orientation. So given the evidence, even one who subscribes to the influence of a supreme deity might, I would argue, choose to view homosexuals as endowed by their creator with the desires and capacity to love those of the same sex.

    If you are interested, I would be happy to email you some reviews from experts in the field (peer reviewed — no ‘scientific’ study is credible otherwise) so you can judge for yourself. You may not agree in the end, but at least your opinion will be more well-informed.

  5. Tom says

    What we see in the potty-mouthed and hate-filled ravings above is someone who exhibits a palpable and undisguised anger. This person is speaking with his emotions, not his mind, and emotions reside in the realm of the heart. I’m afraid that his heart is quite blackened.

    Those who cling to the agenda of the homosexualist lobby are so dangerous. Once exposed, they resort to rage, and in doing so, they take no prisoners. No dissent is allowed – even rational dissent, as yours so clearly is, Bill.
    Let’s look at this for what it is. The homosexualist critique is a propaganda attack on society. They spend an inordinate amount of money to portray their lifestyle as normative – which it isn’t. Just spin the dial on your local cable television network during primetime on any given day of the week and you can see that this is so – from Glee to Modern Family, to Downton Abbey.

    The homosexualists seek to manipulate people into being okay with an objectively dysfunctional sexual behavior. But this behavior isn’t love. And it’s irresponsible to suggest otherwise. If we, as a society and as individuals, are afraid to tell someone they are wrong (as Phil Robertson has done so brilliantly) then, frankly, we don’t love really them at all. Our lives – our eternal lives – depend on doing what is loving. We must speak the truth in love.

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