Did Phil Robertson pave the way for a free speech rebellion amongst the most unlikely people?

Phil-Robertson-813x1024As everyone in the world now knows, Phil Robertson said in a magazine interview that he didn’t understand the attraction of gay sex.  Even worse, he added that, while he wouldn’t presume to judge sexual behavior (or, rather, misbehavior), he had no doubt that God will do some judging.  His words created a thought-police firestorm.  Leading the charge was GLAAD, formerly known as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

It’s important to understand that GLAAD is not an advocacy group for LGBTQ rights.  Advocacy groups are valued players in a free society.  GLAAD is, instead, a thuggish organization that works by destroying people’s livelihoods if they fall afoul of its party line.  Robert Oscar Lopez describes how GLAAD uses its tactics of blackmail and intimidation against anyone who suggests that there are downsides to the gay lifestyle or to the social and political agenda the gay lobby pushes.  One doesn’t have to agree with Lopez to be shocked at GLAAD’s truly McCarthy-esque tactics.  So again, the problem isn’t what GLAAD stands for; the problem is its bullying.

As part of its mission to purge people guilty of anything it deems a thought-crime, GLAAD monitors American speech for any statements about gay and lesbians. If this speech isn’t unabashed cheer-leading about the LGBTQ lifestyle, GLAAD instantly declares it “hate speech.”  Then, instead of countering this so-called “hate speech” with more speech, GLAAD leads the charge to destroy the speaker.  Up until last year, when GLAAD attacked a high-profile person or institution, its efforts resulted in one response and one response alone:  craven retreat and abject apologies from the speaker.

Phil Robertson, however, refused to play GLAAD’s game, even when his employer, A&E, immediately caved and fired Phil.  Ranking his God higher than GLAAD’s outrage, he didn’t even bother to mumble an apology for the fact that someone had hurt feelings.  Instead, he stood firm and his family backed him up.  It was A&E, rather than Robertson, who was forced to back down.

The Phil Robertson episode marked the first time that anyone in the public eye refused to let a Leftist thought-control organization bully him.  At the time, I wondered whether, by doing so, Robertson would inspire others to take a stand — and perhaps he did.  In first month of 2013, two stars have stood up to Leftist censors.

Liam Payne One DirectionThe first one to do so was Liam Payne, who belongs to the massively successful pop group One Direction.  He sent out a tweet saying “@williebosshog huge love to you/your family huge respect for your business prosperities and the family values you still all behold. big fan”  GLAAD and its media followers (meaning everyone in the MSM) predictably moved in for the kill, essentially telling Payne that his career was at stake for daring to support the homophobic Robertson clan.

Payne launched an aggressive counterattack against the media for trying to police his speech (slight language alert):

As you can see, Payne’s fight with the thought police happened almost two weeks ago. So far as I know, his career continues to thrive.

Sodastream1Just this past week, yet another superstar found herself in the speech police’s cross hairs. This time, the target was Scarlett Johansson, the voluptuous blonde actress who signed on to become a spokeswoman for SodaStream. SodaStream is a very successful Israeli company that has a factory in a West Bank settlement. It employs Palestinians and Israeli’s alike, paying them equal wages, providing good working conditions, and creating an environment within which Jews and Palestinians can see each other as people, not stereotypes. This is an especially good deal for the Palestinian workers, who usually live in heinous economic circumstances, even as their leaders squirrel away in private accounts the billions in foreign aid that the world’s nations send annually to the Palestinians.

Naturally, the Left can’t have that. You see, for all its talk, the Left has no interest in seeing Palestinians have a decent quality of life. Instead, the Left shares with the radical Islamists the goal of seeing Israel — a capitalist liberal democracy — wiped from the face of the earth. The best way to achieve this is to keep Palestinians living in execrable conditions so as to stoke rage against Israelis.

Put another way, keeping the Palestinian masses in the ghetto is a win for everyone except the Israelis and the Palestinians: the Arab leaders in surrounding nations get to have an excuse for the fact that their people are the impoverished residents of tyrannical rulers; the mullahs and imams get to maintain their control by directing credulous Muslims to engage in an endless Holy War against the Jews; and the Left gets to continue its efforts to destroy the sole liberal democracy in a medieval, tyrannical region.

Enter Oxfam. I learned about Oxfam when I was living in England back in the early 1980s. As a student, I had no money, so my friends told me to check out Oxfam for things I needed. I therefore went to an Oxfam shop, prepared to find that it was something like a Goodwill or Salvation Army store. I didn’t make it past the front door, which was liberally decorated with pro-PLO literature. That is, it was supporting, not just the Palestinians, but the terrorist arm of the Palestinians. I never went near an Oxfam’s again.

Scarlett Johansson, however, probably didn’t realize that Oxfam has always supported terrorists. When she agreed to be an Oxfam representative, she was probably responding to its claim that it works to empower poor people around the world:

One person in three in the world lives in poverty. Oxfam is determined to change that world by mobilizing the power of people against poverty.

Around the globe, Oxfam works to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive. We save lives and help rebuild livelihoods when crisis strikes. And we campaign so that the voices of the poor influence the local and global decisions that affect them.

We work directly with communities and we seek to influence the powerful to ensure that poor people can improve their lives and livelihoods and have a say in decisions that affect them.

In all we do, Oxfam works with partner organizations and alongside vulnerable women and men to end the injustices that cause poverty.

Scarlett-Johansson-Smile-01What Scarlett Johansson just discovered, though, is that when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, Oxfam does not work “to find practical, innovative ways for people to lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.” Instead, its anti-Israel, antisemitic ideological bias is so overwhelming, that it works overtime to keep the Palestinians mired deep in poverty, rather than allowing them to achieve economic success through work with an ideologically liberal Israeli corporation.

In the normal course of things — i.e., in the pre-Phil Robertson days — once the speech and thought police got on her case, Johansson should have been expected to break her contract with Israel and go crawling back to Oxfam. She didn’t, though. Instead, she made a public statement disassociating herself from Oxfam:

While I never intended on being the face of any social or political movement, distinction, separation or stance as part of my affiliation with SodaStream, given the amount of noise surrounding that decision, I’d like to clear the air.

I remain a supporter of economic cooperation and social interaction between a democratic Israel and Palestine. SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’ale Adumim factory every working day. As part of my efforts as an Ambassador for Oxfam, I have witnessed first-hand that progress is made when communities join together and work alongside one another and feel proud of the outcome of that work in the quality of their product and work environment, in the pay they bring home to their families and in the benefits they equally receive.

I believe in conscious consumerism and transparency and I trust that the consumer will make their own educated choice that is right for them. I stand behind the SodaStream product and am proud of the work that I have accomplished at Oxfam as an Ambassador for over 8 years. Even though it is a side effect of representing SodaStream, I am happy that light is being shed on this issue in hopes that a greater number of voices will contribute to the conversation of a peaceful two state solution in the near future.

Major kudos to Johansson for resisting the coercive pressure from the Left.  It turns out that there’s a beautiful personality behind that beautiful face.

Did Phil Robertson’s refusal to back down to GLAAD have anything to do with Payne’s and Johansson’s willingness to withstand pressure from GLAAD and Oxfam?  I don’t know.  I just know that sixty years ago, it took just one speech to destroy the apparently unlimited power that Sen. Joseph McCarthy had wielded for so many years in the United States Senate:

Why Phil Robertson won’t apologize *UPDATED*

Phil-Robertson-813x1024

If Phil Robertson continues his refusal to bow down to the gods of political correctness, Lee Habeeb will have explained why:

It had never happened before. When big, powerful TV executives ask a star to apologize for what they deem inappropriate comments or behavior, the star simply complies. A team of publicists is assembled, the star does the obligatory apology tour for the press and promises never to do or say what he did or said again. Ever.

But the TV gods never met a man like Phil Robertson. Or his family. When they decided to place the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan on a non-suspension suspension for his comments to a GQ magazine writer about homosexuality, the executives at A&E created a problem.

Because this family believes in a bigger God. The same God that roughly 70 percent of Americans believe in. The Robertsons take their faith seriously, and one of the more important elements of that faith involves putting no god before theirs. Not even the suits at the big network.

Read the rest (and all of it is worth reading) here.

I don’t know about you, but I am entranced by the notion of someone who won’t be bullied into apologizing for something he believes.  Social bullying has never appealed to me.  And if you want to see how bad that bullying is, you can see that GLAAD makes old Joe McCarthy look like an amateur.

UPDATEA&E caved.  Let’s hope other conservatives will learn to stick to their guns.

 

Quick links, pre-Christmas Eve edition

Victorian posy of pansiesI have a legal memo to write, so of course I had to check out all sorts of stuff on the internet first.  Here’s a quick run-down.

The Left loves to talk about McCarthyism.  The Left also loves to practice McCarthyism.  John O’Sullivan reminds us that GLAAD’s approach to the Robertson clan is a perfect example of the old-fashioned blacklist:  destroying the livelihood of those who hold that wrong belief system.  Whether you’re a baker, or a photographer, or a TV figure, if you don’t support gay marriage, plan to be driven to the poor house.  It was a bad idea in the 1950s, and it’s a bad idea now.

Not only did Glenn Reynolds write his usual great USA Today column (this one about Obama’s bad 2013 and the probability that 2014 will be worse), but he opened with a Soviet-era joke.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most Soviet-era jokes need few or no changes to work in Obama’s America.

I’ve spoken before at this blog about the execrable Peter Singer, who holds an endowed chair at Princeton, who is the intellectual father of PETA, and who believes parents should have a 30 day window within which to euthanize handicapped newborns.  (Never mind that those handicaps may hide brilliant minds and powerful souls.)  I thought of Singer when I read Matt Walsh’s powerful post about the chasm between those who understand that we must support life and those who embrace death (the deaths of others, of course; never of themselves).

Rand Paul gets an A+++ for his wonderful embrace of Festivus.  If you haven’t read the stream of tweets he sent out, you must.  They’re clever, charming, and very on point.  As a political move, Paul couldn’t have done better.

Yes, Obamacare drives up the cost of health insurance for the middle class.  But if you’re a member of the middle class who’s upset about the costly lies Obama told you (less money! same doctors!), apparently you should quit your whining.  You are merely a sacrifice to the greater good.

Beware that, if the Muslim nations have their way, it will henceforth be illegal to mention Muslims’ propensity for violence or any of the other less savory aspects of their faith. Of course, such a law will simply put a legal gloss on what’s already happening.  After all, hasn’t the administration told us repeatedly that the Fort Hood massacre was “workplace violence,” while the Benghazi massacre was a film review run amok?  No Muslims here.  Just move along.

The headlines proclaim that Obama signed up for Obamacare.  Except that he didn’t — as with everything else about Obamacare, Obama and his team are lying to us again.

Mark Steyn on Pajama Boy and the Robertson firing

Phil Robertson and Pajama BoyAs always, Mark Steyn’s whole essay is worth reading, but this quotation below is the part that bears remembering and repeating:

Look, I’m an effete foreigner who likes show tunes. My Broadway book was on a list of “Twelve Books Every Gay Man Should Read.” Andrew Sullivan said my beard was hot. Leonard Bernstein stuck his tongue in my mouth (long story). But I’m not interested in living in a world where we have to tiptoe around on ever thinner eggshells. If it’s a choice between having celebrity chefs who admit to having used the N-word in 1977 (or 1965, or 1948, or whenever the hell it was) and reality-show duck-hunters who quote Corinthians and Alec Baldwin bawling out some worthless paparazzo who’s doorstepping his family with a “homophobic” slur, or having all of them banished from public life and thousands upon millions more too cowed and craven to speak lest the same fate befall them, I’ll take the former any day.

Because the latter culture would be too boring for any self-respecting individual to want to live in, even more bloody boring than the current TV landscape where, aside from occasional eruptions of unerotic twerking by sexless skanks, every other show seems to involve snippy little Pajama Boys sitting around snarking at each other in the antiseptic eunuch pose that now passes for “ironic.” It’s “irony” as the last circle of Dante’s cultural drain; it’s why every show advertised as “edgy” and “transgressive” offers the same pitiful combination of attitude and impotence as a spayed cat humping.

Piers Morgan gets it wrong AGAIN

Piers MorganPiers Morgan makes money in America, but doesn’t understand America.  Following the Duck Dynasty explosion, Morgan tweeted out that the First Amendment “shouldn’t protect vile bigots” like Phil Robertson.

Au contraire, Piers.  Putting aside the fact that this is not a First Amendment kerfuffle (A&E is not the government), Robertson’s speech is precisely the type that gets First Amendment protection.  Popular speech doesn’t need any protection.  To the extent speech needs protection, it’s unpopular speech that is covered under the First Amendment.

There are limitations, insofar as the Supreme Court has given the government leave to act against speech intended to create imminent acts of violence or that are blatant falsehoods against private citizens.  Otherwise, though, in America you’re allowed to say things that other people don’t like or with which they disagree.  Free speech and guns are each citizen’s primary bulwark against despotic government.

Prancer, Dancer, and Vixen

Phil-Robertson-813x1024I linked obliquely to this video yesterday, but as the Phil Robertson matter heats up, I want to include the following Obamacare video here, with its focus on getting gay  men to sign up.  Please be warned that the video is vaguely NSFW.  There’s no bad language, nudity, or sex, but it’s full of partial nudity and gay sexual allusions that may make you and your colleagues uncomfortable.

As Dan Calabrese notes, although the government probably didn’t fund the video, it’s almost certain that taxpayer dollars funded the video indirectly.  The bigger point, however, is this one:

Now before you start disputing the comparison between this and the Phil Robertson situation, let’s get it straight. Yes, this is a video on YouTube and Phil Robertson could do one of those too. I’m talking about the broader stance of the prevailing culture. Robertson cites and embraces scriptural teaching on homosexuality, and he is suspended because A&E is “disappointed” in him for what he said. These guys prance around in a clear and unmistakable celebration of a) gay sex; and b) ObamaCare; and that’s perfectly fine because hey, what are you, some sorta bigot or something?

Please note that neither Calabrese nor I are saying this video shouldn’t have been made.  What he says, and I agree with this, is that in a truly free society, both videos get made, rather than having the one supporting traditional values get axed.

Two more things:

(1) Couldn’t they have gotten a better singer? Her voice is dreadful.

(2) Is it a coincidence in this carefully staged set piece that one of the prancers and dancers is wearing dog tags?

(I didn’t come up with my clever post title.  The friend who emailed me the link did, and it was such a delicious line that I had to borrow it.)

Thoughts on the Robertson kerfuffle

Phil-Robertson-813x1024In random order:

1.  A&E is not a government entity and is within its rights to make insanely stupid, bigoted decisions.

2.  Phil Robertson doesn’t need A&E but, judging by his show’s popularity, A&E needs him.

3.  GLAAD is a fascist organization.  A friend of mine who was watching CNN caught a GLAAD advocate said that the world is changing and Robertson needs to “…get in line.”  In other words, my friend accurately notes, GLAAD is saying that Robertson is guilty of thought crimes.  How very Orwellian.

4.  As others have noted, and contrary to the Drudge headline, Robertson did not go on a “rant,” nor did he compare homosexuality to bestiality.  What he said was (1) that, physically and emotionally, the homosexual act makes no sense to him; (2) that the Bible characterizes homosexual acts as a sin, as it does several other sexual behaviors, including adultery; and (3) that, while he’s bewildered by homosexual acts, it’s God’s responsibility, not his, to decide whether and what consequences sinful acts deserve.

5.  Nobody knows what the contract is with the other members of the Robertson clan, so it’s still up in the air whether they will be allowed to leave or to speak of Robertson’s beliefs when they start filming next year’s season.  (This year’s episodes are already filmed.)  It’s also unknown whether, contract or not, the other members will nevertheless stage a walk-out or something.

6.  You can boycott A&E if you want, but they’ll never know unless you’re a Nielson household.  The better thing to do is to boycott companies that advertise on A&E.  Indeed, the best thing to do is to copy GLAAD and other “queer rights” organizations, and to make the advertisers completely miserable.  Remember — always follow the money.

7.  It amazes me that our “first gay president” hasn’t yet waded in this matter.  It is, after all, the only issue that seems to stiffen his backbone.

8.  One wonders if there are enough people left in America who care enough to push back against these attacks on speech and faith.  I know there are people who care, of course.  I’m just wondering whether there are still enough of them, and they are exercised enough, and powerful enough, to make a difference.

For more on this, I recommend Noisy Room’s take.