Sunday, December 29

What Puts Phil Robertson Above Anyone Else?

A&E reverses decision on ‘Duck Dynasty’ patriarch’s suspension

Phil Robertson of A&E's Duck

So, A&E has changed its mind, and decided to allow "Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson to return to the show when it comes back from hiatus, after being suspended for his statements in GQ Magazine describing gays " as sinners akin to adulterers, prostitutes and swindlers".  This after receiving threats of boycott, and petitions being signed by hundreds of thousands of people asking for his return. After people declared his freedom of speech was being trampled on. After their ratings for one week were just a bit lower than they were this time last year, or even the week before; we're not talking about a lot lower, we're talking:

"For the week of Dec. 16-22, the channel averaged 1.5 million viewers, compared to 2 million for the week before, according to Nielsen figures.During the week of Dec. 17-23 last year, a roughly comparable period to the post-Robertson flap period, the channel averaged 1.73 million viewers."
                                                                                  LYNN ELBER | Associated Press              

Now to me, while that difference is a large number by itself, relatively speaking it is not that big. Think of how many viewers the network gets over the course of a year; the viewers that did not watch that one week doesn't seem like as many now, does it? Also consider the fact that we don't know every one of those viewers' reason for not watching. That kind of brings the number down even more. So why did A&E decide to knuckle under? It is supposed to be a network which believes in “promoting unity, tolerance and acceptance among all people.” but I can't tell, not by this decision. 

So what is it? Is it because of Robertson's right to freedom of speech? I agree, he does have the right to say anything he wants to, as do the rest of us. However, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from the responsibility of respect for others. It also doesn't mean that if you disregard that respect, and say something offensive, that you are free from the repercussions of what you said.  If Dog the Bounty Hunter could be fired for voicing his opinion in a private telephone conversation which he did not know was being taped, why should Phil Robertson, who put his comments into a widely read publication without concern for who read it, be held any less accountable?

Not long ago there was a period of time when it seemed like a lot of celebrities were being suspended, fired, scolded, boycotted, punished in whatever way possible for using the word nigger. (No, I didn't say "the N-word" or any other silly euphemism; that's a post for another time though.) We were hearing in the news every day about some white comedian, reality show star, radio or TV personality (Richie Incognito, suspended NFL player; Paula Deen fired by the Food Channel for saying it in the past; GinaMarie Zimmerman, Big Brother reality show star fired from her day job; Michael Richards, Kramer comedian who said it on stage; and who can forget Doug "Dog" the Bounty Hunter who was fired from A&E for using it during a taped phone conversation?) using it and losing their job, their reputation, everything; where was their 'freedom of speech'?? Why were all of them just about tarred and feathered for their use of a word, but this man can publish in a magazine article the way he looks at gays, and suddenly A&E capitulates? Are gays' rights any less than those of blacks?  Oh wait, maybe it's okay for gays to be talked about like that because they weren't slaves all those years ago...But then again, a lot of the gays he's talking about are black, so the difference can't be because of the history of slavery. Could it really be because A&E was worried about ratings, or the almighty dollar? How do you put the human rights of a group of people up against  the dollar bill and have the people lose? 

It doesn't make any sense to me that anything about this one man means more to A&E than the sensitivities (and viewership) of the millions of people he has offended. It's my personal opinion that what a person says and does in private should be their own business, but when you put your comments out in a public forum for all the world to read and be offended by, then you should be man (in this case) enough to stand up to whatever repercussions come. Once A&E fired him, Phil Robertson should have stayed fired. 

Live From BikiniBottom, that's my truth and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, December 28

Kicked Out For Marrying His Son!

Pastor defrocked for performing son’s gay wedding will appeal

Pastor Frank Schaefer
This news is actually a few days old, but as I'm still hearing deeply emotional conversations about it I decided to throw my .2 cents worth in.

 A man's son, a minister, asked him to perform his wedding ceremony and he did, as most ministers (that I know of anyway) would. After performing the ceremony, he was asked to "give up his credentials" by his church (in effect taking away his ability to minister to that denomination). He refused. The church then basically kicked him out; sort of 'ex-communicated' him, to use the Catholic terminology, because his son was gay, and was marrying his partner.

In my opinion we are in a battle for our society's ethics and morals; we're no longer in the age where it was a shock to find people living together without benefit of marriage. Children are no longer routinely raised by two people who love them and who are committed to one another, they grow up in households with one parent who struggles to raise them while dating various people and presenting a horrible example for the child of what they have to look forward to. Weren't we not long ago bemoaning the fact that people didn't get married anymore? Ministers get up in the pulpit and preach every Sunday against fornication and promiscuity, yet here is a minister who has brought up a child that believes in marriage but because he doesn't marry who the church thinks he should, his father is punished for doing the ceremony!! Come on!! What kind of example does this set? You are telling the clergy in your church that if their child comes to them and wants to be married to someone they love, they should turn their back on him and say no? I don't see any difference between this man marrying his son and a man, and marrying his son and a woman that he didn't approve of. While he may not approve in either case, he has to support his son; if he doesn't, he's made a mockery of everything that the church teaches. God embraced the sinners, why can't the church? I know a lot of people are pointing their fingers and saying "See, this is why I don't attend church, why I no longer believe in religion; they are hypocrites and liars." I can't exactly dispute that either, not in this case. What kind of example does it set when we have so many cases of priests being 'outed' as pedophiles yet the church kept them on, but because this man performed one ceremony for his same-gender loving son, he was kicked out. What does that say about the church? It would be difficult to be comfortable in a place where you are constantly overshadowed with the ugly spectre of discrimination and ostracizm by the people around you. Is this their plan for rebuilding our society, by telling people that it's okay to be a member of a church and volunteer your time and donate your money, but if you want to get married, you're going to have to take it somewhere else because they won't marry you if the person you love is not someone they approve of! Is the church ever going to stop this close-mindedness, and learn that there is more to God's love than always standing in judgement of others?? It's this singleminded purposeness that has contributed more to the decline of the church than anything else ever conceived in the name of God.

I'm sorry; I didn't mean for this post to go in the direction it has. After all, the point of the article is about a man, his son, and his church, not about the church and its role in tearing down our society. It's just such a shame to see an institution that weilds so much power in our society misusing it like this. Instead of taking advantage  of every opportunity to bring people together,  they are alienating people from one another. Having a man tell his son he can't perform his wedding because of who he chooses to marry is not the way to rebuild the family structure. Those who made the decision to 'defrock' Pastor Shaefer need to be defrocked themselves.

Of course this is strictly the opinion of the author, coming to you Live From Bikini Bottom.....

Tuesday, December 17

Is This Teacher's 'Exercise' of Value?

Jane Elliott - Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes
creator and facilitator
     Ms. Jane Elliott has been conducting a workshop called Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes since 1968. She has done workshops all across the country, and in several other countries as well. 
     I've heard from several people on the subject of her workshops,  and the general consensus is that while her idea was a great one her way of going about it, of teaching non-minorities what it means to be 'of color', was not.

     I disagree.

     I'm not saying that there aren't other methods she could have used, I'm sure she could have thought of other ways to try to make the point that people of color suffer everyday in ways that non-minority people have no clue about, and cannot hope to ever understand. I don't believe she could have come up with another method that would have driven the point home as deeply or as quickly as this one did. She put people into the position that people of color are in everyday, and made them feel (at least to a point) the helplessness that many people of color feel throughout their adult lives.    

     Now, I didn't see the entire exercise carried out; I wish I had. I would have liked to have seen what happened before this video began  just to see exactly how the brown eyes vs. blue eyes exercise worked. From the looks and statements of some of those who were assigned the role of the minority, they had suffered some wounds that they never knew anyone could suffer and still survive.  In my opinion, some of those who took part in the exercise left with a newfound respect for the strength that it takes to be a person of color and to have to live with the shadow of racism and bigotry hanging over their head. Of course there were others who were determined to not be affected by the exercise; to not allow themselves to feel but instead to logically talk away their knee-jerk reaction. I believe it was because something ugly inside them had been brought to light and they didn't like it. They were determined to talk it away; to make excuses for it, to say it wasn't there, to call it anything but what it was: racism.

     Will this young lady learn anything from this exercise? Probably not. She will continue to cry, and continue to deny the existence of what so many others see right in front of their faces. For most of us, I think we realize that denying the existence of racism, or pretending that it doesn't affect us, will not make it go away.  Like Ms. Elliott says "Don't deny differences. Accept them, appreciate them, recognize them, and cherish them; they are extremely important."                                                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                    If  you want to see what the Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Workshop is all about, click here.  
Ms. Elliott is in no way affilitated with the author of this post or with Live From Bikini Bottom.     
Credits: ORIGINAL: By Jane Elliot. Found on Modernjournalism. Viewed on: Upworthy                                                                                                                 

Wednesday, December 11

Judge Lets Him Off Because He's Rich!!

This is such a sad story. Not just sad because of the people who died, not just sad because the person who killed them got off; it's sad because what does it tell the children (and teens) coming up now? If they are anything but rich and white, it tells them that they don't mean anything. That rich white people run the world and that nothing has changed in all the years since slavery was supposedly abolished. Back then, if
a young black teenager was accused of whistling at a white woman, he was beaten beyond recognition and lynched, whether he did it or not!

Now, a white teenager can kill four people and tell the police "I'm outta here", but he doesn't even get a 'beat down'!!

What is wrong with people that they think this is okay?

At first I wondered what judge would go along with such a backwards defense; then I read on and discovered that this is the same judge that gave a 14 year old black child 10 years for punching a man who died 2 days later! He got 10 years, but read this story of what this teenager, Ethan Crouch actually did. And the judge let him go???

Texas. The state that executes retarded people like Marvin Wilson, convicted of murder ( (even though the Supreme Court said they couldn't!)

 Andrea Yates (drowned her 5 children),
Genene Jones (nurse thought to have killed up to 46 children)

 Richard Ramirez (the Night Stalker),

With all the criminals including Clyde Barrow to come out of Texas, you would think they'd be experts at the whole procedure by now.

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