I suppose I’m over a week late with this one.
I waffled for a few days after the topic hit the news, first playing with a broader idea exploring parallels between the recent popularity of reality shows about dumb rednecks, and the heyday of “blackface” minstrel theater, then trying to decide if the initial comments were hateful enough to merit a reply as harsh as the above cartoon.
What finally convinced me to go ahead with it was a video that leaked online of Phil Robertson spewing more openly-vitriolic hate-speech to a church-going audience somewhere, without even the cheap, dollar-rack disguise of “aw-shucks” hillbilly ignorance that usually accompanies his family’s brand, and which barely shrouded his press comments. A day or two later, he pointedly refused to apologize, which reinforced the latter part of the dialogue in my cartoon, but then Christmas came along, and I was delayed by family get-togethers, and then I had to struggle with a bit of rustiness in my digital-coloring technique (since the other project I was working on the last few months had only been in black and white)…
Anyway, I finally finished it long after the hoopla had died down, but I didn’t want to just pass up my chance to say that I’ve hated Duck Dynasty for quite some time, as much as Phil Robertson apparently hates gay people. It symbolizes everything I despise about modern television: paying random jackasses with marginal skills/talents, and no thoughts of consequence or value from one day to the next, hundreds of millions of dollars to make fools of themselves, while puttering around doing basically nothing, for a target audience of culturally-illiterate morons; THEN plastering their ugly faces on all manner of merchandise, so those of us with the taste, intelligence, and decency not to reward or encourage such lowbrow “entertainment” still can’t avoid being glared at from store shelves by their constipated-looking grimaces whenever we go out to pick up groceries.
I do so enjoy the irony of a so-called “Christian,” who has willfully participated in the sale, dismemberment, cannibalization and excretion of his entire family’s dignity, dresses like a terrorist, and demonstrates the grooming habits of Captain Caveman, casting stones at the “lifestyle choices” of others! But does he have to so with a voice that sounds like it’s being filtered, via one of those Peter Frampton talking-guitar devices, through a busted banjo somebody just hauled out of a landfill??
The “they don’t DO ANYTHING” part is what really gets me. Like, I understand that Americans are fat and lazy, but are we, as a nation, now so lazy, that instead of simply sitting and doing nothing ourselves, we have to live vicariously through other people who are doing nothing? “Hey now, they built a thriving family business on a successful product,” some might say, but since the actual work of running their business apparently involves mainly sitting on their asses, bullshitting about pointless nonsense while perhaps carving a few small pieces of wood, I don’t really see why that deserves much recognition–certainly not a whole TV series dedicated to it! A How It’s Made episode on duck calls would teach the audience more about the subject, and probably do so in a single, 8-minute segment.
It’s not like there aren’t innumerable other performers, writers, and artists out there barely making ends meet while their work goes largely unnoticed and unrewarded (cough). Ultimately, there’s only so much time and money available, so every minute of attention given, and every dollar paid for swill like Duck Dynasty represents a theft from creative people who invest their work with genuine talent, unique ideas, and meaningful thoughts, not to mention ACTUAL EFFORT, like an organ-grinder’s dancing monkey having hundreds of coins tossed to it, while Vincent Van Gogh sits on the sidewalk across the street with his unsold paintings, contemplating suicide.
Interestingly enough, this is not the first time I’ve used an outhouse to symbolize intolerance and bigotry by “religious” conservatives. This cartoon, attacking Rick Santorum in 2012, made the connection more explicit (in more ways than one).