Resentful Southern Whites: America’s Goofus

So the question of what A&E did in light of Mr. Duck’s peculiar comments on gays & blacks is ultimately of little interest. He said some pretty awful things, but then again he’s a reality TV star so what should we expect, though on the other hand advertisers don’t want to be associated with anti-gay & racist views, although he did issue a pretty pleasant statement afterwards, etc. The network had a number of defensible options; they went with a suspension. Whatever.

The matter is only interesting because conservative politicians and intellectuals are rushing to attack A&E.

Josh Barro refuses to engage in moral relativism:

In one America, it’s O.K. to say this of gays and lesbians: “They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil.” In the other America, you’re not supposed to say that. …

In one America, it’s O.K. to attribute the Pearl Harbor attacks to Shinto Buddhists’ failure to accept Jesus. In the other America, that is not O.K.

There are two Americas, one of which is better than the other. And it’s instructive who’s sticking up for the worse America.

The conservative politicians who are complaining that Phil Robertson’s firing flies in the face of “free speech” are generally smart enough to understand that Robertson doesn’t actually have a legal right to be on A&E. When Sarah Palin and her cohorts talk about the importance of “free speech,” they mean something much more specific: That the sorts of things that Robertson said are not the sorts of things a private employer should want to fire someone for saying. That they are, or ought to be, within the bounds of social acceptability.

But they’re wrong. The other America — the America I live in — has this one right. Racist and anti-gay comments and comments disparaging of religious minorities are rude and unacceptable and might cost you your job. …

There was no rush to defend the “free speech” of Martin Bashir and Alec Baldwin from liberal intellectuals and politicians (nor from conservatives, of course).

This is why the GOP has such a hard time trying to win over minorities of any sort– not just those targeted in this incident, but Hispanics and Asians as well. At the moment, in the US, conservatism is tribalism upon stilts. How can a party based on shared emotions of resentment and feeling aggrieved craft a messaging outreach– to say nothing of a policy platform– to anyone outside the tribe?

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  • dedc79

    Ian Bayne, a Republican running for a seat in Illinois just compared Robertson to Rosa Marks. You read that correctly. Compared not contrasted.

    • nickgb

      Rosa Parks, like Robertson, spoke out against the way television networks suspended black actors who claimed white people were evil and going to hell. It’s a direct apples-to-apples.