by Andy Nowicki

Phil Robertson, the embattled patriarch of TV reality show Duck Dynasty, recently committed the tactical error of being sincere and forthcoming.

A smart, articulate, clever man, the backwoods multimillionaire business mogul nevertheless badly squandered what could have proved to be an opportunity to exercise Christ’s injunction to be “innocent as a dove, but shrewd as a serpent.”

When a reporter from GQ magazine recently asked Robertson about his faith with regard to homosexuality, Robertson expressed his actual perspective on the subject as a Bible-believing Christian. Since his sincere view of the activities of America’s GLBT population wasn’t glowingly positive, and since he even expressed incomprehension over why any man could see another man’s anus as a more erotic organ than a wom an’s vagina, Robertson was predictably convicted of crimespeak and immediately fired from his post by the A&E Network which carries “Duck Dynasty.”

That he spoke in a folksy, gentle, utterly un-malicious manner—putting it all in a greater context, and laying on a heaping helping of “We’re all sinners; only God can judge any of us”—of course did nothing to mitigate the extremity of his blasphemy in the eyes of his duly-appointed media prosecutors.


Robinson’s enemies—which is to say, the enemies of wholesomeness and normalcy—are now getting more than they bargained for, of course. The backlash against the A&E network, while perhaps exaggerated in importance by many, is nevertheless a healthy sign that not all of the populace wish to be cowed by their would-be masters. Good, therefore, may come of this overblown scandal, in part because it exposes the naked arrogance, blatant intransigence, and depraved moral sense of the ruling class. They have massively overstepped, and nearly everyone—even their typical defenders—knows it.

That said, all signs are that Robertson rather naively walked into this trap which may cost him his career as a reality TV star. We all know by now that certain perspectives are simply NOT ALLOWED to be expressed in polite society, and that one such forbidden opinion is the notion that homosexuality isn’t totally wonderful in every way. There is a time to throw away all subterfuge and simply tell it like it is, and in such cases one must be content to expect, and accept, the consequences. But there are other ways to handle oneself, through which one can effectively mess with one’s would-be persecutors, without, in so doing, handing them your head on a platter.

Here, then, are two ways that Robertson could have handled himself this time, or might handle himself next time, if there is a next time for him. These are also ways in which any one of us thought criminals might maintain our integrity while skirting around the commission of crimespeak, while all the while taking the piss out of those who wish to entrap and destroy us.


The first clever way to elude one's captors is to “plead the fifth,” by refusing either to deny or to affirm an incriminating notion, while at the same time leaving no doubt where you actually stand. A few strategically placed “no comments” would suffice here. Here is an example of how such a strategy might have played out with Robertson and the GQ reporter:

GQ guy: So, you’re a very devout Christian.
Robertson: Yes, sir.
GQ guy: And your faith is very culturally conservative.
Robertson: You could say that, yes.
GQ guy: And so, I suppose you object to homosexuality.
Robertson: Oh, I’m not going to go into doctrinal specifics here.
GQ guy: How about gay marriage?
Robertson: Again, I don’t care to go point by point, issue by issue. This isn’t the place or the time. Anyone who wants to know where I stand gets a pretty clear picture just from watching the show, I think.
GQ guy: So, are you saying you may not be against gay marriage?
Robertson: No, I’m not saying that at all. I stand right where you imagine I would stand… I am a believer in the Bible and the traditional teachings of Christianity. I just don’t care to elaborate on my beliefs in this particular forum.


The down side of this approach is that it might make one seem evasive, as if one is either ashamed of one’s views or cagily keeping them concealed for nefarious purposes. The up side is that it enables one to hint strongly where one stands, without actually saying it, and thus to indicate one’s beliefs plainly to everyone who wishes to know, while managing to avoid actually indulging in incriminating rhetoric. Had Robertson answered the reporter’s questions in this manner, he could have signaled his nonconforming stand on homosexuality, while denying his haters any of the red meat they desired.


The second possible way Robertson might have skated would be if he had chosen to take the “sarcastic smart-ass” route. Had he done this, the exchange between him and the reporter might have gone as follows:

GQ guy: You’re a very devout Christian, and your faith is very conservative, so I suppose you object to homosexuality and gay marriage?
Robertson: Oh, no, man… not me! I think homosexual behavior is beautiful. There’s nothing more aesthetically appealing and sentimentally heartwarming than watching two men making love. Anal sex is by far superior to vaginal sex. What on earth are we straights thinking, when we say that the penis and the vagina complement each other in a manner that the penis and the anus don’t? Clearly that isn’t so—what was a man’s anus ever created for, if not to have another man’s erect penis ejaculate inside of it?... And marriage? Yeah, of course, gays should be able to marry each other! After all, it’s not like a millennia-old institution shouldn’t suddenly be altered based on a whim of modern-day liberal secularism. Sure, bring on the nebulous novelties! The more disgusting, in-your-face, and perverse, the better!


The “smart ass” approach has all of the upsides of the “no comment” approach, with the added bonus that it enables one to enjoy the catharsis of indulging in gleeful mockery against stupidity, small-mindedness, and ideological sclerosis. Once more, one speaks truth to power, as it were, without actually saying anything incriminating. What’s more, if properly executed, it causes your enemy will fume at your cultivated insouciance, and makes him pull out his hair over the fact that what you’ve told him is exactly what he wants you to say, except for the fact that you’re being sarcastic and he knows quite well that you mean the very opposite of what you’ve actually said!

Of course in order to succeed, the smartass must never let up. He must keep upping the ante. Not everyone is up for such a task, and Robertson strikes me as far too nice of a guy ever to be able to pull it off. But it’s something for the rest of us to consider if and when we ever find ourselves on trial for our ideological improprieties. In order to defeat the system and escape the reach of its legions of sycophantic headhunters, we’ll have to use our wits.

Andy Nowicki, co-editor of Alternative Right, is the author of six books, including Under the Nihil, The Doctor and the Heretic, and Considering Suicide. He occasionally updates his blog (www.andynowicki.blogspot.com ) when the spirit moves him to do so.


  1. Glad you're back in business!!

    Bon, From the Land of Babble

  2. That was somewhat of a shock. Happy and Creative New Year To you All

  3. What happened? Did you get kicked off your host?

  4. Good to see you up and running. I was on a trip over Christmas and didn't realize what was happening until it was posted on Conservative Heritage Times.

    On the topic, it looks like Phil Robertson and the DD won. I've never watched DD and never heard of Robertson until this whole thing started.

    Kirt Higdon



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