Saturday, December 21, 2013

Invincible ignorance

I have to say I didn’t know what Duck Dynasty was, since I don’t have cable TV (or even a TV set now, after the flood.)  But  the self-righteous homophobia and clueless racial mythologizing is certainly familiar enough to me.  I grew up in Victoria, Texas in the 1950s, when it was all around, every day.  And I’m not unfamiliar with Mr. Robertson’s fashion sensibility, having found myself in  Haight Ashbury in 1967, where bearded guys dressed like that were thick on the ground.  Of course they were younger.

The combination of the opinions and the costuming, not to mention the age, is  nevertheless unfortunate.

That being said, I don’t think someone should be fired from a reality show where he and his family were in fact hired to depict the outlandish people they are, just because he expressed opinions anyone with a lick of sense could have predicted from day one would be there.

It’s like finding a real Archie Bunker, hiring him to do a reality show,  and then firing him for being Archie Bunker.

Removing a guy like that from his employment won’t cure him of his views, or deter others from having them, or change anyone who shares them.  Maybe finding him some gay friends would help.  Or maybe not.  He apparently believes he had black friends, happy contented sing-along field hands he worked beside as they all picked cotton together working for the Man when he was a boy.  Or so he said in an interview.

The Catholic Church once had a theological category called “invincible ignorance” which, contrary to what you might think, could save pagans from everlasting condemnation, on the grounds that they had never had an opportunity to know anything but what they grew up with.  The term was later given a different meaning in logic as a category of fallacy, denoting willful, pigheaded refusal to accept evidence.

Maybe there is some  of both kinds of invincible ignorance going on here.