December 23, 2013

Dixie Chicks show conservative hypocrisy

Another Facebook exchange with "Tom" on the free-speech aspects of the Duck Dynasty controversy:

So the GOP wants to get into "free speech" in defense of a ZZ Top lookalike? They will climb down into the muck in defense of a homophobic bigot's right to his religious point of view and his right to shout it from the rooftops. Never mind that Martin Bashir was not allowed his "freedom of speech." Never mind that freedom of speech is only supported if they LIKE what is being said. Just ask the Dixie Chicks about "freedom of speech." Hypocrites. Absolutist hypocrites. I have never gotten over what happened to the Dixie Chicks because I absolutely love their music and I despise what was done to them.Do you agree, Thomas? Are the Dixie Chicks and Dynasty Duck cases exactly equivalent? Because both groups lost business opportunities because of what they said? And so conservatives are freakin' hypocrites for denouncing free speech in the first case and "defending" it in the second?

Again, on a scale 1-10, how goddamned hypocritical are your fellow conservatives? As with the Raul Castro handshake, a perfect 10?And which network or recording company fired the Dixie Chicks?I said loss of business opportunities. Canceled or curtailed tours, less radio air play, and the loss of at least one sponsor is the same as having your TV show taken off the air. Companies are "censoring" your free speech, according to the asinine conservative position that's completely false and hypocritical.

You're not seriously defending Robertson's right to be free of criticism for uttering his racist and homophobic remarks, are you? Even you aren't that dumb. (See Phil Robertson "Wrong with Honor"?! for more on that subject?)

Conservatives are hypocrites

Here are the economic sanctions you stupidly forgot or ignored, Tom:

“Free speech” hypocrites: Dixie Chicks, “Duck Dynasty” and America’s pointless shell arguments

Just admit it: Your view on items like free speech or the filibuster depends on whatever policy position's at stake

By Matthew Bruenig
When media reports about the concert got back to the United States, all hell broke loose. Their record sales plummeted, they fell down the Billboard charts and a full scale boycott swept through their largely right-wing country music fan base. Country radio stations across the U.S. pulled them from circulation, with radio network giant Cumulus banning the Dixie Chicks from its more than 250 local stations. Former fans gathered to burn previously-purchased CDs and even, in one media spectacle, crush them with a giant farm tractor.

Unsurprisingly, conservatives welcomed this effort to economically discipline political speech. President Bush himself said of the debacle: “The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say … they shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out. … Freedom is a two-way street. ” For Bush and other conservative cheerleaders of the war, you can speak your mind all you want, but you should be subject to private economic disciplining if you say something unpopular. That’s just the dialectic of freedom working itself out.

This is all well and good except conservatives don’t actually believe this. Their support for economically coercing the speech of popular entertainers is curiously contingent upon the content of the speech in question.

Take the firestorm surrounding the comments “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson made to GQ this week. Among other things, Robertson explained that blacks in the Jim Crow south were contented with American apartheid and that homosexuality is both sinful and utterly disgusting. The cable network that runs his hit television show responded to these comments by putting him on hiatus. So we have here a perfect analogue to the Dixie Chicks spectacle: a popular entertainer said something offensive and outrageous to many, and an economic actor punished him for doing so.

Strangely enough, conservatives found the economic disciplining of Phil Robertson to be a kind of unjust censorship that is antithetical to the spirit of free speech. Bobby Jindal said the TV network’s disciplining ran counter to the free speech protections of the first amendment to the constitution. Sarah Palin also expressed dismay at the threat this poses to free speech, and called opponents of Phil Robertson intolerant haters. Herman Cain described the suspension as “crap” that is “out of control.” And on and on it goes.

It is not mysterious why conservatives think the Phil Robertson disciplining is rights-infringing but think the Dixie Chicks disciplining was not. They support what Phil Robertson had to say, but oppose what the Dixie Chicks had to say. Despite their pretensions to the contrary, conservatives, and most people in general for that matter, do not care about content-neutral procedural fairness. They care about winning their stuff and beating the other’s side stuff.
Another comparison is how people responded to Martin Bashir's outburst against Sarah Palin vs. Phil Robertson's outburst against gays. Again, the conservative response was hypocritical.

In short, Tom, you lose. If there was any doubt, this controversy proves that conservatives are hypocrites.

For more on the subject, see Phil Robertson "Wrong with Honor"?! and Duck Dynasty Star is a Bigot.

No comments: