Pennsylvania Governor

Duck Dynasty/Free Speech; Bookshops Hang In; PA Gov Supports Gay Rights

Duck Dynasty/Free Speech

This all started yesterday and I waited to post about it to see if anything would happen. Action: reaction. Someone named Phil Robertson, from a reality TV show I’ve never seen called Duck Dynasty, made hate comments about gay people in GQ Magazine that weren’t exactly positive and don’t send out the right moral or ethical signals, and as a result a firestorm erupted into what resembles the recent gay slurs by Alec Baldwin. Like Baldwin, Robertson was suspended, his network apologized to viewers and disassociated themselves from him, and even HRH of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, weighed in on the topic.

In an interview with GQ’s Drew Magary, the head of the family in the wildly popular A&E series expressed his view that homosexuality was immoral, likening it to bestiality. Some of the remarks were made using off-color language.

Robertson is a good Christian who has repented from his sinful ways from the cliched 1960’s counter-culture where he did drugs and claims he “hit bottom.” He replied to what’s been happening this way, in part.

My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.

Aside from the sad fact that this is clear proof of what doing too many drugs can do to a person, Robertson made no excuses, no apologies, and he stands by his vituperative statements against gays.

HRH Sarah Palin said this on Twitter:

Free speech is endangered species; those “intolerants” hatin’ & taking on Duck Dynasty patriarch for voicing personal opinion take on us all

Aside from the fact that I personally think the Republican Party should distance itself from Palin if they know what’s good for them, I don’t “hate” Palin and I actually find her interesting. She’s an extremely clever, bright person who knows how to twist and turn anything to her advantage. And she twisted the concept of free speech to suit her needs this time. Free speech is not an endangered species. In fact, never in the history of the world have people all over the globe had this much free speech thanks to the Internet. Phil Robertson made his highly offensive statements proudly and without going to jail for them. There’s nothing illegal about what he said, and he can continue to make all the gay slurs he wants and no one’s going to stop him from doing that. Palin is free to do the same and no one is going to stop her.

However, what Ms. Palin fails to add to her little tweet is that with free speech comes responsibility. And when you can say anything you want you should also be prepared to deal with the results. In Robertson’s case he lost his job and the respect of millions of people. I don’t even know who he is and I’ve already mentally dismissed him. He exercised his right to free speech and no one wants to take that away from him. They simply choose not to pay attention to him anymore. And in its most basic form, that’s what free speech is all about, Ms. Palin.

You can read more about free speech here.  And the rest of the article about Robertson is here.

Bookshops Hang In

I’m in the middle of writing the next novella in the Second Chance series and I found this next article interesting because the main character in my novella owns a small brick and mortar bookshop in Hudson River Valley, NY, and he’s constantly up against the constant changes in publishing which mostly trickle down to e-books. But my character is a good businessperson and he’s not ready to give up without a fight. And this article I’m linking to now reminded me of how sometimes people in small business have to learn how to be creative in order to survive.

Marlene has not ventured outside to offer the doomsayers a retort, but if she did, it would be this: Independent bookstores are not dead. In fact, in some of the country’s most urbane and educated communities, they are making a comeback.

In an e-tailing world, their resurgence is driven by e-book growth that has leveled off, dyed-in-the-wool print lovers who won’t (or can’t) abandon page flipping, a new category of hybrid reader (the latest mystery, digital; the latest John Irving, print) and savvy retailers such as the Englands, positioning their stores squarely in the buy-local movement and as a respite from screens.

I actually don’t disagree with this. Even though I wouldn’t invest my money in a small bookshop, I do think there is still a market for small bookshops that are owned and operated by good businesspeople who are not only willing to accept change but embrace it in creative ways. In the same respect, e-books were not the beginning of the challenges small bookshops started to see in recent years. It was the big chain bookstores that started popping up all over in the 1990’s that hurt them the most. In fact, I personally saw more than a few people lose their nest eggs by opening small bookshops when I owned my art gallery in New Hope during the 90’s. It was often painful to watch them in the beginning, knowing how it would end for them a year later. And now most of those big bookstores have shuttered their doors thanks to changes in technology and in publishing. Younger generations embrace technology without thinking twice about it. The world changes and we stop riding in buggies and start riding in cars. And yet I still think the creative businessperson can make a small bookshop work in the right location and with the right mind set. At least my character in the next novella believes he can do this with his little bookshop.

PA Gov Supports Gay Rights

This is interesting for me because Tony and I live in Pennsylvania, on the border of New Jersey, and gay marriage is not legal here and is legal in New Jersey. It places us in an interesting situation, one where good friends who live about three miles away are considered equal and we’re not because of the state in which we live. I posted about PA Gov. Tom Corbett making comments about gays, and how he compared gay marriage to incest. And now he’s flipped in the opposite direction and he’s supporting a bill that makes it illegal to discriminate against those incestuous gays. He’s also running for reelection and his numbers are dismal in the polls.

He is now saying he would be in support of proposed legislation in his state that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations.

Interesting. You can read more here.

All LGBT issues aside, compared to previous governors like Ed Rendell, I can’t think of one significant thing Corbett has done for Pennsylvania offhand.

Side note: Corbett has a daughter in an interracial marriage, a marriage that would have been considered illegal in many states not more than fifty years ago.