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by
David Vickers

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April 24, 2013 - 3:00 pm

Did you hear that?  The shotgun blast heard ‘round the world?  It happened when A&E Network’s hit reality TV show Duck Dynasty reached over 8 million viewers in its season premiere.

Like any gunshot, it got my attention. I tuned in to see what all the fuss is about and am now hopelessly hooked on this revolutionary bit of televised perfection. I quickly discovered that Duck Dynasty has very little to do with ducks or duck hunting, and everything to do with traditional American values and the current American condition.

Like all great television, Duck Dynasty works because it follows a proven formula.  In the case of Duck Dynasty, that formula is the roadmap to realizing the quintessential American dream. Have a clever idea. Sacrifice. Work harder than the next guy. Make it happen. Earn your wealth the old-fashioned way. Pass the business and its blessings along to your children and grandchildren. Have fun. Never forget where, or what, you came from. Give thanks to God. Repeat.

Like most rednecks and hillbillies, the starring members of the Robertson clan of West Monroe, Louisiana, are as clever as the proverbial old swamp fox. And so are the development execs at A&E. With Duck Dynasty they’ve struck more than ratings gold. They’ve struck a vital nerve in contemporary American culture. And I think they know exactly what they are doing.

Each week millions think they’re tuning in to watch the crazy and entertaining antics of a bunch of  rich rednecks with beautiful wives, powerful trucks, bountiful firearms, a knack for explosives and avoiding the drudgery of work, and an endless supply of homespun one-liners. 


What viewers are really watching are the bitter clingers candidate Obama so famously disparaged at a San Francisco campaign event back in 2008, and the makers that President Obama denigrated in his “you didn’t build that” speech of 2012. If anyone in America clings to God, guns, and religion, and did build that, it’s the Robertson clan. And you know what’s probably startling to leftist elites?  Instead of being bitter, the Duckmen are the happiest people in T.V. land. They rely only on themselves to solve their problems, not on the government. And as Robertson family patriarch Phil likes to say from the comfort of his recliner, “Everybody is happy, happy, happy!”

If annual sales, endorsement deals, and TV ratings are any indicator, the brand of Americanism these swamp rats are peddling is white lightning in a bottle. Down-on-our-luck, out-of-hope, and sick-and-tired-of-change Americans can’t get enough of Duck Dynasty’s message, or its messengers. They take us back to the ideals that really work in this country.

Another T.V. rule that proves key to Duck Dynasty’s success is “show, don’t tell.”

Duck Dynasty never tells its audience how to live their lives, what to believe, or whom to accept.  Instead, Duck Dynasty shows you its core values.  And those values translate to both a refresher course in what made America great, and an object lesson in the values it must cling to in order to weather the financial, political, and culture storms that currently batter the nation now.

For example, the Robertsons shamelessly teach their daughters and granddaughters how to handle a shotgun. They let their sons and grandsons experience the value of hard labor. They resourcefully bundle and sell a “mess” of fish they’ve caught in a friendly competition. They repair a worn-out barbecue grill instead of replacing it under a warranty to which they are entitled.  They haggle for deals when they could easily pay the list price for anything they want. Most touching of all, grizzled old Uncle Si gladly allows his grand-nieces to paint his fingernails, apply lip gloss, and attire him in a dress for a real tea party.

Another beautiful thing about Duck Dynasty is that it never, ever mentions politics. I remember when that was the norm in America.  I have no idea if the Robertsons are card-carrying members of the Tea Party, the Coffee Party (remember them?), or Obama’s perpetual campaign arm, Organizing for Action.  I don’t care.

If I had to guess, I’d say that the crazy old uncle, Silas Robertson, is a Tea Partier, as he reportedly consumes nearly two gallons of this Southern staple every day from an ever-present jug.

If Duck Dynasty staked out a political position on either side of dead center, it wouldn’t enjoy anything like its current ratings success. Evidently West Monroe, Louisiana, is the place where viewers of Fox and CNN can actually meet in the middle.

Another redeeming value of the show is that the Robertsons are truly tolerant. They might not understand you or agree with your fashion, sexual, or political choices, but they’ll make you feel welcome, work to find common ground, and save most of the beard scratching for later. 


I find the Robertson brand of tolerance more genuinely American than the liberal brand of tolerance that dominates American media and which, in my experience, means, “Be reasonable. See things my way.”

That’s not to say that the Duck Commanders accept the current state of affairs in this country. While Uncle Si can easily discuss the finer points of Star Wars and the Black Eyed Peas (both the band and the entree), his brother Phil often waxes philosophical on the perceived softness and helplessness of today’s youth, the wastefulness of modern culture, the destructive distraction of electronic devices, the oppressiveness of office work, and the restorative power of getting back to the woods — something most of his viewers have probably never done.

In the end, Duck Dynasty is just televised entertainment made to peddle consumer products at commercial breaks. Sure, the reality it presents is not entirely real. Many of the weekly scenarios feel like they’re lifted straight from an episode of I Love Lucy. But Duck Dynasty reminds us that a huge majority of gun-owning Americans use firearms responsibly and don’t need to be controlled, that the American dream still comes true if you only follow the formula, that you really can “build that” on your own, and that each days ends a little better when we return thanks to the One who provided it, and for the ones who make it worth living.

David Vickers is a freelance writer and media producer in Kansas City.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
I can recount years in my life where I was just as happy and content as this clan.
Without much contamination of news and politics from the outside world; Engrossed in my own daily work and living.
You don't see cell phones or video games.
This clan has learned what is ultimately important to a quality survival and fulfilling lifestyle, without sacrificing their character for the cheap celebrity status 99.7% of Americas youth and politicians strive for.
There are many more families in America just as pure and clean as this, but they may be clean shaven, well dressed, and so low key you'll never hear of them, because they don't use Face Book, Twitter, email, or yell at their cell phone.
Thank God the main stream media is afraid of alligators, snakes, and beavers.
Thankfully, the main stream media is flat out afraid of Gods country, period.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
guns, God, work, family, what more do we need? i from a big family. we live close. i think not having roots or identity is a big problem in this country.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Here's the thing: Most folks from Louisiana are the Robertsons and Swamp People AND we all have Mama's and Daddy's just like Phil and Kaye....I am a Baton Rouge girl who went to Louisiana Tech, where Phil went to college, where Terry Bradshaw was his quarterback. The Robertsons are on the redneck side of the Mason Dixon line of Louisiana, which crosses at a place called Bunkie, which is the last Cajun/Creole town right south of Alexandria. Below Bunkie is Cajun Country and that is where Swamp People is filmed. The show is comical, BUT my Southern Cajun Creole Irish family is the same: my parents had lots of kids and the grandkids are coming of age and everybody hunted and ate off the land and still do. The only difference is that women are not as girly as on the show. Many of us went fishing with our Daddies and swimming in creeks with our familes, kind of like the Yaya Sisterhood, without the disfunction.....The Robertsons are THE RULE of family life in Louisiana, not the exception. They represent my state well and so does Swamp People, who do things most men and women won't do. Hard days work to make a livin' is how we roll....then again a bad day at fishin' is better than a good day at work.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (28)
All Comments   (28)
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Thank you from Internet TV [http://www.tv74.net] and the CEO SoftinCorp LLC.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A couple seasons ago Mitchell and Glenn Guist of the Swamp People program went squirrel hunting. Brought back a 'mess of squirrels' and made squirrel and dumplings on their front porch.
One very entertaining show. Really fun watching these guys. Glenn is gone now.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sorry that was Mitchell that passed away, not Glenn.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Although it has been called a reality show, Duck Dynasty is much more a throwback to a 1950s or 1960s situation comedy. Each episode is carefully structured with a B plot to supplement the A plot. Its success is helped a lot by the networks, which produce comedies that are unwatchable and offensive to a large segment of America.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I can recount years in my life where I was just as happy and content as this clan.
Without much contamination of news and politics from the outside world; Engrossed in my own daily work and living.
You don't see cell phones or video games.
This clan has learned what is ultimately important to a quality survival and fulfilling lifestyle, without sacrificing their character for the cheap celebrity status 99.7% of Americas youth and politicians strive for.
There are many more families in America just as pure and clean as this, but they may be clean shaven, well dressed, and so low key you'll never hear of them, because they don't use Face Book, Twitter, email, or yell at their cell phone.
Thank God the main stream media is afraid of alligators, snakes, and beavers.
Thankfully, the main stream media is flat out afraid of Gods country, period.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
WANTED: GOOD WOMAN.
Must be able to clean, cook, sew, dig worms, and clean fish.
MUST OWN BOAT AND MOTOR.
Please send picture of boat and motor.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Bitter Clingers Have Taken Over Your Television...."

And I think they are attempting to expose their lifestyle and values VOID of any 'politicization' by any partisan ideologies and their activists. If I'm right, that should be a learned lesson by all the politcal activists bent of dividing the nations people over self serving partisan politics.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ha ha ha hirsuit. YOu didn't make that...somebody ought to make a list of all the words with their meanings and spelling so people 'talking up' can check to make sure they get it right.

Oh, and 'you didn't make that' either--all those ducks that the dynasty made their fortune on? Born and raised in...Canada! Gasp! Minnesota! Never fear--the Canadians and North Dakotans and so on will continue to apply strict environmental regulations and sacrifice farmland and water flows and tight bag limits (and no bag limits) on their own game in order to continue to send ducks down the flyway for entrepreneurial rednecks (however groomed) to hire out to shoot. You didn't make that indeed. One wishes for a dictionary of the principles governing the Connections among the several States, and the Commerce therein, of ducks and trucks and everything else, that might help indicate how very obvious it is that they didn't make That, that very few people truly Made That without enjoying the largess of the commonwealth in the form of a stable business environment, schools that don't teach Jesus on a dinosaur, state regulatory agencies that don't believe their primary function is to accommodate gigantic rapacious businesses (and their secondary function is to be so incompetent at even that bare minimum regulatory role that they constitute an excellent argument for their own abolition, and their tertiary and quaternary purposes are to actively campaign for disbanding government altogether once they've betrayed their trust as far as possible.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
But you're not bitter....much.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It is not surprising, by the way, that Louisiana produces intelligent, practical, creative businessmen. I don't have an opinion on whether our Dynasts would thrive anywhere they could cash in on the native wildlife without regard for its ownership by the commonwealth, which most definitely did Make That, if only by having the cash handy to buy it from Napoleon when he was a tad strapped. Even that deal offers a bit of a sting for half-wit full wingnuts who see it (and everything, pretty much) as an embarrassment to the Usurper in the White House. Don't forget (I know, I know, you can't forget what you never knew) that Napoleon stole Louisiana back from Spain before selling it to us. Don't forget that we'd never have had the chance to buy it if Napoleon hadn't been getting is butt kicked in Haiti by black and mixed-race slaves. Don't forget that fiscal conservatives nearly scotched the sale over fear of debt (though they had a very real COnstitutional argument, unlike their modern counterparts who only know the numbers 2 and 10.) Yet there it is--a gigantic swath of our nation (quick: what was the biggest city in Louisiana in 1803? Answer: St. Louis) bought by the rugged individualists who lived there! Oops, no, bought and paid for by duties and taxes. On who? on wealthy Yankee shipowners, Pennsylvania timber barons, cod-salters and whalers from Nantucket. If the main economic power in the nation had been slave-driven agriculture, of course, the largest share of such a sudden debt would have fallen on cotton, tobacco, peanut, and indigo farmers from Maryland to Mobile. But the Civil War wasn't fought over slavery, so...well, that's an inconvenient complexity for another time and another audience.

But now the takers are at it again, arguing that a miracle occurred sometime in the past and now there's ducks and water and oil in Louisiana, and it's theirs and the Federal Government must keep its hands off because Liberty. They made it, so they get to consume it! (well, not them exactly...as Cajuns of course they are actually Acadians, shipped south from Canada for...wait for it...failing to adhere to the state religion. Now they are the state religion! Ain't it wonderful!)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
WHAT are you rambling ON about?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So, to your complex, asinine, and intellectually hirsute connection between the Great Dark Satan in the white house, nuts. To your admiration for the TV show--whether it's part of an indictment of Librul Hollywood, or a commendation of Conservative Somebody Courageous in Hollywood--sure, fine, it's a good show, I like hunting and guns and dogs and stuff, and sexy ladies so long as they adhere to the state religion on ladyparts issues of course. And I like water and boats and rivers and bayous, so long as they're the 12% of Louisiana waterways that aren't fetid sewers due to poor management of wastewater by state and local government, or private preserves snaked away from the people in violation of their constitutional right to access all navigable waterways, but I get it if you reject that one because it's tough to find, tucked away in one of those wordy and legally parts of the Constitution, not in the important part which guarantees the right to keep and bear arms in clear, plain language without any confusing conditions, at least as far as Antonin Scalia is concerned (right next to the Amendment that says No Muslins). Or the waters that haven't become rank chemical dumps due to lax application of nonexistent regulations by corrupt-when-they-aren't nonexistent state regulators and their bosses, even if the boss is a 'bureaucrat', those French cobards! who might actually be one of three honest government functionaries left, Louisianans who actually practice public service but who have a hard time doing anything because they're cowering in their tiny forgotten offices listening for the arrival of Jindal's Anti-Government jihadi budget-cutting Job Savers to arrive (mounted on dinosaurs no doubt) to fire them in order to create a $40,000 a year refinery job, though probably not. Or those Louisiana estuaries--you know the ones, where we used to get shrimp and oysters and redfish and trout? those, except now they're turbid and malodrous, swirling with clotted oil and oil byproducts, pumped tanker bilge, and effluent from casino riverboats that is mainly human excrement laced with Xanax and despair, ruined by the state's cavalier disregard for the very concept of stewardship because they were long ago bought and paid for by a succession of major multinationals, the current crop of scallywags and felons featuring such stalwarts as Haliburton and their oily cronies who have the gall to claim they buy and consume Louisiana politicians in order to make America energy independent through the exportation of petroleum products, soon to include the unspilled Canadian tar-sand glop (O Irony!) which, small detail, must first be relieved of certain impurities which will stay here and, in a perfect world none of them would escape into the air and water but it isn't a perfect world--geez, look at all the crap in the water! so we do the best we can here in the beautiful state of Louisiana, but no worries the sea level will soon rise enough to flush out all those shipping canals, dikes, groins, and relief cuts so the Delta, and all of Plaquemine Parish and a good bit of Lafourche and Terrebonne (to be renamed 'Eaubonne', sponsored by Exxon!) will be good as new though a bit damp. Those waterways. I like. Even when I'm depressed by the terrible takers and hoaxers and constitution-killing terrists that have taken over our noble government.

ice9
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
ice99eci, Have you been down on Bourbon Street drinking those Sazeracs again? You know that stuff will mess with your brain.....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Hey! When he wakes up, hey, he'll be embrassed by this rambling monolouge.
Hey ice99eci! It's a Life, not a philosophical discussion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
guns, God, work, family, what more do we need? i from a big family. we live close. i think not having roots or identity is a big problem in this country.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Love the show. One of the few programs on right now that makes me laugh out loud. The one liners spouted off by the Robertsons in the ctaways (especially Jase) as they comment on the goings on are priceless.

I believe the Hawaiin episode beat out American Idol in the ratings.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Are you Phil Robertson? "I'm what's left of him!"
Love it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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