I know and love a lot of people who are not steeped in Southern culture because of my travels and because one of my daughters married one such person and I am committed to love the people she loves. Since I am, thus, so well acquainted with our brethren from up nawth, I have developed a theory as to why so many of them seem to love the phenomenally successful television show “Duck Dynasty.” At first I thought it was because they were making fun of the characters, but later I theorized that busy big-city people are longing for a simpler, more honest, more laugh-prone and, yes, more solidly Christian approach to living. They want to be happy, happy, happy. For example, there is probably not much road rage in West Monroe. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of fine Christians all over our great land, all over the world, really, with varying approaches to the faith. So, hey, I am not saying that the South is more Christian, Jack.
But, when a network talking head recently compared the show to the “The Beverly Hillbillies,” I saw how little her ilk really knows of the glorious Southland. I should have noticed the vacuous thought processes of some in the national media when they reported the cooking show fiasco. I mean, the daytime network hosts of the world with their million-dollar contracts and good suits and bad haircuts sound so smart and self-assured until you really hear what they are saying. Most often their doctrinaire biases control and skew what passes for analysis of current events.
Our worldview certainly influences the way we think, doesn’t it? On the show, we see Duck Commander Phil, the patriarch of the Robertson family, exhibiting a strong Christian worldview, gathering his family and friends for a meal, praying unabashedly in Jesus’ name, giving thanks, asking for patience, especially for those who are closest to us. There is Phil’s wife, the Godly woman, Kay, who knows when to submit and when to stand her ground. Blessed are the peacemakers. And everybody’s favorite is Uncle Si, who at the reaffirmation wedding of his brother Phil and sister-in-law Kay said, “Hey, I’ve got something to say here before we go on. Hey, I have been with these two from the beginning and, hey, God loves them and so do I.”
Si has a Facebook page. Not that he ever operated a computer, but, as the site explains, the family put the page up for him. On it is a photograph of Si and his wife of many years. The quotation from him under the picture is, “I love this woman, always have, always will and you can take that to the bank, Jack.”
Even though this family characterizes itself as redneck, their language often bespeaks an educated respect for English grammar. Phil in particular is most articulate in his pronouncements. Even though the north Louisiana accent is alien to some, hey, we can see that they work to communicate precisely and exactly. Phil also has a flair for parallel structures, for example using the word “abode” for “home.”
I was born near West Monroe, so the accent sounds right to me. In fact, when I say the word “happy,” I sound a lot like Phil. And I say it a lot these days.