Skip to comments.The Parable of the Carnival and the “Freak Show” [A+E vs. Phil Robertson parody]
Posted on 12/25/2013 4:09:28 PM PST by daniel1212
The Parable of the Carnival and the Freak Show
*This is fiction. Any resemblance to real persons or organizations is purely coincidental.
Many years ago, long before the internet, television or even radio, three wealthy businessmen got together and decided to found a traveling carnival with a singular purpose. It would be different from other traveling carnivals and would be called Culture and Enlightenment. The C & E Show. Instead of the usual rides and games they hired on lecturers, artists, musicians, and took their show on the road across America.
The new carnival was mildly successful but not successful enough. The entrepreneurs noticed that everywhere their carnival set up, many people they wanted to attract, both for their money and to raise their levels of culture and enlightenment, flocked to other, nearby, carnivals.
So the three businessmen decided to alter their repertoire a little bit by including the occasional freak show. These seemed to be the big attractions at their competing carnivals, so, just to get the folks in the doors, they hired on a man with his two headed calf, an unusually plump woman, and a man who could swallow fire. The show moved on to new communities.
Soon the carnivals owners realized that the majority of people coming to their C & E Show were standing in line to see the freaks. And they were willing to pay more than to listen to a man show slides of his travels to Asia and deliver a verbal travelogue, or to listen to a cello quartet, or to watch a one act ballet. And they noticed that people were coming to their carnival rather than to competitors mainly for the freak show.
So, being the good capitalists they were, the three entrepreneurs gradually laid off their musicians and lecturers and dancers and hired more freaks. Soon the majority of the carnivals acts were various kinds of what people were calling freak shows. Not that all the attractions in them were literally freakish. Many were just unusual and therefore interesting to the folks who rarely, if ever, saw such things.
Now, the three businessmen were not only interested in profit. They also fancied themselves men of high mind, culture, and taste. They began to joke among themselves and with their friends about the people who came to their carnival to see the freaks. We offered them culture and they demanded things to gawk and point at and laugh about. So we gave them what they wanted. Maybe theyre just not capable of appreciating culture and enlightenment.
Eventually the three businessmen became so disgusted with the people coming to their carnival, whose money they were raking in while they derided them behind their backs, that they decided to play a practical joke on them.
They searched the whole countryside, the small towns and farms, the swamps and backwaters, until they found a family that epitomized the uncultured, backwards, hickish ways of the people who flocked to their carnival. This family was everything the businessmen and their city friends were notrough, uneducated, hard working, simple, down-to-earth, conservative valued, family-oriented, religious, angular, rude, rough-spoken. But the nearly unique feature of this family was that they were rich. They had started their own business and, over the decades, built a financial empire while remaining red necks and hillbillies.
Lets create a freak show built around this family, the businessmen thought and said. People will pay good money to see themselves, or at least a caricature of themselves, living the high life, rolling in money, without changing their lifestyle or folk ways.
Now one of the reasons the carnival owners hired this family was that they were unlikely to say or do anything that would offend the salt-of-the-earth, mostly religious, people who came to the carnival. They didnt cuss or get drunk or talk dirty or have sex with anyone but their wives and husbands. Not that the businessmen thought there was anything wrong with such behavior, but they wanted these freaks to be as much like the people who flocked to their carnival as possibleonly richer and maybe a little saltier (and hairier).
So, the rich hillbilly family of rednecks joined the carnival part-time while continuing to rake in the riches from their own business. Why? Because they wanted people to see that you could be down-to-earth, religious, folksy, conservative and funny, rich and happy.
It was a true example of symbiosisboth the businessmen and the freaks got what they wanted and from each other. People flocked to watch and listen to the hillbilly family joke and enjoy their luxuries and be rough and pray and live the high life without having to shave or wear ties or go to college. The businessmen sat back and raked in the entry fees and royalties from paraphernalia bearing the familys countenances.
But, as always happens, the shine of the show began to wear off. People were still standing in line to pay to watch and listen to the family for 30 minutes but there was some muttering about it getting old and too familiar. This worried the entrepreneurs, so they held a meeting to discuss how to keep the show alive and interesting to the same people who came again and again.
Ive got it! said one of the businessmen. Lets pick a controversial social issue and get one of the family members to say something offensive about it. What? said another of the businessmen. How is that going to help? Wont it just drive people away from the show? No. Listen. The whole society is divided over several social and ethical issues. The people who agree with what the freak says will speak up in his defense and show their loyalty and agreement by attending more and bringing their friends. The people who disagree and are offended will give the show free publicity by being outraged and many will come to the show to catch the family saying more offensive things. It will be free advertising. The media will jump on it and it will give the show new life.
One businessman sat back and put a finger to his mouth and said cautiously Well, isnt this a bit hypocritical? After all, we hired this family to be who they are. Wont people see through it when we act outragedas we shouldwhen the freak says something that offends a segment of the population? Wont people say You knew he would say that, didnt you?
Sure, but heres what we do. At first we side with the people who are offended and suspend the freak from the show. But then, in response to the avalanche of criticism defending his right to express his opinions, we restore him to the show. Well appear both sensitive and progressive, on the one hand, and forgiving on the other hand!
The businessmen were all convinced by the plan and implemented it. They asked a friend of a friend of a friend, who was a reporter, to interview one of the more rough-hewn family members and lob a bombshell of a question about a controversial social and ethical issue at himknowing what he would innocently say that would spark the desired furor. When the freak said what they always knew he would say and the predictable media feeding frenzy ensured, the carnival owners carried out their plan and then laughed all the way to the bank. And nobody else ever suspected what happenedexcept one, lonely, somewhat suspicious and cynical blogger with a vivid imagination. But nobody believed him. So the show went on and the money kept rolling in.
The Robertson’s are not uneducated.
Where’s Aesop when you need him?
Not even close. LOL
This’ll be fun to watch play out, any way it goes, though. The Robertson’s are sitting in the catbird seat. Their “Worst Case Scenario” puts them where they have even more time to make even more money and to hunt more ducks. [Shrug]
If the Robertsons thought that A&E were playing them like a harmonica (as this blogger suggests), then they could always announce plans for sending Willy to his own GQ interview next week, Jase, the week after, then Si, Martin, Godwin, ....
Then, they could remind A&E that there are a couple of dozen Robertsons and that “the beatings will continue until morale improves”. :)
That route would see this all over within 24 hours,(A&E would fold like a cheap suit), and the outcome would leave Phil (and his family and their fans) happy, happy, happy.
Not at all fair. I don’t believe that the Robertson’s would put up with that BS.
I think the author knows that, but he is describing how A+E saw him and his family, as being “everything the businessmen and their city friends were notrough, uneducated, hard working, simple, down-to-earth, conservative valued, family-oriented, religious, angular, rude, rough-spoken.”