I’m not into reality television shows, but one in particular has earned favor in the Marshall household recently.
The show is called Duck Dynasty, and it follows the adventures of a newly rich Louisiana bayou family, the Robertsons, who operate a thriving business by fabricating top-of-the-line duck calls and decoys out of salvaged swamp wood. Each episode highlights their special brand of Southern know-how and down-home humor.
My boys got hooked first; they think it’s hilarious. I had seen a preview of the show, where these bearded guys get out of a limousine, wearing tuxedos and camouflage. I figured that it was just more programming designed to appeal to the sensibilities of teenage boys and, after watching an episode for 10 minutes, I was unimpressed. But I watched a second episode at the urging of my daughter, and I now have to admit that I’m officially a Duck Dynasty fan!
I like the show because it reflects a lot of the values we in agriculture share. Duck Dynasty features successful business people who are hunters. But, more importantly, they love the land and the animals, and they understand the circle of life and the unique role humans play in it. They understand and appreciate how food gets onto our table and, even more surprisingly, they believe in concepts like freedom and private property rights – concepts you don’t see much of on television these days.
I like that they represent the American dream and are financially successful, but they also place far more value on the fact that it is a family business. They know how lucky and blessed they are to work together, and they believe in God and say grace before meals.
Yes, they are rednecks, and they take pride in their beards and camouflage clothing, which almost seems like a uniform that imparts the message: “Heck, yes, I’m proud of who I am and the tradition behind it.” I suspect our boots and hats send a similar message to outsiders.
When you watch a few episodes, it’s obvious these people don’t lack sophistication, and only partly fit the stereotype the outside world assigns to them. Being in agriculture, it’s easy to identify with the hick label that often gets applied to us.
Duck Dynasty likely won’t garner any Emmy awards or change the world, but it does depict traits that many of us hold dear – a reminder that makes it pretty good entertainment. Of course, we have cowboy hats and boots instead of beards and camouflage, but Duck Dynasty embodies a lot of things that make this life we live truly special. I like it because nearly every show reminds me of that very fact. Even more, however, I like it because my kids see that as well. I have to believe the fans of Duck Dynasty are indirectly friends of agriculture and we share a lot of common values.