Is there any way to definitively prove that A&E lent a hand in manufacturing this scandal in the hopes that it would pay off in huge merchandise sales? No, of course not, but can you think of a reason why they wouldn't?
Hell, even the part where they pretended to care about the rights and/or feelings of gay people (when they briefly stuck to their decision to suspend Robertson) solely for financial reasons is a move right out of the Walmart playbook. Their last CEO signed a petition saying gay marriage should be outlawed, but recently Walmart made headlines by finally recognizing same sex couples for health insurance benefits and such. It's a nice gesture that certainly deserves some applause, at least, but it's also nothing more than a financial decision. Anyone who thinks otherwise should remember that a Walmart spokesperson said that notion is "just wrong."
What they're practically screaming with that official statement is that Walmart hasn't changed their stance on gay people; they just want it to look like they have so you'll start spending money there again. When A&E suspended Phil Robertson, their motivations were similar. They didn't want to reprimand anyone for speaking about homosexuality, they just wanted to make sure the people who would be angry if they did had something to spend their money on this Christmas.
And that's why now, along with Walmart and Nickelback ...
A&E Represents a Line That Divides America
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"There are two kinds of people in this world ..." is an expression that gets thrown around a lot, but in the case of Walmart, it definitely fits. For some people, the sins and crimes of Walmart will never be great enough to discourage them from shopping there. No matter the quality of the purchases or the reputation making them stands to earn a person, they will shop at Walmart and will think nothing of it.
Hovering somewhere above these people is that class of citizen who turns their nose up at the idea of big box department stores and discount brands and anything of the like. It's all evil and it's all to be avoided.
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"Beware of falling prices!"
In summary, there are two kinds of people in this world: people who shop at Walmart, and people who don't. If you think about it, that's a pretty handy distinction to be able to make. I actually put forward a similar argument awhile back in regards to Nickelback. Sure, they're a goddamn awful band, but isn't it nice knowing you can immediately discount anything else a person says once you hear the words "I'm a Nickelback fan" come out of their mouth?
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America's #1 reason for wanting to bomb Canada since 2002!
Unfortunately, in what has to be the rock bottom moment of their descent from that once lofty status as the "smart channel" on cable, A&E has come to represent a similar dividing line in American culture. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who watch Duck Dynasty, and those who don't. I know it amounts to little more than stereotyping, but where you line up in that battle probably tells a person everything they need to know about where you stand on life's more important issues.
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