"Character is the one thing we make in this world and take with us into the next."
- - Ezra Taft Benson
January 13, 2014
The Freedom to Be Stupid or Smart
by Kathryn H. Kidd

I would never have watched an episode of “Duck Dynasty” if the self-imposed nannies of the world hadn’t told me I was not allowed to do so. Now Fluffy and I have started at the first season and have waded through three episodes.

We’re probably going to watch the whole series of a show we never would have considered viewing, just to prove to the nannies of the world that we are just as stupid as they always assumed we were.

That’s the thing about the nannies of the world. They have decided the rest of us are so stupid that they have to tell us what to do in every excruciating detail. Soft drinks are bad for us, so we have to be told by legislation (in New York, at least) the quantities we can drink them.

If I lived in New York, only the calmer heads of an appeals court would have saved me from purchasing Big Gulps every day (probably in New Jersey) and carrying them around in public just to defy the law, proving to Mayor Bloomberg that I was just as stupid as he thought I was.

And then there’s Paula Deen. If she said the N-word even once in her lifetime, she must be taken from the airwaves so nobody can cook from her recipes — under the assumption, presumably, that her use of that word has tainted her recipes so that they are so morally decadent that we should not be allowed to cook them.

In the interest of supporting Paula Deen, here’s her recipe for Curry Crusted Bananas. My, are they fine! And they’re so easy that even Kathy Coma Brain can make them, so you surely can too. Note to the Food Network: The N-word does not appear, and to my knowledge has never appeared, in the following recipe. And consuming these delicious bananas does not, based on my experience, turn one into an epithet-hurling bigot:

Curry Crusted Bananas


4 firm bananas, peeled
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups crushed cornflakes
Sugar, for sprinkling, optional but oh-so-nice


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Halve the bananas lengthwise, then crosswise. In a bowl, mix the butter and curry powder. Dip the bananas in the butter, coat well. Roll the bananas in the cornflakes until completely coated. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Place the bananas in a greased baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/curry-crusted-bananas-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

But this isn’t about Nanny Bloomberg or Paula Deen. It’s about a redneck from my home state, Phil Robertson. Or is it Phil Robinson? I don’t know his name, but I do know he’s from my home state. Most of the rednecks on these television shows seem to hail from Louisiana. (I heaved a big sigh of relief to learn that Honey Boo Boo had been spawned in Georgia.)

If a self-proclaimed Louisiana redneck dares quote the Bible on a television show that was designed as a vehicle to mock him and his beliefs in the first place, well, suddenly nobody should be allowed to mock him anymore. This is serious business! (At least it was serious business to mock him back in the old days.) How dare he have a politically-incorrect belief about a sacred cow! He should be punished!

Can’t we just kick him to death or something? Oh, is that illegal? Can’t we just ignore the law long enough to kick him to death this time? We can’t? Bummer.

That’s one reason I was so attracted to Mormonism — Mormons believe that people should have the freedom to be stupid. For me, that freedom extends to watching “Duck Dynasty” if I want to do it. For other people, that freedom extends to pulling Paula Deen off the air for using the N-word back in the 1960s, or suspending a redneck from “Duck Dynasty” for daring to believe in the Bible.

That’s the thing about the doctrine of free agency. It goes both ways.

Of course, the ideal way would be to let Paula Deen live her life, and let people vote with their remote controls or their wallets or their feet. If enough people stopped watching her show because they suddenly learned she had used the N-word before they were born, her show would have been canceled and the problem would be solved. If they stopped buying her products, her website would have been shut down for the same reason.

I know I would have saved money if people had let Paula Deen alone. I had to buy a whole set of her cookware after my nannies told me I could no longer watch her on television, just to express my own free agency. I don’t use the N-word and I didn’t even need any new cookware, but that’s the kind of person I am. I don’t cotton well to being told what I can and cannot do.

(And yes, if all my friends jumped off a cliff, I would probably jump off a cliff right along with them — if they were friends whose judgment and integrity I trusted. I choose my friends wisely and then the decision has been made.

(If my friend Lorraine jumped off a cliff, however, I would have to wave her a sad goodbye and realize that her vote was no longer going to cancel mine out every November. Farewell, old friend!)

The founders of the United States thought this was so important that the first right granted to citizens is the right of free speech. That means our ideas and beliefs should be protected no matter how enlightened or stupid they may be.

Dumb or dangerous ideas die out as they are rejected in the court of public opinion. We don’t need self-appointed nannies making those decisions for us. This system has served us well for more than two centuries and will hopefully do so long after the nannies of the world have have realized how wrong they are and have blissfully chosen to censor themselves.

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About Kathryn H. Kidd

Kathryn H. Kidd has been writing fiction, nonfiction, and "anything for money" longer than most of her readers have even been alive. She has something to say on every topic, and the possibility that her opinions may be dead wrong has never stopped her from expressing them at every opportunity.

A native of New Orleans, Kathy grew up in Mandeville, Louisiana. She attended Brigham Young University as a generic Protestant, having left the Episcopal Church when she was eight because that church didn't believe what she did. She joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a BYU junior, finally overcoming her natural stubbornness because she wanted a patriarchal blessing and couldn't get one unless she was a member of the Church. She was baptized on a Saturday and received her patriarchal blessing two days later.

She married Clark L. Kidd, who appears in her columns as "Fluffy," more than thirty-five years ago. They are the authors of numerous LDS-related books, the most popular of which is A Convert's Guide to Mormon Life.

A former managing editor for Meridian Magazine, Kathy moderated a weekly column ("Circle of Sisters") for Meridian until she was derailed by illness in December of 2012. However, her biggest claim to fame is that she co-authored Lovelock with Orson Scott Card. Lovelock has been translated into Spanish and Polish, which would be a little more gratifying than it actually is if Kathy had been referred to by her real name and not "Kathryn Kerr" on the cover of the Polish version.

Kathy has her own website, www.planetkathy.com, where she hopes to get back to writing a weekday blog once she recovers from being dysfunctional. Her entries recount her adventures and misadventures with Fluffy, who heroically allows himself to be used as fodder for her columns at every possible opportunity.

Kathy spent seven years as a teacher of the Young Women in her ward, until she was recently released. She has not yet gotten used to interacting with the adults, and suspects it may take another seven years. A long-time home teacher with her husband, Clark, they have home taught the same family since 1988. The two of them have been temple workers since 1995, serving in the Washington D.C. Temple.

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