On November 25th Kershaw Knives announced that several new knives would be introduced in 2014 in partnership with ‘Duck Commander’ Phil Robertson, shown here in happier days when he could put something other than his foot in his mouth.
Even though A&E has allowed him to return from exile, I’m betting that the Kershaw deal is as dead in the water as a mallard that just got hit with an ounce and a half of #4 bismuth.From KAI USA’s original press release:
TUALATIN, OREGON—Duck Commander, makers of best-selling duck calls, and Buck Commander, makers of quality deer-hunting gear and apparel, are partnering with Kai USA Ltd. on an exciting series of new knives.
Kai USA brand Kershaw Knives, Duck Commander, and Buck Commander will work together on a selection of every day carrying knives and hunting knives, in both fixed-blade and folding styles, as well as a selection of machetes and accessories. Kai’s Pure Komachi 2 brand will partner with Duck/Buck Commander on a kitchen cutlery series, which will involve the “Duck wives” of Duck Dynasty.
“Kai USA, Duck Commander, and Buck Commander are all well known for the quality and innovation of their products,” said Jack Igarashi, Kai USA Chief Operating Officer. “That makes our partnership a natural fit and we are very proud to be the Official Knife of Duck Commander and Buck Commander.”
The first three to four knives in the series will be available by mid-year 2014. Prototypes will be shown at the important industry trade show, the SHOT Show, in Las Vegas in January. Successive years of this multi-year licensing agreement will feature an expanded lineup of products, from hunting knives and kitchen cutlery to accessories and apparel.
The co-branded knives will be distributed through all Kai USA channels as well as through Duck Commander and Buck Commander outlets. Promotional displays and sales materials will be available to assist retailers in successfully merchandising these must-have product lines.
KAI USA is based just outside hip, trendy Portland. This is where Portlandia happens, and Robertson’s views on homosexuality are widely condemned in a city which only recently had an openly-gay mayor. His Lynyrd Skynyrd-inspired views on race probably don’t sell very well here either. A&E may not want to kill the good old boy that lays such golden eggs for them, but Kershaw has very little to gain by moving forward with this marketing deal.
But Kershaw’s dilemma is really a very small part of the big picture. Calling Duck Dynasty ‘Reality TV’ is terribly naive. Just like the cat in Schrodinger’s thought experiment, a ‘star’ of reality-based television is dramatically changed by the act of being watched. When his show becomes a hit, he becomes a commodity instead of a real person. He is doomed to spend his brief heyday surrounded by reality producers and PR flacks who crave drama and conflict. These sycophants will constantly exhort him to be larger than life, to make a scene, to ruffle some feathers in pursuit of ratings.
They will never, ever, counsel him to calm down, to think before he speaks, or to act like a responsible adult. After months or years of being told that every outrageous thing he does is Just great, baby!, our reality ‘star’ will be completely isolated from actual human reality. It’s only a matter of time before he goes too far while trying to be unique, and when that happens the entire ‘reality’ premise collapses.
Jon & Kate Plus Eight, The Real Housewives Of Anywhere, Big Brother, Survivor, Jersey Shore, Dog The Bounty Hunter, do I really need to list any more examples? The only ones that survive the ‘reality TV’ experience as recognizably human are the ones whose series die a quick death. Phil Robertson and his family, of course, had no such luck. He’s a proud man, and pride, of course, goeth before the fall.
Less than a month after inking his deal with Kershaw, of course, Robertson stunned GQ’s readers with his views on homosexuality and with his idyllic recollections of the Jim Crow south. The rest, as they say, is history.
Kershaw hasn’t made any official announcement yet, but I’m guessing that their ‘Duck Commander’ line of knives is history too.