They're part of the redneck tv boom that includes shows like "My Big Redneck Vacation," "American Hoggers," and "Lizard Lick Towing." It is a pop culture phenomenon that has taken several families of the more rural and redneck (and in a few cases, white trash) variety and made them famous and infamous personalities via television (and continuous mention in the tabloids). And the reality series "Duck Dynasty" on A&E Television might be the cream of the crop, not only in its content and packaging, but also in its bearded stars: The Robertson family of West Monroe, Louisiana, owners and operators of Duck Commander, a multi-million dollar enterprise built behind the sales of handmade duck calls.
It would seem that Willie Robertson, CEO of Duck Commander, has stumbled onto (or targeted, because it appears that the bumbling, folksy, good-natured rednecks of "Duck Dynasty" are possibly just a little more than the simple country folk they portray themselves to be) another way to capitalize on the family's continued good fortune (namely, the television show). The lead star of the often hilarious show has decided to write a book, entitled Duck Dynasty The Duck Commander Family, about his duck hunters-turned-millionaires clan. Announced on Facebook, it is billed as part autobiography, part family history, and part cookbook, the book is an almost 250-page behind-the-scenes look at the family that built a hunting (and now media) empire around shooting at ducks.
But a book? Sure, you can see DVDs (hunting guides and videos), clothing, hats, hunting apparel, and even backpacks and maybe even air fresheners for the jacked-up, step-side four-wheel-drive truck. In an era where books seem old-fashioned and possibly not in keeping with the modern redneck -- after all, it isn't a gun, a truck, an electronic game, or some newfangled hunting device -- it might seem somewhat out of place. But reading has an honored history among rural Americans as a pastime, despite the much exaggerated depiction of the illiterate rustic (they do exist, but not to the extent of their reputation in popular mythology). And although it might not be a Pulitzer winner, it will undoubtedly provide the one thing books have been providing since their inception: an entertaining escape into another existence.
And another income stream for the bewhiskered Louisiana bunch...
Co-authored with his beautiful wife, Korie, the book is due to be shipped on Oct. 9. The hit series itself returns for its second season on Oct. 10. (And if you're familiar with the show, it looks as if brother Jase might have had something to do with that timing. You'd think the shipping would have been better timed to have the actual delivery coincide with the second season's premiere, not arrive afterward. In one episode of "Duck Dynasty" called "CEO For A Day," Willie allowed his brother to take over. All in all, he did a pretty good job, except that he forgot a major shipment. Realizing the business relied on better organizational skills, he gladly handed the reins back over to Willie.)
According to the pre-order page on the A&E website, the The Duck Commander Family will also spotlight the central family of the clan, which includes Willie's parents, Phil and Kay, and all the Robertson boys (not to mention their wives): Willie, Jase, Jepthah, and another brother that currently has never been seen on the series. There is a promise that readers will discover what it was like growing up in the ZZ Top-looking family (except for the women, who look like they starred in the band's videos). If it was anything like the show portrays, there was a premium placed on togetherness and faith, business and fun.
If Willie and Korie Robertson have conveyed the spirit of the show to the written page, it should make for an interesting read, to say the least.
"Duck Dynasty" will begin its second season on A&E Television on Oct. 10. at 10:00 p.m. (EST).
(photo credit: A&E Television, Wikimedia Commons)