Since 1978, when filming started for “The Dukes of Hazzard” television series, Warner Bros. Television and its licensees have earned hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars from the ongoing success and enduring popularity of this old fashioned family show. The show’s timeless look and charm continues to find a new audience as youngsters discover the show’s good clean fun and their parents appreciate the wholesome values the show espouses. The good guys win, the bad guys get their comeuppance, nobody gets hurt, and a good time is had by all. And by “all”, I mean “all”, regardless of race, color, religion, or ethnicity. Hazzard County is a “hate-free” zone.
Now, over 33 years since the show premiered on CBS-TV on Friday nights,
Warner Bros. has issued a new and terribly insulting attack on the South, a
region and a culture which Hollywood has trashed for decades.
“With stupidity,” said Friedrich Schiller, “the Gods themselves struggle in
vain.” He must have been talking about the decision makers at WB. In a fit of
political correctness, the company has dictated that no longer will the “General
Lee” have a Confederate Flag on its roof. (For the culturally deprived, the
“General Lee” is a 1969 Dodge Charger, perhaps the most popular car in the
history of entertainment.) Some unnamed genius at the company feels that the
flag is “offensive to some” and therefore it has no business on a classic t.v.
comedy about a bunch of good ol’ boys and girls in the Southern mountains. This
is a new level of “P.C.” idiocy. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being
insulted by morons.
Now, here is “the flaw in that slaw”, as Rosco P. Coltrane used to say. First
of all, because of seven seasons on prime-time and through countless reruns,
syndication, hit cable runs, VHS sets, video games, reunion movies, a feature
film, tivo, international viewings, youtube, websites, and a very popular DVD
series, the General is always going to have a flag on its top.
Tens of millions of earthlings have seen it repeatedly for decades. And when it
isn’t there, the obvious question will be “where is it?”, followed by,
“that’s not the General!”
Secondly, the presumption that the show’s millions of minority viewers are
put off by the flag belies the fact that African Americans, especially in the
South, watched (and still watch) the show faithfully. As a producer of Dukes fan
events, I can assure you that this is so.
Thirdly, the timing of this announcement is mind boggling. We are now in the
Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the American Civil War. It is a time for
reflection and reassessment, and I have seen descendants of both sides of that
struggle reverently honor the effort and sacrifice of both armies. To insult the
lasting symbol of the Southern soldier is itself a divisive and, well, bigoted
act. This is not “offensive to some”. It is “offensive to many”, myself
I made a decision when I was a kid that I “would live and die in Dixie” and
do what I could to end segregation, discrimination, and “white supremacy”. In
that effort, I was shot at, sucker punched, threatened repeatedly, and jailed
several times. But, just like in the “Dukes of Hazzard”, the good guys won. Dr.
King was a proud Southerner, and he believed that the most important bridge to
be built was between working black folks and the working white folks who opposed
them. That South is slowly evolving, but it won’t fully become reality as long
as corporate types, caving to political pressure, gratuitously insult the
descendants of the Confederacy, who are as patriotic as Americans can be.
Symbols have different meanings for different people at different times.
Whenever a group of organized bigots get together, mostly up North, they always
seem to desecrate the Confederate St. Andrews Cross, the Christian Cross, and
Old Glory. They are a pitiful handful of life’s losers, who seem, however, to
attract every network camera within miles. Those creeps even give bed sheets a
bad name. And as a proud Member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, I am not
going to let their actions destroy the reputation of my ancestors. And for the
record, I am also an Honorary Life Member of the N.A.A.C.P.
LET THEM KNOW HOW YOU FEEL (NICELY)
The only way that Warner Bros. can know the depth and
breadth of our displeasure with this insult to our sensibilities is to let them
know through e-mail directly to their licensing department. Please be thoughtful
and respectful and please refrain from profanity. Let them know that you will
not be buying or supporting any further “Dukes” projects that deface the General
Lee, and let them know that only a few bigots give the Confederate Battle Flag a
bad name, whereas millions have watched and loved the Dukes of Hazzard. And
spread the word as much as you can!
Ben aka “Cooter”
The e-mail address For Warner Bros. is: