The Dukes of Hazzard was never an advert for the ‘American swastika’
So toxic is the Confederate Flag that re-runs of The Dukes of Hazzard are forbidden. The TV show featured the General Lee car with its Confederate flag design. When the bansturbators make a move it’s good to ask why.
Variety says the ban is “clearly a response to the broader movement to withdraw the flag from official settings and in pop culture, given its historic connection to slavery and the Civil War. The push to remove Confederate flags and Stars and Bars icons came last month in the wake of the slayings of nine African-Americans in a Charleston church allegedly by a 21-year-old white supremacist.”
Did the Dukes of Hazzard make him do it?
Tim Teeman writes:
What is achieved by activist Bree Newsome scaling the flag pole outside the South Carolina state house, and removing the Confederate flag?
What is achieved by TV Land banning reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard?
The first was a courageous, clever act of civil disobedience protesting the endemic, poisonous racism that lay at the heart of the Charleston massacre, with its roots in the South’s slavery-stained, Klan-stained past…
The second is a TV show, with two “good old boys” performing memorable car stunts and the grinning stupidity of Roscoe P. Coltrane. A dumber show, far further down the symbol food chain.
Do you confuse reality and fiction? Do you read works of literature as documents?
The flag is in a public space, central to a community. People have to walk past it, like it or not. The TV show is something you choose to watch or not watch, on a station you can choose to watch or not watch. The decision to remove the flag is right, the decision to strike the TV show seems extreme and wrong-headed, but entirely in keeping with our times.
We are absolutely crazy about banning stuff. Sometimes the bans are in the public interest, like the Confederate flag flying over the court-house.
In our culture of instant offense, we ban before we think. However, banning isn’t a sign of strength or resolve, but an admission of defeat, of showing how little we have engaged with whatever the bigger issue that belies the ban.
Banning things is sign of insecurity. If you can no longer out-debate the bigot, then you’ve lost the argument. Banning is cowardly. It makes a martyr of the banned. It also makes it more attrative to anyone looking for a counterculture punch. The Dukes of Hazzard should wear its ban with pride.
In a recent interview with THR, Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider defended the series’ use of the flag. “Labeling anyone who has the flag a ‘racist’ seems unfair to those who are clearly ‘never meanin’ no harm,'” he said. His co-star Ben Jones has also come out in defense of the flag, saying it represents the “indomitable spirit of independence.”
Well, now it does.
Instead of asking or addressing the roots of violent racism in the South in 2015—far too difficult, far too intimidating—we focus on symbols. If we take a flag down, if we remove a TV show from the schedules, it shows we are doing something. It shows our hearts are in the right places…
Our culture today is entirely reactive, as if collectively we are 24/7 being tapped on our knees by little doctors’ hammers, primed to agree or disagree on whatever issue commands our attention in the moment.
It’s a good image. And if your knee doesn’t jerk upwards at the right moment, you are sick.
Is The Dukes of Hazzard really a racist-enough curio to ban? Is that what we think when we watch it? I watched the opening titles tonight, and a sequence of those bone-shaking stunts. It just seemed puerile, harmless.
Daniel P. Finney says the Confederate flag is “basically an American swastika”:
…after the leaders in South Carolina started having a meaningful discussion about the Confederate battle flag on government grounds, corporate America decided to have a meaningless one about what toys they sell.
Retailers including Target, Wal-Mart, eBay and Amazon have said they will no longer sell the Confederate flag or items with the flag on it. The General Lee, the car from the show, has such a flag emblazoned on the top of the vehicle.
Warner Bros., the company that produced the TV series and a couple movies based on the show, said it will no longer license “Dukes” products that feature the flag.
These companies don’t give a flip about racism or those victims in South Carolina. Many of them sell products made by child labor in China.
Amazon isn’t selling the Confederate flag anymore. OK, fine. They’re heroes.
But they sell bronze busts of Joseph Stalin, the Russian dictator who ordered the execution of at least 6 million of his own people. They sell his old banner, the Soviet flag, too.
They also sell English translations of “Mein Kampf,” German mass murderer Adolf Hitler’s racist manifesto.
And they offer T-shirts aplenty of convicted murderer Charles Manson. Also available: T-shirts of history’s most inappropriately lauded figure, Che Guevara. Alas, none size 6XLT.
And you know what? I accept all of it. This is a free country. If you want to spend your money on that junk and put it in your house, stick it on the back of your vehicle or walk around wearing it, that’s your right.
Now. Who wants to see the show?