The return of the Duke boys

I've been fiddling with this off and on in my nugget for a couple of weeks ever since I heard that it was coming out--the movie return of The Dukes of Hazzard--and I can't for the life of me see how anyone with an iota of empathy could think it's a good idea.

Full disclosure time here: I loved The Dukes of Hazzard tv show when it ran in the late 70s and early 80s--when I was 11-13 years old (I never really watched it after the Coy/Vance experiment). What I didn't understand in my pre-teen years was just how disgusting the Confederate battle flag, the name of Robert E. Lee, and the idea that these "Good Old Boys" who reveled in their southernness while seeming to not be racist actually was to my black friends--of whom I had a great number. One thing about the Jehovah's Witnesses--racism is absolutely foreign to them. They have tremendous faults as a religious group, but racism is not one of them.

So I can look back at my fondness for that show and discount it to some degree by saying I was a stupid kid who didn't know any better and who didn't realize just how much of a favor that show did for redneck, cracker, Confederate-flag-waving-nigra-hating southerners by making them look like good-hearted wild children (with a hot cousin). I don't think it's a stretch to say that The Dukes of Hazzard gave serious cover to the argument later made by David Duke and other white supremacists that they weren't out to hate blacks as much as they were trying to express love for their "heritage."

Let me tell you something--I grew up with that heritage. I grew up with people who sported the Stars and Bars, and who had a horn that played "Dixie" and who thought General Lee was the model for southern manhood (and not in the sense that he was both a traitor and a loser). These guys were not the Duke boys--they were people who bemoaned the loss of the Civil War some 100+ years after their ancestors lost it. They were openly members of the Klan. They used the words "nigger" and "boy" easily and with relish, even when they thought they were being complimentary as in "That boy ain't bad for a nigger."

The Dukes of Hazzard gave some of these people--the smarter ones--political and social cover. Suddenly, it wasn't so bad to sport a Confederate flag anymore--it was being done on a hit show, after all, so there was a sort of social acceptance. It was stupid then, but it's worse now.

There's no excuse anymore. If this movie comes out and the car is still sporting the Stars and Bars and is still called the General Lee, then somebody at that studio needs to be smacked. It ain't funny.

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