Thursday, July 2, 2015

RIP Bo, Luke, Daisy, Uncle Jesse, Cooter, Boss Hogg, Roscoe P. Coltrane, Flash, and the General Lee

Straightnin' the curves, flatnin' the hills.
Someday the mountain TV Land might get 'em, but the law never will... 

I grew up watching The Dukes of Hazzard.  Every Friday night at 8pm on the dot, I could be found in front of the TV at my grandparents’ house.  For an hour, we would watch the hunky pair of cousins (at least Granny and I thought they were hunky…I’m not too sure what Grandpa thought) race around the Georgia countryside in their bright orange car, ever evading the all-white wearing Boss Hogg, the bumbling Roscoe P. Coltrane, assorted deputies, and Roscoe’s dog Flash.  I was always amazed at how the Duke boys, in their beloved General Lee (their bright orange stock car), seemed to always be able to jump any obstacle in their path, regardless if it was man made or natural geography like a creek or a pond.  It was a fun hour of TV and, in the grand scheme of things, it must not have been too bad for my young, impressionable eyes to see because my grandmother let me watch it.  Well, on second thought, she also let me watch Days of Our Lives and Dallas, but that’s another story for a different day.  Alas, I digress.

Yesterday, my Facebook newsfeed blew up with numerous images of the rebel flag, again.  It did the same thing last week as well.  Apparently, TV Land decided to pull the reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard from its lineup, all because the bright orange stock car the Duke boys zipped around in bears the rebel flag on its roof.

Jiminy Crickets.

I get that the rebel flag is offensive to many.  I get that the flag often represents an unflattering time in our country’s history.  I get that the rebel flag is sometimes used as a symbol of bigotry and hatred.  

I also get that the flag is viewed as many as a symbol of “southern culture.”  Growing up in southern West Virginia, I saw the rebel flag a lot - on t-shirts, on album covers, on hats, and on almost everything affiliated with Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Even though I don’t and never have considered it a symbol of my southern culture, I know that many people do and for them it has nothing to do with hatred or racism.  

Finding myself in a unique position where I can see both sides of the rebel flag debate, I just can’t help but think that this issue with the General Lee is taking political correctness to the “nth” degree. 

I will admit that I haven’t watched The Dukes of Hazzard since the 1980s and perhaps my overall impression of the show has been skewed over the years by my fond memories of Bo and Luke Duke, I did have a huge crush on Luke, but I honestly do not remember it promoting racism, hatred, or bigotry.  I have always considered The Dukes of Hazzard as a wholesome, family show in the same genre as The Beverly Hillbillies, Little House on the Prairie, and The Brady Bunch.

I am having a hard time comprehending why a rebel flag that was painted on the roof of an orange stock car that was used on a show that first aired in 1979 is coming under fire in the year 2015, almost 30 years after the show originally ended.  

I'm having an even harder time comprehending why Viacom, who owns TV Land, has issues with the appearance of the General Lee but has no issues with the content and/or language found in the adult cartoon South Park (on Comedy Central) or the content and/or language of any show currently airing on MTV.  Comedy Central and MTV are owned by Viacom as well.

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