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Thursday, July 16, 2015

My Thoughts On The Dukes of Hazzard and The Confederate Flag

This past month in the world has been one crazy one, hasn't it?

From Caitlyn Jenner's dazzling debut in Vanity Fair Magazine to Subway's Jared Fogle being linked to a child pornography investigation to the voluntary admission by Bill Cosby that he used quaaludes for the sole purpose of having sex with it just me, or has pop culture been flipped on its side over the last few weeks?

Though, just to confirm a few things...Caitlyn Jenner still looks beautiful, Jared Fogle technically hasn't been charged with anything (though someone who worked for his non-profit charity certainly has), and as for Bill Cosby...well, he's making it incredibly difficult for people to believe him.  That's all I will say on that matter.

But do you want to know what I find the most shocking news of all? 

The fact that some television stations and retail chains have taken it upon themselves to erase "The Dukes of Hazzard" from pop culture history.

Now, I'll be the first to admit...I didn't understand it.  I still don't understand it.  My family grew up watching "The Dukes of Hazzard" since it first started airing.  Reruns in Canada have been screening off and on since the show ended thirty years ago, and I can't imagine there being anything remotely offensive about the show at all. 

Well, okay, some people didn't really like Daisy Duke's short shorts (I myself was NOT one of them).  But when you consider that "Baywatch" revealed more skin on a weekly basis, "The Dukes of Hazzard" seems tame by comparison.

So, why the outcry over "The Dukes of Hazzard" now?

It's because the car that was used in the show - the orange 1969 Dodge Charger dubbed "The General Lee" - happens to have a Confederate Flag plastered right on the top of it. 

And it is because of that flag that TV Land opted to pull the show from its schedule, and prompted retailers to pull any merchandise that featured "The Dukes of Hazzard" in any capacity.

The decision to pull the show came days after the horrific June 17 church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, where a young man shot and killed several people.  He was also a Confederate sympathizer and extreme racist who targeted an African American church because he felt the world was a better place without them.

A real prince of a guy, wasn't he?  I hope they throw the book at this piece of work.

Anyway, the racially motivated shooting caused a bit of a stir in South Carolina when people noted that Confederate flags were flying at government buildings all over the state, and people felt that in the wake of the shooting that the flags should be taken down completely. 

For what it's worth, I agree with THAT decision.  The Confederate States of America haven't been around since 1865, and even its formation was filled with controversy as the Confederate States of America were created in response to statements Abraham Lincoln made condemning slavery.  As far as I am concerned, the Confederate Flag is a banner that was created out of defiance towards a nation and hatred towards a group of people because of their skin colour.

Mind you, not everyone will agree with my opinion.  I know musicians like Kid Rock and Ted Nugent have made it clear that they will support the Confederate Flag.  But I suppose that's the beauty of America - the power of free speech.  Certainly people have the right to embrace the Confederate Flag as much as I have the right to say that it is one of the most controversial symbols to come out of the last 200 years.

But that's all the flag is.  History.  The Confederate States of America only lasted four years before it completely collapsed, and since 1865, America has been one nation.  And, when it comes to the world, people are a lot more accepting and tolerant of others.  Okay, so the world isn't perfect in that regard, but we're a far sight better in 2015 than we were in 1915.

But let's take a look at "The Dukes of Hazzard".  Is the main focal point of the show the Confederate Flag?  No.  Does the show feature segregation and racism in the show at all?  Well, not that I've seen anyway.  If racism were an issue before, don't you think that TV Land would have never aired the show in the first place?  The show itself doesn't demonstrate any negative values at all (or if it did, I must have missed that episode), and pulling the show simply because of a flag decal that is just there for decoration and authenticity is not a good reason.

Even the stars of the show, John Schneider and Ben Jones have spoken out against the decision, stating that there was no good reason to pull the show, and I agree with them completely.

But, hey...let's pull "The Dukes of Hazzard" off the air, and instead sit down and watch a marathon of people getting raped and brutally murdered on "Criminal Minds".  That's such a better example to show people.

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