Speaking Of Doing The Right Thing For Unethical Reasons, TV Land Has Pulled “The Dukes of Hazzard”

Wait, there's a CAR in this photo?

Wait, there’s a CAR in this photo?

You know, I think I’m as sensitive as anyone (sane) to nascent racism, and yet somehow I missed the fact, when in my youth I would watch  TV’s “The Dukes of Hazzard” for an average of six minutes before thinking, “BOY is this dumb!” and change the channel lest my IQ be permanently lowered, that the show was a KKK product. That’s because there was nothing vaguely racist or even Confederacy-ish about the show, except the flag design on the fictional super-car the good ol’ Duke boys drove, “The General Lee,” named after a historical figure who, you will recall, was a Confederate general. What would you expect a car called the General Lee to have on its roof, the Portuguese flag?

Never mind. TV Land, the cable channel that celebrates TV shows so old that they provoke mid-life crises by their very existence, just decided to join the political correctness purge that has the Park Service representing at its battlefields that the Union prevailed over a mysterious foe Which Cannot Be Named, and which definitely had no flag to fight for. It has pulled “The Dukes of Hazzard” from its schedule….not because it is trash and no more worthy of preservation for future generations than less popular stinkers like “It’s About Time,” “Pink Lady and Jeff,” “Mr. Terrific” or “Hart to Hart,” but because of the design on the roof of the car.

As a self-appointed guardian of pop culture history, TV Land is obligated to resist such efforts at whitewashing, which I assume will also claim every Norman Lear show (You think you are a progressive, Norman? HA! You’re a racist who dealt in toxic stereotypes!!!) like “The Jeffersons,” “Sanford and Son,” and “Good Times.” Ah, but #blackhypersensitivitymatters, you know, a lot more than letting people watch Catherine Bach in her shorts.

Meanwhile, the Christopher Columbus monument in Boston’s West End was vandalized…

Christopher+Columbus+Statue

….to symbolize, well, something. Italians lives don’t matter perhaps. If you eat pizza, you are complicit in the Charleston shooting. If Europeans had never come to North America, then there wouldn’t have been a Confederate flag to paint on car roofs in fictional TV shows dumber that rocks and more harmless than Nerf balls. Something.

There is a point where responsible adults are required to answer this nonsense with, “Just stop it; you’re embarrassing yourselves.” The Third Niggardly Principle helps let us know when that responsibility has attached.

Clearly, TV Land doesn’t think the point has been reached.

It could not be more wrong.

42 thoughts on “Speaking Of Doing The Right Thing For Unethical Reasons, TV Land Has Pulled “The Dukes of Hazzard”

  1. Hey! Watch it! “Mr. Terrific” was . . . erm . . . terrific!

    jvb

    PS: Sorry. You can banish me for a terrible (terrific?) pun?

    PPS: See? I did it again! Oh, terrific!

    PPPS: Aughghghghghhg! Stop me, Please!

      • You need to take a Power Pill, Jack! Mr. Terrific could have beat the stuffings out of Captain Nice. BTW: I still remember the opening scene, where the car zips up to this girl on the curb, the guy in the back grabs her and the car speeds off with her kicking madly. It was funny back then because that sort of thing just didn’t happen. It’s politically incorrect now because the same people who peddle PC did their part in making this sort of thing (and worse) more or less common.

  2. Most adults, responsible or not, are simply afraid to respond at all, for fear of either losing a lot, or just getting caught in a hassle they don’t need. Radio host Jerry Doyle, who you might remember from the not-half-bad-but-very-convoluted sci-fi series Babylon 5 said that perhaps America is just changing too rapidly for conservatives to keep up, and this overreaction to the Confederate flag is just one sign of that tectonic shift. The vandalization may be just one more sign that the old order is about to be swept away and there’s no place for a party of old white guys.

    Norman Lear was progressive for his time, but I think he was more interested in making a laugh than in making political points, or maybe he was just more interested in poking fun at the other side than in actually making a cogent argument. It’s not for nothing that JJ usually spent a few minutes each epi prancing around saying “DYN-O-MITE!” or that WWII vet Archie Bunker’s service included getting the purple heart for getting hit in the ass with shrapnel, turning otherwise honorable service into a joke.

    • Most adults, responsible or not, are simply afraid to respond at all, for fear of either losing a lot,

      Exactly. One critical, or even hesitant thought expressed to the unknowably wrong untrustworthy person, and boom, 10,000 internet busy bodies are emailing your boss and/or the governor of your state demanding your dismissal and banishment to Canada…

  3. Norman Lear was more, most, interested in making gobs of money. Cynical, opportunistic asshole that he was. His legacy to us: The Meathead. Rob Reiner. The George Cooney of his generation. Yuck.

    Them Duke Boys. Watered down “Andy of Mayberry.” Which of course had nothing to do with the actual South. Like the Dukes, who my son referred to as the Dupes, “Andy of Mayberry” was written by a bunch of Jewish guys from Brooklyn who had moved to Hollywood and were still using the same shticks their parents and grand parents were using in vaudeville. Moronic. But good enough for business. And I’m sure “The Dukes of Hazzard” was shot somewhere within thirty miles of downtown LA. But never fear, it will be back on the air in six months. Maybe they can get Brian Williams to do intros and updated voice overs.

  4. I’ve never seen a full episode of the show either, but still I’m pretty sure that this is the stupidest thing that’s ever been done in the history of the world.

  5. This may be the dumbest thing I have ever heard of a TV network doing. Almost as dumb as the Wal-Mart Board of Directors letting it’s CEO speak in public.

  6. I have a vague recollection of an African-American sheriff on the show who was portrayed as a decent guy, maybe a rival of Boss Hogg from another county? Anyway completely agree this is dumb.

  7. The main point I see foe the Dukes is nostalgia value. Grew up watching them because along with Gilligan’s Island and Bewitched those were the midday American TV series that got dubbed for Mexican Spanish (don’t ask, I still wonder why those three). I probably watched every episode multiple times growing up. I know it’s trash, and that I didn’t get half the cultural references back then, but it still makes me smile.

    Unrelated PS: Later we got Batman and the Green Hornet, which opened the gates for dubbing pretty much everything from the 60s and 70s for better or worse.

  8. And related to the Columbus vandalism, every Oct. 12 crowds form to symbolically stone his statue in one of Mexico City’s main avenues. It’s surprising how quickly you’re all assimilating into the culture.

    • [reply to Alex July 1 8:24 pm]
      Genuinely curious, stemming from what you shared about Oct 12 crowds in Mexico: What, if anything, do Mexicans do “symbolically” these days to renditions of Hernando Cortes? Is there a doctrine of “prioritized culpability” followed by Mexicans? I do wonder for how much longer the state of Texas will be observing San Jacinto Day and keeping that monument that’s taller than the Washington Monument standing…

      • As long as Texans can still say Sam Houston, there will be a San Jack monument, and we will continue to celebrate Texas Independence Day.

        • Tex, I hope you know I didn’t mean to ask what I asked with any anti-Texan (or anti-Mexican, even) attitude.

          Also, I wonder: Did you see the “Texas Rising” series? Dragin_dragon, did you see it? I started to watch it, but became disappointed at the projections of the dramatizers’ fantasies into the characters and plot. But watching some of it did have a good effect on me, so there’s consequentialism for you – it caused me to want to dig back into Texas history on my own.

          • 1) No, I knew you didn’t. However, as you posited your comment to a hypothetical 3rd party that may express such a desire someday, I made my comment addressed to that same hypothetical 3rd party that may, someday, wish to take down the San Jacinto monument – or any of the Texas Revolution monuments for that matter. In short: My comment, though *to* you was *at* any future busybody who wishes to purge Texas of it’s history.

            2) I have, through incredible self-discipline, forced my way through to the end of Episode 3. I will take several nausea pills and eventually finish the final 2. Ugh.

            3) Yes, you will want to dig into Texas history on your own, so you at least get a modicum of truth…

            • For starters, the Texas State Historical Association Online Handbook of Texas is a great resource for summary, though often very detailed, information.

              (I hope that plug is acceptable Jack)

              I find myself in hours-long wiki-falls on that website.

          • Venting Time.

            The wife and I finally finished that gawdawful joke of a historical drama…

            When some movies caveat that they are “based on real events”, you know you are in for a loose interpretation.

            Texas Rising doesn’t get to do that. That was the worst show I’ve ever seen and I watched Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman.

            After agonizing through all 10 hours of that mess, and I am truly embarrassed for the actors they must have blackmailed into making that series, I could find few, if any, redeeming qualities in the show.

            I was even going to say it ended on a good note after the writer’s version of the conversation between President Jackson and Santa Anna.

            But then the “History” Channel went and showed that it did not one ounce of research for the series, when it had a Texas flag hung, and the flag was wrong.

            It displayed the flag and had the star in the blue field top pointed towards the red side of the flag, as though that were the top of the flag.

            Bzzzzt. Wrong, History Channel.

            The top of the flag is the white side, with red on bottom, and the star in the blue field is then oriented with one point towards the top.

            Way to mess that up. A simple internet search would have corrected matters. But I guess we wanted to get that all wrong also as a summary of the series.

            And I have scoured the internet for anything indicating that the earliest flag of the Republic was as the show depicted, but to no avail. Someone correct me if I’m wrong…

            Damned “History” Channel.

    • Given how Spain’s former colonial possessions have mostly turned out, I can’t quite say I completely blame them.

    • You know, to really sock it to the Spanish who put an end to the 80,000 human sacrifices each year…

      Do ancient Mexican Lives Matter?

  9. I thought about this last night. It seems that caving to the PC police is actually a net negative for allegedly aggrieved communities that are being supported by corporate capitulation. TV Land’s actions will not cause viewers (all 7 or 8 of them) of “The Dukes of Hazzard” to think about whether the imagery contained in the show demeaning to a particular group. They will find it on Netflix, YouTube or some other outlet. More importantly, would the allegedly aggrieved community feel better as a result of dropping “The Dukes of Hazzard” from TV Land? I think not. In fact, the likelihood is that this will increase animosity more than heal wounds of past injustices. I am not even convinced that pulling this show was the right thing for any reason. What’s next? “Gone with the Wind”? If that is the case, we should remove all vestiges of anything relating to the Civil War; by golly, we should not even teach or learn about it. What’s the point? It would only trigger bad feelings all around so let’s just forget the whole thing ever happened.

    jvb

  10. The British starved the Irish by taking most of our crops? Why do we not find the Union Jack to be grossly offensive?…

    In Charleston, I actually heard some commentators on NPR eviscerate the city for not being angry enough; suggesting that it could not possibly be because they had a healthy integration of races, but only because the black feared loosing the respect of the white people…

    NPR today interviewed a crack pot professor who published a book debunking the “myths of the southern cause”. I have no respect for slavery, or the confederacy itself, but this guy called Jefferson Davis a “traitor” whose sole cause was slavery. He called honoring men such as AP Hill or Benning with modern military reservations unconscionable. (He did not address the obvious parallel, George Washington, who led a rebel army that forged a nation that preserved slavery decades longer than the mother country.)

    Davis was never tried for treason. He was even eventually compensated for the cemetery built unironically at his doorstep. Unlike Benedict Arnold, he did not pledge his loyalty to the Union and then work to subvert it. He chose his side in good faith. That his cause was perversely misguided is irrelevant to the issue of treason.

    We unironically swoon for the Queen, despite the gross acts of humanity committed by that crown, yet hold the Stars and Bars too grotesque to sell at Gettysburg?

    I actually think the queen is neat, despite my red hair and freckles. While I am indifferent to the Confederate battle flag, the amount of bleach being thrown at history is just too much.

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