The Dukes of Hazzard was a racist show, according to one columnist for the Huffington Post.
John Wellington Ennis, director of the documentary PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes, penned the provocative piece and unleashed it on the world Friday.
Since that time, he’s received a lot of pushback, but what exactly has so many Duke fans in an uproar?
For starters, Ennis attacks the idea that the Confederate Flag is about “Heritage Not Hate” by asking southerners what they would think if they were Jewish and they saw a TV show that featured a cool car with a swastika on the roof.
He admits to not faulting people for liking the show prior to finding out what the symbol on the roof of the “General Lee” meant, but then notes that “there’s really no going backwards from knowing something, you proceed with the knowledge or you disregard it.”
And considering shooters like Dylann Roof idolized the Confederate Flag, Ennis believes it’s time to move on and that it’s unconscionable to know the negativity the flag means to so many and still stand up for a show like The Dukes of Hazzard.
Ennis, however, saves his most damning stuff for the end where he first introduces the lyrics to the Waylon Jennings’ song accompanying the show and then does a breakdown.
“To review: these protagonists are criminals, but that doesn’t seem necessary to stress because Jennings makes this point over and over that they are habitual offenders. What we also know for sure, as Waylon repeatedly assures us, is that these are Good Ol Boys. They would never mean harm. Though Bo and Luke Duke seem to have a propensity for blowing up stuff, particularly with a bow and arrow, but then they are like Robin Hood, and so their crimes are part of the good they do. Unrepentant and beyond reform, they wouldn’t change, nor would they know how. Yet since their local law enforcement and civic authority are corrupt and inept, they don’t need to comply with the government and its burdensome regulation, they can continue to run their moonshine, since they are a family of bootleggers, manufacturing and selling unlicensed intoxicants, similar to Breaking Bad or True Detective.”
“All this, with a Dodge Charger Confederate Flag flying through the air as its money shot, and a profile might emerge of the types of people still so invested in this overly-narrated show. Devotees of Dukes of Hazzard are lamenting online, ‘They’ll never make a show like this again.’ Yeah, that’s the point.”
Ennis concludes that this show shouldn’t be revised or banned — and notes that despite the pushback, it hasn’t been banned at this time — but that it should be retired along with other racially divisive films/series like Birth of a Nation and Amos and Andy.
But what do you think, readers? Has TV Land misstepped removing The Dukes of Hazzard from its lineup, or is Ennis right about the show? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image of Dukes of Hazzard car via KDFW]