Warner Brothers: No More Confederate Flag On ‘Dukes’ Car. Rebels Everywhere Lament
Warner Brothers, the studio that owns the rights to the inexplicably popular 1970s television show The Dukes of Hazzard , has decided to stop authorizing the manufacturing of any product flaunting the confederate battle flag. Warner Brother’s consumer licensing division has licensed merchandise featuring the image of the General Lee (get it?), an orange 1969 Dodge Charger and a Dukes icon, for decades. Images of the car, which prominently features the controversial symbol of racism , slavery, and white supremacy, have appeared on everything from toys, t-shirts, kids’ underwear, lunch boxes to model cars. The General Lee was every bit as much of a star of the show as Tom Wopat, John Schneider, and Catherine Bach. Some say a better actor as well. The show, which apparently still runs on the cable network CMT is still popular with a certain demographic. Little known fact, to people in my demographic anyway: the show was based in part on the real-life exploits of bootlegger Jerry Rushing, who had named his old Chrysler “Traveler” (with one “L”) after confederate General Robert E. Lee’s horse.
Warner Brothers is following the leads of Walmart, eBay, Amazon and Sears, in addition to the steps currently being taken by political leaders in several southern states to remove the flag and offensive symbol from state capitols and car license plates.
Only three years ago, amidst internet rumors that Warner Brothers Consumer Products had decided to remove the flag from the General Lee, some fans of the 1970s/80s CBS show threw an absolute hissy fit. Petitions went up online to persuade Warner to change its mind. Ben Jones, a former congressman from Georgia, who played Cooter on Dukes, fanned the flames of outrage, putting out a press release slamming the “P.C. idiocy” of Hollywood and those who wanted the flag taken off the fictional car. Jones owns several Cooter’s Place locations across the south – junk souvenir shops and Dukes museum (talk about an oxymoron – emphasis on moron) – he has quite a sizable financial stake in the matter.
The outcry of rebel yells worked and the treasonous flag remained. Until now. Until Charleston.
Vulture communicated with WBCP by email and received this response:
Warner Bros. Consumer Products has one licensee producing die-cast replicas and vehicle model kits featuring the General Lee with the confederate flag on its roof–as it was seen in the TV series. We have elected to cease the licensing of these product categories.
Translation: While you will still be able to buy a T-shirt featuring the General Lee — minus any visible sign of the flag — you won’t be able to buy any new toy cars or model kits with the car, period.
As you might imagine, the sudden purge of items branded with the confederate flag has also resulted in a sales surge as “collectors” stock up before that merchandise ultimately becomes unavailable, the New York Times reports. You’d think the stars and bars were guns, what with all the mania surrounding its demise. Even as companies discontinued the items, sales of them were soaring. Confederate flags jumped to the top of Amazon’s Patio, Lawn & Garden category, with purchases of some items spiking by more than 5,000 percent. To compare and contrast, in the first four years of Barack Obama’s presidency, an estimated 67 million firearms were purchased in the United States, probably by the same consumers. Do we see a pattern emerging here?
In the same New York Times report, reasons for the purchases of the hate symbol varied significantly. One customer at a small Georgia shop told the owner she wanted to line her front yard with Confederate flags. The owner of Dixie Flags said a black man had come into the store on Monday with his young daughter seeking to buy the biggest Confederate flag in the store. He said he was buying it to burn it.
TO ALL OF OUR FRIENDS AND FANS FROM BEN JONES AKA “COOTER”
I THINK ALL OF HAZZARD NATION UNDERSTANDS THAT THE CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG IS THE SYMBOL THAT REPRESENTS THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF INDEPENDENCE WHICH KEEPS US “MAKIN’ OUR WAY THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW HOW.”
THAT FLAG ON TOP OF THE GENERAL LEE MADE A STATEMENT THAT THE VALUES OF THE RURAL SOUTH WERE THE VALUES OF COURAGE AND FAMILY AND GOOD TIMES.
OUR BELOVED SYMBOL IS NOW BEING ATTACKED IN A WAVE OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS THAT IS UNPRECEDENTED IN OUR NATION OF FREE SPEECH AND FREE EXPRESSION. ACTIVISTS AND POLITICIANS ARE VILLIFYING SOUTHERN CULTURE AND OUR HERITAGE AS BEING BIGOTED AND RACIST. WE KNOW THAT THIS IS NOT THE CASE. AND WE KNOW THAT IN HAZZARD COUNTY THERE WAS NEVER ANY RACISM.
THOUGH THE FLAG HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM SUCH PLACES AS WALMART, TARGET AND AMAZON, IT WILL NEVER BE REMOVED FROM ANY OF OUR COOTER’S STORES AND MUSEUMS. WE ARE ALL THE SAME GOOD PEOPLE TODAY THAT WE WERE LAST WEEK AND LAST YEAR AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE SHAMED INTO TURNING OUR BACKS ON OUR HERITAGE AND OUR CONVICTIONS.
WE ARE NOT RACISTS. WE DESPISE RACISM AND BIGOTRY. AND WE THINK THE PEOPLE WHO ARE CREATING THIS “CULTURAL CLEANSING” ARE THE REAL BIGOTS IN THIS STORY.
WHEN WE SAY OUR FLAG STANDS FOR “HERITAGE, NOT HATE” AND “PRIDE, NOT PREJUDICE”, WE MEAN IT. AND WE BELIEVE THAT OLD SAYING, “YOU CAN’T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GOING IF YOU FORGET WHERE YOU CAME FROM.”
COOTER’S IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO SELL OUR SOUTHERN SYMBOLS AS LONG AS THERE IS A COOTER’S. I WILL FIGHT THESE PEOPLE UNTIL HELL FREEZES OVER, AND THEN I WILL FIGHT THEM ON THE ICE.
Well, now. Calm down, grandpa. Those are some serious fightin’ words. In all caps, too! Also, there’s a little hint of “Sunset Boulevard” in that post, which might be sad if the guy wasn’t so hateful. The belligerent ignorance surrounding this issue is astounding. If you need further proof, read the comments under the post. At your own risk, of course.
Just a musing – and by no means am I a legal expert – isn’t the very name “Cooter”, which Jones uses for his businesses, and all the Dukes-related merchandise he peddles licensed by Warner Brothers? If that is the case, wonder if Cooter and the Hazzard Nation (really – how pathetic is that?) – would be talking out the other side of their mouths if Mr. Jones receives a cease and desist order from Warner Brothers. One can only hope.
Not your average suburban mom.
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Not your average suburban mom.