Dissed Dukes


I live for this kind of story, which shows you what kind of life I have.

According to former Congressman Ben "Cooter" Jones, singing sensations Tom Wopat and John Schneider were dropped by the Cincinnati Pops under pressure from civil rights groups arguing that the TV show all three were in, Dukes of Hazzard, had racist overtones.

Now, sexist overtones, yep. And stars-and-bars redneck overtones, undertones and every tone in between, you bet. That car was the 'General Lee,' after all. But racist is a bit of a stretch.

For Jones, it adds insult to old injury according to the Tennessee statesman, another in a long line of Tennessee statemen that stretches from Al Gore to Cordell Hull to Davy Crockett.

In the 1960's, says Jones in a release I am taking at face value, "he was arrested attempting to integrate segregated facilities, shot at and had a tooth knocked out by Klansmen, and had ammonia thrown in his eyes during a sit-in.

He calls Dukes a "wonderfully benign show. It did seem more about Rebel yelling and car crashing and short shorts than about putting anybody down, as Mickey Dolenz would say.

"If some elitist wants to think otherwise, fine," Jones said in the same press release I am shamelessly cutting and pasting from. " I think that would be wrong-headed, but that is their right.  But to go further and basically blacklist an artist because of a past association with that show is beyond the pale.  I'm just trying to get the word out.  I've done a lot of "Dukes' things for almost thirty years, and I've met legions of black folks who love the show and its values."

Speaking of cutting and pasting, if there were a way to put virtual diepacks on press release copy so you could track them, I wonder how much more colorul some online news stories would appear. Just a thought, and a digression at that.

By John Eggerton