In “Itchy and Scratchy v. Marge Simpson” (Episode 9 of Season 2 of The Simpsons), Marge leads, successfully, a campaign against the violence in the eponymous cartoon within the cartoon series. Marge is so successful in fact, when the next big “scandal” breaks, Helen Lovejoy and Maude Flanders urge Marge to lead the protest:
Helen: Get dressed, Marge. You’ve got to lead our protest against this abomination! (Shows Marge a newspaper with the Statue of David on the cover)
Marge: Hmm, but that’s Michelangelo’s David. It’s a masterpiece.
Helen: (Gasps) It’s filth! It graphically portrays parts of the human body which, practical as they may be, are evil.
Marge: But I like that statue.
Maude: (Gasps) I told you she was soft on full frontal nudity.
So, other than an amusing anecdote, what has this got to do with current events? Helen Lovejoy is a perfect example of the liberal/progressive mindset, a/k/a The Narrative. Not content with having a vast majority of America, and in particular, Southern White Americans, agreeing that the Confederate Stars and Bars should no longer be flown over government installations, The Narrative now wants to ban video games featuring the Confederacy (though that seems to have been curtailed), possibly redesign every friggin’ state flag, stop showing Gone With the Wind, and now blocking reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard.
I <bleep> you not.
What does the Narrative have against the Dukes of Hazzard? Why silly, it’s because the Duke Brothers’ car has the Stars and Bars on the roof. (There’s also the possibility the Narrative is upset the car is called the General Lee).Yup, looks like the Duke Boys are in a heap o’ trouble with the Narrative.
No one is suggesting the Dukes of Hazzard is racist, for as Waylon Jennings told us, Dukes are “Just’a good ol’ boys/Never meanin’ no harm.” Granted, Hazzard County, Georgia seems awfully… white. (I quick perusal of IMDB’s page show about 10 African-American actors to have appeared on the show over its six year run). That being said, I don’t recall a “Very Special Episode” wherein the Duke Boys and Uncle Jesse attend a Klan Meeting.
(Apropos of nothing, Jonathan Frakes, a/k/a Will Riker from tv’s Star Trek: The Next Generation appeared on The Dukes of Hazzard for one episode as Jamie Lee Hogg).
There is no logic or common sense to the blocking of the Dukes of Hazzard from television. The Narrative is overreaching and overreaching badly. The average American is going to see this latest incident not as a victory against the dark forces of hatred, but the actions of professional complainers. It will make people less likely to support the removal of the Stars and Bars because while it’s one thing to remove the flag from government grounds and another to stop showing a tv show because the flag is painted on the roof of a car.
The Narrative is Helen Lovejoy and the American people are Marge Simpson. The Helen Lovejoys of the world cannot lead the masses to stop the showings of David or Dukes of Hazzard simply because the masses know Helen Lovejoy is a loon. Helen Lovejoy needs Marge Simpson to gather popular support, not the other way round. If Marge isn’t supporting it, everyone hearing Helen Lovejoy will roll their eyes and go on with their daily lives.
In the Venn diagram of life, real world issues only occasionally will intersect with Helen Lovejoy’s viewpoint. We may occasionally be on the same side of the loonies, but that doesn’t mean we have to agree with them on everything. But for those few moments, reality and The Narrative occupy different existences. It demands to be taken seriously and yet even when it manages to accomplish one of its goals; it has to push it and always manages to screw up its wins in the most hilarious of ways.
The banning of the General Lee is similar to Senator Ortolan Finistirre’s call to replace cigarettes with lollipops at the end of Thank You for Smoking. The only difference is Finistirre’s suggestion was supposed to be funny. The Narrative’s was not. And that’s what makes it funny.
In the end, The Dukes of Hazzard will return to television. Gone With the Wind will not be banned. The Stars & Bars will return to its place in the cultural heritage of the south. Not over State Houses or government buildings. Because common sense is inherent to the DNA of America.