Death of The General Lee: But what’s the big deal about the Confederate flag?

Warner Brothers, owners of the iconic Dukes of Hazzard franchise has reportedly terminated the licensing of “General Lee” toys. This follows a recent shooting incident in the US state of South Carolina in which nine African Americans were gunned down in a church by white gunman Dylann Roof.

The Dukes of Hazzard aired on the CBS television network from January 26, 1979 to February 8, 1985. The series was inspired by the 1975 film Moonrunners, which was also created by Gy Waldron and had many identical or similar character names and concepts. The General Lee was the iconic 1969 Dodge Charger that was at the centre of the hit show. It sported an image of the Confederate flag on its roof.

dukes_of_hazard_02

The Confederate flag, which was flown by a confederacy of secessionist slave states that fought Union troops in the US Civil War, has long been regarded as a symbol of American slavery and general redneckery. On the other hand, southern Americans also see it as a symbol of their culture and heritage.

Because of the recent tragedy in South Carolina, the call to eradicate the flag from American culture and history has grown with big retailers like Walmart now refusing to sell the flag. But is the Confederate flag or, for that matter, any icon or image really that important a symbol of racism or (again for that matter) any social movement, belief, or tradition?

Perhaps, by focusing too much attention on what is really just a quaint symbol, we are highlighting more the reality that the winners (regardless of how right or wrong they happen to be) get to write history.

The 'General Lee' in action on the opening sequence of The Dukes of Hazzard.
The ‘General Lee’ in action on the opening sequence of The Dukes of Hazzard.
Like the swastika and, now arguably, the Confederate flag, the crucifix, for example, was also a potent symbol that rallied people to perpetrate hideous atrocities, perhaps at scales that likely dwarf the numbers of lives lost to Nazism and American slavery.

But unlike the swastika and (perhaps in the future) the Confederate flag, the crucifix still hangs at the altars and facades of the Catholic Church’s towering edifices. And why not? The Roman Catholic Church is one of the winners of centuries of genocidal religious warfare and ethnic cleansing. Why, for example, are Native Americans not offended by the crucifix when this was a symbol hoisted on poles and displayed in fluttering flags when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro brought to bear the full force of the Inquisition upon the Inca people in the 16th Century in what is now modern-day Peru?

People who are quick to call indignation crusades against symbols need to be careful as they may (as in this recent case) unwittingly highlight inconvenient truths about their own histories, tradition, and heritage. In this day and age when words like “multiculturalism” and “diversity” are bandied around by Apple Watch-wearing hipsters, perhaps one would think people’s characters would now be a bit bigger than a flag — or a crucifix.

[NB: Parts of this article were lifted off Wikipedia.org and used in accordance with that site’s Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License consistent with the same license applied by Get Real Post to its content. Photo of the General Lee courtesy Daily Mail UK.]

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benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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31 Comments on "Death of The General Lee: But what’s the big deal about the Confederate flag?"

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andrew
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i remembered the movie Lincoln by Steven Spielberg. Abraham Lincoln is the president at the time of civil war.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – abraham lincoln

observant nobody
Guest
It just needs to be repeated, that the Civil War was NOT about Slavery. The Tariffs and Taxes imposed by D.C where not acceptable anymore to the Southern States and thus they decided to make use of their Constitutional right and secede from the United States. The Central Government did not want to allow this and the Civil War came to be. I certainly am not in favour of slavery but with these recent news about one crazy idiot bring up all these discussions about the Flag and the Civil War. Often falsely claiming the war was about Slavery (You… Read more »
Johnny Saint
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Clearly, historians will be arguing about the whys and wherefores in the same way that they will always argue about any major conflict in human history; events which, we should bear in mind, are highly complex and are hardly monocausal. But the context matters. In this instance, ‘observant nobody’ wishes to substitute one overall myth to account for something as complex as the American Civil War. This explanation is flatly wrong. Let’s be clear: SECESSION WAS NOT ABOUT TARIFFS AND TAXES. During the nadir of post-civil-war race relations — the years after 1890 when town after town across the North… Read more »
Ebola Ray
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@ SAINT & O.N., the Civil Way in the USA was about both. Lincoln wanted the war to end slavery,Yes. and The Emancipation Proclamation proves that. BUT the taxation on the wages the potentially freed slaves earned would have to come from somewhere and thus was a huge concern of the Southern Plantation owner’s of that time.

So, you see………
BUT forget that shit, fact is:
If you were a Black Man that lived in Georgia,USA during the 1850’s? You’d have wished you were a White Man.

Maybe you do now, IDK !

Johnny Saint
Guest
As I said previously, you should not ascribe overly simplistic, mythical causes to complex historical events without context. Regarding taxes during the American Civil War: In 1861, the US Congress passed the Revenue Act of 1861. This law is significant in that it included the FIRST US Federal income tax statute. The act was motivated by the need to FUND the Civil War. It levied a flat rate of 3% “upon the annual income of every person residing in the United States, whether such income is derived from any kind of property, or from any profession, trade, employment, or vocation… Read more »
Ebola Ray
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@ SAINT, you make me laugh. I said nothing, mythical ,and I was the one that pointed out that it was more ‘complex’ than both of you suppossed. Go look in Wikipedia for what was passed by who in what year all you want.

If you think you are ‘RIGHT’ to condemn something, great. But slavery still exists. Its almost everywhere people live. Especially in the Philippines.

Think your free? Think again, oh great wise man.

Johnny Saint
Guest

Typical. Since Ebola Ray’s conspiracy of taxing newly freed slaves does not stand up to even a cursory examination, he resorts to personal attacks, more irrelevant fragments of information and a pathetic attempt at self-aggrandizement.

Ebola Ray
Guest
@ SAINT O S, maybe you have decided not to take the bait or did not read the response, but your mention on taxing of labor in 1861 or low tariffs, where did you get that shit from? The Federal income tax was established in 1916, was what I was going to say….blah blah….and then was going to inform you that it was NEVER ratified and never actually became law blah blah.American citizens are actually NOT Federally mandated to pay taxes on their income, as it was suppossed to be tax on corporations for goods produced by labor, but was… Read more »
Johnny Saint
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Still more irrelevant tangents from the pretentious and wilfully ignorant. As a reminder: the essay above explores the meaning and power of symbols — in particular, the Confederate flag — and how those symbols come to be integrated into human culture. Because of the flag’s origins, it was inevitable that the American Civil War would be mentioned in connection with it and what it represents. Neither the original essay nor the war have anything to do with a discussion of US Federal Income Tax or the creation of the US Internal Revenue Service. — “…but your mention on taxing of… Read more »
Ebola Ray
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@ Saint, what an idiot you are, is seen in the ‘rumours’, U R serious too,I Know IT. BUT I wasn’t there, 155 yrs. ago, so how could I have heard a rumor? When you live in the Southern USA and stop quoting Wikipedia sources, you can tell us all about whatever it is you THINK started the civil war. Fact is,It was about slavery and was about taxation and it was about arms sales for ‘Remmington Rifles’ as it was about ‘Winchester Cannons’ as it was Virginia horse breeders and West VA. tobbacco plantations and about tensions between Sherman… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest
In the absence of any real defence for the notions he insists are gospel truth, ‘Ebola Ray’ resorts to juvenile name calling, casting aspersions and dumping irrelevant facts taken out of context in a pathetic attempt to impress anonymous people on an Internet forum. The American Civil War was a horrendous, tragic event that cost the lives of an estimated 750,000 soldiers and an untold number of civilian civilian casualties. It is arguably the most horrific war the United States has ever experienced. The causes of the Civil War have been a point of contention since the war began. Worse,… Read more »
Ebola Ray
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@ OS & SAINT, After the ‘lies and propoganda’ blurt I stopped reading your response’s(Saint). BUT , Digest this ‘Capitan Know-it-all’, in Europe nothing has changed since 1066 A.D. and the ‘Battle of Hastings’.NOTHING( barring names,technologies). Say all you want, but NOTHING has changed.The same can be said for the ‘Republica de Pilipinas’ since 1948….and you can throw in the USA since July 4 ,1776. The ‘serf’s go out into the fields in the service of their King’s on a daily basis.’. Documents like the ‘Magna Carta’ abolished, or attempted to abolish, the ‘Divine Rights of Kings’ BUT have had… Read more »
Johnny Saint
Guest

And again…more irrelevant rambling. Incapable of supporting the fragments he blurts out of context, ‘Ebola Ray’ turns to dumping more factoids and ‘end-of-the-world’ predictions that have absolutely nothing to do with the original essay or even the discussion that he’s taken off tangent.

And for some unfathomable reason, a continuous stream of advertising for Wikipedia. Apparently ‘Ebola Ray’ just can’t help projecting his blatant shortcomings onto everyone else confronted with them. This is becoming irrational.

Ebola Ray
Guest

Thats better, dip-shit, back down when you’re beaten.A quick look at freedom, which you do not have, and never will, as long as you live in the Philippines is tough to swallow,it isBut ,no I am …..neither rambling nor tangential, you got the TRUTH and you can’t handle it.

So dippa-stik:Get off your 2005 DelL PC and get back on your Pedi-cab, NO FUTURE !!! NO FUTURE FOR YOU !!! (YOU will be exactly where you are today, in 30 years, remember!!!! you were informed ! w/fewer prospects, YOU !!!!!

staser
Guest
It’s also funny that here in the US they’ve practically banned the display of the crucifix on every public building. Even the nativity scene is pretty much banned from public display during the Christmas season. But that didn’t stop the world’s largest Jewish menorah from being lit on the White House lawn in Washington DC every year. The menorah is the symbol of Hannukah, which celebrates a military victory of Jewish extremists against the Greeks in Jerusalem. In addition to slaughtering Greeks, these radical fundamentalist Jews also murdered other Jews that had assimilated into the Greek way of life. This… Read more »
Ebola Ray
Guest

That last sentence says it all, nice one.

I still say “Merry Christmas” to people I know are Christian, and ‘Happy Holidays’ or whatever else is required for non christians, but of course I am labeled a racist for such vile actions.

as my middle finger protrudes upward from the rest of my fingers.

d_forsaken
Guest

I wish I could say that racism and prejudice were only distant memories. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.

biffa bacon
Guest

Im so ashamed that the current state of affairs in America,and the world for that matter,have produced such an ugly event….what has happened to us? Where is this leading us? What is the root of all the hatred that is so ubiquitous today? Shame on all of us for not overcoming our own human nature,for not rising and determining a loftier destiny….

054Hayden007777Toro
Guest
The Northern States, preserved the Union, won the U.S. Civil War. However, the Confederate States, continued to wage a hidden war against the African Americans, Jews, other minorities, and colored people. There was the Jim Crow Law in the Southern States; that required all colored people to be Separate, but Equal. Blacks and Colored People were required to: sit at the back of any bus; they cannot go to restrooms, restaurants,hotels, etc…that are just for Whites. They cannot attend White Schools , Colleges, or Universities… They are reserved the lowest menial jobs on work places (sounds like the Filipino OFW)…… Read more »
andrew
Guest

america can’t go to war. it’s afraid on it’s own land. it may self-destruct anytime soon. i want to see that.

staser
Guest
There was nothing “great” about Nelson Mandela. This man was a communist and a terrorist who ordered the killings of many innocent whites and even blacks whom he thought “collaborated with the enemy”. The purpose of apartheid was to separate the races and allow people to build their own societies. Under apartheid South Africa was considered the safest country in Africa with an unemployment rate of only 5%. Under Mandela’s presidency unemployment shot up to 50%, homicides and crime increased, and suddenly South Africa becomes the murder and rape capital on the continent. Today the genocide and ethnic cleansing of… Read more »
Pallacertus
Guest
White supremacy finds a roost to nest here? Well, can’t say I’m totally surprised. “The purpose of apartheid was to separate the races and allow people to build their own societies.” If in the process of doing so white Afrikaners enjoyed the highest standards of living in southern Africa and blacks lived like crap in the shantytowns on the outskirts of Johannesburg or on the “nations” the South African government “generously” gave them — if South African apartheid is not much different from American post-Civil War segregation — well, at least you were living the life ! “Under apartheid South… Read more »
staser
Guest
I lived in Africa in the 1980s. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, and moreover you’re not even QUALIFIED to discuss such a topic because the Western liberal media has shielded you from the truth. All of your responses are nothing but blanket statements and speculations with ZERO facts given. Why don’t you look up facts instead of talking out of your ass. There are more deaths occurring under black majority rule than under white minority rule. Life expectancy has gone down from 64 to 56 since the end of apartheid while corruption, AIDS, murder, rape, and… Read more »
Pallacertus
Guest
“I lived in Africa in the 1980s.” Oh goodie. Where in Africa exactly? “… you’re not even QUALIFIED to discuss such a topic because the Western liberal media has shielded you from the truth.” As anything I’ll say in retort will carry the inevitable tinge of my bleeding-heart liberalism and my Western liberal sources, which will cause you to blanch from all the pro-black sentiment and benign0 to wince from the lack of subtlety though I don’t see where the nuance goes in citing statistics and recent developments under white Western eyes, let’s do it your way. So where do… Read more »
Pallacertus
Guest
“Straightaway you play the “white supremacist” card without first understanding the nuances of the arguments tabled here.” Where’s the “nuance” in saying Mandela destroyed the Afrikaner segregationist dream? Or in citing statistics pointing to a worse life for South Africa in the post-apartheid era? All I see here are declarative statements to the effect of “black bad, white good but in danger of miscegenation, media liberal” — lend me your eyes, yes? “That’s just so typically bleeding-heart of you.” Because it’s not like there ain’t much in human history for my heart to bleed upon, eh? No mistakes whatsoever? Slate… Read more »
Ebola Ray
Guest

OOH OOH ,Hoochie KOO, Daisy Duke can ……..

JRIgnacio
Guest

Banning the Condeferate flag has a meaning! No to rebellion as it will not be tolerated by the Federal Government! Fast track of TPP! Same sex marriage or “marriage equality”.Obama pushing for stricter gun controls! Whats next Martial Law and other states may revolt like, Texas and Utah to name a few!

00765Hayden0077776Toro
Guest
00765Hayden0077776Toro
I lived sometime, in Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. ; when I worked in the Auto industries; in the ’90s. I asked some of my friends, what happened to Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. There was a “racial riot”, in the ’60s. The Whites refused to let the Blacks into the city. So, they rioted; because of lack of opportunities; especially jobs. All went to the Whites. So, the Blacks moved into the city, slowly. The Whites moved to the suburbs of Detroit, Including the industries. The late Mayor Coleman Young was elected, as Mayor of the City of Detroit. More Blacks moved into… Read more »
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