Most all of us know the tale of Robin Hood. He’s a man (or a fox, if you know the cartoon version better) who lives in the forest with his friends, none of which has any money. Outside the forest are some very unlikeable, greedy, rich people who love to hoard their wealth and never share it with anyone. Robin’s job is “wealth redistribution”, which is code for taking that money from the rich and giving it to the poor.
At this point, I could go all kinds of directions. I could discuss how Robin and his men, with all their good intentions and good deeds, are little more than thieves. Maybe I would talk about how we warp the minds of little children when we tell them stories that glorify criminal behavior as long as it’s done for a noble reason. Many might expect a transition to politics, as some think the government, on a grand scale, plays the role of the story’s hero, taking money from wealthy people (while making them feel guilty) and giving it to others.
But I’m not doing any of those things. I’m going to talk about The Dukes of Hazzard.
Any kid from my generation (I was a teen in the 1980s) that had a television watched at least one episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. I think it was on Friday nights at 7:00pm (right before Dallas maybe?) and the first episode aired on January 26, 1979. The intro featured scenes from the show and a song by Waylon Jennings that we can all sing in our sleep. The last line in the song indicates that the good ole’ boys that didn’t mean any harm were “Fightin’ the system like a true modern-day Robin Hood.”
The good ole’ boys were Bo and Luke Duke and, along with Uncle Jesse and cousin Daisy Duke, they took on the law (just like the opening song said they did). Of course, the show really didn’t follow Robin Hood at all. As you know, Robin Hood was about the “hero” stealing from the rich while the authorities tried to catch him. With the Dukes, Bo and Luke were good guys that were constantly chased by the corrupt authorities (led by Hazzard Country strongman Boss Hogg) for crimes they didn’t commit. Got that?
But the central character was a bright-orange Dodge Charger with a Confederate Flag on the top and “01″ on the doors. It was called “The General Lee” and that car could pretty much do anything, whether it be jumping a river, jumping a police car, stopping off at the always-empty Boar’s Nest for some countrified dialogue, ripping over Hazzard County’s gravel roads, running Aunt Bea to Mount Pilot, or…wait, one of those things is not like the others. It whistled Dixie when you pushed the horn button, and was truly the most entertaining character…if you don’t count Flash (Sheriff Coltrane’s hound).
Actually, I kid a little. As hour-long television shows in the 80s went, it was actually alright. And for a teenager just preparing to drive, the show was a hoot, what with all the car chases and wild driving and jumps and stuff. And while it didn’t really fit the “Robin Hood” mold very well, the General Lee rocked!!