Thursday, July 14, 2005

Fightin' the system like two modern-day Robin Hoods

Ben Jones, the erstwhile actor and Georgia Congressman who played mechanic Cooter Davenport on TV's The Dukes of Hazzard, done got hisself all riled up about the new feature-film version of that late '70s / early '80s monument to redneckism. (Or is it redneckery? Redneckiana?)

"Basically, they trashed our show," says Jones, who now runs a Dukes memorabilia shop called "Cooter's Place."

Trashed? The Dukes of Hazzard? You've gotta be kidding me, Cooter.

How can you "trash" something that was trash from its inception? That's tantamount to a Scotsman telling his wife, "Honey, you ruined the haggis." It's haggis, for pity's sake — it was ruined the day they wrote the recipe. The Dukes of Hazzard represented everything that was wretched and pandering about television in the '80s. How can you trash that?

Jones goes on to say, "From all I have seen and heard, the Dukes movie is a sleazy insult to all of us who have cared about The Dukes of Hazzard for so long."

Wait a dadburned second, there, Cooter. You're upset because the remake of The Dukes of Hazzard is sleazy? Holy buckets, man, were you on Seconal all the years you were on that show? What could be sleazier than Catherine Bach parading in front of the camera every week in midriff-and-cleavage-baring tops and ultra-abbreviated cutoffs? Do you not know that people still refer to glute-exposing shorts as "Daisy Dukes"? She wasn't wearing those bad boys because they handed 'em out in Sunday school, Cooter.

And speaking of "Cooter," I don't know what that word means in Hazzard County, but where I come from, it means a part of the female anatomy one doesn't openly discuss in polite company. That word popped up 15 times a week on Dukes. If that isn't sleazy, I don't know what is. (Oh, disengage your e-mail client, already. I know that in the South, "cooter" means "turtle." Don't interrupt me when I'm on a roll.)

Is it just me, or is it a sad commentary on 21st-century America that we even give a flying fig about the opinion of the guy who played Cooter on The Dukes of Hazzard? Thank goodness he's no longer in Congress — there are plenty enough nitwits in there already.

As if Cooter's umbrage weren't enough, a conservative political group is up in arms about the scanty bikini pop diva Jessica Simpson wears in the Dukes film (she plays Daisy — but she ain't no Catherine Bach, my friend) and in her associated video hyping her cover of "These Boots Were Made For Walkin'."

Says John Connor, spokeman for The Resistance, "She took a classic like The Dukes of Hazzard, and Daisy Duke, and turned her into a slutty stripper with a fetish for old men."

John-Boy — did you ever actually watch the darned show? That's what the character was about, you self-righteous pogue -- a slutty nymphet in skin-flashing garb who flung herself in the faces of older men like Boss Hogg and Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane. You know, I'm sorry the Terminator ever rescued your mom.

Why isn't anyone asking the real question: What in the wide, wide world of sports is a studio doing wasting millions on a theatrical remake of The Dukes of Hazzard? Especially a remake starring Johnny Knoxville (the first syllable of his ersatz last name is the same as the one in "noxious," and for good reason) and the pneumatic-but-intellectually-impaired Ms. Simpson?

Talk about robbing the poor trailer-park denizens and giving to the rich Hollywood fatcats. Modern-day Robin Hoods, indeed.

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