Professional golfer Bubba Watson took to Twitter yesterday to announce he was removing the Confederate flag from the roof of one of the original General Lee cars that was featured in the “Dukes of Hazzard” television show. Bubba bought this car several years ago because he was a fan of the “Dukes of Hazzard.” So much of a fan that he was willing to pay $110,000 for the car.
Amazingly, in the wake of the murder of nine people in the South Carolina church, the “Dukes of Hazzard,” television show has turned into a cultural firestorm. Because, you know, there’s nothing more connected to a psychopathic killer than a television show from the 1980s about Southern good ol’ boys trying to avoid being arrested by corrupt cops. First, Warner Brothers announced it would no longer make cars with the Confederate flag on the roof. That led me to write this column on the Confederate flag. Then TV Land pulled the show off the air because the flag is on the car. I mean, that happened. Bubba then announced he’d remove the flag from the car he bought.
Pretty soon everyone who has played with “Dukes of Hazzard” toys or watched the show, which is basically every white, black and brown person who grew up in the South in the 1980s, is going to have to issue a public apology for his or her actions. That’s unfortunate. Because you know what unites America? Daisy Duke’s ass. There isn’t a man or woman alive who doesn’t appreciate that work of art.
Focusing on the “Dukes of Hazzard” also represents a strange cultural myopia. There are few shows less offensive than the “Dukes of Hazzard,” that air on American television today. The fact that a satirical take on Southern country life can become a cultural flashpoint proves how lost we are.
So does the fact that we continue to pay attention to people complaining about things that offend them on Twitter and Facebook. Think about how much more serious we take people who are offended on social media than we do in real life. Imagine that you drove past Warner Brothers and saw people picketing the studio lot because the Confederate flag was on a car from a television show in the 1980s. Or saw the same people marching outside Apple over the Confederate flag appearing in historical video games. You’d think those people were strange, right? Most of us, regardless of our color, would think, of all the things in the world to protest today, you picked this? Don’t you have a job? Don’t you have anything in the world better to spend your free time on? We would immediately dismiss these protesters as weirdos representing a fringe opinion. What’s more, if we had any sympathy for their opinion, we’d probably be less likely to support it once we saw how lame the protest looked in real life.
But maybe we’re being unkind to those protesters. After all, at least they are willing to spend the time to make signs, invest the effort and energy it takes to drive to a physical location. And then spend hours standing outside in the heat or the cold or the rain or the snow to make their opinions known. Sure, we’d all ignore their opinion and think they were losers, but you couldn’t accuse them of lacking fortitude.
How many people on social media complaining about things that offend them on a daily basis would be willing to protest anything in public? How many people upset at Trevor Noah’s jokes on Twitter would make signs and stand outside a comedy club and protest his appearance there? And if they were willing to do that, how ridiculous would they look to you and me as we drove by or showed up to watch his act? You’re standing outside a comedy club protesting a comedian’s jokes? We would all say, “Good Lord, dude, get a life.”
Yet on social media we do the exact opposite. We embolden “offended” people who take no longer than 10 seconds to hit retweet or like a Facebook post by taking their opinion much more seriously than we ever would if we faced that opinion in person. Worse, we treat these people as the voice of normalcy as opposed to the outliers they really are. I’ve got a radical idea for y’all, treat social media like real life instead of like social media. Every time you see someone outraged by something on Twitter or Facebook, think what your reaction would be if they made a sign and stood on the street protesting this as cars drove past.
My point is pretty simple: Social media mobs aren’t real life people troubled by real life issues, they’re just bored-ass losers looking for entertainment and someone to respond to them. The depth of their displeasure isn’t even as deep as the single key stroke it takes to RT or like a statement online. They’d never show up and protest in real life.
Because, news flash, they don’t actually care, they just want to be part of a mob. Part of something larger than themselves. Why? Because they’re lonely and mobs are fun. It’s a rush to be angry at someone or something and lash out at it online. Sure you’d never do it in person, but that’s beside the point you’re good and your foes are pure evil.
Of course, it isn’t true. But so what?
Which brings me back to Bubba Watson, who had a chance to stand up to the mob and gain more fans than he’d had. Instead, Bubba proved that he’s an idiot and a coward. What’s more, he further emboldened social media idiots, who have turned the murder of nine people by a psychopath into, of all things, a war upon every usage, regardless of context, of the Confederate flag. If you wanted to know what dumb people responding to the demands of dumb people in America looks like, Bubba’s Tweet is the perfect embodiment of the stupidity governing our country today.
Did Bubba Watson just realize that he’d bought a car named the General Lee with the Confederate flag on top of it yesterday?
Of course not.
Did he just decide that all men are created equal yesterday? (Also, in the interests of Internet rage, what about women Bubba? Are they not equal too? You better apologize to them now, you sexist.). So what motivated Bubba’s decision to suddenly act? I’ll tell you, the social media mob. Bubba was afraid that he’d be the next target of the idiots on Twitter and Facebook who are seeking to erase any vestige of American history that makes them uncomfortable. Which, of course, is the exact reason that these social media mobs work in our modern era. Because no one is willing to stand up to them and be disliked for any reason.
Newsflash: It’s okay for people not to like you. Especially if the people who don’t like you are dumb and motivated by idiotic reasons. We all don’t have the exact same opinion on everything. At least not yet. That’s kind of the purpose of the first amendment.
Bubba Watson had several options if anyone was actually offended in real life that he owned the General Lee:
1. He could have ignored the controversy and done nothing.
Eventually mobs tire out or move on to the newest outrage.
2. He could have sold the car to someone else and donated the money to charity.
Or he could have done what someone who wasn’t a cowardly idiot would have done:
3. Gone on Twitter and written this: “I love the “Dukes of Hazzard,” and I’m not changing the General Lee. Y’all are crazy.”
Instead Bubba Watson did what cowards and idiots have done for much of human history. He gave in to the mob.
And if history teaches us anything, it’s that mobs are never satisfied once they realize they can bully cowards. Get ready for more bullying, Bubba.
You’re still driving a car that has General Lee’s name on it. Just to be safe, you better go ahead and rename it the General Grant. Even with the American flag, you have to keep in mind that America allowed slavery far longer than the Confederacy. That’s not safe either, better take all flags off the car just to be safe. And the car will still be orange even if it’s called the General Grant. That orange color might trigger some awful flashbacks in the minds of the people who aren’t really offended by your car in the first place. You’d better go ahead and paint it a different color too.
And, oh, how about your name?
Can you have a more racist sounding name, dude? Better get rid of that too. If anyone named Bubba has been racist, that means you’re racist too. That’s how this works, right?
Don’t worry, bro, I’m just looking out for you. I’d hate for you to upset anyone. Because everyone knows that upsetting someone is the worst thing you can do in America today.
Of course, if you never upset anyone, you can still end up getting screwed.
Don’t believe me? Just look at Bo and Luke Duke.