Dukes of Hazzard, literally a modern day fairy tale
You remember those Duke boys? Of course you do if you’re at least 37 years old. Though with the recent Dukes of Hazzard movie, there’s a whole new generation of fans of Duke-dom. The Dukes enjoyed worldwide viewership and was an American icon. (In the ’80s, I heard reports that people in Portugal thought that Americans all drove like the Duke boys.) Recently, I sent a “Dukes” story I wrote set in a science fiction near future during an environmental apocalypse. What better time is there then an apocalypse when you need red-neck ingenuity to save someone’s life (in this case, their cousin Daisy’s)? I hoped that the story (The Kooks’ New Hazard) would be a good fit for a collection called Once Upon An Apocalypse.
But is it a fairy tale?
I and Scott T. Goudsward, one of the editors of Once Upon an Apocalypse, discussed this.
My answer was “yes” based on the following criteria:
- It’s a well known tale — Just like Humptey Dumpty or Jack & the Beanstalk, The Dukes of Hazzard is a cross cultural story that many are familiar with.
- It’s been updated to fit our times — The Dukes of Hazzard, same as the Grimm tales, have been adapted as times goes by and is available in multiple formats
- During its initial 6 year run, the show survived a contract dispute that sent characters Bo and Luke leaving the show to race in NASCAR and in their place came two parallel universe brothers (well, not really explained in cosmological terms) Coy and Vance who were practically twins of the brothers.
- There was an animated series.
- Duke video games were made in various formats over the last twenty years (since Colecovision!).
- The tale was brought to a newer generation with the 2005 movie and then another TV series for 2007 (The Dukes: The Beginning).
- The tale’s mythos is supported by other branches of art such as the Dukes’ theme song by Waylen Jennings is a lasting classic. Waylen’s song refers to the Dukes as being “like modern day Robin Hoods.” So Waylen thinks the Dukes are fairy tale too!
- Like the occasional Brother’s Grimm museums of Europe, you’ll find Duke museums in Tennessee.
It’s safe to say the Dukes of Hazzard is a cultural meme, which is another way of saying it’s as much as a fairy tale as tales such as Little Red Riding Hood. I won’t be at all surprised to someday see a flying car called “General Lee.”