Civil disobedience in Hazzard County

Civil disobedience is a powerful tool for opposing, exposing and correcting unjust laws.

The problem with civil disobedience, though, is that it cannot be applied in every situation or to every unjust law. Some unjust laws do not require direct civil obedience and, therefore, cannot be readily disobeyed.

Let’s consider a couple of hypothetical examples to illustrate that.

Scenario 1: Where civil disobedience works

Boss Hogg passes a law forbidding anyone from picking up trash along the highway in Hazzard County. The law directly affects the behavior of every citizen in the county — directly forbidding them from doing a particular action. As such, this law easily lends itself to civil disobedience.

Uncle Jesse decides to highlight the stupidity and injustice of Boss Hogg’s new law by violating it. He grabs a bunch of trash bags and one of those pointy sticks and heads out to the side of the highway to start picking up trash and breaking the new law.

Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane and his loyal deputy, Enos, pull up to where the Duke family patriarch is cleaning up the highway and inform him that it’s against the law and that they’re ordering him to stop.

“Well, I ain’t gonna stop,” Jesse says. “So if you’re fixin’ to arrest me, you’ll just have to arrest me then.”

Enos isn’t happy about it, but the officers have no choice — he’s breaking the law. And soon Uncle Jesse is in jail for the crime of picking up trash.

This becomes the talk of the county. “What was he arrested for?” people ask. “For picking up litter? That shouldn’t be against the law!” It’s absurd and intolerable, in most people’s eyes, that an old man has been arrested for a crime that shouldn’t be a crime at all.

The outcry against this new law grows louder the next day when Roscoe and Enos catch Daisy Duke picking up trash right where Uncle Jesse left off.

“I have a lot of work to do here, boys,” she says. “So you can either arrest me or grab a bag and help out. Otherwise I’d appreciate it if you’d let me get back to it.”

Enos, who was always sweet on Daisy, grabs a bag and starts picking up trash. The sheriff winds up arresting both of them.

We come back from the commercial to see that the county jail is overflowing. Cooter is there, and Doc Appleby and Myrtle Tillingham and even Waylon Jennings himself — all arrested for picking up trash along the highway. Seems like just about half of Hazzard County is there (excepting for Bo and Luke, of course, on account of their being on probation).

Sheriff Coltrane tries to defuse the situation by offering to let everybody off with just a warning, but Jesse and the rest insist that, no, they all broke the law and the law is the law, and they’re all willing to be tried and judged for the crime of cleaning up Hazzard County’s highways.

After Lulu Hogg — Roscoe’s sister and Boss Hogg’s wife — joins the others in jail, the boss has no choice but to relent and repeal his crooked law. And they all lived happily ever after, The End.

Scenario 2: Where civil disobedience doesn’t apply

Boss Hogg passes a law that names his nephew as the sole, no-bid contractor for all road paving and bridge repair in Hazzard County.

This new law is transparently corrupt and unjust. And it directly affects every citizen of Hazzard County — siphoning off their hard-earned tax dollars for the personal enrichment of the Hogg clan while leaving their notoriously derelict bridges in disrepair.

Uncle Jesse is hopping mad about this and he vows to oppose it, defiantly proclaiming that he’ll get arrested again if he has to.

But Jesse’s defiance can’t be as easily channeled against this new law. Unlike the litter law, this one doesn’t directly compel him to do anything or forbid him from doing anything. And since it does not directly require his civil obedience, it does not lend itself to his civil disobedience.

“Yeah?” Jesse says. “I’ll show you civil disobedience.” And he marches right into Boss Hogg’s office and handcuffs himself to the man’s desk.

Roscoe manages to get him out of there, eventually, and Jesse again winds up behind bars

Once again, Jesse’s arrest is big news in the county. “What was he arrested for?” people ask. “For trespassing, criminal mischief and resisting arrest? Oh. Jesse has always been kind of an ornery troublemaker. …”

Jesse’s protest here lacks the full power of civil disobedience because this protest is not civil disobedience. He hasn’t been arrested for violating the unjust law he is protesting, but for violating other existing laws — laws that he himself regards as (generally speaking) legitimate.

That’s not to say that Jesse’s protest isn’t also brave and principled and commendable. It’s all of those things. But it doesn’t strike directly at the root of the problem the way that his civil disobedience against the litter law did.

Jesse took the only option he had available, since this latter law wasn’t easily subject to civil disobedience. His arrest might help to draw more attention to his protest, and maybe that attention could help to foster more sentiment against the corrupt new policy.

Maybe if everybody else gets arrested for trespassing too — if Daisy and Cooter and Myrtle and Doc and all the rest join together in a massive demonstration of public outrage. Maybe if they occupy Boss Hogg’s office and refuse to leave until he accedes to their demands. Maybe.

But the truth is that’s not how this story usually plays out. Arrest-as-protest has lost much of its effectiveness as an attention-grabbing and consciousness-raising tool. We can certainly imagine a form of mass-protest so large that it would force Boss Hogg’s hand, but coordinating such a sustained mass protest would be a lot more difficult than channeling the public outrage over those litter-law arrests was.

So despite Uncle Jesse’s courageous and principled action, I think Boss Hogg is going to win this round. I just don’t know how to write an ending to this episode what winds up with him forced to repeal this new law.

If the Dukes are going to find a way to overturn his corrupt no-bid cronyism in this scenario, it will probably be through some other channel that doesn’t involve handcuffs or trespassing.

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  • Chris Algoo

     Occupy Hogg’s office will also have a lot of abusive police behavior.

  • FearlessSon

    I do not know how to end that episode either, but I get the feeling it would involve dynamite somehow… 

  • LouisDoench

     And the trusty Bow and Arrow.

  • Sign Ahead

    My memory of the show is a little hazy, but I think it ends when Bo jumps over the problem in the General Lee. The bad guys are so shocked that they drop the gun (or, in this case, the no-bid contract) they were pointing at Daisy and Uncle Jesse. Luke punches someone from out of town and knocks him out.  

    Cut to a scene at Cooter’s garage where someone makes a joke at Luke’s expense (or Bo’s expense, it it’s his turn this week). Everyone laughs. Freeze frame. Roll credits.

  • Jessica_R

    And jumping the Lee over a hidden ramp. 

  • VMink

    Followed by the sherif’fs car, with Hogg in the back seat and Roscoe and Enos in the front, attempting to make that jump and completely missing the hidden ramp.  “Gol darn those Duke boys!”   And many hats are thrown to the ground in frustration.

  • flat

    and some narration about how it possible that handcuffing yourself to a desk CAN change a law.

  • Alan Alexander

    I was always baffled by the political implications of “The Dukes of Hazzard.” Most of Boss Hogg’s power and influence stemmed from (a) his political office and (b) his ownership of what was presumably the town’s only bank. Everyone in town knew he was crooked, bordering on evil. But they still (a) voted for him and (b) did business with his bank!

    Then, there is the fact that, except for one crooked sheriff in the next county over, there were no visible black people on the show, which, given what is painted on the roof of the General Lee, raises Unfortunate Implications.

  • Dave

    But they still (a) voted for him and (b) did business with his bank! 

    As is so often the case, the following Douglas Adams quote  seems apposite:


    On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people.”
    “Odd,” said Arthur, “I thought you said it was a democracy.”
    “I did,” said ford. “It is.”
    “So,” said Arthur, hoping he wasn’t sounding ridiculously obtuse, “why don’t the people get rid of the lizards?”
    “It honestly doesn’t occur to them,” said Ford. “They’ve all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they’ve voted in more or less approximates to the government they want.”
    “You mean they actually vote for the lizards?”
    “Oh yes,” said Ford with a shrug, “of course.”
    “But,” said Arthur, going for the big one again, “why?”
    “Because if they didn’t vote for a lizard,” said Ford, “the wrong lizard might get in.” 

  • stePH

     I don’t remember that. Was it from Mostly Useless? I’ve done my best to forget that book.

  • Tonio

    Speaking of unfortunate implications, it was only a decade before when civil rights demonstrators were being attacked with firehoses and police dogs. And only a generation before when lynchings were still common. Keeping in mind that the Dukes show was a sitcom, I think “O Brother Where Art Thou” better captured the threat of violence underneath the false civility. Imagine if Daisy Duke fell in love with a black man.

  • mud man

    Uncle Jesse’s great-grand-nephew Chesley who went off to study Civil Engineering at State College returns home because he can’t get a job downstate. He takes a look at the bridge on the county road out to the Duke place and figures that all they need to do is pour a little concrete and move some rock to stabilize where the floods washed out from under the piers, and they can lay a new deck using some timbers milled up from trees that Boss cut down to build the new wing of his primary residence. So they get busy with Jesse’s old tractor and Cooter’s tow truck and so on, until Roscoe slaps an injunction on them for Fixin’ Stuff without a Contract and Abettin’ Terrorism … etc etc … Finally when Daisy and Lulu are arrested for reshingling the bandstand in the county park without a Permit and Payment of Inspection Fee, just in time for the Fourth of July Picnic … etc etc 

  • Mordicai

    Sounds to me like Hazzard County is do for a little Be My Brother Or I Will Kill You style revolution!

  • Jon Maki

    One minor quibble – Daisy would have been picking up litter alongside the highway in a bikini.

  • Ross

    Surely a bikini top and cutoff jeans.

  • Ian C. Racey

     Why, I believe there’s a lyric in the chorus to a recently successful pop song highlighting just that.

  • Tricksterson

    Well bikini top  And of course her eponymous tight shorts.

  • Lori

    I hate that I know this, but the bikini top was worn with a bikini bottom. The “Daisy Duke” cut offs were usually work with a tight T-shirt or tank top.

  • MaryKaye

     I don’t know the Dukes of Hazzard except for car-jumping (have you-all seen the Mythbusters’ attempts to recreate these stunts?  Fun!) but it seems to me that you can sometimes bust a bad law by publicity and embarrassment.  The no-bid law in question looks like a better candidate for that than for civil disobedience.

    At first blush I’m uncomfortable with this because public mockery can be turned against the innocent just as easily as the guilty.  But on consideration, no tool carries with it a guarantee it can only be used for good.  If racists band together and defy a de-segregation law they are practicing civil disobedience, and if enough of their community agrees they may succeed with this strategy.

  • Damanoid

    Uncle Jesse’s “Letter from Hazzard County Jail” inspired a generation of civil rights activists to get liquored up and attempt to jump their cars over things.

  • Lonespark

    Sunlight, disinfectant, speech, more speech, etc.  Basically what Mary Kaye said.  Plus also, work within the system and create an alternate system, like mud man says… never watched DoH, so what do I know?

  • Tonio

    Just for pure silliness, imagine if Bo’s adopted son from another planet catches the General Lee in mid-leap. Then he sees Daisy and and he experiences premature combustion from his eyes.

  • LL

    RE “If the Dukes are going to find a way to overturn his corrupt no-bid cronyism in this scenario, it will probably be through some other channel that doesn’t involve handcuffs or trespassing.”

    Like voting? Obviously, voting wouldn’t end corruption in and of itself, but it would at least stop rewarding a particular person for it. 

  • Lliira

    And this is why I’m not a pacifist.

  • MaryKaye

    The problem with voting is that it’s very hard to vote for someone who’s not on the ballot.  Not impossible–Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is living proof–but the chance that a write-in candidate will succeed is poor.  So you may end up with a vote with only Boss Hogg on the ballot.  His chance of re-election is then very high.  Murkowski had the advantage that she was part of a tight three-way race–I don’t know of a case where a write-in beat a candidate who was running unopposed.

    My city had an intensely disliked mayor for several terms because no one could be found who was willing and able to mount an (expensive and personally unpleasant) campaign against the guy, and also credible enough to get elected.  The sitting mayor was known for intimidation tactics, and he made it clear that for any of his subordinates or city council members to run against him would be Not A Good Move.  This was incredibly frustrating for me as a voter–I spent 2-3 election cycles voting for inexperienced candidates who were not going to get elected (and when we finally did elect one, he had a lot of problems governing effectively) because there were no candidates with experience and qualifications except the sitting mayor, who I couldn’t stand.

    And that’s a non-partisan election, which are generally more responsive than partisan ones!  Right now a lot of Democrats are struggling with the fact that they don’t like Obama’s human rights record, but they can’t meaningfully vote for anyone to his left. (My state doesn’t even *have* a working Presidential primary, not that it would matter if we did.)  And voting for Romney does not seem at all likely to further such voters’ agenda.

    No, I think we need more tools than just voting.

  • LL

    Yes, I get what you’re saying, but the fact is, much corruption persists not because somebody doesn’t challenge it by running against the incumbent, but because most Americans are too lazy to vote in anything other than presidential elections. Many people who might be likely to vote for a challenger to the good ol’ boy network (ie, younger people and nonwhite people) vote in much smaller numbers than old, white people, in all elections, but especially in local elections. Typical voter turnout for municipal and county elections (of the kind that would be relevant to Boss Hogg) are estimated nationally at under 20%. That means in a city council election, fewer than 80% of eligible voters are choosing the people who run the city. Is it any wonder they (politicians) think we don’t care how they run things? They have proof that most of us don’t. 

    People really can’t justifiably complain about the endemic corruption on the one hand, and then refuse to do the very least they can do to combat it, by voting against it. It’s certainly not the only thing to do, but it is one thing politicians actually pay attention to – election returns. 

    Now there are other things that serve to keep incumbents in power (gerrymandering, for one), but when voter turnout in local elections is below 20%, it isn’t that people CAN’T do anything about their local government, it’s that they just don’t want to. They’re too busy doing really super-important things, like watching American Idol (and voting for their favorite!) and updating their Facebook page. 

    I can’t really take the complaints of younger people seriously when I suspect that the last time most of them voted was in November 2008. The last time I voted was about a month ago. There was no line to get in. It took about 3 minutes. And this was on a Sunday (Texas has early voting, one of the few progressive things about our system down here). The voter turnout (it was a city council runoff election) was 5.66% – 938 people voted, out of a pool of registered voters of a little over 16,000. This is in a city of about 130,000 people.  All the people running were white guys. One could be considered young, the average age of the rest looks to be about 55 or 60. 

    Politics is a numbers game. And Republicans play it better now than Democrats do. Whatever else you say about them, you can’t say that Republicans are lazy. But lots of nominally Democratic voters are. 

  • Lliira

    You can’t take the complaints of younger people seriously because a lot of younger people don’t vote. When it is made more difficult for younger people to vote. When you think all of us/them are sitting around watching American Idol and staring at Facebook — which we could never possibly use for political reasons I am sure, of course. Right.

    You don’t take the complaints of younger people seriously because you’re prejudiced against younger people. When a person who is younger than you complains about something, you CANNOT know whether or not that person voted, and when, and what obstacles were placed in their way to vote. You sure as hell can’t tell they watch American Idol and update Facebook. I’m at something of a loss to understand in what way watching American Idol and updating Facebook interfere with voting anyway. I wished some relatives a happy birthday on Facebook today. I guess that means I can’t vote!

  • LL

    When’s the last time you voted?

  • Lliira

    The last time there was an election. By absentee ballot. Which is something else you don’t take into account.

    Now look at what you said again, before you decided to challenge me personally on when I had last voted, because of course since you are an older person than me, you have the right to challenge me on that for some reason. 

    What if someone said any of this:

    “They’re too busy doing really super-important things, like watching Matlock and Fox News. I can’t really take the complaints of old people seriously.”

    “They’re too busy doing really super-important things, like watching True Blood and fussing with makeup and clothes. I can’t really take the complaints of women seriously.”

    “They’re too busy doing really super-important things, like listening to rap music and shopping for ‘bling’. I can’t really take the complaints of black people seriously.”

     “They’re too busy doing really super-important things, like watching Glee and cavorting half-naked in parades. I can’t really take the complaints of gay men seriously.” 

     “They’re too busy doing really super-important things, like watching home improvement shows and shopping for sex toys. I can’t really take the complaints of lesbians seriously.”  

    “They’re too busy doing really super-important things, like watching Jerry Springer while stuffing their faces with fried food. I can’t really take the complaints of poor people seriously.”   

     “They’re too busy doing really super-important things, like whining on the internet and feeling sorry for themselves. I can’t really take the complaints of disabled people seriously.”

  • Guest

    Well, for one thing, “Young People” are not, ya know, a discriminated against group.  No one in the history of ever has gone: “What are you, boy?  One of them there 20-somethings? We don’t like your kind round here, with your tight skin and your screechy music. You stinkin’ youngies make me sick, so me and Roscoe are gonna take you round back and sodomize you with our nightclubs.”

    //Whereas people are often discriminated against for being women, black, lesbians, poor….///
    //Not being treated like you’re the bestest does not equal oppressed. It equals not being treated like the bestest.  Until people are shaking you down, inventing special slurs to describe you, or not taking your claims of abuse seriously, you are not oppressed. 

  • hapax


    Well, for one thing, “Young People” are not, ya know, a discriminated against group.

    When state “Voter ID” laws either explicitly deny student IDs, or their proponents disseminate information that make student IDs less usable, or states pass laws to make the registration of eligible high school and college students much more difficult, and the proponents of these actions state explicitly that they are doing this as a result of a political strategy…

    … I daresay that “Young People” might have a case that they are.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Adding to hapax’s examples–I am not aware of any law, ever, defining three or more older people standing around together in public as a “gang”, and giving police powers to break up congregating groups of older people.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart


    Youth wages in many jurisdictions. Is it legal anywhere to pay a worker less for the same job just because they’re above a certain age? 

    And here students and unemployed people are eligible for up to one-third less financial support from the government if they’re under 25. Yet young people don’t have different tax rates, cheaper food and accommodation, lower council rates and discounted transport.


    I was in France during this year’s Presidential election, and watched Hollande’s victory speech where he said his priorities would be social justice and youth. My friend remarked how you’d never hear an Australian politician say that they intended to prioritise youth–here you can vallorise older people and “families”, but a national leader would never get away with saying the concerns of youth were a policy priority.

  • Joshua

    Why did you use the reply button to Lliira’s comment, when you clearly didn’t bother to read it?

    As I read it, Lliira was not claiming that young people are an oppressed group, rather that LL has a problem with young people, and makes jerkass assumptions about their voting habits as a result. And then gets personal about it when challenged.

    Which sounds accurate to me.

  • Lliira

    Well, for one thing, you have no clue what I was talking about. Read that list. Do you honestly believe I was saying all those groups were oppressed or lacked privilege in precisely the same way? Do you honestly think that was the argument I was trying to make? 

    Though it’s partly amusing that you choose that example. (Until you got to the rape part, but I’ll deal with that later.) Yeah, as a matter of fact, people have said “we don’t want your kind and your music and your looks ’round here” to young people. I had it said to me when I was a teenager and when I was in my early 20s. There are insults that are directed over and over and over again at young people, and have been for millennia. Like, oh, I dunno, young people are all lazy and ignorant and too busy *watching/listening to/reading media of the day* and *socializing in a new way* to do *thing a group of older people think should take up all of younger people’s time and energy.* 

    Second. Don’t pull out rape like that to try to make some kind of point. Disagree with me all you want, though I’d rather you disagreed with what I actually fucking said, but do NOT do that. Do. Not. Do. That. 

    Third, don’t try to school me on privilege and oppression. And using RAPE to try to do it? Seriously? Oh and by the way your example was dripping with anti-Southern prejudice.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Well, for one thing, “Young People” are not, ya know, a discriminated against group.  No one in the history of ever has gone: “What are you, boy?  One of them there 20-somethings? We don’t like your kind round here, with your tight skin and your screechy music. You stinkin’ youngies make me sick, so me and Roscoe are gonna take you round back and sodomize you with our nightclubs.”

    Ooh, I’ve always wanted to say “check your privilege”!

  • JonathanPelikan

    Descrimination and oppression don’t count unless they’re big and dramatic and loud, right? The same way it’s not racist unless you have a white hood on when you do it?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Rape is NOT a joke. It’s a very real thing that happens to more people than not anymore, it’s life destroying, and it’s something that’s next to impossible to get people to take seriously because of shit like the comment you just made. 

    And just hearing the word can set people into spins of painful and damaging memories. Please find another thing to joke about. Preferably not a violent one. 

  • LL

    You can muster all the faux outrage you want, but the fact is, younger people vote much less often than old people. It’s nice that you care enough to vote by absentee, but you are a minority of younger voters. 

    Younger people, who are supposedly big supporters of Obama and Democrats in general, left him twisting in the wind in 2010, resulting in a gain of 63 seats for Republicans in the House of Representatives (giving them a significant majority) and a 6-seat gain in the Senate, which did not give them a majority, but brought them a lot closer to even with the Democrats there. Republicans control 25 state legislatures and 29 governors are Republicans.

    It’s amusing that people get so mad when I mention Facebook or American Idol. Those were just examples of things that people consider super-important enough to pay attention to and go out of their way to attend to, as opposed to voting. Such drama, and the implication that what I said is the same as if I had insulted gay people or handicapped people …. also amusing. The difference between your old people examples and the ones I gave is that Matlock and Fox News don’t keep Republicans from voting. Old people vote. Much more so than younger people. This was the point, which you apparently missed, or chose to ignore. 

    In 1972, 53 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds went to the polls. By 2000, the figure had fallen to just 36 percent, a historic low. (By contrast, the voting rate among people aged 65 or older rose five percentage points during those years, to 68 percent.) There is no doubt that the Obama campaign of 2008 energized the under-30 crowd, boosting their voting rate to 46 percent. But even then, fewer than half of 18- to 29-year-olds went to the polls compared with more than two-thirds of people aged 65 or older, according to the Census Bureau.

    Like I said, politics is a numbers game in America. The people with the most votes win elections. Republicans are better at voter turnout than Democrats are. And voter turnout matters in all elections, not just the one that happens every 4 years. Politicians that end up as presidential candidates don’t start out there. They start with city councils, then state legislatures, then the U.S.  Senate or House or as a governor (like Bush and Romney). Palin started out on the city council of a podunk town in Alaska.  State legislatures are packed with Fox News-loving Republicans, who do things like passing laws to make voting more difficult for black people, Hispanic people, college students – all more likely to vote Democratic than Republican. Republicans can do this because they are the majority of people who make the decisions in 25 state legislatures. They don’t have to be the majority of all the people in the state or the city, as long as they have the votes to get to the legislature, and then enough of a majority in the state legislature to steamroll over any objections Democrats might have. Actually, in many states, the Republicans don’t need a steamroller. They can run over the Democrats quite handily in nothing larger than a Prius. 

    You can be all mad because I “insulted” younger voters, but that’s not gonna help. It’s nice that younger people turned out in droves in 2008 to get Obama elected, but they sure as hell haven’t helped him out much since then. How’s he (and the other Democrats) supposed to get anything done when they have to go through the 288 idiots sitting a few blocks away, who are happy to fuck the rest of us over to make sure the Democrats (and Obama in particular) don’t accomplish anything? Obama is not Gandalf, he can’t wave his hand and make things happen. He has to have the support of a majority of Congress, and that isn’t gonna happen when it’s dominated by Republicans, as it is today. 

  • Joshua

    It’s amusing that people get so mad when I mention Facebook or American Idol.  

    Actually, I think it was the nightstick sodomy that got some people mad. Again, why not try reading the comments, if you want to reply to them? Most people, young or old, can manage reading comprehension.

     as if I had insulted gay people or handicapped people  

    Why not, just for a lark, try not insulting any groups of people?

  • LL

    Apparently, you can’t manage reading comprehension. Sad.

  • Joshua

    Ah, it appears I misattributed the nightstick comment to you instead of another commenter. Apologies.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Younger people, who are supposedly big supporters of Obama and Democrats in general, left him twisting in the wind in 2010…

    That cut both ways.

    I’m still Hoping for some Change in 2013, though.

  • The_L1985

    My problem is that I don’t know when Florida’s state and local elections are held, and I’m not sure how to find out. Otherwise, I’d vote in all of them.

  • LL

    Most states (probably every state) have one or two government agencies that are charged with running elections and disseminating election info. Almost all of them have websites. Google is your friend. As are the local newspapers, which run this information routinely. 

    Try this:

  • Chris Doggett

    . I just don’t know how to write an ending to this episode what winds up with him forced to repeal this new law.

    There’s a reason for that, and it’s tied in to how you wrote the rest of the episode. Specifically:

    “What was he arrested for?” people ask. “For trespassing, criminal mischief and resisting arrest? Oh. Jesse has always been kind of an ornery troublemaker. …”

    Who do you trust, the police, or the people? When folks talk about a “police state”, part of what they’re talking about is the default assumption that the police are right, and that anyone arrested is “bad”. 

    The ending Fred is looking for goes something like this:
    State Governor: Mr. Hogg, I understand you’ve got a gentleman in your prison.
    Boss Hogg: That’s correct. He’s guilty of trespassing, criminal mischief, and resistin’ arrest!
    State Governor: I met Jessie Duke once. My secretary has known him for years. He doesn’t seem like the trespassing type, and he doesn’t look fit enough to resist much of anyone. Just how did all of this happen?
    Boss Hogg: He broke into my office, handcuffed himself to my desk damaging the varnish, and would not produce the keys when Roscoe asked for him. 
    State Governor: OK, so that’s what happened, but I asked how it happened that this otherwise upstanding gentleman, with no history of opposition to elected officials, came to be handcuffing himself to your desk, Boss Hogg. His actions, unlawful as they are, seem very much out of character. I cannot see an elderly statesman such as Mr. Duke taking such actions… unprovoked.

    The trouble we’re in (and by “we” I mean USians) is that if you’re arrested by the police, everyone assumes you’re a troublemaker, or a hippy, or a socialist, or a nogoodnic of some kind. It doesn’t matter if you’re a teenager or a septuagenarian, if you’re marching in the street and the police pick you up, you’re a law-breaker and not to be trusted. 

  • Dave

     Of course, one might in this case ask why the State Governor, possessed of such knowledge about the personalities and trustworthiness of Boss Hogg and Mister Duke, and possessed of the wherewithal to make unilateral decisions on the basis of that knowledge, failed to take appropriate steps earlier to address the situation in Hazzard County.

    Admittedly, asking questions like that about a fictional work is rarely a good idea if one wants to enjoy it.

  • reynard61

    “State Governor: Mr. Hogg, I understand you have a gentleman in your prison.”

    This assumes, of course, that The Governor isn’t himself in cahoots with Hogg…

    It might actually be a better idea to create a “Release Uncle Jesse” Facebook page and/or internet petitions — as many as possible — explaining the circumstances of his imprisonment and the sweetheart deal between Boss Hogg and his nephew addressed to both the Governor *and* the U.S. Attorney or someone else more trustworthy at the Federal level. These days, bad publicity on the internet might have a more persuasive effect on a two-bit crook like Boss Hogg in as isolated an area as Hazzard County than it would have had when the show originally aired, when only newspapers and television were the main media outlets. I doubt that Boss Hogg would welcome the torrent of petitions and bloggers demanding an explanation for his actions. And the Governer *sure as hell* wouldn’t.

  • Dmoore970

    Any member of the Tea Party could tell you how to resist the corrupt contract.  Just refuse to pay taxes because you don’t want your taxes going for that (whatever that is). 

  • Julian M Elson

    To be fair, that is what Thoreau originally wrote in Civil Disobedience.

  • Loki100

    A bunch of pastors stated they were going to engage in civil disobedience over the Matthew Sheppard Act.

    Apparently they didn’t realize that in order to actually engage in civil disobedience against the Matthew Sheppard Act they would have to violently assault gay people.

  • Charity Brighton

    Another example of what Fred is saying here: people using the word “civil disobedience” to mean “protest”. It would be kind of like saying that you were planning to ‘boycott’ the Mathew Shepard Act. Even if you agree that it’s a bad law, it’s just not… boycottable. It’s just the wrong word, and in certain contexts it’s also a sleazy attempt to borrow the language and imagery frequently associated with the Civil Rights Movement for their own perverted purposes.

    It’s kind of like what I heard someone say about the use of the phrase “state’s rights” when someone is trying to promote segregation or legislative inequality; they want you to get the impression that it’s about 2 groups trying to defend their rights, when the truth is that it’s one group trying to beat up another group.

  • Mary Kaye

    It certainly makes no sense to blame American Idol and Facebook when the youth voting rate has been lower than the older-adult voting rate since at least the 1970’s (the oldest data I could find quickly).

    It makes a bit more sense to note that it’s challenging to vote if you are out of state going to school.  I missed one election that way; my absentee ballot didn’t come in time.  And of course it is hard to feel connected to local issues if you are living somewhere else.  When I was a college student in WA I kept my residency in AK for financial reasons, so I couldn’t vote on any local issues that would actually have affected me, and needed to make a considerable effort to vote at all.

    In any case being dismissive accomplishes nothing.  The youth vote can be cultivated–Obama had some real success with that.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    To be fair, I would be sadly unsurprised if a black person had been attacked in that fashion at some point in the 19th or 20th centuries. So the whole “night sticks” thing has validity, but was used as an inappropriate comparison.

    Another thing? Older people? Always get senior’s discounts. Add up the few bucks per item saved and that’s a substantial financial advantage given to Tea Partier types who always oompah oompah about how they never got any help or handouts from anybody any time.

  • Guest

    –  your rage at my sodomy joke would have more impact if you hadn’t been just as angry five minutes before about how LL was (*gigglesnort*) showing anti-young-person bigotry, and then following it up with (*ohgodithurtstolaugh*) a complaint about “Anti-southern bigotry.”
    (*wipes laughter tears from eyes*)///
    ///See, this is the problem with being perpetually offended at everything ever. When you hulk out over criticisms of young people, it sort of steals the thunder from your rage over rape jokes. When rape jokes are apparently the same level of enraging as (bahha) anti-young-person bigotry and (teehee) anti-southern bigotry, it….kinda makes rape jokes not seem like a thing. ////
    Personally, I don’t see how my joke, which was about rape being a bad thing done by evil, fat*, southern sheriffs named Roscoe to innocent young people, was really supporting rape or rape culture, but anyway, yeah, in future I’ll use “beat you with a rubber hose” instead. I can’t edit my comments, but I’ll mentally amend them and avoid rape jokes in future.
    _________________________________*All evil southern sheriffs automatically evolve into Buford T. Justice.____________________(“anti-southern bigotry”…..oh mylanta, I gotta remember to tell them about that when I go into work tomorrow- at my job in Sof’ Cackalacky.   Y’all.)

  • Anonymo

    This is the best sort of Fred article – it’s witty and incisive.  When he spreads his literary wings to make a point, he does it well.