The owner of the ¨Canadian Dukes Museum¨ and a surviving General Lee Dodge Charger is under fire, after accepting a placement at an upcoming comic book convention in Michigan, at the ¨Down River Comicon¨ hosted by Lincoln Park Middle School.
Paul Harrington who lives about a half hour from Windsor Ontario, , he is being ¨blasted¨ for bringing his ¨Dukes of Hazzard¨ General Lee, and his mobile ¨Dukes Museum¨ to the convention scheduled for this weekend.
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In the past year critics and those in favour of political correctness have applauded efforts that have resulted in Warner Brothers pulling the image of the Confederate Flag from toys, namely the General Lee ( diecast cars and model kits ), because of charges that the image is a symbol of racism.
¨We are not racists,¨ said Harrington. ¨The General Lee is not a symbol of racism. I am not a racist! The world has gone nuts!¨
Those opposed the use of the flag and its image have succeeded in having it removed from many places, especially government controlled public spaces over the past year. However it is the removal of the flag from all ¨Dukes of Hazzard¨ merchadise by Warner Brothers that sparked some of the most vigorous debate.
Confederate merchandise is being dropped by Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon and other businesses, and the backlash against the flag reached a peak after the shooting deaths of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston.
President Obama praised the lowering of the Confederate flag in South Carolina as “a meaningful step towards a better future.”
“South Carolina taking down the confederate flag - a signal of good will and healing, and a meaningful step towards a better future,” the president wrote on his @POTUS Twitter feed after the decision to remove the flag was made.
However the debate over the removal of the flag from ¨Dukes¨ merchandise continues to rage. Some owners of authentic surviving General Lees have painted over the flags on their collectible cars. Harrington has not done that. He says his car is an original car from the TV series. It still sports the original paint and has been signed by many members of the original cast and crew. His mobile museum, housed in a huge trailer filled with memorabilia has also been signed by hundreds of celebrities including the majority of the original ¨Dukes of Hazzard¨ cast members and many from the Movie franchise as well.
Social media is on fire this week as
the comic convention approaches.
¨It is a racist symbol, simple as that," responded comic book and TV show fan Megan Alexander in Facebook post. ¨Can´t people see that it is insulting to the Black community?¨
Others have come to Harringtonś defence.
Kenneth Wayne Mahan, a ¨Dukes Fan¨, posted on Facebook, The General Lee is not nor has it ever been about racism !!! The General Lee is perfect for fundraising money for cancer and other needy causes !!!¨
"Dukes of Hazard" star Ben Jones, a former democratic congressman, says hysteria over the Confederate flag has gone too far. The actor who played Cooter on the TV series "Dukes of Hazzard" continues to defend the Confederate flag as a symbol of the spirit of independence.
¨We use the car to raise money for a Cancer Charity¨, said Harrington. ¨Itś all for a good cause, and the TV show was great, it was good family entertainment, and it was filled with good family values. This is the first time for this comic convention.¨
Harrington will also be taking the General Lee and his travelling ¨Dukes of Hazzard¨ museum to two or three other shows this summer, including the MoparFest car show in New Hamburg Ontario. The event is Canadaś largest outdoor all Chrysler car show, and it attracts many General Lees, including Harringtonś original ( for the third time ). His original car is always a hit at the event, because of the museum, the autograph collection, the memorabilia, and because of Paul himself. He has one of the largest ¨Dukes¨ memorabilia collections in the world, and is without question Canadaś biggest ¨Dukes of Hazzard Fan¨, having appeared in cameos in a Dukes movie, on TV shows, and on the SST Car show several times. He is unquestionably a ¨Dukes of Hazzard¨ authority.
As we were preparing for distribution of this story the organizers of the comic convention were unavailable for comment.