I don’t know about you, but when people say the word “muscle cars” the first thing that comes to my mind is The Dukes of hazzard. Now The Dukes of hazzard in my mind are local heroes. They are from a specific time, cultural group and they are a lot of fun.
In others words, I look at them as they are. I don’t try to read too much into them, I don’t try to slice and dice them based on race, gender and other social cultural and political economic matrixes. In other words, I don’t play intellectual games. I look at cultural productions on a fairly shallow basis because that’s what they’re intended for.
Believe me, when people produced The Dukes of hazzard, they weren’t talking about making some sort of grand statement regarding race relations after 1965 in the modern American south. That’s probably the furthest thing in their mind.
Instead, they were looking at the car called The General Lee and spend a tremendous amount of time highlighting the power, vibrancy and the dynamism symbolized by that American piece of engineering. In other words, it’s all about the car.
This is not theory nor is it speculation because if you look at the actual complaints of the actors who took part in that TV series, that’s what they keep coming back at. They keep saying that the show’s scripts were very shallow, they were complaining that the show was one sided, flat, contrived, formulae and on and on it went.
If you looked at all the negativity and you looked at all the smoke and toxicity regarding the show, it all boils down to the fact that the show makes such a big deal out of the car. General Lee, for all intents and purposes, owned The Dukes of hazzard.
The reason why I highlight this is because the muscle cars have been stereotyped. A lot of people are saying that if you’re into muscle cars, your IQ must not be all that high or you must be some sort of relic from America’s golden metal age. This is the time between 1945 and 1975, when America was at the top of the global socio economic and geopolitical food chain.
If you think back fondly to that time, you are some sort of dinosaur. This really is too bad because there was a lot of great art created during that time. Disco, funk, punk, psychedelic music, rock, you name it. There’s so much creative ferment there and muscle cars, as well as the whole automotive culture and the different expressions of that culture are no different. They’re no exception to this.
To say that muscle cars are simply outdate because it speaks a different cultural language is really to miss the point. It really is a slap in the face of all that industrial creativity. It’s like saying that The Dukes of hazzard is just all about the General Lee.
In reality, the General Lee is a core pat of it, but it goes beyond that. If you really want to make sense with the whole idea of muscle cars, you need to go past your stereotypes of it to truly appreciate it.