Just Above Sunset
June 20, 2004 - The Politics of the Heartland
The European readers of Just Above Sunset, our friends in France, won’t get this at all, nor the younger readers, but it is rather good.
Kevin T. Keith, Lean Left, June 16, 2004
On the other, the old Andy Griffith Show may be syndicated and shown in France, dubbed. Possible. After all, I’m been listening to TSF-radio streaming live jazz from Paris and they’ve playing Fred Astaire singing “Putting On The Ritz” – at four in the morning there. And you all say they hate Americans…
Anyway, this is a detailed analysis of an old episode of the Andy Griffith Show. The sheriff (Griffith) has a bank robber in jail. The kids on the show overhear the robber saying he did the deed and has hidden the money. The kids go to the sheriff and tell him – and the sheriff tells the kids it doesn’t work that way. He cannot use their information – got to have a trail and due process and all that. The sheriff treats the prisoner with respect, even upbraiding a deputy who was verbally abusing him. Aunt Bee feels sorry for the guy in jail and sends over a home-cooked meal, with a rose on the tray. In the end the guy is treated so decently he confesses all. The end.
And the Keith analysis ends with this -
Apparently, in the mid-60s, network television felt it could appeal to mainstream, relatively conservative values by having a rural Sheriff make a speech about due process. Small-town righteousness meant carefully respecting the procedural limits of Constitutional law and refusing to countenance their violation. Homespun decency meant caring about the welfare of the people in our jails, and making a personal effort to ensure their comfort. Jailers' responsibilities included protecting prisoners from abuse; even just verbally harassing prisoners was not justified simply because they were accused of breaking the law. …
Today, we have a dimwit Southern gunslinger heading the executive branch, and (what he claims are) mainstream values are exactly reversed from those of a generation ago. Officials charged with enforcing the law have made a concerted sweep through due process, privacy, and the Bill of Rights. Detention without charge or trial is now official policy. Warrantless searches, wiretaps, communications monitoring, and much more is now routine. Prisoner welfare has been a dead letter for decades, but we now witness the revolting spectacle of responsible government officials explicitly advocating - and approving - torture of prisoners who have not even been charged with crimes.
But not really, as my friend Rick Brown points out!
Still, if you read the original posting, then read the responses that follow it, you'll find one by “ccobb" that unhelpfully points out what should have been obvious to us from the start, that the show was actually one of liberal ideas artfully placed in the mouths of characters who one might otherwise assume are part of the conservative constituency.
In other words, the magic of television makes it easy to forget that these characters (and their writers) didn't really live in red-state Mayberry - they lived in blue-state Hollywood!
There was a liberal plot to undermine real American values after all. Liberal New York Jewish activists take over the Hollywood entertainment industry, and its unions, in the late twenties and corrupt America with these kinds of ideas.
But thanks to one hero, Ronald Reagan, who breaks with the pack and cooperates with Joe McCarthy and supports the blacklist and all that, we're saved from total disaster.
Still, some folks slip through the net and we get shows like the one mentioned here, advocating sissy liberal behaviors.
It all fits.
Liberals undermining American values again.
But it was nice story.
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