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There goes Colonel Sanders

Marc Munroe Dion on

One of the worst advertising flops I've ever seen has been the effort to replace the original Colonel Sanders, the portly, white-suited gent who invented, and later advertised, Kentucky Fried Chicken.

The first Colonel Sanders replacement was teenage-girl-chained-in-the-cellar creepy, and the newest guy is vaguely threatening, plus, in the most recent television commercial, the camera focuses on his crotch.

The original Colonel Sanders was the king of cholesterol, the count of crispy skin. He was nonthreatening, and a little heavy, and he really cared about chicken.

Of course, you can't talk about fried chicken without talking about the Confederacy, at least not when you're talking about a Colonel Sanders, to whom there ought to be many statues.

I was born in Massachusetts, and I live there now, but I grew up in Missouri, a state that never really decided if it was Union or Confederate. Over the decades, I've owned a couple items of Confederate flag clothing.

For a long time, you could wear your Confederate flag T-shirt and it meant no more than that you were from a place, that you had a regional identity.

It could mean that you were a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd, or that you liked bourbon. It might mean that you liked country music, or that you liked ham and beans with cornbread, or that you knew how to fry a piece of steak like it was a piece of chicken.

To you, the flag might mean you live in Michigan now, but you miss the way people talked down home in Georgia, or that you had once walked down a dirt road in Arkansas on a hot day, and the dust was so deep that every time you took a barefoot step, you raised a little cloud. It might mean you went to a proudly Southern school, or that your motorcycle club wanted people to think they were rebels.

And maybe an ancestor did fight in the Civil War, or maybe he hid in the barn the whole time. And maybe your family did own slaves, or maybe it was laughable to think that your hillbilly family ever owned anything but a shack. It was nostalgia for a place, for the sound of Southern-accented English and the taste of sweet tea.

You could wear the Confederate flag that way. I did.

After a while, my Confederate flag clothing wore out, and I chose not to replace any of it because it stopped being a hillbilly wink at the world.

In the last few years, that flag has changed from a wink to a snarl, and though I like biscuits and gravy, I'm not nostalgic for the slavery I never saw, or segregation, and I believe the right side won the Civil War. After this last month, I know I'll never wear that flag again.

The flag I wore, the one I wore to a Willie Nelson concert in Missouri, that flag is gone. Those bastards in Charlottesville stole it from me.

It's time for Colonel Sanders to stand down because, when a thing is gone, it's gone with the wind.

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To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, "Land of Trumpin," is a collection of his columns about the 2017 election. It is available from Amazon.com in paperback, and for Kindle, iBooks, Nook and GooglePlay.

 

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