Blazing Parody or Not?

by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

Georgia is in the news again concerning the Ku Klux Klan.  But unlike the recent story where the KKK were denied the right to adopt a stretch of highway, the current scandal surrounds Roger Garrison.  Garrison is a 30 year law enforcement veteran and is currently running for re-election as Sheriff of Cherokee County, a position he has held for the last 20 years. The issue is a photograph of Garrison at a 1985 costume party obtained from an anonymous source by WSBT television reporter, Jodie Fleischer. The costumes of choice? KKK robes and hoods.  (Picture below the fold.)

Image from WSBT, used without permission.

Garrison has claimed that he and a friend were dressed as characters from a scene in the movie “Blazing Saddles” and that he has never espoused any of the KKK’s beliefs.

From the picture, it is impossible to tell if the robes had the same “Have A Nice Day” smiley face logos on the back like the ones in the Mel Brooks comedy classic, but they do bear the Knights Cross emblem long used by the KKK on the front. Garrison told the Cherokee Tribune “This is by no means a reflection upon my career… or personal beliefs,” Garrison said. “It was a simple, childish Halloween costume party — nothing more, nothing less.” He also blamed the release of the photos on his opposition in the current election, David Waters, a commander with the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office. “It appears Mr. Waters has sent those photos to the Atlanta media and asked for stories,” Garrison said. “I’m deeply appalled he would stoop to this level (and) that he chooses not to stick to the issues.” Willing to up the ante of “moral outrage”, the Cherokee Tribune is also reporting that Garrison said he found it especially appalling Waters was trying to make a moral judgement  when Waters has been married five times. “(He) is not one to be throwing stones at other people,” Garrison said. “It’s clearly an act of desperation on his part and I believe that the voters will respond accordingly. They’re sick of that type of campaigning.” After asserting the Mel Brooks defense of his actions, Garrison also told WSBT’s Jodie Fleischer, “I don’t deny it wasn’t stupid, looking back now, but there again I say what 21- or 22-year-old in this world hasn’t made some stupid mistakes?”

Is this case of parody gone wrong? Youthful indiscretion run amok?

Or should the photo be considered a valid campaign issue?

What do you think?

Source(s): Huffington Post, WSBTV.com, Cherokee Tribune.com

~submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

33 thoughts on “Blazing Parody or Not?”

  1. Hey — that beer in the guy’s hand “Lite” — is that produce placement? Are they the official beer of the Ku Klux Klan?

    Hey anybody know what “Ku” and “Klux” mean?

  2. What’s the big deal? They can have their stretch of the highway if they want. As long as they do it properly.

    Everybody has their rights under the constitution! That’s the way it is.

  3. We’re not talking about banning this bozo who dressed Klan, we’re talking about hit fitness for office. I think you should be free to be as stupid, obnoxious, bigoted, asinine and offensive as you like. But if you ring the gongs for all five, the question is: Should you serve as the Sheriff?

    Of course the majority of the voting people of his county may think, “Hell Yeah!” but I’m just sayin…

  4. I actually am quite aware of the difference between a Zombie and a member of the KKK. And it might come as an equal surprise I also am aware that Zombies are imaginary.

    Its all a matter of perspective with regard to the costume party. How about the big stink over United Kingdom’s Price Harry dressing as Adolf Hitler? Maybe he would have gotten into legal trouble if he was in Germany for wearing Nazi Iconography. Not in the US. So should Prince Harry abdicate for wearing this? Look at the damage Hitler had done over 60 years ago. What an evil he was. So should people be banned from employment because they 25 years ago dressed up like some out of favor person. What a poor way to show our superiority against totalitarianism by banning people the right to make fools of themselves wearing costumes. Lets look at the complete situation. Where these two men in the photo at a costume party or with their fellow dorks at a Klan rally?

    If you are looking for one method to diminish the influence of the KKK one way to do it is to ridicule them. It takes away their power and makes them appear incredulous. By acting as if they are a force to be reckoned with or seeking to ban people ridiculing them by casting them into the light of being backwater fools you provide this organization with fuel to attract more members or strengthen those who are already members of it.

    I remember a Life magazine I have dating from the 1940’s. In it several university frat boys dressed up in Sturmabteilung uniforms and decked out with Hitler style moustaches and similarily fashioned haircuts. It was an absolute farce to denounce the Nazis. So should similar representations of the KKK be banned or people who ridicule them in a similar fashion be considered members of that organization? I think not.

  5. We had a gentleman who bought a wreck, turned it into a newspaper, and supported the displacement of the lawfully elected city government (black) in Wilmington, NC ca 1900. His newspaper is the leading liberal one in NC today. But he’s no longer connected. Now shall we do what Woosty said: Change the town/county of Cherokee? Do that.

    I’d say they are both corrupt. Otherwise you could not get more than 50 votes, all of them black. Because all the others got their’s sewed up since 1870.

  6. Leejcaroll — Right you are, wrt Arpaio. Of course, I never meant to suggest that they had to come in separate packages.

  7. If you’re talking about the job of sheriff, is it better to have a nightmare or an idiot?
    Look at Arpaio,2 for the price of one.
    (Darren Smith – zombie v KKK – if you truly dont see the difference I am sorry for you.)

  8. wgward
    1, June 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm
    People don’t change. Period.
    ——————————————–
    that’s not true. people change all the time. sometimes even for the better….

  9. cherokee county is a white flight suburb of atlanta and is 80% white. i doubt they mind the robe picture much.

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