"Gone With the Wind" (1939), HBO-Max, Margaret Mitchell, Political Censorship, Political Correctness, Racial Politics
The international hysteria over the unfortunate death of “Five-Felony-Convictions” George Floyd has produced the last straw we could all see coming: HBO-Max is pulling “Gone With the Wind” (1939) from circulation. GWTW will be joining “Song of the South” (1946) and television’s “The Amos and Andy Show” (1951-1953) on the Index Prohibitorum. Though HBO does claim the film will return in a redacted version carefully denouncing all of its sins against politically correct history. (Hollywood Reporter:)
Long considered controversial for its depiction of Black people and its positive view of slavery, Gone With the Wind faced renewed scrutiny after an op-ed by 12 Years A Slave screenwriter John Ridley published in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. In the op-ed, Ridley called on HBO Max to “consider removing” Gone With the Wind from its platform as the film had its “own unique problem.” “It doesnâ€™t just â€œfall shortâ€ with regard to representation. It is a film that glorifies the antebellum south. It is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color,” Ridley wrote.
He added: “It is a film that, as part of the narrative of the â€œLost Cause,â€ romanticizes the Confederacy in a way that continues to give legitimacy to the notion that the secessionist movement was something more, or better, or more noble than what it was â€” a bloody insurrection to maintain the â€œrightâ€ to own, sell and buy human beings.”
HBO Max said Gone With the Wind will eventually return to the service with a “discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions” of Black people and slavery.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, a HBO spokesperson said: â€œGone With The Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible. These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMediaâ€™s values, so when we return the film to HBO Max, it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history.â€
GWTW is wrong, you see, because it takes the former (now-discredited in Academia by Marxist revisionist historians) national consensus view that the South was Wrong But Romantic, fighting for a fore-doomed cause that would inevitably fail, but that Southerners’ motives were patriotic and sincere, and their conduct gallant. Even worse, GWTW portrays happy African American servants exercising plenty of domestic power and responsibility and treated as members of the family. And, on top of that, they have quaint accents, speak in distinctive and amusing vernaculars (condescension!), and all the prominent ones remain loyal to their white family, even after Emancipation! HBO knows that all this is morally unconscionable and must be factually dead wrong. Eric Fone and Ta-Nehisi Coates told them so.
Margaret Mitchell’s portrait of the Lost Antebellum South, of course, was produced by a woman born in 1900, old enough to have known personally, lived beside, and heard all her life the reminiscences of the older generation which actually lived before, fought in, and survived both the War and the glorious, now so-deeply-regretted to have ever ended, Reconstruction Period. She couldn’t possibly be right. Those Marxist historians know better.