By January 8, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

Frankly, my dear, I DO give a damn!

I just detest this age of “political correctness” our world is stuck in. So many daily examples in our newspapers,on  talk shows, FB, Twitter, ETC.  Everyone has to be so careful with wording, so thorough in giving acknowledgements to all who might possibly be offended, that plain straight talk can be dangerous to one’s reputation and to friendships.

GWTWHowever, now this really has my attention.

I keep a running list of the ten best movies ever, and number one and number ten never change – although two – nine change a lot!   My number ten best movie is Gone With the Wind! 

In October, the Houston Chronicle carried an article by Maggie Galehouse.  She quotes Molly Haskell from the introduction of her new book, Gone With the Wind: The Great American Movie 75 Years Later.

Politically incorrect and racially retrograde, GWTW has offended so many sensibilities that the overture should be preceded by a trigger alert: Beware!”

Furthermore,

Despite the romanticization of slavery, despite the prickly selfishness of its heroine, despite marital rape, the film and book remain classics – uncomfortable, complicated classics.”

A Rice associate professor of English, Nicole Waligora-Davis,  says the film,

“…helped  conserve certain ideas and representations of black women that had a comforting familiarity…the film helped normalize and enable the exploitation of black domestic labor in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.” and that it has no redemptive qualiies because of its “racist representations of black life”

Galehouse and Haskell  note further  that Michael Kreyling,  Professor of English at Vanderbilt University believes Scarlett O’Hara is reincarnated by Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games and as  Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird and as Skeeter in The Help – all young white women protagonists involved in racially charged situations.

And, me?  I see GWTW as a wonderfully romantic story of star crossed lovers against the backdrop of the Civil War.  Scarlett is a spoiled, privileged, manipulative  girl who becomes a woman just as her whole world is destroyed by the Civil War.  Yet, she is a survivor, and rebuilds her life.

Early Great Depression readers of Margaret Mitchell’s novel could easily relate to her, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again”.

Back to my theme, how easily we slip into “political correctness”.  Certainly this is just a historical novel about a love triangle and the collapse of Southern society with extremely interesting characters of both races.

If GWTW is a “classical embarrassment“, then we should be looking at Pasternak’s  Dr. Zarvago, Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls,  Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice“, and a host of other historical novels which perhaps didn’t portray history according to current sensitivities or with complete accuracy.  And, in regard to that marital rape, I can’t help  but note that  Scarlett hardly seemed displeased the next morning.

Margaret Mitchell’s novel was an instant best-seller, winning a Pulitzer Prize and ten Academy Awards including an Oscar for Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Oscar.

In my mind’s ear, I can hear Max Steiner’s beautiful music, Tara’s Theme,  and I’m certainly going to keep GWTW on my best movies list.  May even move it up a notch. Buttered popcorn and GWTW are  happening again in my near future!

CircleBen-02_100x115

Ben as Poor Richard says,

” A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one.”

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Posted in: Living Media

About the Author:

I am an observer of our interesting world , sharing my passions and my outrages, and thinking of Incredible Ben, his amazing blending of a social and civic life with superb common sense.

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