Amazingly, some online conservatives are still
bitching about the "removal" of Gone with the Wind
. Even though there's nothing to bitch about.
Because while GWTW was removed from the HBO Max for a matter of days, it's back. It's been been back. It was returned to the queue, completely uncut, weeks ago.
You'd think that would stop the whining and misinformation. It hasn't. "The PC Police are taking it away!" "It's been banned!" You might also assume that people who can blog, tweet and post could also use Google, but apparently they can't. Because this is, literally, the first thing that pops up when you search "Gone with the Wind, HBO Max."
In early June, HBO Max temporarily suspended Gone with the Wind from its library.
The move was inspired by a thoughtful LA Times op-ed by John Ridley
-- which I'd wager my mortgage payment these bitchers haven't read -- where he states, "Let me be real clear: I don’t believe in censorship. I don’t
think “Gone With the Wind” should be relegated to a vault in Burbank."
Ridley just pleaded for some context to be place around the film. At the beginning or at the end.
Classic film lovers are used to the addition of context and are, by and large, grateful for it. TCM has been preceding potentially offensive films with host introductions for a while now. I specifically recall the ones I watched as TCM celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019
. Before these wonderful old movies, certain serious flaws were acknowledged and discussed -- including the way less-than-equal treatment of black soldiers and their heroism was diminished, or internment camps right here in the United States were ignored. Putting works of art (and classic film lovers do think of movies as art) in the context of the time they were made does not harm them. It just helps the viewer better understand what they're about to see.
On June 24, less than two weeks later, Gone with the Wind was returned to HBO Max.
Not a frame was removed. The narrative is untouched. Instead, HBO added a panel discussion The Complicated Legacy of Gone with the Wind
. It was filmed at the TCM Film Festival in April 2019. I attended, and here's what I wrote about it at the time
TCMFF panel I attended, but it was so provocative and intriguing. A
quartet of film historians and authors discussed two inarguable points:
GWTW is un-PC to the point of being offensive, and yet it's a great and
highly watchable movie. As women, how do we process Scarlett, Mammy and
Melanie? As people of color, how do we handle the romanticized depiction
of slavery and Reconstruction? It lasted an hour and it could have gone
on an hour more.
Then there's this: Gone with the Wind premiered in 1939.
It's regularly re-released in theaters: I've seen it on the big screen (at least) four times. It's been available on BetaMax, VHS, DVD, Blue-Ray and now streaming services. It was the first movie shown on TCM and (next to Casablanca
) the one shown most often.
Yet NOW whiners demand to see it and are furious they can't? NOW they better hurry, before it's taken away forever?
They can see it for free, right now, on HBO Max. They can watch it for free, right now, with a video of a panel discussion I had to pay to enjoy. And they still aren't happy.
To what can we attribute this?
• Genuinely fake news.
These folks never actually read what HBO Max said in the initial, early-June press-release where it was stated the film wouldn't be banned, edited or censored. Instead they trusted hysterical, slanted social media for their news. And hysterical, slanted social media never told them HBO Max has restored the movie to their line-up.
They read a headline and never bothered to follow up on the story. As I indicated above, all one has to do is Google the movie and HBO Max to be greeted by ads to watch it at home for free. But why let facts get in the way of their spreading misinformation that fits the narrative?
• Professional victimization.
Yes, those nasty PC police are trying to keep YOU from seeing a movie YOU haven't yet bothered to purchase, rent or even watch -- even though it's been readily available in a variety of formats for 80 fucking years. This is all about YOU. Not about how it would feel to be a person of color watching a movie that celebrates the Confederacy, romanticizes slavery and normalizes the Ku Klux Klan. No, this is about YOU.