This Guy Has A Dumb Opinion About Gone With The Wind
I want to start today’s post by sending you somewhere else–to a column by Lou Lumenick of the New York Post.
Now, let me tell you how dumb this opinion is.
Without going into a long diatribe on the Confederate flag, I’ll simply say I understand why most Americans want it removed from courthouses and state flags. It’s a symbol of racism, plain and simple.
But to somehow equate the racism represented by the Confederate flag to Gone With the Wind is, well, dumb. The fact of the matter is that when GWTW was published, racism was alive and well. Segregation was law in parts of America, mostly the south, where Margaret Mitchell’s novel takes place. The time in which GWTW takes place, the American Civil War, is an even more racially charged time.
We can’t simply erase that from our country’s history, as morally reprehensible as that time might be. It’s the same reason novels like To Kill A Mockingbird shouldn’t be censored or banned in libraries because characters use the N word.
I know it’s a shocker to people like Lou Lumenick, but human beings, through time, say really stupid stuff. They will continue saying really stupid stuff. They will also continue doing really stupid stuff. And all that stupid stuff will continue to be represented in fiction–whether it’s films or books–because created stories will always represent the human experience in some way.
Should we wipe out World War 2 literature based on Hitler’s hatred toward Jews and responsibility for the war? Should we ban novels like Lolita because the main character is a horrid pervert? Should we remove rape from novels? Should we ban Disney movies because so many of their protagonist have daddy issues–and those daddies did such mean things?
How about this: How about we make ALL literature happy, fun stories where no character ever harms or disparages another character? Should every movie be a poorly produced Christian flick, starring Kirk Cameron, with an over-the-top happy ending?
Because, in essence, that’s what this Lou Lumenick guy is saying. Yes, Gone With the Wind–both the film and the novel–have racist characters, and both stories make light of slavery in the south.
But you can’t write about a period of time in history without reflecting people’s attitudes during that period of time in history. Whether you think Gone With the Wind was a good novel, or whether you think Margaret Mitchell was a racist–that’s an entirely different issue.
But saying this novel, and film, should be removed from our culture in the same way the Confederate flag should go is just wrong. The flag is a symbol of hate. Whatever it was in the past, that’s what it has become.
Gone With the Wind is a story about flawed people with flawed perceptions of the world and each other. It’s not a symbol of hate. Let’s just leave it alone, okay?
And, once and for all, can we just stop trying to censor every form of art we disagree with?