The American Experience, Gone With the Wind, and Facebook
Not too long ago, The American Experience Facebook page posted about the 1939 film, Gone With the Wind. Noting that the movie catered to southern sensibilities AE pointed out the film took the nation by storm. And indeed it did. This was one of the most anticipated films of the 20th century, it was a huge box office smash and it dominated the Academy Awards. But moving on...if you want to experience the polarization of America in real time, just go to the AE page and scroll through the comments in this post. There are two general themes here. One, the film is racist and should be dismissed as such. Two, it's just a movie (and a great one at that) and we should get over it. I'll admit that many of the scenes in this film depicting black people are offensive. Slavery appears entirely benign and the "servants" seem all too eager to please. There are even hints of the Klan in the film (Margaret Mitchell was quite specific in her novel...David O. Selznick thought it best not to name names in the movie version).
Yes indeed - racism. But should the conversation end there? Should we evaluate the film in the context of the era? I feel that we might serve the American public better to do so - at least the ones on Facebook. The seem to need it...from where I sit its just insult hurling and finger pointing. I am interested in your thoughts...so feel free to weigh in.
PS - see picture above. Yes, they made a mistake. Twelve Oaks was NOT the O'Hara Plantation.