If ‘Gone With the Wind’ goes, what’s next?
In the original “Diehard,” after murdering a hostage in demanding that Bruce Willis’s character tell him what happened to the detonators needed for the explosives that the terrorists had squirreled away, chief terrorist Hans Gruber tells Willis, “Where are they, or shall I shoot another one? Sooner or later, I might get to someone you do care about!”
Gruber’s comment may be appropriate as our cancel culture continues apace. Will we eventually end this madness by canceling something that woke radicals actually care about — whatever that may be?
On Wednesday, per The Wall Street Journal, we’ve now had a takedown of “Gone With the Wind.” HBO Max announced it had pulled the classic film from its collection as a result of the ongoing protests about the death of George Floyd, the black Minneapolis man who died in police custody on Memorial Day.
HBO Max declared the film a “product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society.” Since the movie is set during and after the Civil War, it may well have depicted the “commonplace” prejudices of that time. In HBO’s statement, “been,” as in past tense, is the operative word.
Nonetheless, HBO Max said it might bring back the movie “with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions.” Yet, it “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.”
Speaking of understanding of history, “Gone With the Wind” was historic because Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar for her role as “Mammy,” Scarlett O’Hara’s house slave, the first black actor to win an Academy Award.
The Federalist reported Wednesday that following HBO’s decision the movie “quickly shot to the top of the list of best-selling movies and TV shows on Amazon.” The conservative website also pointed out the film is the biggest moneymaker of all time, per a Business Insider report that adjusted its box office receipts for inflation. “Gone With the Wind” made the equivalent of $3.5 billion in today’s dollars in the U.S. and $7.4 billion worldwide.
HBO’s move even had some liberals scratching their heads.
On “The View,” Whoopi Goldberg noted that entertainment companies would also have to “pull all the Blaxploitation movies because they’re not depicting us the right way. This is a very long list of films.” Co-host Joy Behar rhetorically queried, “So, we get rid of Gone with the Wind, does that solve the problem with racism? I don’t think so.”
Entertainment is just one front where this controversy is playing out. Professional sports, the Pentagon and even the British government are underoing these same convulsions in trying to appease the critics.
History is just that, a story of a people across time. It should be told, as Oliver Cromwell, another revolutionary, instructed the artist of his own portrait, showing him with “warts and all.” In other words, we have moments of triump and tragedy, but we don’t simply cast parts we don’t like to the trash bin.
As the fictional terrorist Gruber mentioned in “Diehard,” one day we may get to someone or something that the woke cultural vandals care about. But the question is will anything be left before we reach that point?
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