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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Going, Going, Gone

‘Gone with the Wind’ is gone – from Memphis theatre after 34 years

because the theater officials are afraid of Twitter nasties. As if you can actually placate them by anything you say or do. 

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10 thoughts on “Going, Going, Gone

  1. Shakti on said:

    Oh please. There have always been people who’ve had problems with Gone With the Wind, well before Twitter.

    It’s an excellent movie and a piece of propaganda. The film makers softened a lot of the crap from the book.

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  2. Shakti on said:

    All of the literature made today doesn’t 100% coincide with their sensibilities either. I feel no great loss because it’s played every year on tv anyways.

    Some black people in the 1930s = Modern Melissa McEwan types. Ok then. I don’t think the theater’s decision had anything to do with “twitter” and everything to do with Charlottesville.

    From the link:

    By the spring of 1937, spurred by memories of racism in black organizations on both coasts had written to Selznick International about Gone With the Wind. “We consider this work to be a glorification of the old rotten system of slavery, propaganda for race-hatreds and bigotry, and incitement of lynching,” members of a Pittsburgh group wrote in a letter that, like other such correspondence, has rarely been cited, much less discussed, in popular histories of the picture. One studio official called such opinions “ridiculous,” yet many blacks were convinced otherwise; they genuinely feared that what they saw as an “anti-Negro” novel would become an “anti-Negro” film. Selznick International meanwhile hastened to assure them that no movie company “intends to offer to the public material that is offensive or conducive to race prejudice.”….

    As the principal photography began, in early 1939, scrutiny by the black press increased. Eight years before, The Pittsburgh Courier had acquired thousands of signatures on a petition to bar from the airwaves. The Courier hoped for even wider support on Gone With the Wind. Using the screenplay’s racial epithets as a battle cry, the paper threatened a letter-writing offensive and, if necessary, a boycott of the finished picture. Selznick was nonplussed. The movie industry’s censors had ruled only that “nigger” “should not be put in the mouth of white people. In this connection you might want to give some consideration to the use of the word ‘darkies.'” For once, Selznick agreed with the Hays Office; certainly, he thought, the black characters could use “nigger” among themselves. But the Courier was not alone in its outrage.
    The more strident Los Angeles Sentinel called for a boycott of “every other Selznick picture, present and future.” “What’s more,” the paper continued, “let’s start a campaign and find out whether or not some of those who oppose Hitler from a safe distance have courage enough to oppose race prejudice when it may hit them in their careers and in their pocketbooks.” Again Selznick was baffled. Perhaps, he thought, he should hire a black agent as a public-relations liaison to the black community. Or perhaps he should simply have the legal department send harsh warning letters to reporters and others whose inflammatory comments threatened to injure the production.

    …Black activists responded with actions as well as words. As Gone With the Wind opened in American cities throughout the early 1940s, organized blacks made signs and walked picket lines in front of box offices. “YOU’D BE SWEET TOO UNDER A WHIP!” read one placard outside a Washington theater. “Gone With the Wind glorifies slavery” and “Negroes were never docile slaves,” demonstrators shouted in Chicago. The police were on site, but the rally was peaceful. Not so in Brooklyn, where the line at the box office snaked around the Loew’s Metropolitan. When the picketers began to weave in and out of the queue, the police moved them across the street from the theater. From there they continued to annoy the crowd. Eventually they stepped outside the blockade and started to bandy words with the police. According to the New York Sun, a seventeen-year-old black “swung like a cyclone” at a patrolman, “who took the gesture on the nose and in bad part.” After the youth was arrested, his companions staged a “sit-down protest” to prolong their noisy demonstration against the picture.

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    • Twitter makes it easier for the congenitally insulted to keep us all in check. And we are for some reason very accommodating. It’s easy to do because the movie is kind of icky, Murray is a sort of a jerk, Freddie was kind of crazy anyway, the people who get fired maybe deserve it anyway, and so on.

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    • \ Some black people in the 1930s = Modern Melissa McEwan types. Ok then.

      Isn’t America in 2017 very different from that in the 1930s?

      There may be a difference between black protesters in the 1930s and people of all colors in 2017.

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  3. Stringer Bell on said:

    Did you hear Rauner vetoed the minimum wage hike? How confident must that piece of shit be of buying the election that public opinion doesn’t even matter anymore.

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  4. Dreidel on said:

    As long as we’re going off-topic: Has anyone besides me noticed an interesting thing about the accents used by the “Gone with the Wind” stars?

    Of the four top-billed stars (Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh, Leslie Howard, and Olivia de Havilland), three were British. The three British actors all did an excellent job of faking Southern accents. Gable, the only American, adamantly refused to even attempt one.

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    • “three British actors all did an excellent job of faking Southern accents”

      I read a long time ago that actually Scarlett O’Hara would have naturally spoken much more like the (house) slaves than modern (or 1930s) idea of upper class white southerners.
      This was because rich southerners had adopted the British custom of outsourcing most child raising.

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  5. Retrofitting history and legacies one classic film at a time ….

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