Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Kirkman1987, Oct 29, 2012.
You must really hate Star Wars then, as it romanticizes terrorism.
Star Wars doesn't romanticize terrorists. The only acts of terrorism in the Star Wars films are acts of state terrorism -- the destruction of the planet Alderaan by the Galactic Empire, for instance. The Rebel Alliance never attacks civilian targets.
Confederate slavers deserve no films romanticizing them, ever. These people were violent, murderous oppressors who in a just world would have been tried for crimes against humanity.
Fair enough. Terrorism was the wrong word to use. How about warfare? Either way, the point of the matter is there's a lot more going on in Gone With The Wind. I'm not telling you you are wrong for not seeing it because you can't get over the glorification and romanticism of slavery, I'm just saying that not everyone has that problem and can see beyond it for what the underlying point of the film is.
It is my contention that the glorification and romanticism of slavery overshadows whatever else might matter and be good in the story, and that these elements should never be treated as anything other than the most important elements of the story. They distinctly mark Gone With the Wind as a work of racist propaganda designed to minimize the suffering of those held prisoner by slavers and to glorify the lives of their oppressors. This invalidates everything else that might be good about the film, just like Triumph of the Will's glorification of the Nazi regime invalidates everything else that might be good about that film.
In your opinion. It is not an invalid opinion, certainly, but it is also not the only opinion, nor should it suggest that those of us who can see beyond your interpretation of the film are somehow condoning the racism (whether implicit or explicit) in the film.
Obviously. The thread is, after all, subtitled "What do you think of it?"
I made no such accusation.
But I invite you to consider a counterfactual scenario:
If a major Hollywood studio were to make a grand, epic romance, with writing just as good, and acting just as good, and cinematography and direction just as good, etc., as Gone With the Wind -- and were to make it about two Nazi guards fighting over the affections of a German Army nurse, while they're all stationed at a concentration camp? And the film ignores the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust, and only features one or two Jewish characters who are portrayed as sycophantic to Germans?
If such a film were made, would you not agree that it is a film whose narrative is designed to minimize the suffering of the victims of the Holocaust, and to glorify the lives of their oppressors?
Would you be able to "see beyond" that aspect of the film and enjoy the other hypothetically high-quality aspects of the film?
This is not an accusation against you. I do not think you are a racist. But I would invite you to consider by what standards you evaluate these sorts of things.
Well obviously I can't answer that definitively as no such other film has been made, to my knowledge so I have no idea how I'd react to it.
That being said, there is also the perspective to consider that it's just a movie. And as its just a movie, it is important to remember that movies concern themselves with telling specific stories. So, in the scenario you suggest, even if such a film were made, regardless of how reprehensible I might find slavery or the actions of the Nazi party, it is still possible, I believe, for a film to be made that still can be regarded as "good" if the story of the film is compelling enough. Look at The Godfather, a film about mafia violence. About the only person in that film who is really innocent of anything is Kay Adams, but even she winds up caught up in the middle of things (admittedly, implicitly.) Does the fact that this movie is about organized crime and murderous thugs mean we should not be able to enjoy it? Of course not.
I do see what you are saying though. I like James Cameron movies, and I like True Lies, but I don't particularly care for his single-sided, almost cartoonish portrayal of Arabs in the film. For a long time, I refused to watch it because of that one aspect. But I realized also that it's just one aspect of the film and no matter how atrocious I might find it, at the end of the day its just one aspect of one film that I otherwise actually enjoyed once I let myself see it.
The medium does not render harmless the ideas communicated.
So it is your contention that a film can be "good" even if its narrative is specifically designed to glorify, to endorse, systems of oppression and the people who perpetuate those systems?
No. But then, The Godfather's narrative is not designed to glorify and endorse organized crime. It is, in fact, an implicit criticism of the American socio-economic system which produces such crime syndicates.
Tl;dr: I contend that there is a large difference between a work of art which portrays horrible things and a work of art which endorses horrible things.
I guess my question then becomes - what is it about Gone with the Wind that crosses over from "portraying" to "endorsing" for you?
The manner in which the narrative is designed to minimize or ignore the suffering of those persons held hostage by the "peculiar institution" (whom we often refer to as "slaves"), and to glorify the slavery system and the lives of those who controlled that system.
That's why I drew a comparison to setting a romance about Nazi guards at a concentration camp and ignoring the suffering of Holocaust victims: Because this extreme counterfactual example highlights the manner in which the narrative is designed to distort the reality of the tyrants' actions, to cover up human suffering, and to glorify the oppressive systems that in reality enabled crimes against humanity.
If Gone With the Wind had been honest about the suffering of people held in bondage -- if it had featured a Roots-esque plot alongside the Scarlet O'Hara plot, and if it had accurately depicted the cruelty of Southern slavers -- then I'd be less critical of it. As it stands, the narrative is clearly constructed to function as pro-Confederate, pro-slavery propaganda.
Haven't read it, but you might like The Wind Done Gone.
I remember when that came out - people were furious that someone else had gone and written a retelling of the story from a different perspective, mainly because (I think) it was unauthorized at the time. Still, I'd like to read it, I've just never managed to get my hands on a copy.
ConsciousCircuits provided a nice explanation for why Scarlett was a complex character who the story doesn't fully sympathize with. But it did little to convince me that the movie didn't romanticize the South under slavery; indeed, I think the movie does exactly that (the book more so, apparently, though you're not going to get me to read it anytime soon).
I think it's a very well made film that showcases the best of Hollywood in it's ability to tell a grand tale. Everything from the script to the actors, to the cinematography is top notch.
The tale itself is a sweeping one, filled with romance, and drama, all with the ugly undertones of what hatred for one's fellow man can bring.
Wow. Hogan's Heroes must be a bitch to sit through!
To be fair, the Germans in HH were mostly portrayed as idiots.
I understand very well the other things the film has to offer. But I'll repeat myself: The historical revisionism of the movie was and is a major part of its appeal. People could watch a love story between the god-like Clark Gable and a Bitch-Goddess set in the past that led to the Scottsboro Boys. What they wanted instead was Gone With the Wind.
Strange fruit? Must be kiwis.
Schultz was portrayed as a lovable, sweet, Sergeant of the Guard. He is, likely, the most popular character from the show.
Schultz and even Klink weren't Nazis, though. One of my favorite bits in the show is Klink's often lackluster second thought "Heil Hitler". The only recurring character character that was a Nazi, would be Major Hochstetter. And of course, the "Heroes" were the Allied prisoners of war, not the Germans.
Separate names with a comma.