I Tried to Watch ‘Gone With the Wind’ But I Couldn’t Do It

I’ve been trying to find and watch as many Best Picture-winning movies as possible over the past few weeks. My search led me to run into the iconic film, Gone With the Wind, on HBO Max. I knew the film had racist elements but I decided to try and watch it anyway. I couldn’t make it ten minutes into the movie and this bit was what ultimately broke me.

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I read these words and was instantly infuriated, baffled, and downright horrified that a movie like this could still be available to watch on streaming platforms.

As a young black woman, the idea of slavery is one of pure horror. This “Civilization” this movie speaks of so fondly includes thousands of young women like myself who were beaten, raped, and who knows what other atrocities they dealt with, had to face on a daily basis.

I understand that this film may be well-written and maybe the first movie to award an African-American actor an Oscar but I will not, as a proud black woman, rest my eyes on something that makes slavery seem like something that was good.

Especially! at a time when our country is being faced with the brutality of policemen hurting and killing black people. I just can’t do it.

I thank you for reading and I hope you have a tremendous day.

 

8 thoughts on “I Tried to Watch ‘Gone With the Wind’ But I Couldn’t Do It”

  1. Not that it matters what I think about it, but I think you are quite right to give this one a miss. There isn’t any reason why you should “inflict” a movie on yourself no matter the awards won, celebrating Hattie McDaniel’s achievement should not require it. Be kind to yourself, and I hope you have a wonderful day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 🙁☹️😣😫 I’m at a loss for what to say here. I’m so sorry that you put yourself through that and had that experience.. I know that I can’t really know what that feels like, but I still feel bad.

    Gone With The Wind is one of those cultural land mines, along with stuff like DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, the Nazis’ Triumph of the Will, and so on as testimonies to well made films that nonetheless stand today only to serve modern audiences that our world is a very, very messed up place. I consider the fact that there is a non zero count of modern viewers who don’t see anything wrong with it as a continuing statement that we do not live in a nice world or even an entirely nice country. I mean, on the off chance that you didn’t already know that from a casual perusal of the news over the last couple weeks.

    I feel a little goofy about saying this next part, but last night I was commenting to another acquaintance on another forum that X2 probably holds my lifetime record for a movie I’ve watched where I rejected the whole premise of it in the shortest elapsed screen time. Like, I get to a part where they’re saying, “yeah, we’re going to have normal humans walk up to Magneto and Professor X and assert a level of indefinite mind control over them that we can force them to use their powers in detailed ways against their will by walking up and squirting whatever is in this syringe on them.“

    But having said that just last night? I’m an idiot. I now realize that this is like talking about who’s won the most NBA championships who didn’t play on the 60s Celtics. (In case you’re not familiar, there’s eight players from that team who have more rings than Michael Jordan.) Even having the conversation has this huge, “elephant in the room” asterisk where I’m forced to sheepishly say, “um… yeah. Well, except for THAT.” Because stuff like Gone With The Wind, I hope to tell you that I reject the premise before I even start viewing it. I don’t even want to see it. Being married to a black woman (who teaches ethnic studies and film at a university level, no less), I wouldn’t even expect her to want me putting that on a screen in this house. The very idea of the darkest era of our nation’s history being something that we should romanticize as a lost era that was better than now is something that should offend every single human being that sees these images. I haven’t even seen these exact frames before, but I know this, and have never had even the slightest interest in watching it start to finish as a result. My wife has even observed that it’s unfortunate that for decades, the only black woman who ever won an Oscar for acting got it for playing the trope-setter for one of the most persistent and terrible stereotypes of black women of all time.

    In fact, when George Lucas briefly got the idea that he was going to re-release 3D versions of all the Star Wars films? My immediate thought was that I hoped that Ep4’s version would make enough money to finally knock this shameful film off the top of the all time leaderboard for inflation-adjusted gross box office. Unfortunately, he started with Phantom Menace, it didn’t too well enough to justify keeping going, and that dream sort of died in a muted whimper.

    …I really hope this didn’t happen on your birthday. 😞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually it did, at the every end of my birthday, but it was no big deal because I simply went to sleep. The movie I watched before it however, Arthur (1981) was really fun and I had a blast.

      It really didn’t ruin my birthday in the slightest.

      Like

  3. That’s fair there’s millions of movies to enjoy out their that you shouldn’t feel obligated to watch anything. We should all be chasing what makes us happy. Gone with the Wind is an odd beast because while I agree that that particular part is incredibly insensitive I wouldn’t say the film romanticizing the era as all the characters are portrayed as immoral, arrogant, selfish, and end up getting what they deserve (just like the South). It’s probably more coincidence then by design but the film weirdly demonstrates the karamic justice of people with self-destruction ideals which is fitting for the time period.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. HBO Max has taken down the movie for the time being. They’ve stated that when they put it back up, it will be with their standard disclaimer about the prejudices that went into it and saying something to the effect of “these prejudices were wrong then and are wrong today. The film is presented as originally created, because to do otherwise would be to pretend these prejudices never existed.” Or some such.

    Liked by 1 person

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