Theater Cancels 'Gone With the Wind' Screening Due To Film Being 'Insensitive'

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WREG has the official statement from Orpheum cinema:

While title selections for the series are typically made in the spring of each year, the Orpheum has made this determination early in response to specific inquiries from patrons. The Orpheum appreciates feedback on its programming from all members of the mid-south community. The recent screening of Gone With the Wind at the Orpheum on Friday, August 11, 2017, generated numerous comments. The Orpheum carefully reviewed all of them. As an organization whose stated mission is to ‘entertain, educate and enlighten the communities it serves,’ the Orpheum cannot show a film that is insensitive to a large segment of its local population.

Orpheum’s Facebook page event for the August screening has users saying the film is “racist.” Another notable comment has somebody saying “slowly but surely, we will rid this community of all tributes to white supremacy.” Dear god...whats next, "Saving Private Ryan" is too white? 

Will this controversy lead to heated debate? It won't, because you can't have a debate with people who think their moral and political certitude justifies destroying and debasing cultural artifacts and institutions. It would be like trying to explain to the true believers in the Khmer Rouge why shutting down schools and libraries and forcing people to live on collective farms was a bad idea. If you think the backlash to this kind of sanctimonious posturing is bad now, you ain't seen nothing yet. 

I haven't watched the movie for a long time, but, if I remember correctly, the film is not at all wildly racist. The main story line revolves around relationships rather than praising the South, the Confederacy, and slavery. Those themes come up in the background of the story, but it's nowhere near the main theme at all. It has nothing to do with the glorification of the antebellum plantation society but instead deals with universal themes of love and betrayal. The setting could have been in any other era or even without any historical context and it would still be the same story. The film is true to the era when a person wouldn't frown upon slavery and would support the South (I would think), but I don't remember there being any politically motivated messages, such as how the South was right, how the North was wrong, or how slavery was the bees-knees.

It'll be interesting to see if, in a decade or so, "Gone With the Wind" becomes as taboo as "The Birth of a Nation," D.W. Griffith's towering but reactionary slab of racism, with film students being the primary judges for Scarlett O'Hara's plight. God help us all. I say, reluctantly, no, because while the film does romanticize the old plantation lifestyle to some extent, it's hardly as deliriously racist as Griffith's Nation, after all, the film's odious racism vilified black people and glorified the Ku Klux Klan. There's also the case of Gone With the Wind's Hattie McDaniel who did win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress after all, though she couldn't attend the ceremony because, you know, 1939.

Edit: McDaniel did, in fact, make it to the ceremony that year. Video proof.
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