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Old 01-16-2012, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
6,599 posts, read 10,153,311 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
I agree. The thread has more and more turned from a discussion about the film, its merits and faults, into a defense of a position statement concerning racism towards blacks. I've seen this same style of thread so many times over the years (especially on usenet) that I can anticipate the responses. The OP is not open to any change of stance, the repeated attempts by various posters to expose flaws in the position are either ignored or deflected, and some posters inevitably continue to attempt to engage in discussion aimed at change. It hasn't happened, it ain't goinna happen, and most of the major themes have been explored and repeated. Time to let the thread die.
.
Agree.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
17,300 posts, read 9,756,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamplight View Post
I think that's quite an exaggeration, considering you can't honestly say that every single slave was utterly miserable and abused all the time. Do you believe there were no slaves like Mammy?

But still, if that's the way you feel then you might as well avoid a great deal of classic literature and old movies.
Basic questions.

Do you think that Mitchell's view of the antebellum South was distorted (i.e., the Klan being formed as a response to "black terror," etc.)?

If the answer to that question is yes, then that would make her POV equally distorted as an author's who wrote about the Holocaust victims "getting what they deserved," would it not? I mean, aren't both propositions equally ludicrous? So I was just wondering if you'd be able to read a different novel that contained distortions that are as egregious as the ones in Gone With The Wind.
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:48 AM
 
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I had read the book first, and so I was disappointed in the movie. So much was left out.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Interesting tidbit.

Quote:
Dixon's influence on subsequent southern literature appears as significant—if not entirely quantifiable—as his impact on the southern racial climate. Most clearly, his work inspired Margaret Mitchell, and Gone with the Wind owes much to his Ku Klux Klan trilogy. Mitchell loved Dixon's books, and as an adolescent she even organized neighborhood children for their own dramatizations of his novels. Years later, Mitchell remained fond of Dixon and his work. When he wrote to congratulate her on the success of Gone with the Wind, she returned the compliment, explaining, "I was practically raised on your books, and love them very much. For many years I have had you on my conscience, and I suppose I might as well confess it now." (41) Mitchell proceeded to explain jokingly that she feared lawsuits for copyright infringement over her dramatic productions as a child, but she might as well have had in mind the literary debt she owed to his version of Reconstruction. Gone with the Wind contains all the same stereotypes of African Americans during Reconstruction that Dixon presented, including the sexual threat, and it is not unreasonable to read Gone with the Wind as the standard bearer for Dixonian Reconstruction into the latter half of the twentieth century. While Dixon's fiction established the popular image of the South for the first two decades of the twentieth century, Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind did the same for her generation. The pattern of Dixon's and Mitchell's influence paralleled each other as well: wildly popular historical romance followed by blockbuster movies. Whereas Dixon's fiction proved to be the most powerful shaping factor of the southern image for twenty years or so, Mitchell's presentation of the South has now endured for nearly seven decades and shows little sign of fading.
Thomas Dixon, Jr.: Conflicts in History and Literature by Andrew Leiter
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Bellingham, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Basic questions.

Do you think that Mitchell's view of the antebellum South was distorted (i.e., the Klan being formed as a response to "black terror," etc.)?

If the answer to that question is yes, then that would make her POV equally distorted as an author's who wrote about the Holocaust victims "getting what they deserved," would it not? I mean, aren't both propositions equally ludicrous? So I was just wondering if you'd be able to read a different novel that contained distortions that are as egregious as the ones in Gone With The Wind.
I think some of it is certainly distorted, especially concerning the Klan, but you're missing my point that an author can do that very thing intentionally in order to reflect the attitudes of the very people she's describing. That may not have been her intention, I can't say for sure. But considering that the story mostly revolves around the lives of the Southern Aristocracy, then it wouldn't surprise me at all if that was her intention.

Another thing is that the attitudes between the two events are different. 70 years after the Civil War (roughly when GWTW was written) most people probably felt slavery was a terrible thing, but many still viewed blacks as ignorant but amusing servants. If you and I had been alive in the 1930s, we may very well have felt that same way, and we probably would have been proud of how progressive we were. 70 years after the Holocaust (roughly now), very, very few people view Jews and other non-Aryans as lesser creatures who need to be wiped from the Earth. To compare with GWTW, your novel about the Holocaust would have to be written in the present day and be as insensitive and inaccurate as you describe, and I don't see that happening, not only because the events are so different, but also because society is considerably different, and I'd even say it's changing at a much faster pace. That novel would not accurately reflect the typical attitude of today, whereas GWTW did, or at least much more than such a novel as you're describing would today. Why are the attitudes so different after similar periods of time? I don't know, but I imagine that could be an entirely separate thread.
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Old 01-16-2012, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamplight View Post
I think some of it is certainly distorted, especially concerning the Klan, but you're missing my point that an author can do that very thing intentionally in order to reflect the attitudes of the very people she's describing. That may not have been her intention, I can't say for sure. But considering that the story mostly revolves around the lives of the Southern Aristocracy, then it wouldn't surprise me at all if that was her intention.
Your earlier point was duly noted. Trust me, it didn't escape me. I said if I were to read a book with all types of distortions and fabrications surrounding the Holocaust that it would not matter what the author's intentions were. The words alone would be sufficiently disgusting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamplight View Post
To compare with GWTW, your novel about the Holocaust would have to be written in the present day and be as insensitive and inaccurate as you describe, and I don't see that happening, not only because the events are so different, but also because society is considerably different, and I'd even say it's changing at a much faster pace. That novel would not accurately reflect the typical attitude of today, whereas GWTW did, or at least much more than such a novel as you're describing would today. Why are the attitudes so different after similar periods of time? I don't know, but I imagine that could be an entirely separate thread.
Perhaps I should have been more clear. I meant a book that was written during the Nazi regime. They do exist.

Last edited by BajanYankee; 01-16-2012 at 12:54 PM..
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Old 01-16-2012, 01:26 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
10,052 posts, read 7,540,629 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lamplight View Post
I think some of it is certainly distorted, especially concerning the Klan, but you're missing my point that an author can do that very thing intentionally in order to reflect the attitudes of the very people she's describing. That may not have been her intention, I can't say for sure. But considering that the story mostly revolves around the lives of the Southern Aristocracy, then it wouldn't surprise me at all if that was her intention.

Another thing is that the attitudes between the two events are different. 70 years after the Civil War (roughly when GWTW was written) most people probably felt slavery was a terrible thing, but many still viewed blacks as ignorant but amusing servants. If you and I had been alive in the 1930s, we may very well have felt that same way, and we probably would have been proud of how progressive we were. 70 years after the Holocaust (roughly now), very, very few people view Jews and other non-Aryans as lesser creatures who need to be wiped from the Earth. To compare with GWTW, your novel about the Holocaust would have to be written in the present day and be as insensitive and inaccurate as you describe, and I don't see that happening, not only because the events are so different, but also because society is considerably different, and I'd even say it's changing at a much faster pace. That novel would not accurately reflect the typical attitude of today, whereas GWTW did, or at least much more than such a novel as you're describing would today. Why are the attitudes so different after similar periods of time? I don't know, but I imagine that could be an entirely separate thread.
Extremely good points here. I doubt anyone is going to make a movie about the happy cargo going in under the wire gate to a concentration camp. It was an aberations in human history, in the same way as the standard policy of genocide against the neighbors in early history (no people to invade you back equals no invasion) And there are still living vicutms around to set it right. Previously little known information is surfacing as other victums who never talked bout it before are remembering before they die, like the POW's. There never was a time when it was 'acceptable' to anyone but the Nazi command. If the citizens of Germany had known everything we don't know what they'd have thought but the acceptace of those who were close enough to see the outside is the closest your going to get to the antibellum south.

Slavery has existed all through human history. The conditions were different in different places but even if it wasn't a shining beacon of hope for us, it wasn't an abrigation. It exists today. Society falls apart and the normal order of things, weak falling under domination of the strong, the cunning and manipilative managing things, and it will again. The actual aberation in historical terms is the preception that it is wrong. Generations had grown up with the acceptance of the world that it was okay to enslave others. Margaret Mitchel grew up with the filtered memories of the time from family, and in a society who did not want to forget what they held dear, not so much slavery but the remembered society which had been. Ask someone about the twenties now and you'll get a filtered, edited memory. It's human nature. It doesn't mean that its not true, just parts not so valued are missing.

I do think you could make GWTW today, except it would be different. The slaves would be portrayed more grimly. The house slaves might be seen as both the lucky and the dispised. The attitiudes of the aristocracy (the planters--southern society was based on european gentry) would be less romanticized. But you could still feature Scarlett O'Hara, child of privilege who had the world crumble and survived anyway. Would this invalidate the 1930's movie? No. It has its own point of view. Would it be better? Unlikely.

Its interesting that while banned in Germany along with most Nazi works, the films made by the nazi's are still shown and studied, but as propaganda.

Other films like Metropolis, by Fritz Lang, are now being seen as the hints of what was there others didn't see. The scientist who makes the robot is the embodyment of the later nazi 'science' and his willingness to use it to destroy the revolting workers an interesting reference to using 'science' as a means of exectuion. Some is story and some is intentional and some a reflection. But seen now it says much more to us than what it started out as. We need to watch films of other times with open minds for they are a window into the time they were made and the mindset of the society which they were made for. Instead of condemnation, we should realize that we need to understand the past if we want, come the fall of ours, to have any of it remembered.

That would be another thread ofcourse, but a most interesting one. I'd put it in a forum (probably history, where some knowledge and reference to history would be provided) where more than moral indignation was required.
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Old 01-16-2012, 04:51 PM
 
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Nevertheless Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American to win an Oscar - and it didn't happen again until 1963 with Sidney Pontier. James Baskett was given an honorary award in 1946.
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:28 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SCGranny View Post
The book was written about one person's viewpoint of the South and Civil War at the time it occurred. I wonder how many people posting here today keep a journal of their lives, to show not only what life was/is like for them, in their particular time and interpretation, not to weave in other peoples' interpretations - or to cater to the current politically correct crowd. Scarlett in her time was an anomaly; she did things that "no decent Southern woman would do!" in other words, she didn't starve herself to death in genteel poverty, but got off of her bustle and made something of herself, the only way she knew how. Then, that sort of independent thought and action was strictly forbidden from women.

The movie was a huge success not only because of the popular actors of the time, but because of the overwhelmingly passionate and brilliant cinematography that went into it. For the time, it was impressive. For years, the "Burning of Atlanta" was heralded as the height of dramatic photography.

Like Harry Chickpea, I too have seen the hapless helpless Melanies, secure in their own do-goodism, and self-righteousness, always dependent on someone who is willing to plow and work with their own hands, getting dirty and even doing murder, to keep the family and the dependent, clinging Melanies alive.

Of course, what sort of intelligent, conversant, and studious perspective can you expect from those who are raised on the deeply interpretative values of "Dumb and Dumber" and "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"?

The failures of interpretation lie, not within the stars, but the selves.
Margaret Mitchell started writing the book in 1926 and released it in 1936. She was born nearly 40 years after the Civil War ended so she had no real life experience of it. She did however have living sources who remembered the War directly.
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Old 01-16-2012, 06:30 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
I think Scarlett's appeal is that she persisted despite getting smacked repeatedly in the face. Like any good girl of her time and stature, she looked toward men to provide her with what she wanted: a comfortable life.

She looked to Ashley to give her that; he refused.
She turned to Charles; he died.
She turned to Rhett; he left her.
She turned to her father; he was incapacitated after her mother's death.
She turned to Ashley; he refused her again.
She turned to Rhett; he refused her.
She turned to Frank; he died.
She turned to Rhett again, and ultimately he refused her again.

With each step, she had to rely on her own intelligence and drive because she wanted to re-gain her former stature in the community -- even though it was no longer the same community -- and her comfortable life. And with each step, she had more and more people depending on her: her children, her sisters, Melanie, Aunt Pitty, Ashley. And like anyone else, she made many mistakes, some small, some colossal.

That she mocked Rhett for loving her, and screwed up any chance at happiness with him by carrying a torch for a man who could never love her is not at all admirable. That she negatively affected many lives and caused much sadness because of her heedlessness in her quest is not admirable.

But her getting back up on her feet after every slap, never refusing a challenge, and continuing to house, feed and clothe people that she professed to care little for -- Melanie, her sisters, Aunt Pitty -- is admirable.

One of the metaphors in the book occurred when Scarlett was visiting with an old woman on a neighboring plantation, after the war. She asked the woman how she managed to live through so many travails, and the woman said that she and Scarlett were like buckwheat, not buckwheat, because they bent but did not break when the wind flattened them, and when the wind stops, the buckwheat stands straight.

That's probably why all us "nitwits" admire Scarlett. Honestly, if I were a refugee in a war as catastrophic as the Civil War was in the South, I'm not sure how I'd react. Never say never.
Yeah sometimes you root for characters who are less than perfect. Frankly, Melanie was too much of a bore to really relate to.

I think much of the film showed Scarlett's 'transformation', her 'growing up' (wasn't she like 17 in the novel) from becoming a spoilt princess into someone responsible. The war made her adapt to the harsh times and she realised the important things in life.
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