Look, we get it. A lot of things that happened in the past are not at all cool today.
But do we really need to be adding a “white supremacist” warning to “Gone With The Wind,” the wonderful book written by Margaret Mitchell?
Mitchell was born in 1900 and died on August 16, 1949, a few days after she was hit by a speeding car in Atlanta.
Her grandfather, Russell Crawford Mitchell enlisted in the Confederate States Army in 1861 and served in the Texas Brigade. So Mitchell had first-hand knowledge of the Civil War, the subject of her masterpiece.
But we get it: Back then, a lot of words were used that you would never use today. And racial strife was rampant, with Jim Crow laws in place that enforced racial segregation (for the record, while we’re canceling things the wokesters might target “Jim Crow,” a pejorative term for an African-American).
For instance, in the 1884 book “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” Mark Twain uses the N-word 214 times. That’s not good. But that’s the book as written. There’s an anti-slavery undercurrent throughout the classic book, but it’s often banned by various school districts across America.
And now they’ve come for “Gone With The Wind.”
British publisher Pan MacMillan has slapped the 1936 best-seller with a warning label that says some may find the book “hurtful or indeed harmful.”
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“The text of this book remains true to the original in every way and is reflective of the language and period in which it was originally written. We want to alert readers that there may be hurtful or indeed harmful phrases and terminology that were prevalent at the time this novel was written and which are true to the context of the historical setting of this novel,” the publisher writes.
“Pan Macmillan believes changing the text to reflect today’s world would undermine the authenticity of the original, so has chosen to leave the text in its entirety. This does not, however, constitute an endorsement of the characterization, content or language used.”
But we already knew that — every last one of us. No one would read “GWTW” — or see the incredible movie — and think everything portrayed is still OK today. Just look up a few paragraphs — Twain wrote the word 214 times in “Huckleberry Finn,” I changed it into the “N-word.”
We are not so stupid that we think maybe it’s cool to own people, force them to work for you, and beat them when they don’t. Moving past Mitchell’s time period, we also know it was totally not cool to segregate blacks from whites, for restaurants to ban blacks, or, far worse, for whites to lynch blacks.
America does have some horrible chapters in its history, but the works of art from those periods reflect the times. Again, we get that. We don’t need some British publisher to tell us that they don’t endorse the “characterization, content or language used.”
Some warnings are fine. Take video games. E for everyone is what my kids played, no M for mature. Warnings on movies that contain nudity or drug use, fine.
But we don’t need a warning on “Roots” saying owning people was bad, that the moviemakers certainly aren’t trying to glorify doing so. We get it: It’s a snapshot of a horrible time in America, one that continues to reverberate hundreds of years later.
It’s not the first time the wokesters have gone after “GWTW.” Back in 2015, a New York Post writer produced a piece headlined, “‘Gone with the Wind’ should go the way of the Confederate flag.”
“The more subtle racism of ‘Gone with the Wind’ is in some ways more insidious, going to great lengths to enshrine the myth that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery — an institution the film unabashedly romanticizes,” wrote Lou Lumenick.
“But what does it say about us as a nation if we continue to embrace a movie that, in the final analysis, stands for many of the same things as the Confederate flag that flutters so dramatically over the dead and wounded soldiers at the Atlanta train station just before the ‘GWTW’ intermission?” he wrote.
We, as a nation, do not embrace the things the Confederates embraced, but it’s a movie about a certain time period. It’s not like Italians embrace the things Caligula did, but they did happen. It is in their history whether they like it or not.
The racist depictions were wrong then and they are wrong today. But we know that. So just stop with all the trigger warnings. Only the woke seem unable to understand.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.