Sunday, June 28, 2015

America’s Screaming Mimi Syndrome

It is America’s congenital, generations-old anti-intellectualism that renders the country easy prey to hysteria, the kind of hysteria that results from educational policies that stress the unimportance of ideas in daily life. But this hysteria is taken advantage of by the Left and the Mainstream Media, both of which are always ready to stoke up the fires of emotional, headless chicken behavior if the destruction of the object suits their agenda.

The public hesitantly follows suit. There are polls now that prove that Americans hate the Confederate flag, always hated it, and wish it consigned to the flames. Or at least that’s what the Left and the MSM claim, or wish us to believe. It isn’t true.

Protesting the Confederate flag flying anywhere or appearing on iconic toys and other objects leads to the hysteria of protesters (professional, career protestors, on-call 24/7 for any emergency protestors, please note) burning the American flag. It’s not insanity. It isn’t a matter of the protestors not being able to distinguish between one flag or another.  It’s part and parcel of the true object of the orgy of hatred:  America. I link to only a few reports of it here and here and here.  There were dozens throughout the country.

One of the most ludicrous calls for banishment came from Lou Lumenick of the otherwise conservative New York Post on June 24th, in “’Gone With the Wind’ should go the way of the Confederate flag.’” While conceding that the 1939 film had some merits, Lumenick nearly had a conniption fit over the film’s “racist” overtones.

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.

When I reviewed the graphically honest “12 Years a Slave’’ in 2013, I noted, “It will be impossible to ever look at ‘Gone with the Wind’ the same way.’’

That’s news to me. I’ve seen GWTW many times, and was unaware that it romanticized slavery. I thought it was about Scarlett O’Hara’s loves and hates and mercurial temper, with the Civil War and plantation life as a background. I must be thick, and Lumenick must be as bright as a button. Somebody crown me with a dunce cap. But the totalitarian inside Lumenick reveals itself like a flasher opening his raincoat on a city street.

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?

Warner Bros. just stopped licensing another of pop culture’s most visible uses of the Confederate flag — toy replicas of the General Lee, an orange Dodge Charger from “The Dukes of Hazzard’’ — as retailers like Amazon and Walmart have finally backed away from selling merchandise with that racist symbol.

That studio sent “Gone with the Wind’’ back into theaters for its 75th anniversary in partnership with its sister company Turner Classic Movies in 2014, but I have a feeling the movie’s days as a cash cow are numbered. It’s showing on July 4 at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the museum’s salute to the 100th anniversary of Technicolor — and maybe that’s where this much-loved but undeniably racist artifact really belongs.

Well, why not ban or send to the museum of cinematic curiosities that promoted “racism” a few more gems. How about 1964’s Zulu, which depicts a company of British soldiers beating back an attack of Zulus? Surely that film can be interpreted as racism.   Or 1939’s The Four Feathers, which depicts Britain’s combating Islamic racism and colonialism in North Africa….No, wait! Don’t I have that backwards? Islamic supremacists were never guilty of colonialism and racism, were they? Isn’t ISIS just a kind of vigorous knocking peacefully on people’s doors, just like Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, to spread the “good news”? Then there’s 1939’s Gunga Din, surely one of the most racist movies of all, competing at the box office with Gone With the Wind.

1939 seemed to have been a banner year for racist movies!

Morgan Brittany’s June 27th article, “Ban ‘Gone With the Wind’?? Is John Wayne Next?” counters Lumenick’s berserker lunacy.

This country is completely out of control. It is running at the speed of social media making knee-jerk decisions with no thought as to what the consequences will be. Just like a stupid tweet that goes out impulsively, the media is rabidly grabbing on to any narrative that the left decides to push, runs with it and twists the story into something that it was never intended to be!

That is what we are experiencing right now with this whole Confederate flag issue. This uproar has absolutely nothing to do with the tragic murder of nine innocent people in Charleston last week, yet the left and the media have somehow forgotten that a deranged psychopath was to blame and “not” a flag designating a part of our American history….

Now, a film critic from the New York Post has opined that the film “Gone With The Wind” should not be shown on TV or in theaters anymore due to its “racist” subject matter. He wants it locked away in a museum where only people who like “that sort of film” can go and see it. He wants it to become a pariah like “Birth of a Nation” and “Song of the South”, two amazing films that you can’t even get access to anymore…..

So if the left gets its way, what’s next? Will all John Wayne war films be banned because they offend Asians or Europeans? Will every western that he ever did be sent to the dustbin of history because they show racism against Native-Americans? What other films and books will be banned a la “Fahrenheit 451” written in 1951 by Ray Bradbury? When an independent thinking populace starts threatening the government will they start to burn all of our books, censor all of our films and rewrite all of our history to fit their agenda? Whatever happened to the individual making their own decisions about what they want to read or see or buy? Does the government now make even these decisions for us?

The teeming wonks in government and their overseers would just love to make those and other decisions for us.

I have a question for readers: Which thing should they be more exercised about: the Confederate flag, or a Che Guevara T-shirt or poster? The Confederacy, which stood for slavery, was defeated and crushed. Communism, however, has not been defeated or crushed. Communists, pinks, fellow travelers, and sympathizers in and out of government abound in this country. They are in the White House and in our schools and in our streets, demonstrating, smashing windows, attacking people, calling for another kind of slavery.

When I see someone flaunting a Confederate flag license plate or T-shirt, think: There’s a good-ole-boy idiot whose notion of intellectual prowess is winning an arm-wrestling contest.

But when I see someone wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt, or see a Guevara poster in a college dorm room, I think: There’s an enemy. He may be an idiot and an ignoramus (oblivious or indifferent o the fact that Guevara was a monster), but he’s still an enemy.  Or will be when his ideological gauleiter gives him his marching orders to occupy, smash, grab,-and-burn.

He may as well be wearing a Hitler T-shirt, or waving a Nazi flag.

Of course, the Confederate battle flag was and has been acceptable to the Democrats for how long? Oh, I’d say for over 150 years. See these revealing campaign posters and buttons here.  Obama? It was fine with him in 2008. During a speech that year in Philadelphia in which, with a great deal of snark, excoriated the Founders and authors of the Constitution for being slave-holders,  he said, “Where the Confederate flag still flies, we have built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans” You can interpret that any way you wish, it’s such an ambiguous statement.

But, must we remind people that it is the Democrats who have perpetuated black slavery with the welfare state, and that the Republicans, historically, opposed slavery, but today aren’t so sure? Daniel Greenfield discusses Bill Clinton’s copsectic connection to the Confederacy and its now-maligned banner in his June 21st FrontPage article, “The Clintons and their Confederacy Flip-Flopping.”

After the Charleston church shootings, the media rushed to interrogate Republican presidential nominees about their position on the Confederate flag in South Carolina. They don’t appear to have asked Hillary Clinton, who has a lot more connections to the topic than Scott Walker or Mitt Romney.

But then the media doesn’t ask Hillary Clinton any hard questions. Or any questions at all.  Like everything else, the Clinton position on it depends on their political interests at any given time….

This type of hypocrisy is nothing new for Democrats considering their long history with the Confederacy (like John Kerry, they were for it before they were against it). Their official revisionist history is that all ‘those types of Democrats’ became Republicans.

At the same time, it is the Democrats who are proposing expanding the powers of the state to impose slavery on all, the Marxist/Fascist kind. So, Dylann Roof, mass murderer and racist, waved the Confederate flag? And the Democrats never?

What a hysterical proposition! Excuse me while I laugh.


revereridesagain said...

They have gone beyond telling us what we should feel. Now they are telling us what we do feel, because it is what they must believe we feel. It is opposed to what they feel, and therefore it is wrong. What thoughts lead to these feelings do not even enter into the question. Thinking is suspect. Feelings are all. The only valid feeling with regard to "gay" marriage is "love". The only pertinent feeling about the Confederate battle flag is "racism". Departure from these rules has nothing to do with issues, principles, or experience, but must be based solely on feelings of "hate". To a Progressive the "wrong" feelings are as "sinful" as they are to a Christian Fundamentalist, because these bitter enemies share a common antipathy towards reason.

Edward Cline said...

Revereridesagain: In a nutshell. Thanks.

Joe said...

I had similar thoughts while recently watching the excellent movie, Holiday Inn, with Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby. I had never seen it before and wondered how this movie had been "buried" From sight?... I'm a big fan of movies from the era, but this one somehow wasn't being shown or advertised much.... Then I saw the scene where the performers dress up as black people for a song about Abraham Lincoln and it all became clear. Even though the scene or costumes had nothing to do with racism, the very fact that so called "blackface" was employed means it is off limits by today's politically correct Hollywood.

Then I watched High Society, also with Bing Crosby and featuring jazz music with Louis Armstrong... And it seemed pretty obvious that Crosby and fellow co-star Frank Sinatra truly respected Armstrong and his talent... A little reading on the topic reveals that apparently Sinatra was the first producer/actor to hire a black man to play a part in a major movie, not to play a so called black role, but just a man-- race unimportant. He took a lot of flack for it but defended it and did it anyway... All of this BEFORE the civil rights movement.

Not sure these examples tie directly to what you talk about here Ed, except that this whole perpetuation of the racism narrative has more than a little ignorance and deceit involved from those who say they want to end racism.

Edward Cline said...

Thanks, Joe, for your input. Yes, your instances are relevant to my topic. Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and other black artists are now dissed by the current black leadership as "Uncle Toms" or worse. Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, two of America's premier intellectuals and writers, are shunned by the black establishment. Black racism against other blacks is especially vicious. The director of "Swing Kids," a movie about the conflicts faced by German teens in pre-war Nazi Germany, was a black and he hasn't been able to find very many movie projects. I recommend that movie.

David Hayes said...

The knee-jerk attitudes toward blackface entertainers today, a view that the mere appearance of a white man wearing makeup to enact a role of a black character, results in these outwardly-"progressive" complainers failing to recognize the positive actions taken by some of the performers toward improved race relations.

The comment left by Joe (above) already reports that Frank Sinatra saw to it that a race-neutral role was played by a black actor. It can also be reported that when Frank Sinatra played Las Vegas, he saw to it that the black entertainers where he performed didn't have to come in through the back door, but through the front door like the white talent. As peculiar as it may seem, top-draw talent such as Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr. were denied admission through the front door by the same hotel-casinos that paid them high salaries.

Decades earlier, Al Jolson was a fantastically successful entertainer, a top-earner for singing on stage, and soon to be the performer whose phonograph recordings had sold more than anyone else ever. Today, if he's mentioned at all, it's in snide comments about his performing in blackface. However, during the period of 1910-1915, when a nightclub in Harlem decided to buck the trend of being patronized by white clientele as well as by black locals, this nightclub made just one exception to its policy: Al Jolson. Al Jolson, like Sinatra some one-third-century later, was aghast that black performers could not enter the venues they played through the front door, and used his clout to see that they were accorded the proper respect.

A biography of Jolson titled "Jolson: the Legend Comes to Life" by Herbert Goldman (1988) provides much information of this kind. Goldman acknowledges unsavory aspects of Jolson's character, but provides important facts about how his public persona came to be. Jolson didn't put on blackface to demean black people, but instead initially did so because he was a nervous teenager about to go onstage to perform a type of role he had never played before; an old pro at the theater told him that black makeup would make him feel like someone else. The suggestion worked, and Jolson's magnetic, spontaneous presence was so worthy of recapturing that Jolson repeated the characterization that continued to keep him successful.