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JakeHolman

Will political correctness kill classic movies?

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One highly controversial film, and its collective shunning, predates the current PC mania. The 1915 drama “Birth of a Nation” glorified the **** and dehumanized black slaves, among other revolting elements. Cultural critics marvel at some of its artistic achievements, given the technical constraints of the era, but its content makes any public display cultural dynamite.

The Hill >>  https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/443282-will-political-correctness-kill-classic-movies

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Short answer, no. Its just a fad. People trying to get attention by finding something complain about. Its really a small minority that does all the screaming.

I only see this in the media and on the internet. In real life, I see just the opposite. People I come across aren't the slightest bit offended at all. People in my family prefer it all be shown so people understand how things were in those days.

 

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4 hours ago, GGGGerald said:

Short answer, no. Its just a fad. People trying to get attention by finding something complain about. Its really a small minority that does all the screaming.

I only see this in the media and on the internet. In real life, I see just the opposite. People I come across aren't the slightest bit offended at all. People in my family prefer it all be shown so people understand how things were in those days.

 

Gotta disagree with you here. It's no fad. This is the 21st century -- and many Hollywood depictions of women and minorities have been shameful.

I still find it embarrassing that the first two black recipients of Academy Awards played a mammy and a happy-go-lucky ex-slave, respectively.

Image result for mammy and uncle remus

And the first black movie star was Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry -- popularly known as Stepin Fetchit.

Those days are gone forever -- like many of those statues glorifying the Confederate cause.

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First of all, I'd like to know what the **** was that BIRTH OF A NATION "glorified".  (something tells me Otto got carried away.)

To dislike the fact that black actors and actresses got recognition years ago for playing "Mammies" and "happy-go-lucky" ex slaves would perpetuate a lie that those kind of people never existed. 

That there was slavery and slaves is a fact.  And that ex slaves might have been glad enough to BE so and too, be "happy-go-lucky" at the fact is also a possible fact.  And that many black women in the antebellum South, and after the civil war found work mostly as "Mammies" and maids(if they found ANY work) is also a fact.

BIRTH OF A NATION's biggest "crime" is the over the top presentation of things NOT based on ANY facts, and being presented as some kind of historical representation.  Besides.....

Long hearing OF the movie, but never having seen it until my early 20's, I've long thought a movie with a title like "Birth Of A Nation" might be about the REVOLUTIONARY WAR, instead of the post CIVIL WAR. ;) 

Just face it----

Historically, black people WERE slaves, Mammies, maids or butlers, and white people WERE nasty racial bigots.  And you can't eradicate historical facts by not LIKING them.  Just do our best to KEEP it history, long gone.

Sepiatone

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23 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

First of all, I'd like to know what the **** was that BIRTH OF A NATION "glorified".  (something tells me Otto got carried away.)

BIRTH OF A NATION's biggest "crime" is the over the top presentation of things NOT based on ANY facts, and being presented as some kind of historical representation.

Er, technically, Birth's biggest crime is that it's not an overstatement to say that it was literally Griffith's recruitment film for the K-K-K.  The local Kl*n at the time even treated it as such, and sponsored a big opening expecting membership to soar.  (When Woodrow Wilson made his famous endorsement of it, he wasn't exactly disagreeing, something we historically recognize about Wilson today.)

When we get our hero and his White Riders charging to the rescue to "Ride of the Valkyries" to save our virtuous white heroine from nasty race-mixed congressmen, I've seen Trump ads that were more subtle.  ;)

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When was the last time TCM showed "Dimples" (1936)?

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To some both are a horror.

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6 hours ago, EricJ said:

Er, technically, Birth's biggest crime is that it's not an overstatement to say that it was literally Griffith's recruitment film for the K-K-K.  The local Kl*n at the time even treated it as such, and sponsored a big opening expecting membership to soar.  (When Woodrow Wilson made his famous endorsement of it, he wasn't exactly disagreeing, something we historically recognize about Wilson today.)

When we get our hero and his White Riders charging to the rescue to "Ride of the Valkyries" to save our virtuous white heroine from nasty race-mixed congressmen, I've seen Trump ads that were more subtle.  ;)

Idunno...  It has been stated that Hitler liked Fritz Lang and Metropolis for all the wrong reasons too, but you don't see all sorts of do-gooders lining up to go down that rabbit hole.

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I was under the impression the PC that they OP meant was modern day thinned skin people who think anyone associated with anything the least bit stereotypical should be banned. Those examples like Birth of a Nation have been shunned for over 40 years. They haven't seen the light of day in decades. No one agrees that happy slaves and ꓘꓘꓘ knighhood is something to show anywhere.

I thought this topic was about recent events which to me are a bit over the top. But, I don't want to derail the thread, my mistake.

 

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12 minutes ago, GGGGerald said:

Those examples like Birth of a Nation have been shunned for over 40 years. They haven't seen the light of day in decades.

Birth of a Nation has aired on TCM at least 8 times, as recently as 2013. So saying that they haven't seen the light of day in decades is overstating things, if that's what you meant. If you were referring to films made in the past 40 years as not having those stereotypes, then I see your point, although some have argued, and quite eloquently, that the style has changed but that the negative tropes remain all too frequent. But that's another discussion.

To clarify on this thread's point, I personally don't have a problem with any channel showing Birth of a Nation. I learned long ago that if something on TV is unappealing, change the channel or turn it off. I also don't have a problem, which others have voiced, with there being host segments at the film's beginning and ending to help put things in context for modern viewers. The vast majority of viewers are not film scholars or cinematic history buffs, so some explanation as to why this film is important in history for several reasons, and isn't simply a K_K_K recruitment tool, is warranted. 

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Factor 1: Many people under a certain age seem to categorically reject black-and-white film on principle; never mind its content. The taste for classic movies must be acquired, and if you're not prepared to accept problematic elements as a reflection of the time and place in which these movies were made, you won't acquire it.

Factor 2: How many people *want* older movies containing problematic elements to be suppressed? Consider the people who want Disney to own up to its past and officially release Song of the South.

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4 hours ago, Polly of the Precodes said:

Factor 1: Many people under a certain age seem to categorically reject black-and-white film on principle; never mind its content. The taste for classic movies must be acquired, and if you're not prepared to accept problematic elements as a reflection of the time and place in which these movies were made, you won't acquire it.

Factor 2: How many people *want* older movies containing problematic elements to be suppressed? Consider the people who want Disney to own up to its past and officially release Song of the South.

re: Song of the South.  What's funny to me is everyone is so quick to trash Song of the South, but they won't hesitate to ride Splash Mountain at Disneyland.  That ride features music and characters from the film! 

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16 hours ago, jakeem said:

Gotta disagree with you here. It's no fad. This is the 21st century -- and many Hollywood depictions of women and minorities have been shameful.

I still find it embarrassing that the first two black recipients of Academy Awards played a mammy and a happy-go-lucky ex-slave, respectively.

Image result for mammy and uncle remus

And the first black movie star was Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry -- popularly known as Stepin Fetchit.

Those days are gone forever -- like many of those statues glorifying the Confederate cause.

The black actors and actresses who had to portray those stereotypes were really very good performers and professional actors.

But with the rise of modern day actors like Sidney Poitier,  you finally have a black actor who is equal among equals with the top actors of his day in Hollywood, and who was the first black movie star to receive that Best Actor Oscar.

Sidney Poitier was the answer to the negative image of the black man in film,

which had originally been perpetrated by The Birth of a Nation.

A film which precipitated the lynchings--

the actual lynchings of black men.

 

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4 hours ago, Polly of the Precodes said:

Factor 1: Many people under a certain age seem to categorically reject black-and-white film on principle; never mind its content. The taste for classic movies must be acquired, and if you're not prepared to accept problematic elements as a reflection of the time and place in which these movies were made, you won't acquire it.

Factor 2: How many people *want* older movies containing problematic elements to be suppressed? Consider the people who want Disney to own up to its past and officially release Song of the South.

I firmly believe that there is a sheep mentality when it comes to "Song of the South." I used to think it was incredibly racist without having seen the movie before. I just watched it last summer/fall for the first time, and I must say I was not offended by it. It takes place in the rural South in the mid to late 1800s. Slavery was very much a thing during that time period. Uncle Remus tells fairytales to a lonely little boy, that's all I got from that movie. Nothing offensive in the least. But that's just me.  I've said this before, but I think that glossing over something or pretending a negative historical event didn't happen, is almost as bad as repeating the same event, not to mention extremely disrespectful to anyone who had to endure whichever historical event is in question. 

14 minutes ago, speedracer5 said:

re: Song of the South.  What's funny to me is everyone is so quick to trash Song of the South, but they won't hesitate to ride Splash Mountain at Disneyland.  That ride features music and characters from the film! 

I don't think a lot of people are aware of the fact that that ride is based on "Song of the South..." At least not the people I'm acquainted with. Again, the sheep mentality comes in to play here, where a couple intelligent-sounding people will say something negative about a movie or whatever, and then the rest of the population forms the same opinion without having done any of the research themselves. 

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8 hours ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

Idunno...  It has been stated that Hitler liked Fritz Lang and Metropolis for all the wrong reasons too, but you don't see all sorts of do-gooders lining up to go down that rabbit hole.

For decades Wagner was not played in Israel.

People who are victimized by racism and bigotry are sensitive, and rightfully so, about cultural vehicles which enforce or are associated with that victimization.

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54 minutes ago, NickAndNora34 said:

I firmly believe that there is a sheep mentality when it comes to "Song of the South." I used to think it was incredibly racist without having seen the movie before. I just watched it last summer/fall for the first time, and I must say I was not offended by it. It takes place in the rural South in the mid to late 1800s. Slavery was very much a thing during that time period. Uncle Remus tells fairytales to a lonely little boy, that's all I got from that movie. Nothing offensive in the least. But that's just me.  I've said this before, but I think that glossing over something or pretending a negative historical event didn't happen, is almost as bad as repeating the same event, not to mention extremely disrespectful to anyone who had to endure whichever historical event is in question. 

I don't think a lot of people are aware of the fact that that ride is based on "Song of the South..." At least not the people I'm acquainted with. Again, the sheep mentality comes in to play here, where a couple intelligent-sounding people will say something negative about a movie or whatever, and then the rest of the population forms the same opinion without having done any of the research themselves. 

I have also seen Song of the South (the version I saw was apparently purchased in Canada).  While I can understand people's objections, I didn't think it was deserving of the acrimonious comments it has received over the years.  I watched it and thought, "that's it?" The film takes place during the Reconstruction Era and it makes many references to slavery being abolished.

I think people's objections to Song of the South and other films with content that may seem questionable now (blackface comes to mind) need to be looked at through a 1940s lens (or whatever year the film was made, or is supposed to depict).  With blackface or yellowface (for example), there are some blatantly BAD portrayals, however, such as Judy Garland in Everybody Sings or Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's; but many of the blackface portrayals are a sign of the times.  With Fred Astaire's blackface in Swing Time and Eleanor Powell's in Honolulu, these are performed as tributes to Bill "Bojangles" Robinson.  They're not meant to be disparaging or mean-spirited. Some people are unable to look at these films through a non-contemporary lens. I would agree with Polly's viewpoint that someone has to be open to old films to accept these differing viewpoints and depictions.  If someone has made up their mind, it'll be hard to change their opinion.  I also agree with Nora's opinion that many of the SJW people online are like sheep.  They've *heard* that Song of the South glorifies slavery... they've *heard* that [insert film title] features [insert controversial subject], but very few people actually take the time and make the effort to see these things for themselves.  They want to appear "woke" and act as activists... online. 

 

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2 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

People who are victimized by racism and bigotry are sensitive, and rightfully so, about cultural vehicles which enforce or are associated with that victimization.

Wonderfully put here, Princess. I'd agree with this comment, EXCEPT I'd have used the words "and NATURALLY so" instead of "and rightfully so" in it.

And because you see, while such a reaction to the negative societal phenomenons of racism and bigotry would only be "natural" for people, when one becomes TOO "sensitive" about something, this TOO often leads to the closing off to a more circumspect view and a truer understanding of such things.

(...ever noticed THAT?...well, I have, and I TRULY believe that THIS is somewhat the crux of this issue here)

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15 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

 If you were referring to films made in the past 40 years as not having those stereotypes, then I see your point, although some have argued, and quite eloquently, that the style has changed but that the negative tropes remain all too frequent. But that's another discussion.

 

I'd say that most of the negative stereotypes many white bigots still believe actually exist among African-Americans are those I've seen oddly perpetuated by Black film makers and television shows. MARTIN LAWRENCE'S show was particularly guilty of this.

Sepiatone

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6 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I also agree with Nora's opinion that many of the SJW people online are like sheep.  They've *heard* that Song of the South glorifies slavery... they've *heard* that [insert film title] features [insert controversial subject], but very few people actually take the time and make the effort to see these things for themselves.  They want to appear "woke" and act as activists... online. 

It was pretty much that way in the early 60's, when the 50's-TV "Amos & Andy" had to be expunged from broadcast, because nobody who was too young to remember the radio show knew why the characters were talking that way, and just assumed they were stereotypically "forced to" by evil white producers.  Anyone who still uses the term today as a symbol for all imagined "outdated black depictions" has likely never seen the show in the last fifty years either.

And let's not even get STARTED on the facepalming social-soapbox attempt to use the TV Jack Benny's Rochester calling Mr. Benny "Boss" as a coverall symbol of every attempt to ever cast a black actor in the role of a subordinate domestic.  Anyone accusing Jack Benny of a "racist" depiction of Eddie Anderson has never seen or heard very much of Jack Benny's material, or of Benny's experiences during his WWII tours.

14 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

I'd say that most of the negative stereotypes many white bigots still believe actually exist among African-Americans are those I've seen oddly perpetuated by Black film makers and television shows. MARTIN LAWRENCE'S show was particularly guilty of this.

I remember one comedy talk show during the 90's having a round-table discussion with the producers and stars of UPN Network (remember that? :D ), by the time the network had become almost entirely dopey urban-black sitcoms, asking "Why 'Homeboys from Outer Space'?...Is this forwarding the cause of diverse television??"

In their defense, the comics and producers naturally leapt to old-fashioned Whatabout-ism, responding "Well, what about those Jim Carrey comedies?...You're saying white people don't make dopey comedy too?"  (Ignoring the rather obvious fact of on whose show Jim Carrey had first risen to stardom as Token Dorky White Comic.)

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One black guy I worked with was disgusted that many other black folks never did realize(in his opinion, and I do somewhat agree) that the "Living Color" show title and character "HOMEY THE CLOWN"  were "send-ups" of what HE called, "Self perpetuated negative stereotypes."  And claiming the term "homey" DID, to him too, sound more like the name you'd give a CIRCUS CLOWN and NOT what you'd seriously address your brother man with. :unsure:

He also had no personal use for "ebonics", thought the whole idea as detrimental, and also, in my working with him for 25+ years, never noticed him SPEAKING it!  ;)

Sepiatone

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31 minutes ago, Sepiatone said:

One black guy I worked with was disgusted that many other black folks never did realize(in his opinion, and I do somewhat agree) that the "Living Color" show title and character "HOMEY THE CLOWN"  were "send-ups" of what HE called, "Self perpetuated negative stereotypes."  And claiming the term "homey" DID, to him too, sound more like the name you'd give a CIRCUS CLOWN and NOT what you'd seriously address your brother man with. :unsure:

At its best, In Living Color, Homey included (Homey basically being a "clown" of ghetto-thug self-loathing), was a biting satire on black self-images--One sketch had a prisoner behind bars spouting four and five-syllable verbal-mast*rbations of Lewis Farrakhan prison-converted black-Muslim paranoia ("The delineation of the perpetuation of the subjugation of the black man...") and we see it's a PSA:  "Because a mind is a terrible thing to waste."  

The show could have been in the spirit of the old observation about Jewish humor--that a minority can make jokes at its own expense, even if the outside can't for fear of "racism"--but in the end, it's Booty humor that gets the louder and "easier" laughs.  Sort of why SNL was funnier before Kenan Thompson became the lead performer, or why the Daily Show was funnier with Jon Stewart than Trevor Noah.

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On 5/14/2019 at 5:27 AM, Sepiatone said:

First of all, I'd like to know what the **** was that BIRTH OF A NATION "glorified".  (something tells me Otto got carried away.)

The censored item was K-K-K.

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16 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Birth of a Nation has aired on TCM at least 8 times, as recently as 2013. So saying that they haven't seen the light of day in decades is overstating things

It will be interesting to see when/if this film gets replayed on TCM. I think it will get more difficult for them to broadcast it...unless it's in a scholarly way with a leading black scholar criticizing it. It will never just randomly air in a daytime slot without any sort of host and verbal disclaimer.

I also think GONE WITH THE WIND will get more difficult for them to air, and ironically it's the main reason Ted Turner bought that library of films from MGM/UA.

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9 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

Sidney Poitier was the answer to the negative image of the black man in film

But Poitier was extremely typecast in the process. He could only portray positive images of a black person in film. He was not allowed to play villains or character in-between with shades of gray. The only way he was able to advance the cause was by playing saints and heroes. He wasn't given the opportunity to be an actor in the traditional sense, demonstrating his skill with a wide range of character types. He was still held back.

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On 5/13/2019 at 10:09 PM, JakeHolman said:

th?id=OIF.F6vANTPdTNS6ayOWOgURww&w=300&h=168&c=7&o=5&pid=1.7

One highly controversial film, and its collective shunning, predates the current PC mania. The 1915 drama “Birth of a Nation” glorified the **** and dehumanized black slaves, among other revolting elements. Cultural critics marvel at some of its artistic achievements, given the technical constraints of the era, but its content makes any public display cultural dynamite.

The Hill >>  https://thehill.com/opinion/technology/443282-will-political-correctness-kill-classic-movies

What does John Wayne have to do with any of this?

It feels like this is a thread that should have been created in Off-Topics. That it's just a fancy way to promote conservative politics. 

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27 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

But Poitier was extremely typecast in the process. He could only portray positive images of a black person in film. He was not allowed to play villainous characters. The only way he was able to advance the cause was by playing saints and heroes. He wasn't given the opportunity to be an actor in the traditional sense, demonstrating his skill with a wide range of character types. He was still held back.

You're forgetting "The Long Ships" (1964), in which Poitier (pictured with the Italian actress Rosanna Schiaffino) played Aly Mansuh, a Moorish king obsessed with recovering a legendary golden bell that had been lost for years.

Image result for sidney poitier the long ships

And he didn't mind threatening a group of Vikings with rides on the Mare of Steel, either.

Image result for sidney poitier the long ships jenny

 

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