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Is TCM Going Soft?


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One of the reasons I watch TCM is that movies are presented as-is with no apologies or warnings, that is, until just before the showing of Trader Horn.on 17 October.

 

In that, the movie host just had to apologize for the lack of political correctness in this 84 year old movie. What's up with that?

 

We are bombarded everyday by people trying to tell us what to think, do and feel. I'm sick and tired of it and have been for a very long time, and any thinking person feels the same way..

 

TCM, please get back on track and just present the movies and associated commentary. Forget about apologizing every time a movie shows or says something that someone else thinks is wrong. If your hosts insist on apologizing or warning us, fire the host.

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You need to read our on-going thread about SONG OF THE SOUTH. We have been discussing political correctness and modern-day readings of classic film in that thread. I agree it is a problem imposing today's views on works of art that were created in a completely different time period.

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One of the reasons I watch TCM is that movies are presented as-is with no apologies or warnings, that is, until just before the showing of Trader Horn.on 17 October.

 

In that, the movie host just had to apologize for the lack of political correctness in this 84 year old movie. What's up with that?

 

I think that is ok, and TCM is handling the situation correctly.

 

I see a lot of intelligent and highly educated black people talking and being interviewed on the 4 cable news channels, and they sometimes mention that old stuff and they are very understanding about it.  I.E., they don't like it but it is apart of our national history, so let's just remember it as history and move on and don't make a big deal out of it.

 

I'm thinking about a young 25 year old educated black person who has 150 TV channels and finds TCM for the first time, while channel surfing, and sees one of these old films, and THAT is when these types of introductions are important, so the NEW viewers will understand that TCM does not censor history

 

With apologies like that, I am now able to watch fine actors like Willie Best and see him as a great comedian actor, without feeing bad about his always being type cast, and I can enjoy films in which he actually appears to be quite intelligent, and I don't have to sit around feeling guilty for something I didn't do, 70 years ago.

 

Fred

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I am now able to watch fine actors like Willie Best and see him as a great comedian actor, without feeing bad about his always being type cast, and I can enjoy films in which he actually appears to be quite intelligent, and I don't have to sit around feeling guilty for something I didn't do, 70 years ago.

 

Fred

Good post, Fred. We can add Mantan Moreland (130 credits) and Clarence Muse (158 credits) to that list, too. These were very talented individuals who did admirably with the roles they were given. They should be celebrated.

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Fred, I might add that I believe these little introductory comments are necessary and beneficial for all of us.  Its not so much an apology as it is there to explain and put in a popular context some of the things we may hear and see in the film.  That way we can appreciate the film as a whole and not let those  certain things ruin the experience.  And yes its important that we not hide or gloss over our history,  but acknowledge it and hopefully learn from it.

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One of the reasons I watch TCM is that movies are presented as-is with no apologies or warnings, that is, until just before the showing of Trader Horn.on 17 October.

 

I didn't see that intro, but regarding that particular film, I had considered making a post here to warn people about it's content of actual gruesome animal slaughter. I've never seen all of it, but I vividly recall some scenes that I wouldn't wish to be inflicted on anyone. This is the kind of content that I feel like the hosts should warn people about, something really disturbing at a time when children (or myself) might be watching.

 

However I do roll my eyes when they apologize for showing Birth of a Nation, or when Bob warns us to leave the room because we're about to see a drawing of a black stereo-type. Over time, we should become less sensitive to these things, not more. It's silly too suddenly find something offensive after all these years.

 

Erm... these statements don't seem contrary to each other, do they? At least nothing gets killed in the latter...

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However I do roll my eyes when they apologize for showing Birth of a Nation, or when Bob warns us to leave the room because we're about to see a drawing of a black stereo-type. Over time, we should become less sensitive to these things, not more.

 

As time goes by, the TCM audience becomes larger and more diverse.

 

The PC warnings are NOT for us old movie buffs, they are for younger and newer TCM viewers who do not know what we already know.

 

It's the same reason TCM continues to show that old "letterbox" promo that we old timers already know about. The promo, shown now, is being shown for younger and newer viewers, not for us old timers. :)

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I do roll my eyes when they apologize for showing Birth of a Nation, or when Bob warns us to leave the room because we're about to see a drawing of a black stereo-type. Over time, we should become less sensitive to these things, not more. It's silly too suddenly find something offensive after all these years.

 

 

I couldn't agree more. Because we cannot get rid of it, we have to revise it, and when we cannot apply revisionist history on it, we have to bookend it with politically correct remarks.

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Posted Today, 06:11 PM

Kay, on 18 Oct 2014 - 5:47 PM, said:snapback.png

I do roll my eyes when they apologize for showing Birth of a Nation, or when Bob warns us to leave the room because we're about to see a drawing of a black stereo-type. Over time, we should become less sensitive to these things, not more. It's silly too suddenly find something offensive after all these years.

 

 

I couldn't agree more. Because we cannot get rid of it, we have to revise it, and when we cannot apply revisionist history on it, we have to bookend it with politically correct remarks.

 

This is rather ironic, considering that there's never been a more blatant example of politically correct revisionist history than the movie known as The Birth of a Nation.  It's not as if D. W.  Griffith was boldly challenging the accepted racial bigotry of his time.  All he was doing was shamelessly pandering to the worst sentiments among us, and leaving the lies and distortions of reconstruction strewn all over the landscape. 

 

I completely support TCM's policy of showing BOAN on a regular basis, but it should be treated like Triumph of the Will, and introduced accordingly.  It's no sign of "politically incorrect" courage to ignore the elephant in the room.

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I didn't see that intro, but regarding that particular film, I had considered making a post here to warn people about it's content of actual gruesome animal slaughter. I've never seen all of it, but I vividly recall some scenes that I wouldn't wish to be inflicted on anyone. This is the kind of content that I feel like the hosts should warn people about, something really disturbing at a time when children (or myself) might be watching.

 

However I do roll my eyes when they apologize for showing Birth of a Nation, or when Bob warns us to leave the room because we're about to see a drawing of a black stereo-type. Over time, we should become less sensitive to these things, not more. It's silly too suddenly find something offensive after all these years.

 

Erm... these statements don't seem contrary to each other, do they? At least nothing gets killed in the latter...

Children? Well, now THERE is something I wouldn't want to see. Tantamount to the good ole westerns where horses were willy nilly thrown off cliffs for the sake of moronic action.

 

Couldn't care less about PC or non-PC movies, but when I happen upon a movie (movies outside of the U.S. don't care about the AHA guidelines even today) that thinks nothing of killing an animal, they won't be getting my eyeballs.

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I didn't see that intro, but regarding that particular film, I had considered making a post here to warn people about it's content of actual gruesome animal slaughter. I've never seen all of it, but I vividly recall some scenes that I wouldn't wish to be inflicted on anyone.

 

I can't watch the beginning of KING SOLOMON'S MINES for that same reason. The killing of a large animal is horrifying to me. I can't watch it. I don't believe in telling other people what not to watch, but I like to hear a warning about animal killings.

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I didn't see that intro, but regarding that particular film, I had considered making a post here to warn people about it's content of actual gruesome animal slaughter. I've never seen all of it, but I vividly recall some scenes that I wouldn't wish to be inflicted on anyone. This is the kind of content that I feel like the hosts should warn people about, something really disturbing at a time when children (or myself) might be watching.

 

However I do roll my eyes when they apologize for showing Birth of a Nation, or when Bob warns us to leave the room because we're about to see a drawing of a black stereo-type. Over time, we should become less sensitive to these things, not more. It's silly too suddenly find something offensive after all these years.

 

Erm... these statements don't seem contrary to each other, do they? At least nothing gets killed in the latter...

 

Yes, something gets killed in both.  But I credit you for recognizing the inconsistency of your thinking.  I do think it is telling that the killing of animals, once unremarkable, should now be seen as shocking, while the demeaning of humans ought to become nothing to take notice of.

 

I find a lot of people who explain away the casual racism of old movies, minimize it, or excuse it as simply 'a product of its time,' are just trying to justify their out-moded world-view, so they don't have to go to the annoying trouble of changing their way of looking at other kinds of people.  They have their comfort zone, and they would rather perpetuate the offenses of the past, than move out of it.

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As time goes by, the TCM audience becomes larger and more diverse.

 

The PC warnings are NOT for us old movie buffs, they are for younger and newer TCM viewers who do not know what we already know.

 

It's the same reason TCM continues to show that old "letterbox" promo that we old timers already know about. The promo, shown now, is being shown for younger and newer viewers, not for us old timers. :)

 

I agree with you here.    While I wouldn't call these intros 'PC warnings' I do understand what your getting at.   I understand why TCM feels a need to have these intros since,  as you noted, new and \ or younger viewers and people unaware of movie history or maybe just history in general may find them useful.

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Mantan, the talkin' Zombie:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7jRvEDrXIA

Thanks Fred for posting a great clip from one of my favorite films. It should also be noted that Madame Sul-Te-Wan, who plays Tahama in King of the Zombies, was the first black actress to sign a contract with a major studio; and Leigh Whipper, who plays Momba, was the first black member of Actors' Equity as well as one of the founders of the Negro Actors' Guild. Great actors, all. Btw the film was nominated for best music score!

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One of the reasons I watch TCM is that movies are presented as-is with no apologies or warnings, that is, until just before the showing of Trader Horn.on 17 October.

 

In that, the movie host just had to apologize for the lack of political correctness in this 84 year old movie. What's up with that?

 

We are bombarded everyday by people trying to tell us what to think, do and feel. I'm sick and tired of it and have been for a very long time, and any thinking person feels the same way..

 

TCM, please get back on track and just present the movies and associated commentary. Forget about apologizing every time a movie shows or says something that someone else thinks is wrong. If your hosts insist on apologizing or warning us, fire the host.

 

The only one I see going soft is you if this really bugs you so much.    Buckle up,  that intro didn't last long.  

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Yes, something gets killed in both.  But I credit you for recognizing the inconsistency of your thinking.  I do think it is telling that the killing of animals, once unremarkable, should now be seen as shocking, while the demeaning of humans ought to become nothing to take notice of.

 

I find a lot of people who explain away the casual racism of old movies, minimize it, or excuse it as simply 'a product of its time,' are just trying to justify their out-moded world-view, so they don't have to go to the annoying trouble of changing their way of looking at other kinds of people.  They have their comfort zone, and they would rather perpetuate the offenses of the past, than move out of it.

 

Well, I don't think that unapologetically showing these films is necessarily "perpetuating" them. I believe it is possible to observe and enjoy such things without entirely approving of the attitudes and methods of the people who made them. To automatically take offense at such things seems somewhat reactionary to me, but I also don't believe it should "become nothing to take notice of."

 

What do you believe should be done with such items of the past? Do you think they should be buried so we can "move away from the offenses of the past," (to paraphrase what you said)? IMO, that is what people want when they are afraid to venture outside of their comfort zone: to put up walls. It's important to know that past, not to perpetuate it's out-dated worldview, but to fully understand and scrutinize it. Facing it, understanding it, and realizing it is not the same as endorsing it.

 

I think images of animal slaughter is incomparable and I'll not try to tie it in.

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Well, I don't think that unapologetically showing these films is necessarily "perpetuating" them. I believe it is possible to observe and enjoy such things without entirely approving of the attitudes and methods of the people who made them. To automatically take offense at such things seems somewhat reactionary to me, but I also don't believe it should "become nothing to take notice of."

 

What do you believe should be done with such items of the past? Do you think they should be buried so we can "move away from the offenses of the past," (to paraphrase what you said)? IMO, that is what people want when they are afraid to venture outside of their comfort zone: to put up walls. It's important to know that past, not to perpetuate it's out-dated worldview, but to fully understand and scrutinize it. Facing it, understanding it, and realizing it is not the same as endorsing it.

 

I think images of animal slaughter is incomparable and I'll not try to tie it in.

 

What one finds objectionable is very subjective.   To help ensure certain viewers are not surprised some films have a intro.   I fail to see how anyone could find that objectionable,  but here we are.     TCM is yet again in a no win situation.    Some call for NOT showing certain movies,  and some call for showing them without any 'PC' intro.    TCM picks a middle course.   I think it was the right one.  If they really wanted to play it safe they would just not show these movies.

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What one finds objectionable is very subjective.   To help ensure certain viewers are not surprised some films have a intro.   I fail to see how anyone could find that objectionable,  but here we are.     TCM is yet again in a no win situation.    Some call for NOT showing certain movies,  and some call for showing them without any 'PC' intro.    TCM picks a middle course.   I think it was the right one.  If they really wanted to play it safe they would just not show these movies.

 

I didn't mean to give the impression that I objected to the warning intros, exactly, I just said that I rolled my eyes over them, which is something like exasperation. I guess I just wish that explanation wasn't ever necessary, but I realize that it often is.

 

Not showing the films would not be playing it safe. They'd be rightfully taken to town for it. What TCM is doing now is fine.

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Well, I don't think that unapologetically showing these films is necessarily "perpetuating" them. I believe it is possible to observe and enjoy such things without entirely approving of the attitudes and methods of the people who made them. To automatically take offense at such things seems somewhat reactionary to me, but I also don't believe it should "become nothing to take notice of."

 

What do you believe should be done with such items of the past? Do you think they should be buried so we can "move away from the offenses of the past," (to paraphrase what you said)? IMO, that is what people want when they are afraid to venture outside of their comfort zone: to put up walls. It's important to know that past, not to perpetuate it's out-dated worldview, but to fully understand and scrutinize it. Facing it, understanding it, and realizing it is not the same as endorsing it.

 

I think images of animal slaughter is incomparable and I'll not try to tie it in.

 

I agree with many of the positions you hold, but I would like elaborate on a few points, if it does not involve drawing too fine distinctions.  I don't think it's the showing of films that perpetuates the demeaning stereotypes, but the excusing and minimizing of them that does.  I do think, however, it is perfectly appropriate to automatically take offense at what is wrong, whether it is prejudice, or animal cruelty.

 

As for old films with stereotypes, I agree with you completely, show them, but recognize them for being flawed.  This is something you may not be aware I've stated in other threads--this topic has been extensively explored on this site.  My argument is that it is the people who excuse, or try to justify those portrayals that perpetuate them.

 

And you don't have to worry too much about the kind of intros the like of which Trader Horn got.  It is a rare exception.  Most movies that have what might be considered objectionable material in them don't get any kind of intro, let alone one alerting viewers about the content.

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Posted Today, 06:11 PM

Kay, on 18 Oct 2014 - 5:47 PM, said:snapback.png

I couldn't agree more. Because we cannot get rid of it, we have to revise it, and when we cannot apply revisionist history on it, we have to bookend it with politically correct remarks.

 

This is rather ironic, considering that there's never been a more blatant example of politically correct revisionist history than the movie known as The Birth of a Nation.  It's not as if D. W.  Griffith was boldly challenging the accepted racial bigotry of his time.  All he was doing was shamelessly pandering to the worst sentiments among us, and leaving the lies and distortions of reconstruction strewn all over the landscape. 

 

I completely support TCM's policy of showing BOAN on a regular basis, but it should be treated like Triumph of the Will, and introduced accordingly.  It's no sign of "politically incorrect" courage to ignore the elephant in the room.

 

Bravo, Andy. VERY well stated!!!

 

I reposted your thoughts here because I thought my giving it just a "like" down there wasn't sufficient enough to show my support of your words!!!

 

(...AND I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by Mr. Dobbs' remarks in this thread TOO!!!)

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I agree with many of the positions you hold, but I would like elaborate on a few points, if it does not involve drawing too fine distinctions.  I don't think it's the showing of films that perpetuates the demeaning stereotypes, but the excusing and minimizing of them that does.  I do think, however, it is perfectly appropriate to automatically take offense at what is wrong, whether it is prejudice, or animal cruelty.

 

As for old films with stereotypes, I agree with you completely, show them, but recognize them for being flawed.  This is something you may not be aware I've stated in other threads--this topic has been extensively explored on this site.  My argument is that it is the people who excuse, or try to justify those portrayals that perpetuate them.

 

And you don't have to worry too much about the kind of intros the like of which Trader Horn got.  It is a rare exception.  Most movies that have what might be considered objectionable material in them don't get any kind of intro, let alone one alerting viewers about the content.

I don't think it's the showing of films that perpetuates the demeaning stereotypes, but the excusing and minimizing of them that does.

 

I think we've established through many, many conversations on this board that none of us here excuse or minimize racially, ethnically, or religiously inappropriate or demeaning old movies. What I find equally objectionable is the censoring of these old movies or the decision not to show them, to appease the PC crowd.

 

I do think, however, it is perfectly appropriate to automatically take offense at what is wrong, whether it is prejudice, or animal cruelty.

 

Sadly, the slaughter of animals for sport or fun is still tolerated and encouraged in the world. One just need witness the moronic reality shows in the U.S. that have no problem showing the killing in prime time. As long as money is involved, every species that can be marketed will be made extinct. I for one look forward to it - first, because those animals will no longer suffer, and second, because I happily await the impact on man of no longer having the species that weren't valued for their importance in the food chain, thanks to greed.-----as of today, only six white rhino left, a male just died. There you go, all those moronic males relying on the horn of this noble animal - they throw away the rest - will have to go to CVS.

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