I’ve been thinking about making this post all day and wondering if I should because I may ‘offend’ some fine folks out there.
(That’s your warning.)
Today the Supreme Court said same-sex marriage is legal across the country. I’m stunned. Amazed. And very happy. But we’re not going to talk about that here. Sorry.
As I sat in the Surgical Center–did you know almost no one goes to the hospital for surgery any more? Weird!–that news blared on CNN and my FB feed was filled with images of the Confederate Flag and posts about someone wanting to ban “Gone With The Wind”. I’m not in favor of banning anything short of eating babies and killing old people. If you want to say it. Say it. If you want to display it. Display it. On your time and your own dime and your own property. And at your own risk. Go for it. I thought about “Gone With The Wind” and realized to tell about this but it’s very long and winding. If you’re gonna stick around get a beer or something.
I live in Connecticut. I was born in Connecticut. I’ll die in New England, definitely, but Connecticut most likely. I’m a Northerner. A Yankee. Growing up, to me the Rebel Flag was some part of the paint job on the General Lee. I didn’t watch “Dukes” often, it wasn’t one of my favorite shows, but whenever I did, I watched for the car not ‘Bo’ and ‘Luke’. And ‘Archie Bunker’ was at the top of the TV Charts. I still love ‘Archie’. ‘Archie’, like everyone else on Planet Earth, was a simple Victim of His Times and the Times around him that were changing so fast he couldn’t keep up very readily.
I’ve been to The South. Twice. Yes, out of 48 years I’ve spent 1 month in The South. Two family vacations wherein we drove from our door down to (of all places at this exact point in time) Charleston, South Carolina. That’s; Connecticut to New York, to New Jersey, to Pennsylvania, to Delaware, to West Virginia, to Virginia, to North Carolina, to South Carolina….turn around do it again reverse order.🙂
Yeah, ok, I’m aware that there’s more to The South than that. I am. Don’t jump on me over it.
As a Damned Yankee, there are many things about The South that I liked and could readily appreciate. It’s beautiful, for one, it really is. Parts of it…well…there’s a reason I ended the OF WAR Series with my Utopia of the Blue Mountain in, oh yeah, The Blue Ridge Mountains. Yeah, ok, Stephen King had already taken The Rockies which are equally breathtaking. LOL It is very unique and historical–two things my father loved. Other parts of The South, eh, not so good. They made me happy to come home again. Like the parts where people walk around with guns strapped to their waists. I was shocked! Amazed! Fucking dumbfounded! And, at the ages of 10 and later 12, scared to freakin’ death. We didn’t spend too much time in those states but while we were there my father’s rule was never to make eye contact with anyone openly wearing a gun, do not stare at the gun and, if at all possible, simply turn around and walk in the other direction. No problem.
I told you that little story so I can tell you this longer one.
Skip ahead 12 years.
I’m married with two kids living in an apartment on Pequot Ave with my hubby when two Navy Girls move in downstairs. Kathi and Dani. Nice girls. Young. Just starting out like we were. Dani was from some state the southern/midwest, I wish I could remember which one. Kathi was from Tennessee. Her accent, to this day, is unforgettable. She was a very tall skinny drink of water too and she was funny. One night we’re sitting in the yard and she points down and says; “Do you know what they call that plant?”
I said: “It’s a Yucca” I’m from the North so that’s Yew-cca.
She said: “A YEW-Kah? Back home we call it a Yuck-ah bush, know why? ‘Cause when you look at it makes ya go ‘yucka’.”
Another night we were all sitting out in the yard, I had a little garden back there, Roy put a tire swing for the girls, there was a picnic table. It was a nice night but we were all pretty bored. Kathi started talking about her lack of understanding of this strange behavior of us Yankees; “None of you has a gun!”
“Ahhh, nope, not really.” I said.
“Why is that? Ain’t ya afraid somebody’s gonna shewt ch’a?”
“Ahhh, nope, not really, cuz, like no one has a gun so…..”
There are people, proud people, in the Great State of Connecticut who own guns, of course there are. Many have a license to carry a concealed weapon. But, so far, the non-gun owners are still the greater population. Just so you know, most of us tend to carry a small folding knife or some sort or another, others like some sort of spray. We’re not totally defenseless we just don’t walk around with a gun on our hip or wherever you carry yours.
So the idea that no one around her was openly strapped was as foreign to Kathi as the idea of nearly everyone around being openly strapped was to me.
It’s a Cultural Thing. Don’t ask me to explain it. Please. Don’t.
The subject went by for a few moments as we sat around shooting the shit, drinking beers, when Kathi spoke again; “Ya know, when we was bored back home at least we always had somethin’ to shewt at.”
I think I fell off the picnic table. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, scream, or run. She just stared at me with those big blue eyes.
“What?” She asked. “We did, there’s always somethin’ to shewt at.”
I ended up laughing my ass off.
To this very day those Immortal Words echo throughout my marriage. Whenever we are really bored we always end up turning to each and, in unison, uttering; “Back home we always had somethin’ to shewt at.”
(Is that ‘offensive’? I dunno. Deal with it either way, ok?)
Now I’ll tell you my “Gone With The Wind” story.
This was Kathi’s favorite movie of all time! She talked about it endlessly, ‘Scarlett O’Hara’ was her idol and when she discovered we’d never seen it she insisted that we just had to watch it. So we did. She rented the movie…on VHS! LOL I went to the store got beer, chips, Dr. Pepper, and a bag of Pork Rinds. Disgusting things, BTW. Kathi was very pleased to see that I had thought of my non-alcohol-imbibing Southern Friend and wondered how I knew to get her Dr. Pepper. I told her my trips down South where Dr. Pepper was more prevalent than Coke and I thought she might like to have it.
So, somewhere around 5-7 of us settled in to watch this piece of Classic Hollywood. Kindly keep in mind that up until this point my biggest dealing with this movie were a Carol Burnett skit and clips from the film I’d seen here and there on other shows.
We watched the whole thing. Beginning to end even though it swiftly became obvious that the film made the Yankees in the room a tad bit uncomfortable. I reminded myself that this as an old movie and things were different back then. In the end, it didn’t help much. There were a few parts where us white Yankees glanced at each other although pleading for mercy.
At the end, Kathi turned to us and said: “Well, what’d ya’ll think?”
We just kind of nodded and mumbled that it was a good movie and we enjoyed it but it was fairly obvious that all of our heads were swimming…well, at least to each other. We were relieved when Kathi and Dani had to go get ready for Duty and soon took their leave. We sat around smoking drinking beer looking at each other saying: “What the fuck was THAT?”
“I’da killed the bitch.”
Although I wholeheartedly agreed I did try to state that it was an older movie about an even older time and things were just different then.
They weren’t really having it and we all ended up agreeing that we didn’t really like “Gone With The Wind” very much and we needed our version of eye-bleach, which happened to be “Speed” (of all things) but it was brand New Release way back then.
Even though I didn’t like it, I’d never consider banning it. No one was killed, tortured, or mutilated during or for the making of the film so…it should be available to the Public. It’s a piece of History both Hollywood and American. We shouldn’t turn away from that or try to change it not in a film or in a book. Nor do we have to embrace it. But we do have to look at it and do our best to understand it.
It’s a movie. And it’s not necessarily “racist”. It’s accurate for its time and presentation like a ton of other Classic Films. If you don’t want to watch it. You don’t have. Same goes for books, if you don’t want to read them then don’t. It’s fine. You don’t get to withhold them from everyone else just because you don’t like them. Sorry.
Nope, you don’t get to withhold movies or books or even basic Constitutional Rights from your Fellow Americans just because you’re ‘offended’ by them. Perhaps, just perhaps, if you should find that the ‘offense’ of such things to you is so grievous, that would be a good time for inward reflection and meditation on…you.
Just a thought and one that was Gone With The Wind that Blew Away Common Sense long ago.