Let’s look very quickly through this week’s saga of the so-called call to “ban” “Gone With the Wind”:
On Wednesday, New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick wrote a column arguing that “Gone With the Wind Should Go the Way of the Confederate Flag.” Lumenick argued that GOTW’s racial politics are due for a re-examination, and that perhaps it should be exhibited in museums rather than in lavish anniversary re-releases. Lumenick does not, at any point, call for a “ban” of the film, he does not use the word “ban” in his text, and his views are obvious to anyone who read the piece beyond the headline.
Over the next three days, many, many, many news outlets report the story wrong:
Breitbart.com: NY Film Critic Calls for Banning of ‘Gone With the Wind’
Youngcons.com: NY Post Critic Wants to Ban “Gone With The Wind”
BizPac Review: ‘Book banning next?’ Libs targeting ‘Gone With the Wind’ over Confederate themes
Right Wing News: Film Critic Calls For Banning Movie “Gone With the Wind …
And it isn’t just right-wing sites either:
Mediaite: NY Post Writer Wants ‘Racist’ Gone with the Wind Banished, but Black America Disagrees
The Wrap: “Film Critic Calls For Gone With The Wind Ban Over Its ‘Insidious’ Racism”
The Guardian: US critic: ‘undeniably racist’ Gone with the Wind should be banned from cinemas
On Friday, Lumenick wrote that, as of that morning, “Gone With the Wind” had reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Blu-ray sales chart, likely out of fears about such a “ban” (although it’s since fallen behind, for some reason, the complete series release of Stargate: Atlantis.)
In this case, “Gone With the Wind” has benefited from a dynamic often associated with guns: Whether it’s the aftermath of a massacre of a liberal electoral victory, fears of an imminent ban tend to be wonderful for sales. And as in every case to date about guns, the fears of such a ban are wholly imaginary.
In that same column, Lumenick makes it clear that, no, he does not believe “Gone With the Wind” should be banned:
How did this sudden burst of popularity happen to a movie that has been widely available in numerous editions on video since 1985? It seems a lot of people who ran to Amazon’s virtual store are actually afraid that the film will be banned or pulled from circulation due to my column. And they haven’t been shy about telling me about this concern in dozens of angry tweets and emails, no matter how many times I have tried to correct this erroneous impression on social media.
So here it goes again: I stopped very well short of calling for a ban in my column posted on The Post’s website Wednesday, which also appeared on the cover of Thursday’s paper. I do not believe in censorship, even for the more blatantly racist “Birth of a Nation.” By arguing that “GWTW” may be more appropriate to see in museums than in multiplexes, I was trying to encourage readers to examine the Oscar-winning film’s ideas — the offensively sympathetic portrayal of slavery and enshrining the falsehood that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery — in the wake of the Charleston church slaughter.
Let’s just look at the rank levels of stupidity here. Lumenick did not call for a “Gone With the Wind” ban. Dozens of news stories stated, wrongly, that he had. But even if he did- do people think one film critic has the ability to get a movie pulled from the shelves everywhere?