Wrong “With the Wind”

Wrong “With the Wind”

Please let me take exception to your column regarding “Gone With the Wind” for two reasons.

First of all, the Jews you mentioned were hardly proud Jews. Many of the people made strong efforts to hide their Jewish identity. David O. Selznick even made films which were acceptable to the Nazis. Weren’t there any proud Jews of Hollywood the author could write about?

Secondly, the movie’s portrayal of slavery and Reconstruction were not merely dated; they were out and out racist. Author Margaret Mitchell herself was a fan of “Birth of a Nation” and regarded African Americans as less than human. Both the book and the movie portrayed slavery as a benevolent institution. (By contrast, a contemporary, Mark Twain, once described it as depriving both the master and slave of humanity.) The book, though less so the movie, showed African Americans as incapable of any governance during Reconstruction. In fact, the governments containing African American officials were far more competent and less corrupt than the all-white governments which came about after the end of Reconstruction.

Clearly, both the movie and the book are part of American history. However, both the movie and the book have a dark side which should not be downplayed. As Jews with our history, we should be the last ones to do that.