A Black Life That Matters
I am not a collectivist. Nor am I in the least bit inclined, either by philosophic temperament or by close observation of current civilizational trends, to believe that there are very many lives today — black, white, yellow, or mauve — that “matter” in the big scheme of things. In any case, those lives which do matter will always be the lives of individuals, not of collectives — that is to say, actual human lives, not abstract pseudo-lives.
On that score, then, since we’re all supposed to be in a huff these days about the general disrespect for lives that matter, I would like to put in a vote for a life that has come in for some very hideous disrespect of late, all in the name of declaring that “black lives matter” — namely the life of Mammy, the fictional character portrayed by Hattie McDaniel (who won the first-ever Oscar for a black performer) in Gone With the Wind. Mammy is fictional, but she is for that very reason distinctly individual, and certainly far more real than the collective abstractions that are getting passed off as “lives” by the Marxist propagandists and their billions of dupes today. That is why the “cancelling” of GWTW from HBO’s new movie service, on the direct orders of the progressive thugs from Black Lives Matter and their cynical self-promoting mouthpieces in Hollywood — a capitulating outrage that I discussed a few days ago here — is not merely hypocritical and anti-art, but also just plain stupid.
Another “black life” — this one not fictional — that matters at this moment is that of veteran New York film critic Armond White, the last professional film critic, it seems, who remains both functionally literate and sincerely dedicated to analyzing and defending what used to be called “the art of film,” before the medium was given over to moron-baiting profiteering and politically correct agitprop.
Thanks to the gods of global-tyranny-through-fearmongering, I have absolutely no time at the moment for anything so inessential as developing a thought process. Therefore, for the second time in a month, I believe, I must offer, as a substitute for my own further thoughts on the issue I have reopened here, an enthusiastic recommendation of the latest movie column at National Review, by Mr. White, dealing very satisfyingly with this very subject. The article’s title, to whet your appetite: “Why GWTW Lives Matter.”
Here is a representative sample, and an almost disorienting reminder of what actual art criticism looked like before it was reduced to political posturing and popcorn box rankings:
Thirties Hollywood was so much more richly imaginative than today’s that dramas such as Gone with the Wind and Make Way for Tomorrow could also be constructed like screwball comedies. Viewers of mature intelligence and life experience appreciated the distinction. Only fools think Gone with the Wind glorifies the Confederacy. Scarlett, the greatest female character in American movies (unforgettably portrayed by Vivien Leigh), is so apolitical that she’s both likable and identifiable, which makes her an astonishing and instructive figure. When her romantic match Rhett Butler rousts the Ku Klux Klan, she couldn’t care less; she wants money and comfort — whatever it takes, which makes her exercise of liberty quintessentially American. She’s appealing and appalling, a fascinating, recognizable mirror.
Please read the whole article at the link provided above. It pays dividends on many levels, not the least of which being that it is heartening — or punishingly depressing, depending on your mood — to be reminded that films, even popular entertainment films, used to be made by and for literate, mature adults.