Monday, March 20, 2017

“Gone with the Wind” – More than Just a Movie

It was sensational. It was controversial. It was historic. In 1939 the film “Gone with the Wind” crossed a major line in the movie industry, provoking excitement and criticism. The producers also drew huge profits by doing so, as they intended. Their shocking move was immensely successful, at least from an economic point of view.

What was it? Simply this. The movie included the word “damn,” in the very famous last line. Rhett said to Scarlett, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a _____.”

Prior to the film's release, censors objected to the use of the word in the film. The word had been prohibited by the 1930 Motion Picture Production Code. Yes, prohibited! Why? Well, to those with traditional values and religious convictions, to “damn” a person was to wish that person condemned to hell. That is how the word originated. People who feared God, and believed in the reality of hell, did not use the word in polite speech. They would shudder if they heard someone else say it.

But the risk paid off. True, the producers had ridiculed current social values and offended the consciences of many. But they likely anticipated a huge payoff, and they got it. They may have figured that the initial criticism would die down, and it did. Most people would pay to see the film anyway. After all, any customers who hesitated would hear how outstanding the film was as a whole. They would justify seeing the movie – overlooking what they found offensive – and they would buy their tickets. After all, they might ask, was it really that big of a deal after all?

The more I have thought about the explosive step that those producers took, the more I have realized what is going on in our declining culture.

In my years I have seen this "Wind" strategy used effectively many times. The movie industry, a major national retail chain, or another commercial interest decides to add something questionable, objectionable, or even outright immoral. Then these events seem to follow in order:

The instigator (movie company, merchant, etc.) proudly goes public, advertising its bold new move.

Initially, many with conservative values publicly object. They may refuse to support the agenda with their money, because it genuinely violates their consciences. They are also concerned about the potential damage to society that may result.

Then those who accept or embrace the change, or see it as rather harmless, accuse the conscientious conservatives of being self-righteous or of making much ado about nothing. “They are so strict and so judgmental!”

The instigator enjoys the publicity and the profits that it has generated.

The boundary line of acceptable practice moves farther left once more.

Those who have not moved with the shifting sand are then ridiculed and marginalized as bigots or fanatics. They are treated as a tiny majority and called the “religious right;” they are defined as being off-center, on the fringe. It is they, not the instigators of the new morality, who are the extremists. How dare they say that people should not support such changes with their money or their influence? How picky and mean can people be?

Those in search of bigger profits and more customers then look for the next controversial move that they can make to repeat the cycle on a grander scale. It may be disturbing. It may hurt marriages, families, children, and friends. But it will make money for sure. And, hey, people will get over it and even reward it.

In my generation I have seen this pattern used effectively to move many boundaries. These include the growing acceptance of premarital sexual relations, the promotion of adultery, the breakup of the traditional family, the use of rude, crude, disrespectful language, the open description of private body parts and functions, the weakening role of the male in the American family, social and gender engineering, abortion, and more. I have seen high standards lowered and seemingly eliminated. I have seen movie ratings like "PG-13" slide all over the place.

I fear that I will see the "Wind" pattern again, and again, and again. I am even more concerned for the generations that follow me.

The title itself, “Gone with the Wind,” was intended to describe a culture that was becoming a thing of the past. The life that Rhett and Scarlett had known would exist no longer. Ironically enough, we must ask ourselves in this post-Christian era, “Will the God-fearing, Bible-believing, people-loving culture that we have known become … ‘gone with the wind?’”

I am alarmed. I am ashamed. How have people with solid convictions – how have I myself – allowed such intrusions to occur? Where are the defensive linemen, who will plant ourselves and say, “Enough! You are not taking one more inch of this field!”

Join me in affirming what Scripture says:

Rom 1:28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

"Gone with the Wind." It really is more than just a movie. It's a movement.


Giles Hollingsworth said...

In the 1930's and 1940's soil erosion was a big problem for this country, one of great concern. Farms were literally washing away because very few farmers were doing anything to stop the erosion. Actually many of them didn't know what to do. Any yet the answer was quite simple: use terracing and plant row crops. And without billions of dollars being spent,educational efforts made successfully made, primarily by very low budget groups like Future Farmers of America, a high school club; and the 4-H club, in grade school and high school. And yes, some government involvement too, but it was an EDUCATIONAL effort.

We are now, and have been for quite a while, experiencing a cultural erosion. Of course the government is not concerned with it, and we shouldn't expect it to be. Society's values are being washed away, but unfortunately very little educational effort has been made to stop this erosion. I keep praying that such effort will happen.

Sara Rix said...

Thank you, Cory. Something to really think about.

Anonymous said...

I have been doing some research on the humanistic approach to teaching our children, and what I have found is astounding. May I post your blog article (with due credit to you) on my blog?

Cory Collins said...

Yes, Anonymous, you may certainly post the article, without editing its content. Include a reference to the blog page,, as the original source. Thanks for asking.

BETH said...

Once more I will try to sign in with WordPress.

Cory Collins said...

Beth, you do not need to sign in with WordPress. Just post your comment the same way you did earlier. Your comment will come to me first for review before possibly being published. Thank you.