A Word of Caution About Censoring Old Films

There are times when I can only stand in awe of someone else’s achievement, knowing that I could not have done better than they did. I experienced this feeling a few days ago when I came across a video from a YouTuber known as The Critical Drinker. His videos are usually filled with clever insults, witty repartee, and profanity-laced diatribes aimed at films and filmmakers. In this video, however, he takes a far more sober look at the state of the film industry, prompted primarily by the recent censorship of the classic film Gone with the Wind. Even his customary “That’s all I’ve got for today; go away now” sign-off is toned down to elicit a feeling of sadness more than rambunctiousness. Gone are his usual jokes, replaced by a heartfelt plea to preserve the freedom that makes films worth making and watching.

Check out his video, and then I’ll have a few words to add, even though he already says everything perfectly.

Taking the Good with the Bad

I tend to be a glass-half-full kind of man. I want to see the positive in people and things. We are all a mixed bag, packed with strengths and weaknesses. We’re capable of stunning growth and breathtaking falls. I don’t think a man needs to be perfect to be honored, nor do I think his creations need to be free of fault to be worthy of praise and remembrance. Films are the imperfect creations of imperfect people, so we shouldn’t expect them to be unstained in any way. We are better off emulating the good qualities found in people and films instead of condemning them outright for having flaws.

Rather than looking at films as problematic products that need to be fixed to fit our current sensibilities, we would be wise to look at them as glimpses into the past that we can learn from. Movies say something about who we were and are, and there’s no shame in letting them stand with all their good and bad points for everyone in the world to see. Where does it end if we go down the path of changing films to remove questionable content? There is no limiting principle when everything is fair game to those who claim to be the most offended.

Free Speech and Truth

Because I’m in favor of letting the good and bad grow together, it doesn’t mean that I embrace every film or want to watch everything available. It just means that I want good films to have a chance to be made and preserved by giving everyone the freedom to tell stories the way they want them to be told. The fact that supposedly racist films like Gone with the Wind exist doesn’t mean that we are a racist people, but that we are a free people, challenging norms, testing which ones are correct and which ones should be corrected. Free speech is a messy process where all ideas are allowed to be heard and compete for prominence. That is the only way for truth to emerge and be embraced by the masses.

I don’t know what the future will be for the film industry, but I hope that level heads will prevail and we will be free to say what we want to say without fear of reprisal.

This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.

The video clip is the copyright of its owner.

About Robert Lockard, the Deja Reviewer

Robert Lockard has been a lover of writing since he was very young. He studied public relations in college, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 2006. His skills and knowledge have helped him to become a sought-after copywriter in the business world. He has written blogs, articles, and Web content on subjects such as real estate, online marketing and inventory management. His talent for making even boring topics interesting to read about has come in handy. But what he really loves to write about is movies. His favorite movies include: Fiddler on the Roof, Superman: The Movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Back to the Future, Beauty and the Beast, The Fugitive, The Incredibles, and The Dark Knight. Check out his website: Deja Reviewer. Robert lives in Utah with his wife and four children. He loves running, biking, reading, and watching movies with his family.
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