Vintage Pulp Sep 4 2012
A STUDY OF SCARLETT
Gone with the Wind may be a classic, but it’s not reality.

Above, a superb two-panel poster for Gone with the Wind with a great image of Vivien Leigh as the conniving Scarlett O’Hara. This film occupies a curious space in American culture, and a contentious one. Some people think it is an accurate portrayal of a genteel and elegant antebellum south in which slaves lived in more-or-less happy symbiosis with mostly kind masters; others think it’s a whitewash that glosses over the injustice, mass rape, and institutional savagery of a centuries-running crime against Africa.

Since the movie isn’t really about slavery, it probably shouldn’t be judged on its depiction of that terrible institution any more than Around the World in 80 Days should be judged on its depiction of ballooning. However, a swath of the American public does believe the film is broadly accurate, and it’s interesting how stubborn their notions are even after the appearance of more carefully researched depictions such as Stephen Spielberg’s Amistad and the ’70s miniseries RootsWhile a tiny subset of house slaves might have led lives like those depicted in Gone with the Wind, hard evidence and serious scholarship have proven that the vast majority—inside and outside the house—endured horrific lives.

So that's where we stand, and really, reasonable people who've bothered to read a book or three on the subject stand there too. Speaking of accurate depictions of slavery, you might try this underrated flick we talked about a few years ago. You can also check out some cool Gone with the Wind images here. The movie premiered in the U.S. in 1939 but did not play in Japan until years later—in fact, today, 1952.

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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
October 21
1973—Kidnappers Cut Off Getty's Ear
After holding Jean Paul Getty III for more than three months, kidnappers cut off his ear and mail it to a newspaper in Rome. Because of a postal strike it doesn't arrive until November 8. Along with the ear is a lock of hair and ransom note that says: "This is Paul’s ear. If we don’t get some money within 10 days, then the other ear will arrive. In other words, he will arrive in little bits." Getty's grandfather, billionaire oilman Jean Paul Getty, at first refused to pay the 3.2 million dollar ransom, then negotiated it down to 2.8 million, and finally agreed to pay as long as his grandson repaid the sum at 4% interest.
October 20
1947—HUAC Hearings Begin
The House Un-American Activities Committee begins its investigation into Communist infiltration of Hollywood, resulting in a witch hunt that destroys lives, ruins careers, and makes Senator Joseph McCarthy the most feared politician of the era.
1968—Jackie Kennedy Marries
Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis. The marriage comes as a total surprise to the American public, and results in a terrible backlash against her and also makes her the number one target of paparazzi for years.
October 19
1989—Guildford Four Exonerated
The men known as the Guildford Four, who were imprisoned for a series of bombs attacks on British pubs that left five dead and 100 injured, are decreed not guilty after an investigation reveals that police colluded in doctoring statements that appeared to incriminate the defendants.
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