Ruminating On:

My Semi-Fictional Life #109 (A Review [Kinda] of GONE WITH THE WIND)

Hello peeps. Today I finally finished my (kinda) review of Gone with the Wind. Here you go.

A Review of Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not I would review this. Is there anything else left to say about this book? I’ve scoured Goodreads, reading every low-star review I could find to get the other side of the story. I wanted to know how anyone could possibly dislike this book. There are some valid points: people who can’t get past the racism, some who can’t get past the phonetic dialogue, those who disliked every character because there isn’t a likable character in the entire novel… well, that last one isn’t exactly true. I think Melly was solid gold. I, however, love reading about the worst of the worst, especially if those shitheads get what they deserve, and damn near every shithead in this book gets what they deserve… to a point.

But I’m not going to talk much about this book in general. I want to tell you why I enjoyed the book so much and about my experience living in the southern united states.

I don’t understand those reviewers who say that this book paints the south in a positive light. Dafuq? Did we read the same book? Because this novel is not kind to the south. Gone with the Wind finds the meatiest, bloodiest sores on the bloated, wretched corpse that is the southern united states and picks those wounds until they fester. Here we have a novel that describes in detail the stubborn, self-serving, two-faced, bitter nature of born southerners, a people who would rather die than be wrong; an overall uneducated people who wallow in their ignorance like swine in mud. These vain, morally-corrupt souls even have a phrase for how well they hide their hate; it’s called “Southern Hospitality”. Unless of course you’re a straight, white christian, then you’re cool.

I’ve lived in central Alabama for going on twenty years. Some of my family members are as country as sausage gravy, sweet tea, denial, and racism. I’ve grown to know these people and have come to expect the reactions me and my wife get while out in public. My nephew, who claims he’s not racist in the least, posted a picture of a black guy on Facebook. The black guy had been beaten by police. His lips and eyes were swollen. The caption said, and I quote, “The Lost Ninja Turtle: Niggatello”. When I confronted him and my sister (his mother) about the picture, they said, “We don’t see Chelle like that!” Like what, pray tell? Like a “nigger”, or like a black person? Mind you, this is my family, people who supposedly love me and my family.

The day after we moved to the home we currently live in, my wife had to chase down our dog Ash in our neighbor’s front yard. Realizing that an honest-to-god black person had moved in next door to them, they started flying an Aryan Nation flag under their confederate flag. On labor day of 2015, they got together with other like-minded neighbors and parked out in front of our house with these same flags dangling from their pickups’ windows. They rev their engines and peel out in front of our house. One has even shot at my dog with a BB gun. The police had this to say, “Those good ol’ boys don’t mean no harm. They’re more scared of you than you are of them.”

That is the reality of the south. Systemic racism and sexism and the culling of sheep with the aid of tradition and religion. It’s just the way things are done because that’s the way they’ve always been done. And this novel shines a light on all of that. Especially how kind these people act to your face, when all the while they’re plotting against you. I grew up in California and even lived a few years in Maine, and I have never seen such secretly hateful people as those who live in the south. Hate exists everywhere, don’t get me wrong, but nowhere else is there a higher concentration of shady motherfuckers. Northerners will tell you quick how they feel about you. Here, you have to catch them slippin’. My experience is with Alabama and Georgia and some Mississippi. Are there good southerners? Yes. Are they few and far between? For the most part. Unless you’re one of them–straight and white and christian–then you shouldn’t have a problem.

Reading this novel made me realize how pointless it is to expect that, someday, this region might change. Southerners act the same way today as they did back in the 1800s. They might hide their hateful, prideful, nationalistic nature a little better these days, but they still cannot stand outsiders, or even insiders, if those insiders aren’t the right color, or those insiders don’t believe in the same invisible men. And Tom Cruise forbid you don’t believe in any invisible men whatsoever. You could shit on the American flag and they’d react better to you in that situation than if you admitted you’re an atheist.

Gone with the Wind covers all that: tradition, racism, classism, sexism, and religion. Rhett is the character I enjoyed the most because he always pointed out everyone’s hypocrisy. Was he guilty of his own hate? Definitely. But at least he admitted it. At least he didn’t hide it. Like my wife says, “I’d respect them a lot more if they had balls enough to say shit to my face instead of whispering as we walk by.” I’ve just started staring back at those who lean and whisper as if they have two heads. I like making these assholes feel mutually uncomfortable. The one thing I won’t do is let them run me out of my home. I’ll leave on my own terms, ya fuckin’ hillbillies, thank you very much.

In summation: There you have it–my review of Gone with the Wind, a book that does not flinch from what truly makes the south THE SOUTH: hate and fear and ignorance, and pride in all of the above. This book certainly doesn’t celebrate the south. If you feel it does, you might want to take a closer look at yourself.

Final Judgment: An unflinching look at the darkest period in American history as seen through the eyes of the villains.

 

See you tomorrow,

E.

Pic of the Day

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