July 22, 2013
Romanticizing the Villains of the Civil War

When Gone with the Wind had its premiere in Atlanta in 1939, the governor of Georgia declared a state holiday. One million people turned out to watch the arrival of Clark Gable, Olivia DeHaviland and Vivien Leigh. The night before, a costume ball of leading citizens dressed in the finery of the Old South was serenaded by a “negro boys’ choir” dressed as slaves standing against the newly constructed backdrop of a plantation mansion. One of its singers was six year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. Hattie McDaniel, who acted as Mammy, was prohibited from joining the other stars inside the theater. It was segregated just as movie houses and other public facilities were throughout the South. Angry about McDaniel’s exclusion, Gable threatened to boycott, but she persuaded him to attend. She would go on to win an Academy Award.
Copperhead, the newly released Civil War movie directed by Ron Maxwell, lacks the scope, star power and drama of the all-time blockbuster. But it’s in a tributary of the tradition — stretching from Gone with the Wind through Maxwell’s ponderous Gods and Generals — of Lost Cause mythology. The story takes a few liberties with an obscure late-19th-century novella based on a completely fabricated and otherwise unlikely incident in upstate New York in order to offer an alternative interpretation of the Civil War: that Abraham Lincoln was a bloodthirsty tyrant trampling the Constitution, that those who opposed the war in the North were not Southern sympathizers but true patriots, and that those truly loyal to the Constitution were the persecuted victims of an oppressive regime and virtual dictator who used emancipation as an instrument of his drive for power.
Read more. [Image: Library of Congress]

Romanticizing the Villains of the Civil War

When Gone with the Wind had its premiere in Atlanta in 1939, the governor of Georgia declared a state holiday. One million people turned out to watch the arrival of Clark Gable, Olivia DeHaviland and Vivien Leigh. The night before, a costume ball of leading citizens dressed in the finery of the Old South was serenaded by a “negro boys’ choir” dressed as slaves standing against the newly constructed backdrop of a plantation mansion. One of its singers was six year-old Martin Luther King, Jr. Hattie McDaniel, who acted as Mammy, was prohibited from joining the other stars inside the theater. It was segregated just as movie houses and other public facilities were throughout the South. Angry about McDaniel’s exclusion, Gable threatened to boycott, but she persuaded him to attend. She would go on to win an Academy Award.

Copperhead, the newly released Civil War movie directed by Ron Maxwell, lacks the scope, star power and drama of the all-time blockbuster. But it’s in a tributary of the tradition — stretching from Gone with the Wind through Maxwell’s ponderous Gods and Generals¬†— of Lost Cause mythology. The story takes a few liberties with an obscure late-19th-century novella based on a completely fabricated and otherwise unlikely incident in upstate New York in order to offer an alternative interpretation of the Civil War: that Abraham Lincoln was a bloodthirsty tyrant trampling the Constitution, that those who opposed the war in the North were not Southern sympathizers but true patriots, and that those truly loyal to the Constitution were the persecuted victims of an oppressive regime and virtual dictator who used emancipation as an instrument of his drive for power.

Read more. [Image: Library of Congress]

  1. sqwintss reblogged this from america-wakiewakie
  2. america-wakiewakie reblogged this from theatlantic
  3. contempgirl reblogged this from doctordisaster
  4. itoldyouaboutstairsdawg reblogged this from doctordisaster and added:
    can we stop glorifying the horror that was the civil war south? Please? Can we stop making movies about how great the...
  5. doctordisaster reblogged this from crocodileblackpelvis
  6. crocodileblackpelvis reblogged this from theatlantic
  7. jarsa69 reblogged this from theatlantic
  8. getmorepromotions reblogged this from theatlantic
  9. xnick41m reblogged this from theatlantic
  10. yang14m reblogged this from theatlantic
  11. pinterestmastery reblogged this from theatlantic
  12. casapazzo reblogged this from theatlantic
  13. starofthe-sea reblogged this from theatlantic
  14. ninarota reblogged this from theatlantic
  15. bgome reblogged this from theatlantic
  16. aura218 reblogged this from theatlantic
  17. randycwhite reblogged this from theatlantic
  18. spicymangosushi reblogged this from likeamosaic
  19. likeamosaic reblogged this from theatlantic
  20. subatomicsong reblogged this from theatlantic
  21. chemman9 reblogged this from theatlantic
  22. admiralmpj reblogged this from theatlantic
  23. theadamglass reblogged this from theatlantic
  24. le-plus reblogged this from theatlantic
  25. profkew reblogged this from theatlantic