August 5, 2021

The wind blows | Opinion

Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel in ‘Gone with the Wind’.Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

At the end of World War II, Franco ordered the destruction of all traces of Nazi exaltation that had populated the institutional acts. He also ordered the film he was a screenwriter to be traced, Race, to eliminate nods to ideas of racial superiority and other philonazi elements. It was about adapting to the new order that marked the victory of the allies. Stalin was a master of photographic manipulation, he made those revolutionary leaders disappear from his side whom he had ordered assassinated in indecent purges. The falsification of history responds to the fact that power always raises the sails in favor of the wind. A much more innocent example. Steven Spielberg was involved in his film AND to erase the weapons of the policemen that appear in the final part and replace them with walkie-talkies. Not all artists are owners of their country or their works, nor do they live long enough to adapt to later sensibilities. Thanks to this impossibility, cultural and artistic expression is the one that remains most sincere and attached to the time in which it was created and, preserved from manipulations, offers a clinical and truthful stamp of the past.

For a long time, some have been demanding that the past be rewritten according to the prevailing norm today. It cannot be so. Then there is the confusion between the civil behavior of an artist and the judgment about his work. A chapter still open and that can lead us to stop admiring and preserving Altamira’s paintings if the suspicion is spread that their author was violent or abusive and even ate raw meat. But if HBO momentarily withdraws gone With the Wind it is because you want to protect the prestige of your brand. You are going to add a historical contextualization, which some find unnecessary. However, the classics of literature are published with a prologue and notes and the Prado paintings are exhibited with cartouches that explain their origin, conception and plot elements when they are necessary for an accurate understanding of what is being looked at. As long as the work is not retouched or cut off, or intervened or readjusted, all contextualization is pertinent. Those who speak of censorship should perhaps denounce HBO for more serious things, such as the infamous absence of audiovisual plurality and the permanent tax avoidance.

Censorship attacks a work, tries to manipulate its content or form and block its exhibition. gone With the Wind he has never suffered any of these attacks, quite the contrary. Perhaps the greatest aggression is the way in which the black voices were dubbed into Spanish. Also the fruit of Spanish racism in his time. Society is in permanent evolution. History is written in the wind, with constant reinterpretations of past glories. Sometimes the defeated and the humiliated rise with the victory of the story and it is natural that they demand reparations. That decorations and awards to torturers be annulled, that statues of people who represented oppression and crime be removed. History should not be confused with homage in public space. Leopold II does not deserve to be honored on the streets of Belgium. The wind is going to carry his statue away, because sensitivity changes. But the artistic fruits of each time must be respected in their entirety, otherwise it would be an attack on ourselves.