Saturday, December 12, 2015

Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn

When “Gone With The Wind” was released on December 15, 1939, Clark Gable shocked theater audiences when he uttered the phrase above to co-star Vivian Leigh, just before he turned and walked into the mist in Atlanta.

closing scene to Gone With the Wind

The film earned 12 Academy Awards at the 12th Academy Awards, and when adjusted for monetary inflation, it is STILL the most successful film in movie history.

Since “Gone With The Wind” was released, public conversation has become significantly courser, both in real life, and in the movies. It’s difficult to watch a movie, or walk through a modern high school, without hearing the “f bomb” dropped on a regular basis. I’ve occasionally reminded some of the students that I teach that really, really stupid people use a lot of profanity, and intelligent people don’t.

My mother-in-law was always concerned about what people thought of her, a mid-1950’’s mindset that contributed greatly to the idea of “keeping up with the Joneses”, and is still very prevalent today among the more conservative members of our society (some of whom sincerely believe that gay marriage causes hurricanes).

In order to remain calm and un-stressed, it’s important to not be overly concerned about what people think about you, or to worry too much about things that are difficult to control (like trying to keep high school students off their phones during class time.)

The best way to do that is to adopt the elegant art of not giving a s**t, and the link below provides more information on that very important attitude.

how to stay calm

There IS a time for profanity in our lives, as long as it is used appropriately. Few of us would hit your thumb with a hammer and just say “darn”, since a stronger word would be more appropriate.

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was no stranger to cuss words, and he actually used the word “nigger” more than 200 times in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. However, he also was aware of the need to use profanity sparingly, and only in appropriate situations.

His wife, (born Olivia Langdon) came from a wealthy East Coast family, who raised her to be a prim and proper lady. On occasion, she would let loose with a string of profanity after her marriage to Samuel Clemens, who would usually remind her that she “might have the words, but doesn’t have the music”.

When it was virtually unheard of to use profanity on the screen, Gable’s use of the word “damn” on the screen provided a perfect ending to a movie that carefully documented the horrors of the Civil War. If the movie were remade today, and Gable used the slightly stronger, “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a s**t”, the ending would actually seem a little silly.

In many ways, “the good old days” WERE better in at least some ways. However, as we are reminded almost daily by our chief buffoon, Donald Trump, the days of polite public conversation have, quire literally, gone with the wind.

1 comment:

  1. Admitting that we shopped at WalMart last week is like yelling profanity. Raw language spoken by a young women walking the aisles nearby brought thoughts of Arsenio Hall, who just said "Hmm!" I think the change in public discourse has changed in recent weeks. I'll lay the blame on Trump.