What started out as something good—political correctness, which really was just another way of saying show respect—metastasized. Cancers tend to do that. Nowadays it has become its own brand of fascism. Taken to its extreme, it foments division and fuels Alt-Right angst, cheapening true issues of racism and discrimination in favor of sensationalistic, casuistic virtue-signaling. It must be opposed with vehemence.
I’m glad to see TCM handling it the right way. Because yes, there are classic films that contain material that by today’s standards is troublesome. Rather than listen to the extremists and “cancel” these works of Art, TCM is going to broadcast them—along with discussions of the parts in them that are problematic. They’re choosing to celebrate the Art while using the objectionable bits to educate rather than censoring them. Good for them. “It’s not about censoring the film, it’s not about treating your audience as though they’re not intelligent enough to see the issues, and it’s not putting a childproof lock on the movie or a caution label,” said host Alicia Malone. Good. For. Them. THAT is how you do it.
The new program, “Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror”, features broadcasts of such classics as GONE WITH THE WIND (which makes it look like the slaves at Tara might not have minded being slaves; I wouldn’t go that far, but the film never shows that they*did* mind, and it does make the antebellum South seem like a romantic kind of place), BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S (that caricaturist Asian character), and THE SEARCHERS (which paints the Indians in a decidedly negative light). All understandable choices. BUT. Why in the hell is PSYCHO in there? Because somebody somewhere thought it might be a negative portrayal of trans people? Horseshit! It offers a negative depiction of ONE individual—an individual based on a real person, no less!—who had serious mental and moral failings. Anybody who could take Norman Bates as a template for all transgender, transvestite, or transsexual people is just an idiot. There is no need to cater to idiots. PSYCHO does not belong on this list of films with “troublesome” content!