Other films have watched “problematic” scenes snipped for our “protection.”
It’s all happened with few, if any, objections from Hollywood, Inc. The trend gave rise to a phrase that should send chills up the spine of any self-respecting artist.
“They couldn’t make THAT today.”
Yet one film has remained untouched by Cancel Culture despite being both outrageous and uncompromising. In a way, it’s the perfect example of a film woke censors would love to erase but couldn’t due to the film’s fan base.
Mel Brooks’ 1974 western satire savaged racism by mocking racists without a filter. It’s considered one of the legend’s best comedies, a testament to Brooks’ creative freedom and wit.
The comedy guru is keenly aware of Cancel Culture and has repeatedly used a variation of, “They couldn’t make THAT today” to describe his film.
Yet there’s been no effort to censor or tweak the comedy in any fashion in the Age of Woke.
Max, the platform that once yanked “Gone With the Wind” from its cyber-shelves, just slapped a video trigger warning on Brooks’ vision.
Anyone who wants to watch “Blazing Saddles” must endure an introduction by TCM’s Jacqueline Stewart, who joined the company in 2019 as a host and expert on film preservation and “representation.”
“You’re about to watch a movie from 1974 that many consider one of the greatest comedies of all time,” Stewart begins in the clip, shot in front of a background teeming with books. Ironic.
She gives a quick primer on Brooks’ satirical film canon before describing the film’s plot.
“As the storyline implies, the issue of race is front and center in ‘Blazing Saddles’ … and racist language and attitudes pervade the film. But those attitudes are espoused by characters who are explicitly portrayed here as narrow-minded, ignorant bigots.
“The film’s real and much more enlightened perspective is represented by the two main characters played by Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder,” she says.
She later praises Brooks’ approach to satire: “Absolutely nothing is off limits and jokes can tackle any and every sensitive subject.”
It’s a trigger warning without a trigger.
Here’s a sample of the trigger warning Disney+ added to the classic film “Dumbo” for comparison’s sake.
“This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures … these stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”
Max didn’t have the courage to do the same.
Yes, you must be lectured about “Blazing Saddles” because you’re too stupid to process satire in its highest forms. Yet Max understands how beloved the film, and Brooks, remain and cannot say there’s anything actually wrong or offensive about the film.
It’s unclear when the video introduction first hit the streaming platform, but a Twitter user alerted the platform to the shift on Feb. 5.
NOTE: Both Netflix and Paramount+ include “Blazing Saddles” on their content rosters without trigger warnings.
I'm watching Blazing Saddles for the first time and this lady comes on before the movie to tell me the entire plot of the movie and how it ends while warning me about the racist language and how provocative it is. pic.twitter.com/dZleOvn3yL
— Heidi (@HeadyRemarks) February 6, 2024