Now that “Gone with the Wind” has been cancelled, Boston University is considering a change to its mascot because it was named after a character in the 1936 novel.
The school’s beloved mascot, a terrier named Rhett, after the character Rhett Butler, who was played by Clark Gable in the 1939 film adaptation. Due to the sudden backlash against “Gone with the Wind,” which was briefly pulled from HBO Max following outcry amid the current race riots in America, the Boston mascot may get a new name, Fox News reported.
Boston University president Robert A. Brown wrote a letter to the community on Wednesday explaining the move to rename the mascot.
“As part of our ongoing conversations about racism and the way it manifests itself in society and on campus, a number of you have pointed out that our mascot’s nickname, ‘Rhett,’ pays tribute to a fictional character associated with the Confederacy, slavery, and sexual assault, and that has prompted important conversations,” he wrote.
“We know that the University mascot was chosen in 1922 by student vote, with the majority favoring the Boston Terrier (over the bull moose). It is less easy to pinpoint when the nickname ‘Rhett’ came into common use,” Brown continued. “What is clear is that ‘Rhett’ is a reference to one of the lead characters in Margaret Mitchell’s novel, Gone with the Wind, which was made into the Hollywood film with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.”
“In the Boston University context, the ‘Rhett’ nickname is, of itself, a play on words. Since our school color is scarlet, it was a short leap for students—or perhaps a sports publicist—to link Rhett to Scarlett O’Hara, the other romantic lead in the book and movie,” Brown added.
“Despite this seemingly cute connection between the movie and our mascot’s name, the fact is that the movie’s portrayal of the American Civil War, postwar reconstruction, and slavery is offensive,” Brown wrote. “And it is reasonable for people to question why, at a university founded by abolitionists, we have a mascot nicknamed for a character in a film whose racist depictions are completely at odds with our own tradition. It is time to address this question.”
As The Daily Wire’s Paul Bois previously reported, “Gone with the Wind” was returned to HBO Max just a few days after being pulled from the streaming service. The movie will now feature an introduction from Turner Classic Movies host Jacqueline Stewart that explains the themes of the movie and why it should be viewed anyway.
“‘Gone with the Wind’ is a prime text for examining expressions of white supremacy in popular culture. Based on Margaret Mitchell’s blockbuster novel, ‘Gone with the Wind’ taps into longstanding myths about the gentility of the antebellum South. The film’s lavish costumes, magnificent plantation sets and sweeping Technicolor cinematography render Scarlett O’Hara’s romances and economic tribulations in grand melodramatic fashion,” Stewart wrote in an op-ed for CNN. “As the title indicates, ‘Gone with the Wind’ looks back nostalgically at idyllic days that are no more (because they never were). By harkening back to the great old days, plantation dramas invite white viewers to imagine appealing but false pedigrees. When working class and poor white viewers identify with a noble white lineage, for example, they might be less likely to form what could be beneficial alliances with their Black working class and poor counterparts.”
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