There’s a recent piece that must be read in its entirety about the making of the movie Gone With the Wind. It focuses on a number of excised scenes, some which downplayed the horror of the ‘Noble Cause’ and others which downplayed the brutality of slavery. Interestingly, the producers, writers, and director knew it was, as those wacky kids would say today, problematic.
When we look back at the past, there is the temptation to assume that some horror (e.g., segregation) was so pervasive, there was no recognition that it was wrong. This, of course, is bullshit: for example, Clark Gable, to his credit, demanded the movie set be desegregated and was furious when he discovered, against his wishes (and understanding), that the Black actors would not be invited to the movie premiere. Those involved in the script were conflicted about sugarcoating slavery and segregation.
The point is not to argue the merits of the movie (really not interested in that). Instead, remember this: when something horrible happened in the past, many people understood it was wrong then.
Whether or not this has any relevance to, let’s say, the NY Times’ current coverage of trans people is left as an exercise for the reader.
Anyway, it’s a fascinating article.