Mongo Wept: HBO Max Puts Race Disclaimer on ‘Blazing Saddles’

August 14th, 2020 10:12 AM

“You’ve got to remember that these are just simple GenYs. These are people of the internet. The common clay of the new Woke. You know … morons.”

Is that quote:

a) A bastardization of one of the dozens (hundreds?) of funny lines in Blazing Saddles

b) An HBO Max executive arguing for adding a disclaimer in front of Blazing Saddles?

C) Both?

Sadly, the answer is C. Because we live in very stupid times, HBO Max has added a three-minute introduction to Mel Brooks’s classic 1974 western spoof, according to MovieWeb

“TCM host Jacqueline Stewart puts Blazing Saddles in context in the new disclaimer,” MovieWeb explains. Good luck with that. The sort of people who tear down statues of Frederick Douglass aren’t big into context. 

But it sounds like Stewart does her best, probably speaking slowly in a soothing tone:

She says, "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 portrayed here as explicitly small-minded, ignorant bigots." She concludes by noting, "The real, and much more enlightened perspective, is provided by the main characters played by Cleveland Little and Gene Wilder."

The film is a satire aimed at racism, and it’s not subtle. Even the most self-righteous little social justice warrior should get what’s going on without the disclaimer. The movie is populated by cartoon characters and there isn’t a serious moment in it. There are fart jokes, sex jokes, slapstick gags, and somebody punches a horse. We’re not talking highbrow.

But it’s mocking of racism is ruthless and all the more effective for being utterly crass (Richard Pryor wrote much of the script). 

But none of that really matters. What matters is that there’s a generation of young people who are so ideologically blinkered and psychologically fragile that they must be soothed and cajoled into watching a movie that doesn’t reflect their brittle world view. Life has a lot of nasty surprises in store for them.

In the meantime, “Where the white women at?”