This week we celebrate the anniversary of the release of what is considered one of the all-time comedy classic movies, “Blazing Saddles.” While the film is built on the framework of satirizing Westerns, creator Mel Brooks wove in numerous other elements of modern social commentary and even took things to a self-referential limit by having his universe physically break through into the contemporary era.
Writing at CNN, Noah Berlatsky looked over the general support for the movie over the generations and displayed that he is bothered by some of those who have shown affection for the film. As a result, he painfully tries to contort things so he can deliver his fractured message: “Those conservatives just don’t get it!”
I want to write that “Berlatsky arrives at the conclusion that conservatives are racist,” except the fact is he does not; Noah starts out from that very vantage point. He springboards off of the common concept held by many – that “Blazing Saddles” could never be remade in the modern era – but then struggles and places the blame on the wrong parties. What he tries to sell is that it is right-wingers who would be the offended parties in all of this, and then goes on to paint them all as racists who are mocked in the film.
He does this while presenting nothing but contradictory evidence.
He first needs to elide the fact that so many on the right are saying they do not want it remade – not due to sensitivities – but because the result would be mutated into a neutered woke mess. This is just the first of many desperate lurches made. We see that Berlatsky is attempting to force the issue in his opening paragraph.
On social media at least, Mel Brooks’ classic “Blazing Saddles” has become the standard example of a film that supposedly could not be made today because of rampant left-wing political correctness. Rewatching the 1974 film on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, though, what stands out is its cheerfully irreverent antiracism — and its open enthusiasm for insulting and mocking racists.
It is notable that Berlatsky says this as if it is some kind of revelation. It was known from the day the movie was released that Mel Brooks was piercing the specter of racism. Even when first seeing this movie as a kid on cable television, I could see both the overt and the deft ways the comedy legend was taking the piss out of the prejudiced thinking.
Next, Noah lapses into the arena of unintentional comedy.
Exploring the idea that the film could not be remade appropriately (or inappropriately, as it were), he resorts to weak gaslighting. “If it were remade, it almost certainly wouldn’t be the left who would object.” Now for the comedy: He goes on to cite all of the leftist ideals that would provoke objections. To start, he delivers a disqualifying quote from the creator himself.
“We have become stupidly politically correct which is the death of comedy,” said Brooks years ago in reference to the sensitivity blockades to the film being remade or being granted a sequel. Berlatsky knows full well that political correctness and what it has morphed into in contemporary years – woke culture – is strictly and entirely a product of leftists.
Next, Berlatsky promptly offers up evidence of this. He refers to the scenes with Brooks playing a Native American, suggesting this use of brownface would not be tolerated today, and states the role would have to go to a Native American performer. But then you run directly into a problem with one of the gags of those scenes, where Brooks’ Indian speaks Yiddish. If Berlatsky’s “solution” is employed, then you have a case of cultural appropriation taking place; say hello to another leftist activist trope.
Then we get to his grand flourish in the column. Berlatsky is entirely oblivious to the fact that while he desperately wants to impugn the practice of racism, he does so by resorting to the very prejudice he claims to oppose. See, all MAGA conservatives are racist, and they are too stupid to realize the film they think they love is actually denigrating them!
You’re really not supposed to outright say that rural White MAGA voters — the “people of the land” — are deplorable racist dunderheads. You’re supposed to be respectful. But Blazing Saddles,” 50 years ago, said that treating racists with respect is BS.
Got it. The writer is operating as if the only racists to be found are right-of-center individuals. We just have to bypass the current wave of anti-semitism seen in this country that is largely deriving from the left. We’d also need to overlook examples of journalists insulting black conservatives as “Uncle Toms” and promoting white supremacy.
Also needed is pretending that the Democrats are not currently led by a man who said if blacks did not vote for him they were not truly black, and who once stated, “Poor kids are just as bright as white kids.” Biden’s blatant racism has been on display for years, but pretending otherwise displays sheer desperation.
We also have to ignore Noah Berlatsky reiterating his prejudicial assumption that MAGA right-wing conservatives are all racists who are too stupid to realize supporting “Blazing Saddles” is foolish because they are the very targets of the Mel Brooks attack on racism.
If a movie like Brooks’ masterpiece were made today, the left would love it. It’s the right who would recognize, slowly and dimly, that they were being insulted, and howl in rage — as, hopefully, they will howl after reading this article. The best way to honor “Blazing Saddles” is to offend some racists.
Sure, Noah. We have seen where classic novels such as “Tom Sawyer” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” have become banished because of the use of the “N-word,” but it is the right who are supposedly the hyper-sensitive parties in this. Look at who has been on the crusades against comedians Dave Chapelle and Ricky Gervais in recent years; they have been targeted by left-wing hyper-sensitive activists.
The humor here is in the way Berlatsky has to paint people with a prejudicial paint roller in order to avoid the fundamental fact that leftists have been the ones on a crusade to police humor. Just ask the creator of “Blazing Saddles”; he told you that very fact.