Monday, May 08, 2006

Blazing Saddles Banned at LA High School

While I agree that many high school students are not prepared to deal with "Blazing Saddles", the solution to that problem must not be to ban it. We have made them so politically correct that they cannot wrap their heads around satire? "Blazing Saddles" is my absolute favorite Mel Brooks movie for two reasons. First, it is amazingly funny. I look down my nose at anyone who doesn't get Mongo (played brilliantly by Alex Karras) jokes and I still don't get why we didn't see Clevon Little in a lot more leading roles.

But more importantly, as Professor Bainbridge aptly points out, the movie isn't racist, it is an anti-racist parody. What makes the movie work is how well it uses racist ideas to poke fun at racists.
What really got me about the story, however, was the reporter's description of Blazing Saddles as a "racist film." Nonsense. While Blazing Saddles pervasively uses ethnic slurs and stereotypes, it does so to lampoon racism. The worst thing you can do to bigots is to laugh at them, which is precisely what Mel Brooks does in this hysterical film.
There is indeed a problem with "Blazing Saddles" being shown in public high schools, but the problem is not with the movie. The problem is with the pitiful education these students have been given.


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