Ride ’em, cow
boy girl person: Safe spaces are back in the saddle again.
If you think you’re a fan of comedy but you’ve never seen Blazing Saddles, you’re afloat in a sea of meaninglessness.
The 1974 classic is the very definition of great satire: It mercilessly ridicules humanity’s greatest foolishness while pushing the envelope to a perfectly audacious and uncomfortable degree.
But “uncomfortable” isn’t in the cards for viewers these days, and HBO wants to make sure everyone’s okay.
Hence, the network’s streaming service — HBO Max — has added a warning label to the film.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, before the Mel Brooks masterpiece rolls, audiences are now treated to an explanation by Turner Classic Movies host and University of Chicago cinema and media studies professor Jacqueline Stewart.
And it’s no quickie:
A little more than three-minutes long, Stewart’s intro puts the bigotry and racist language in context, the host saying, “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. The real, and much more enlightened perspective, is provided by the main characters played by Cleavon Little and Gene Wilder.”
It doesn’t sound like HBO has much faith in people figuring things out.
Some might say if you have to tell audiences what the movie shows before the movie shows it, the movie isn’t worth showing.
But HBO’s got its own take — it also added a disclaimer to Gone With the Wind.
Not that Blazing Saddles has ever been a controversy-free flick. The film raised eyebrows over 45 years ago, but millions laughed through their shock (electrified, in part, by the joke to which my headline refers). And culturally, it didn’t hurt that megastar Richard Pryor was one of the hit’s writers.
- Graphic nudity, including one scene displaying roughly 30 completely naked young men
- Rape, courtesy of a prosthetic penis
- Sex with choking
- Masturbation over a webcam
No intro needed.
Guess that’s a horse of a different color. And lately, people are setting fire to the past.
So into the enlightened sunset we gallup, with our trusty steed named, not Trigger, but Trigger Warning…with butts burning from Blazing Saddles.
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