Cheap Laughs or Necessary Consideration?

Like my classmates who posted on the film below, I also was just struck by the extreme racism of The Confederate States of America.  I think that Leslie brings up a good point that touches on the legitimate possibility that this racism pervades our society today.  Although it is not as over as a TV advertisement for slaves, our society does in fact still have traces of racism and prejudice against people of color–as seen in the past few days in the NBA (L.A. Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, made racist comments that were leaked to the public).

I think we have to keep this whole film in perspective and keep in mind that it is a mockumentary.  However, it is also vital to think about the likelihood of slavery still existing today if the Confederacy had won the Civil War.  By following the same timeline of actual historical events, the film does establish the idea that certain events would have occurred differently had the Confederacy won.  Economic turmoil in 1929 with the Great Depression was aided by a renewed Trans-Atlantic slave trade.  Emily mentions that the attacks on Pearl Harbor happened on December 7, 1941 but in the alternate history, the C.S.A. attacks Japan on this date.  It is silly to think that these attacks would have occurred on the same day as Pearl Harbor but it does beg the question as to what the role of our country would have been if the southern states had won.

On one hand I see the film as a low-budget attempt to get a quick buck out of cheap laughs and absurdity.  The commercials featured in the mockumentary were quite ridiculous and the basic attention to detail seemed lacking at some points.  However, I also think that the film touches on certain aspects that are important to consider.  As Leslie asks in his post, what if the Confederacy had won?  Maybe too obviously seen, this is the central question to be analyzed.  Would certain events have even happened and moreover would slavery still exist today?  I would like to hope that slavery would not exist and that a movement would have occurred after a hypothetical Confederate victory.  However, we as historians have difficulty interpreting the “what if” and can only draw upon what did happen.  This may be the key reason why the film seems so ridiculous and over the top.

 

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