You probably heard the hullabaloo over new streaming video service HBO Max pulling “Gone from the Wind” from its lineup due to the Black Lives Matters protests inspired by the killing of George Floyd. Say what you will about that, but Elizabeth Austin, in a piece for Washington Monthly, makes it personal and tells why she threw away the copy of “Gone with the Wind” her father had inscribed for her rather than just recycle it.

In her very lengthy piece about throwing a book in the trash, Austin maintains that “Gone with the Wind” is an evil book, and by throwing it away rather than giving it away or putting in the recycling, she wouldn’t be responsible for one more young girl reading the copy.

She writes:

I don’t think I’d ever thrown away a book before—at least, not one that was still intact. But this book was different. I didn’t want to be responsible for one more young girl reading Gone with the Wind. It is a pernicious book. It is an evil book. It weaves a spell that has perverted our national vision of slavery and warped our understanding of the Civil War and its long, vicious aftermath. Its sugarcoated white supremacy has inflicted grievous, lasting harm on our country for generations. Gone with the Wind is poison. And it is more toxic because the poison is concealed within a powerful—even feminist— story told in deathlessly lyrical prose.

Well, there’s one copy gone, although as Austin notes, the film version shot to the top of Amazon’s sales list after it was pulled from HBO Max, so the poison is still out there.

Hey, if it makes her feel better for there to be one fewer copy in the world (well, in a trash heap), that’s her choice. But we’re not sure if her act is going to echo through history as a pivotal moment.

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