Fuck. It was great. Probably my favorite Tarantino movie ever. It’s pretty tight between it and Inglorious Basterds. I know, I know, it came out last year but I didn’t see it until last weekend.
There’s been a little bit of controversy concerning the movie and the use of the N-Word. (For ease of typing I’m just going to use nigger. I’m lazy and holding the shift button twice and stretching my pinky up to the top of the keyboard is a bit of a strain for me.)
Nigger. There. Much easier.
There’s no debate that nigger is one of the nastiest words we’ve invented in the last couple hundred years. (I think Cunt predates it.) I was raised never to use the word and rarely heard it except while in the company of rednecks, hoosiers or douchebags while growing up. I do hear it from time to time and I’m quick to point out to that person that it’s improper to use it. I assume faggot will be that way in the next 5-10 years. Cocksucker, I hope, will always be free to use.
Anyway, while watching Django Unchained I was well aware of this overly politically-correct bullshit going on. I kept this in mind every time nigger was uttered onscreen. Every time it was I felt it was well within the context of the story. In fact, it lent a great deal of realism to what is essentially a fantasy movie based in historical fact. Every time you heard nigger it reminded you how ugly the times were in that dark chapter of our country. In no way is it glorified in this film. Django Unchained is not going to be responsible for a resurgence in nigger-use. Slavery is not played lightly either. You are constantly reminded how horrible it was throughout the film. There are a number of scenes that are hard-hitting. There is one scene in particular that struck me. (This is not a spoiler) About halfway through the film Django is riding into town and he’s stopped on his horse as the slaves are being moved to or from market.
It is a stark reminder of how bad things were. It’s a macabre parade of disgusting imagery that if it doesn’t move you there is something deeply, deeply wrong with you. (kill yourself)
One of the major proponents of the controversy of nigger being uttered is Spike Lee. He’s been quoted as saying that he refuses to see the film because of the use of it just out of respect to his ancestors. I say he’s doing them a disservice by bad-mouthing it. Django Unchained being disrespectful to slaves is like saying Inglorious Basterds was disrespectful to veterans and Holocaust victims. Sure, it’s mostly over-the-top fantasy but it does not diminish the suffering and lost lives. In fact, it opens people’s eyes.
Finally, the thing that’s inspired me to write this post was a news blurb I read about the toys. Yes, they are making toys for Django Unchained. Specifically they are making collectible action figures. Some people are throwing fits about the existence of these fearing that kids are going act out scenes of slavery.
Who the fuck is going to let their kids see this movie? Let alone buy them a fucking toy? Christ on a cracker! No one. That’s the answer. For one, it’s not like these are going to be on the shelf at Walmart and Target. They’re being sold online only.
The guy throwing a fit about the action figures is Najee Ali, director of an advocacy group called Project Islamic Hope. (That’s probably the subject for a different post). Ali calls the figures “a slap in the face of our ancestors”, and that “…it trivialized the horrors of slavery and what African Americans experienced.” However, he did say he enjoyed the movie and saw it twice.
I’m betting these figures are never going to see their way past the cardboard and plastic they’re sold in let alone be acting out scenes from a plantation. Plus, at $30-100 each, it’s not very feasible unless you’re a very wealthy clansmen with time to kill.
Then it wouldn’t be much fun to play with them because your wife didn’t cut the eye holes out big enough in your hood.