My problem with Tarantino is really based on critiques that are mostly about personal style or taste. Not a fan of the blood, not necessary for me I get the point, and I’m not squeamish at all. Plays too loose with and seems too fascinated with the Black man badmuthafucker archetype, and that can turn in some pretty odd ways, if there’s a preoccupation. It’s too one-dimensional, you don’t recognize the full humanity if all you see is the product of repression/oppression. There’s more to the narrative. And there’s a lot more to the interplay than house slave vs badass. First, the motivation of both are complex in and of themselves but there’s also a lot in between; it may even be much more interesting and richer. Imagine that.
I don’t like his fascination with the n-word, a personal issue, I know to many it’s OK but it’s like the blood, over the line. Plus there’s something odd about a White director using the word more than anyone else. Now this is all personal, he is no doubt a talented filmmaker and can do what he wants. I really enjoyed Pulp Fiction, despite the scene at the end when they needed to clean the car: Nerdy (in a hip way) White dude saying nigger over and over. Not Nigga mind you but nigger.
But he’s never gotten anywhere close to Pulp Fiction in my opinion. He may have with Django; I haven’t seen and will wait till the DVD, no interest in seeing it in the theater.
I do this as a protest. I think people are too quick to give him a pass. When he talks about the drug war, and I see the way people respond, it bugs me. He says and people praise him for saying it or it’s some sign of how down he is. Well let’s say people have and are talking, writing etc., about the drug war and he would have (with a little humility) been well served to give props to those who have put in serious work, so those people and that work can get “pop” exposure. If you’re so conscious name a couple, but he chose to “play it cool”. Maybe it’s just a lament and he hasn’t seen their work either? Another reason for protest is the way people come at you if you say you’re not a big fan or won’t go see the movie.
Dick Gregory is wrong to call Spike Lee a punk and thug. Glenn Loury, and I’m a big Glenn fan, is wrong to call Spike silly. Glenn says, “no one owns” this stuff, a sentiment I agree with, but Spike didn’t say Tarantino didn’t have the right to make the movie! He also said he was only speaking for him, an honest answer. And if underlying Lee’s stance has something to do with industry competition with a peer and Spike wears it on his shoulder, so what he wears everything on his shoulder? Maybe no one will question Tarantino the way Lee get’s questioned, maybe Lee’s experiences shapes his sentiment? I thought we’ve known that Hollywood doesn’t play nice with Black? One young lady wrote in the comment section on, The Glenn Show, that if you had a problem with the movie you must have brought your baggage to the film. This is laughable because the movie plays with that baggage?
Others said “it’s just a movie”, but Driving Miss Daisy, Mississippi Burning, The Help weren’t treated as, “just a movie”? At a dinner in the presence of progressives I made a comment about not being a big fan of Tarantino and his use of the n-word, and it was clear from the silence that I’d committed some faux paus. The treatment I received (and that’s ok) later confirmed that I had, in fact, broken some code. Really, it’s just a movie?
Anyway, Tarantino just strikes me as the kind of guy who thinks you’re cool and likes you for all the wrong reasons. Sorry but nigger does not belong in play between Black and White men, so can we take it off the table and speak to each other like men? I think we’ll get by and to make the argument for your right to use it strikes me as a bit odd. Why do you need that word so? Can’t embrace till I know the answer to that question.