Some thoughts motivated after watching Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
Anyone want to know how to ruin a potentially good spaghetti western? I suppose the same applies for ruining a (less) potentially good spaghetti world war 2 movie. And why you’re watching both, it’s probably a good thing if you don’t know much about two things. One is history and the other is why, in America, certain words flaunted are probably not appropriate because when used inappropriately those words trivialise something that is über important. Two recent movies have proven that Quentin Tarantino is brilliant at trivialising things. He’s also a great film maker. Wait. Contradiction? Pause. More on his film making in a worst-second.
Since I’m on the subject of trivialisation, a few worst-lines about worst-me. I like being middle-aged. One reason for that is I can’t wait to get old. With out soliciting boo-whos, my youth really, really sucked and the whole idear of getting old is quite comforting. Also. I believe that the best thing about life is that even though most are born into it alone and with nothing, it has one free gift for everybody: you get to leave it the same way you entered it. Alone. Hooray! That means life is a grand comforter, the cutest puppy, delicious booz or favourite dessert only so that you can choke, suffocate, have a stroke or heart attack and then, finally, depart. Alone. But there’s something else. It’s all the other stuff between being born alone and dying alone. For example. Young people. I feel really bad for young people today. I wonder if there are any other parents out there that feel the same way. Of course none of them can feel the same as worst-writer. Part of the problem is, most parents believe–this claim is based on their actions–that children are property. And so. Every new generation must scramble their mind and body more than the previous generation. Hence the continuation and perpetuation of western idiocracy. But is there somehow hope out there? Hope for a new & improved consume to survive world?
Ah. The pressure(s) that young people have today. Pressure due to misconstrued biology and bottomless mind-pits full of all-things uncreative, bureaucratic, meritless and driven mostly by greed and hate. It’s no wonder that young people have to grow up with texting, youtube, red bull, Facebook, Pringles and Quentin Tarantino. But let’s also not forget sexting or learning about sex thru internet porn and all that contrasted with parents that are stuck in a world of lights-out, under the covers, embarrassment, door locked, pretend you’re not doing cartwheels with her and finally, ooops, i’m pregnant. Talk about misconstrued biology, eh. When is Tarantino gonna make a movie about all that? It seems like a subject-matter that he could deal with much better than… Nonevermind.
I reckon what young people have to deal with these days is both admirable and pitiful. When I was young and my parents were young, it was all just pitiful. Boo-fuckin’-who, eh! But I must ask: are times changing? Have things progressed? Neverevermind. The question I really want to ask is: Will there ever be a time where young people aren’t slaves to old people? Or should I replace “old people” with “the past”? In other words, as an American, is it possible to trivialise slavery and racism? As a parent I take comfort in one thing. I’ve been completely honest with my son. Honesty and truth is my counter to the lies and shame that was given me having been born of a certain past. I have told my son and will continue to tell him: do not be like your father, do not be like your grandparents, think for yourself, be your own man, care, love, etc. Who knows if that will ever lead to anything. Indeed. I’ve learned that children are a gift that parents do not deserve. Shame we don’t treat them better, shame we really don’t respect them, shame we can’t offer them something better than this.
Which brings me to Django Unchained. My son wanted to see the movie and I didn’t. I was pissed-off after watching Inglorious Bastards because that movie trivialised certain aspects of ww2 that made it silly. (SPOILER ALERT: A Jewish suicide bomber kills Adolf Hitler? Please.) Once I started reading reviews of this new spaghetti movie-making endeavour, motivation waned. Like I said, if you know nothing about history and perhaps you like movies that should ultimately be comics (or something like that), then check out Django or anything Tarantino. That said, there is no doubt that the man makes entertainment. Heck, I’ll even admit that Quentin Tarantino is a great film maker–as long as you look at it as a craft. He certainly makes hits. But I never liked Alfred Hitchcock films either. (Not that the two are even comparable.) My quarrel with Tarantino is the content and mis-direction of his stories and characters that he seems to dump in the lap of a very young and influential audience. Is that the parent in me coming thru? Tarantino makes it more and more obvious that since we live in such confused times, times driven by greed and fear and hate and violence, that such a maker and grand story teller should choose the easy route of trivialisation.
Tarantino movies all have one or two characters that make them worthwhile. In Pulp Fiction it was Harvey Keitel as The Cleaner. In Inglorious Basterds it was Christoph Waltz who played a Nazi even though his Nazi was less a Nazi then the whack-job played by Angelina Jolie’s husband. And in Django, Tarantino obviously saw the light and got Christoph Waltz to do it all over again. But this time he got Waltz to be a sympathetic German who was also part of the Abolitionists that saw the light regarding a fledgling country’s true nature and intentions. And so. Before the movie began, I once again told my son about the world I grew up in and the N-Word. For most of the movie and its N-Word I did ok. Waltz’s character worked as a cushion for all the portrayal of my heritage’s hate. Tarantino really created a jewel with Dr. Shultz. But then something happened. During the negotiating dinner at Calvin Candie’s house, adolescent albeit southern hospitality table manners suddenly became the voice of Hollywood and perhaps the hidden true nature of a film maker. Candie, played by Leonardo DeCaprio, teases Dr. Schultz about his affection toward women with darker skin.
Candie to Dr. Schultz: “You might have caught yo-self a little dose of nigga-luv. Nigga-luv is a powerful emotion, boy. Mmmm. It’s like a pile of black tar that once it catches yo ass…”
Did he just say “tar”? It’s one thing to trivialise both slavery and racism but does he have to do the same to luv? Heck, I could have even gotten through the trivialisation of two people with different coloured skin gettin’ it on. But to then throw in the word “tar” as the element that brings two people together, that literally sticks them together? You’ve got to be kidding me! Add to that the fact that a slave holding white man in 1858 Mississippi knows anything about the elixir and afro-disiaq qualities of tar…? No. Sorry. The text makes no sense. Tarantino couldn’t come up with something better? Were there no people reading the script before he filmed it? Or. Perhaps. Someone is a little bit obsessed and preoccupied with the N-Word and is then at a loss for all other possible words. Ok. Maybe I’m nitpicking. But then again, worst-writer could have done it better.
Worstwriter is a child of parents, that is true. But my parents were not human. Therefore I was hatched. Who then were the ones that kept my egg warm, you ask. Well. Their names were Racism and The Cold War. Here I will only focus on Racism, for he was a grand old bitch, with a little example of how he tried to raise me. During my first day of middle school in suburban hell American’t we were all sitting in the gym waiting to be given instructions regarding our indoctrination. This included various speeches by teachers, handouts for class schedules, assigning lockers and even a short film about Duck & Cover. When the teacher(s) left us alone, a young boy, who was sitting one level below me on the bleachers, stood up, turned around and bitch-slapped me. My first reaction was complete and utter fear. My second reaction was to not piss my pants. The young man was black and I had no idear what I did to motivate him to do what he did. But he, obviously, had a motivation. I remember him vividly. He was a beautiful young man with light brown skin, freckles around his nose and his hair was more dark brown than black. He was the same height as me but perhaps a little thinner. He wore brown pants and a dark green shirt with short sleeves. And up to that point in my life, other than his race, he was just like most other boys that I got into fights with over nothing. But was this nothing? I didn’t shoot the back of his head with spit balls out of a straw. I didn’t whisper worst-sweet-nothings about his clothes in his ear. And I most certainly didn’t say anything about who we were, where we came from and what toothpaste preferences we had. All I did was just sit there, trying to control my freaked-out bladder, I had yet to fight a black boy. Luckily. Nothing else happened. And I suppose he did what he had to do. There were a few taunts by other kids who had seen his deed, but all-in-all, silence, shock and total regression into myself was what got me through that horrible indoctrination. Years later I learned that what I experienced that morning was not unusual. Check out the first few minutes of Henry Rollins vid below.
First two minutes of this vid are relevant to this post. Henry is relevant to everything beyond this post.
Fortunately that young man and I continued with greetings and a few handshakes all the way through High School. Unfortunately we never became anything else and we never talked about what was between us. Somehow, through all those years, that moment belonged to us. But it never really connected us. I suppose to this day, having been traumatized by such an event, that’s the only thing I’m really bitter about. But at least it set me down a path of higher knowledge regarding what my white American heritage was truly about. I knew, because one of my parents was Racism, that what this young man was bitch-slapping wasn’t just me. He helped me realise that there is a lot of wisdom in the fact that children cannot choose their parents but more importantly we can also not choose our history. A slap is great way to realise that. But. At least. Just before we were both about to graduate High School, this young man and I exchanged a few words. That exchange went something like this:
Tommi: Hey Cornelius, congratulations. You made it.
Cornelius: Thanks, Tom. Congratulations to you, too.
Tommi: Thanks. Say. You remember that slap?
Cornelius: In middle school? Yeah.
Tommi: My baby sister could slap better than that.
Cornelius: Oh yeah…
And so. It is heart wrenching to see people my age, who grew up different but the same as me, doing things that trivialise something so important and they do it on such a massive scale. Race and slavery have yet to be dealt with. Heck, we haven’t even begun to deal with the American Indian. So the slippery slope of time progresses and it makes me uncomfortable when something as important as our history is trivialised–which is just like telling a lie. Way to go Quentin. Many thanks to Henry Rollins. And…
At least I’ve been honest with my son.
- Django Unchained – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Duck and cover – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Henry Rollins – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Quentin Tarantino – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Spaghetti Western – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Abolitionism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia