Monday, December 24, 2012

Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Django

Spike Lee has spoken out against Quentin Tarantino's movie, Django Unchained.

"All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors. That's just me... I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody else."

Lee tweeted: "American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western.It Was A Holocaust.My Ancestors Are Slaves.Stolen From Africa.I Will Honor Them."

One "academic" argued with him----apparently, he thought the word "holocaust" didn't exist before the Nazi genocide and could refer only to events that were exactly like the Nazi genocide. Even if he had been right, it had nothing to do with the movie. Fifty to a hundred million black people died in the slave trade, by the way.

When I was in high school, some friends and I started writing a novel. It opened with a private eye going to a neo-Nazi compound in Idaho and freely killing neo-Nazis in order to capture a Nazi war criminal they were harboring. One of my friends pointed out that the hero murdered a lot of more or less innocent neo-Nazis, but he took the actual Nazi war criminal in alive so he could get a fair trial.

Not long after that, I was horrified at what we had written. We trivialized Nazi genocide, used it in what we intended as a pulp novel. I wouldn't dream of doing that now.

I haven't seen Tarantino's movie, but making a big budget spaghetti western exploiting slavery in the way he did seems like a terrible idea, or at least something you want to approach very carefully. I don't think Tarantino has the sensitivity to pull it off.

I read a lesbian parody of a Nancy Drew novel which was great until we find out that Nancy was raped by her father who was then murdered by their housekeeper. You don't want to put such strong material in that context.

One tweeter responded to Lee: "MAN I been waiting for you to speak on it! Never is there a point in Inglorious Bastards where Jews are the butt of the joke..."

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