It’s an unfortunate side effect of a violent society to blame popular media for the crimes of the mentally unstable. With the release of Django Unchained, a gory spaghetti western, director Quentin Tarantino was recently questioned about his love of violence during an interview on NPR. While the interview wasn’t a total bust, when Terry Gross brings up Sandy Hook, Tarantino becomes incredibly agitated, but it seems her poor choice of words understandably triggered his response.
GROSS: So I just have to ask you, is it any less fun after like the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, like, do you ever go through a period where you lose your taste for movie violence? And movie violence is not real violence, I understand the difference. But still, are there times when it just is not a fun movie experience for you – either to be making it that way or to be in the audience for something like that?
TARANTINO: Not for me.
GROSS: So it’s so completely separate, that the reality of violence doesn’t affect at all your feelings about making or viewing very violent or sadistic…
TARANTINO: Sadistic? I don’t know. I do know what, I don’t know. I think, you know, you’re putting a judgment on it.
GROSS: No, no, no…
TARANTINO: You’re putting a judgment on it.
GROSS: The characters are sadistic. The characters are sadistic. I’m not talking about, you know, the filmmaker. I’m talking about the characters. I mean, the characters are undeniably sadistic.
TARANTINO: Mm-hmm. When you say after the tragedy, what do you mean by that exactly?
GROSS: Well, like…
TARANTINO: Do you mean like on that day would I watch “The Wild Bunch?” Maybe not on that day.
GROSS: Or in the next few days, like while it’s still – while it’s still really fresh in your – while the reality – yeah.
TARANTINO: Would I watch a kung fu movie three days after the Sandy Hook massacre? Would I watch a kung fu movie? Maybe, ’cause they have nothing to do with each other.
GROSS: You sound annoyed that I’m…
TARANTINO: Yeah, I am.
GROSS: I know you’ve been asked this a lot.
TARANTINO: Yeah, I’m really annoyed. I think it’s disrespectful. I think it’s disrespectful to their memory, actually.
GROSS: With whose memory?
TARANTINO: The memory of the people who died to talk about movies. I think it’s totally disrespectful to their memory. Obviously, the issue is gun control and mental health.
Django has received a lot of unfair criticism seeing as there is no way the deranged asshole involved in Sandy Hook could have seen it. Where do you stand on the debate that movies cause violence? Sound off in the comments.