I’m not going to burn off 80 words on flowery bullshit that takes both sides of this issue into consideration before I finally err on the side of objectivity. I’d rather try an alternative approach: This shit is stupid.
Django Unchained is not going to ever air on the Hallmark Channel. It isn’t a movie that was made to be adored by everyone, and that’s why I would allow Quentin Tarantino to take me in a thrusty, masculine, and yet gentle way should his tastes suddenly take a left turn toward big-titted fanboys. Fuck appeasing the masses (and didn’t I just demonstrate my own antipathy for that?). Foot fetishists and bad ass motherfuckers. That’s who QT works for, and though there is a shocking lack of primo tootsies in Django, there is a fuck-ton (a slang term for a ton of fuck, meaning a whole lotta shit) of controversy thanks to the films slave-y subject matter, violence, and the use of the word that the “N-word” implies.
Here’s the thing: the film isn’t Quentin Tarantino’s All Star Salute to Owning and Whipping People featuring a Cavalcade of Happy White Racists Who Love to Shout Epithets, it’s a film that belittles slavery, a film that takes us along for the ride as a former slave beats down slavers in an effort to rescue his wife from the clutches of the kid from Marvin’s Room. It’s also really fucking good, I mean I had a skip in my stride on my way out of the theater, and yet remarkably I didn’t feel an urge to go buy people. Which is odd, because the people who hate this film on the basis of it supposedly being a product of bigotry or a piece of insensitive filth seem to think that that’s exactly what one would do. With that said though, I did think about buying some of those Django collectible action figures. Have you seen them? Here’s a picture.
Now, I’m not a fan of the MEGO style usually, but I have seen these up close and they are quite awesome looking. Anyway, these are evil too.
Several activists have bashed the figures with some calling for a national boycott… because this is what activists should be focusing on right now.
Here’s what Najee Ali, who is the director of Project Islamic Hope had to say about the figures which are made by NECA: “We were outraged,” said Ali, referring to how he felt when he heard about the toys, not, you know, making a statement about his default mood… I think. Later, he added: “We feel that it trivializes the horrors of slavery and what African Americans experienced.”
To that I say, how? These aren’t “slave” action figures, they are collectibles depicting characters from a movie that Ali himself has admittedly enjoyed…twice.
These figures aren’t going to glamorize slavery just like the film didn’t and besides that, these aren’t an all-ages action figure that a kid is going to buy with his allowance at the local Toys R’ Us (I can’t turn the R around, I’m sorry) or Wal Mart (Can you imagine?). Besides, do kids even have allowances anymore, don’t they all have Amex Black Cards and isn’t their music horrible?
This is an adult collectible, you know, like the guys on Big Bang Theory buy. Does anyone think that there is an adult out there who will buy these and suddenly forget the evils of slavery? People are really stupid, I mean Honey Boo Boo stupid, but I just don’t think that’s going to happen.
We can’t hold our past sins like slavery, the holocaust, and segregation in a crystalline hell that can’t be examined or prodded. We can’t mount these things on a wall, never to be disturbed, living only as a silent, unacknowledged reminder of why we should be better. That kind of reminder fades, and as someone wise probably said once unless I’m saying it for the first time (Research!) “When those memories fade, so begins the moment when those sins become easily repeatable.”
We need to keep taking those things off the wall, we need to smash them against the ground and cut them to ribbons with constructive dialogue, satire, and whatever else keeps those bad memories alive.