Many in the Alt-Right have grown quite angry with Quentin Tarantino of late, due to the subject matter of his latest two movies: Inglourious Basterds, which depicts a fictional Jewish squadron wreaking unholy (and ahistorical) havoc against the German high command during World War II, and now Django Unchained, which features a righteous black runaway slave exacting bloody revenge against a bunch of mean, depraved, and rapacious white slaveowners in the antebellum South.
We live in a time in which people have been trained to snap reflexively at the latest bit of pop culture red-meat fodder like hungry fish making a run at juicy bait. To say that we are easily manipulated by our masters would be an understatement: we are forever drooling, wagging our tails, and snarling menacingly on cue—Pavlov never had such influence over his dogs as current-day opinion shapers have over their mongrel minions in the general population. It seems that here is always some new enemy de jour, upon whom to heap hatred and about whom to post snarky Facebook memes. We think we’re fighting the power when we indulge in such petty campaigns, but all we’re doing is missing the substance of the matter and chasing after ephemera that no one will remember six months from now, much less acknowledge as relevant to the broad sweep of history.
In the case of Tarantino’s overall body of work, I think that such reactive condemnations badly miss the mark. Q.T. is a highly talented film director with a lot of annoying auteurial tics, to be sure; the value of his films are a matter of taste, but the notion of him as some kind of high priest of anti-white political correctness does not stand up to scrutiny.
I will introduce two exhibits to help make my case.
Exhibit A: Check out this fascinating commentary the Q-man makes on Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver in the video tab. While denying that this gritty and controversial movie is itself “racist,” Tarantino does own that it is a sympathetic portrayal of a “racist” character. But he doesn’t condemn Travis Bickle’s attitude towards blacks; instead, he declares it to be perfectly understandable, given the circumstances of being a white man living in the middle of a crime-and vice-ravaged “ghetto.” Even more interestingly, Tarantino mildly criticizes Scorsese for copping out in making Iris’s pimp Sport white, rather than black, in effect leveling the charge that in so doing Scorsese was being unduly sensitive to namby-pamby liberal racial sensitivities (see audio/video).
Exhibit B: I have not yet viewed Django, but maintain that Inglourious Basterds is not at all the rah-rah Jew-loving, German-hating movie its Alt-right critics say it is, once you’ve scratched below the surface and explored the not-so subtle subtext. I delve into the matter in my review and analysis of the movie written in 2009, posted at The Last Ditch.