The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Tarantino. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tarantino. Show all posts

Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Django Unchained": Points Of View and Perspeticve

Image result for django unchained

Django  Unchained...

Quentin Tarantino

We are posting a co-joined dual piece on the recently released movie. First, a set of comments about the movie from a personal friend and occasional contributor to The Progressive Influence and Owner/Editor/Writer of, Marion Young.

After the personal comments from Ms. Young, I offer a personal screed on issues related to the movie from my perspective and within my inclinations to opine.

The Marion Young OP-review.

I saw Django yesterday. I highly recommend it. I will be buying the DVD when it comes out so I can see it whenever I want to. Alex, you were's entertaining and funny. It is also educational and will enlighten many. 
The "N" word was appropriate and the over play on the word was intentional because that's all they called slaves back in the day..."N" this and "N" that. Fetch me some water, nigger. All the way through to today, the "N" word is still used in white circles. Yeah, you better believe that because it's true. And the way blacks are STILL being treated says if they aren't saying it, they're thinking it. But it's only a word. And I am more concerned about the racism still going on, more blacks in prison than whites for petty crimes in comparison, difficulty getting a job, inability to get loans, and getting loans at higher rates of interest. There's a modern-day slavery going on and it's in high gear. On and on it goes. 
While this was fiction, art imitates life. This was the first movie to show in this way the brutal whipping of slaves, dogs eating slaves, throwing slaves in holes for punishment like animals, cutting off slave penises, burning slaves like cattle, letting them fight to the brutal kill like pit bulls, and uncle toms (played perfectly by Samuel L.). That is the message that should stay with viewers more than anything else: the gross, ungodly, horrendous horrors endured by the slaves for hundreds of years. I've seen whites laugh at blacks for fear of water and dogs. You see why blacks are afraid of dogs in the movie. Did you know whites fed black babies to alligators to lure the gators on land so they could kill them for their skins? 
Tarantino's brilliant movie did what Tim Wise and many authorities on racism could not do: he showed in the most shocking fashion what slavery and racism has done to African-Americans and brings to mind the dynamics of fears, hate, anger and psychological trauma has been done to these people and the nation. When you consider that racism is alive and thriving today, it's as if slavery never went away and the wounds have never healed. Slavery and racism has simply evolved into what we have today: a crueler  sicker, disguised version of what they had back in the day. 
It also shows the legacy of lust for blood, domination, cruelty, power and more in certain whites, and how that filters throughout society and molds a consciousness from the very rich at the top, to the poorest of poor at the bottom. Our society today STILL is affected by that sick consciousness, and we see it played out every single day in politics, media, employers, family, churches, everywhere...even in our own homes. When Django blew up that house of horrors at the end of the movie, I could not help but wish we could do the same with the controlling factions of this nation.

As I walked out of the theater last night, I listened to hear what viewers were thinking. One white man told his family, "I'll never see another Tarantino movie again. Too much blood for me!" 
I could only wonder how many westerns he's seen over the years with Indians getting killed, how many Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis movies he's seen and sat through all the blood and killing. There will be many whites who will continue to be in denial over slavery and racism. Hats off to Tarantino and all the actors for daring to do this movie. I hope it is the beginning of more.

This movie's time has come. ~Marion Young

Reading from this point will include uncensored use of the "N" word, depiction of human abuse, and graphics regarding slavery.

The Pardu
It is about time I address the Quentin Tarantino movie, "Django Unchained". After thinking Spike Lee nailed his principled comments regarding the movie (disdain for the choice to script the "N" Word 110 times) and thinking I would not pay to see the cinematic release, I visited a theater and sat with a full house for three hours. My addiction to action laden cinema fare should have served as a precursor to a family member's recommendation that I see the movie. I was in the audience within days of "Django Uncained's" release. No such resolutions for me!

I visited the release within 48 hours of its open at a local theater, so I was unaware of character development and character portrayal before purchasing the movie ticket. Character development and in-character roles are key to "Unchained". I will interlace my thoughts on Tarantino's artful character development and portrayal in a bit.

First, allow me to address a few points about the movie. Yes, the movie has a very violent end that precedes pure exciting, personally rewarding and euphoric closing scenes. In an era of movie endings that often do not end in euphoria, it was refreshing to see a quest the generated a smile.

Second, use of the "N" Word is ever-present after sitting through the first 15 minutes of the 160 plus minute movie. Of course, the word has reprehensible impact and reaches back into American History. The word is also an undeniable part of US history. It is both disparaging against African-Americans and as become an ingrained and institutionalized lexicon manifestation after centuries of use among some in the African-American Community. 
Portuguese slave traders introduced the word to the Western Hemisphere along with their valuable cargo-hulls of chained humans: the slave trade. (Some like to now call the industry Triangular Trade). The N word has a role in Django Unchained. Without the word, the movie would have come across as sanitized and necessarily sanitized. If you recall for many years we heard, saw and read the word "Negra" in books, movies and theatrical performances (without a gender connotation).

The Urban Dictionary
A stereotypical word meaning an african-american. Possibly a mispronunciation of nergro. Some people dislike the word negra as much as the n-word. I suggest that you don't call a stranger a negra. Calling someone this could be as insulting as calling an African-american a "boy".
In 1850, my relatives used to own a lot of negra slaves) .

As a matter of fact, I have been disparagingly referred as a "Negroid" on a racist website for criticism of Ron Paul "....look at what this negroid said about Dr. Paul", the racist editor wrote to his flock of sycophant racist minions. Dr. Paul, Dr. Paul, ah Veracity Stew Dot Com published an informative piece on Dr, Paul and his racist supporters. I found it disappointing the racist did not capitalize the word "Negroid" as it was used in the context of his sentence. 

Yet, another example of cinematic avoidance of the "N" Word came as I viewed the movie "Red Tails." Once, I saw and heard the leading man German fighter-pilot ace refer to Black fighter pilots as "Africans." I understood George Lucas '
 (Producer) avoidance, but that same avoidance left me with a feeling outside the realm of reality. My memory of the movie is more the use of the word "Africans" by the German pilot than the central theme and historical significance of the movie. The "N" word used 110 times in "Django Unchained" did not feel as if Tarantino simply threw the word into the script to satisfy a personal affinity for the word. Although I will not argue the point Tarantino may be guilty of such in past movies productions.   Factually, speaking to have avoided the word via use of "Africans" or "Boy" would not have worked as a practical construct within the movie's theme and 'set' as a historical portrayal of certain aspects of US slavery.

Before I move on to two more points about "Django Unchained", allow a moment to for an additional comment from observation. The movie most assuredly depicts a few instances of the horrors of human bondage. Of particular note, and easily overlooked, Tarantino depicted of a mixed race little boy in-scene standing next to a plantation owner called, "Big Daddy" served as a shunpike for a less discussed horror of human bondage. The factual depiction of the boy stood as testimonial of privilege for those who perpetrated the evil. Slavery and involuntary, or for that matter voluntary, compliance with owner/slave sexual interaction was also a horrific sidelight of the institution. Imagine sexual favors  granted for sake of slave family well-being. Imagine sexual interaction as an expected performance of one's duties on the plantation. Imagine sexual favors for any hired-hand at the whims and rewards for, or from, the overseer or the plantation owner. Oh, and of course, we should not overlook the real prospect of abusive kids of plantation owners and their ability (via privilege) to extract sexual favors from any young (or experienced) human property around the plantation. Of those who have a heart and an open mind, what about the love that may have developed from such interaction that could never be experienced to marital fruition (or public exhibitions) based on the very constructs of slavery and associated racism. Yes, Tarantino paths the movie viewer through many aspects of past North American human bondage.

One major reason I decided to write this screed: Stephen the House Servant. Samuel L. Jackson's character portrayal of the complaisant head and consummate "house servant," could actually garner a nomination for cinematic awards. Yet, I suspect the part will not win the award (House Servant: Hereafter referred to as "House Negro" or "House Nigger" to stay in sync, stay accurate and credible with word choices of other writers mentioned here after). Jackson's character embodies a part of African-American folklore and life that to this day manifest as a character symbol that leaves no doubt when used the often referred to "Uncle Tom". The two words represent a universal phrase that needs little to no explanation.                               

The words "House Nigger" as portrayed by Jackson embodies the archetypal or prototypical example of the folklore (d) slave who became a favored/privileged servant of the plantation owner. The privileged servant  enjoyed privilege well beyond the plight of others who worked inside the plantation house and often privileged beyond any non-slave hired-hand. We  imagine such a person was intelligent and crafty beyond other slaves, Overseers and plantation owners. Actually, the "Supreme Servant" probably exercised a higher level of  deceit in order to perpetrate subterfuge over his/her his masters. Stephen crafty? The movie will deliver a poignant message towards its end about Stephen's ability to shape his life via personal fostering a charade he must have adopted earlier in life.

Fortunately, neither you nor I have the misfortune of experiencing a Stephen southern slave, we do have similar less threatening experience. Have you ever experienced a person on your job that was far too close to that hated boss? A person who you will go to your grave knowing shared on-the-floor secrets with the boss. The department "snitch" as some call it, or the department ass-kisser or suck-up (your choice). If you have never experienced such a person you are less fortunate, if you are such a person you know full well my point. In any case, none of us had the misfortune of experiencing a "Stephen" firsthand.

Some writers are using the Jackson character to illustrate points about life as we know it today.

"Stephen" the maximum House Servant

A quick digression into the world of the "House Negro." The following exhibitions will serve to show the concept of House Negro.

ZIMBIO January 7, 2008 posting .. Malcolm X Speech
You Tube Field Negro; House Negro (short version)
You Tube Field Negro; House Negro (longer version no video)

In fairness to his complete history, Malcolm X (AKA Malik Shabazz post the Black Muslim Faith), moderated his well-meaning oratory and his views on black nationalism after a trip to Mecca and experiencing personal problems with the Black Muslim Faith (to simply put it).

The "House Nigger" was not that solely of the Americas (North and South America).
Napoleons oppression in Haiti.

[by Girodet: Jean-Baptiste Belley: House Nigger of State, fought in Napoleons army against fellow Blacks in Haitie, they used musterd gas against the Blacks who were freeing themselves.]

Of course, many will view the images above and the Samuel L. Jackson's Stephen (Tarantino) character with solace that life as such does not manifest in America anymore. Others will retort the African-American Community has denizens who so very much work to differentiate themselves from their roots, they appear as, what some call "Uncle Tom".

The Urban Dictionary
uncle tom

the real uncle tom was a black man born into slavery who gave his life to protect other slaves. when his story was turned into a movie, the writers re-worked the script making uncle tom's character the opposite; a slave who was loyal to his master. unfortunately, this has become the most commonly known image of uncle tom. because of the film, the term "uncle tom" has become synonymous with "sellout", degrading the real uncle tom. so once again, the white man has successfully managed to teach blacks an incorrect, caucasion-favoring version of history.
person 1: Chris told the boss about you stealing office supplies. 

person 2: What! I knew that ass-kissin uncle tom would say something. 

person 1: He's not an uncle tom. 

person 2: Yeah, whatever.
All minority groups, sub-cultures or any group of people who are the object of race, gender, or sexual orientation based oppression have cases of what some call "Uncle Toms." People who spend much time and energy working to show the oppressor they are one of them (the oppressor  regardless of contradictory visible evidence of such). They advance themselves at the expense of the oppressed group. Their behavior and actions actually become part of their inner psyche thus forming a paradigm that prohibits any contradictory thought, actions of behavior. They are like the Scorpion and the Frog. It all becomes "their nature". Women, First-Nation Native Americans, African-Americans Latinos, Asians, military personnel, company employees, the poor, the interned, it makes no difference, each group has its Stephen.

Many writers and print media (as well as social networking are publishing about the movie, use of the "N" Word and character Stephen. How about a short read on how one author views Stephen and his character in people who are as I call them, "Differentiators"? Field Negro Dot blogspot Dot Com: The top ten House Negroes of 2012. I might have reduced the list by a few names for sake a real relevance, but the spirit of the list captures the essence of our thoughts on Stephen. Specifically, Clarence Thomas, Herman Cain, Allen West, news pundit and GOP surrogate Ron Christie, fellow paid pundit Tara Stewart and any of Donald Trumps phantom black people who told him his remarks on "The Blacks" were not racist nor offensive. Is it not obvious the "differentiators" have one common denominator: some form of reward (most often money). Chris Brown and Carl Lewis from the author's list, in my opinion, are mere examples of 'star-worship' that has no place in my cognitive processes.

Oh, you may malign me because I take an exception to people who wish to align politically as they wish? I have contempt for people of color who align with a political party, movement and poli/social paradigm that is 92% white and which has at its core a southern strategy that maligns black people for sake of garnering votes from people who are biased, bigoted and often overtly racist. A party that blatantly worked to deny the right to vote to minorities, the elderly and in some cases our military personnel.  Yes, the list above are "Differentiators". They do not wish to be considered part of that group as victims of the oppressor.

There is one downside to Tarantino's depiction of Stephen. Nothing will stop people from assuming such demeanor or role for personal gain. People inclined to such actions are truly people who deserve the Portuguese moniker of "Nigger" (regardless of color, ethnicity or gender).

The Tarantino movie is worthy of viewing by anyone who has an open-mind on America, our flawed history and who understand there are millions who wish for times past and who harbor regressive thoughts every moment of their existence. No, they may not have a wish for past human bondage, but I see clear signs many on our political right would not object little to forms of Jim Crowe against African-Americans, women, physical and mentally challenged, returning and disabled veterans, LGBT people, and others who live outside their paradigm of traditional.

Additional pieces on "Django Unchained". (one not so positive)

The Field Negro
(Adam Serwer)