Get Off His Dick And The ‘D’ Ain’t Silent::Initial Thoughts Of Impact Of Django Unchained

So, I just got through watching Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained for the first time. I may be biased(and whose writing is not these days?), and my initial angst regarding the film might have tainted my ability to appreciate any portion of it, but, I did feel it was lackluster. The story of a slave named Django, played by comic turned singer turned dramatic actor Jamie Foxx, bound by love for his wife and purchased by a wayward and whimsical bounty hunter, while interesting, it just did not live up to the hype. The usual cinematic cosmetics that have made Tarantino respected as an artist as opposed to just a guy that obviously needs psychiatric help were not here. In place of the more interesting cinematography, we have a melange of hip hop and western tunes to help convey the idea that this is antebellum Texas and Mississippi. The overuse of the term “nigga” notwithstanding, and I suppose after sitting through all of Quentin’s prior works, I have become somewhat numbed by his liberties. This time around, he hides his quaint hobby of dropping the n-word behind the film’s supposed era — never mind the fifty odd anachronisms that crop up throughout the script.

I was not captured at all by the character of Broomhilda, played by Scandal star Kerry Washington. I am not sure if it was the sheer incredulity of a German speaking slave or just her almost callow and infantile mannerisms after surviving as an escaped slave and an obviously disobedient one. I expected at least a few inspired bits of Shola from Sankofa, no, I’m lying, I knew Tarantino wouldn’t be as accurate or as intrepid as to present a strong Black woman as a romantic interest. The writhing, wailing, and weak character reminded me of the stereotypical tragic mulatto role, not sure if they were going for that, however. But alas, I really don’t want to focus so much on the film as much as the impact of a film that really did not deserve as much fanfare.

Initially, Spike Lee’s comments of honoring our Ancestors seemed fairly harmless as he mentions in those comments that he is only speaking for him self. Michael Eric Dyson would take Spike to task on the December 27, 2012 episode of Ed Shultz’s show labeling Spike’s comments as dismissive after a lengthy segment of lathering the film in complimentary spittle(which was not quite as frothy as the foaming of his other Black male MSNBC personality– Toure– regarding the movie,but it was quite noticeable). Interesting enough, as impact, Dr. James Peterson, director of Africana studies and associate professor of English at Lehigh University predicts that the movie could possibly become a classic. It would seem that this reaction from Black men would be further extended throughout the national dialogue about this film. At the time of this writing, no Black women in the media have spoken about the film, I expected to hear from our good friend at #NerdLand, Melissa Harris-Perry, but alas…not a damn thing. Even our favorite token negro writer over at The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a subtly congratulatory piece about Django Unchained while disparaging the history of Harriet Tubman. It seems that it is redemptive for Black men to watch Jamie Foxx ride away from a cage of Black slaves to save his wife, but a legend based on actual events of the woman that would have saved those slaves that, according to the plot, helped to save him, is not worthy of the hyperbole that is the entirety of Django Unchained. In fact, the movie was not even original, I could almost see Tarantino on the couch with Robert Freeman and Uncle Ruckus giving his version of the Catcher Freeman story.

So, I do question the overall impact of a movie such as this. It is the Barack moment all over again. A national euphoria for Black men now swimmingly smacking hands around barbershops and blunt ciphers as if they had killed George Zimmerman, Chicago Police Det. Dante Servin, Johannes Mehserle, or any of the hundreds of White men responsible for modern day lynching. I was asked on Twitter why I cared what the White response to the film was because the person asking the question, a Black man, was tired of us having to ask white people what they think. As if Quentin Tarantino’s input into the movie was not the thinking of a white man. At best, Tarantino’s Django Unchained is a slave thematic. It is not a movie about slavery, just one that exploits its horrors in an effort to sell to a Black audience. It is not a redemptive piece as no media format could ever be enough to redeem anyone from the extended effects of the US Black Holocaust– the term “holocaust” is not even enough to package the degree of repulsive human abomination our Ancestors were met with in the founding of this nation. Due to the lack of nobility on the part of the character of Django in dealing with other Blacks in the movie, I can only fathom that Black men felt appeased by Tarantino’s quaint Trojan Horse due to the degree of bloodshed, that– given Tarantino’s repertoire and the US slavery theme– was not even as sensationalistic as it was billed. In fact, the Germans should feel more redeemed by the movie than the US Blacks.

In closing, if Django Unchained — a White Man named Quentin Tarantino production no matter how many Blacks were utilized — is that shining moment of redemption for Black men in the United States of America where Malcolm X was gunned down in front of his own wife and children, then I think CoIntelPro worked a lot better than most assumed it would.

Vaccination:Q4

Today was slightly uneventful for the blogger known as Owl. With the exception of two occurrences that I feel the need to discuss. One is pretty rudimentary, and probably most reading this will not be able to relate. But I am really drawing nigh on the acceptance of walking around with two holes in my arms leaking blood. Now, I use to donate plasma twice a week, and I donated blood whenever I was allowed to. I am no stranger to needles leaving holes in my arms. However, this is the second day this one particular nurse has not been able to get a stream flowing from my left arm, and had to readjust the needle in my arm, only to say, “Oh, well, let me check the other arm…” Granted mistakes happen. But I expect mistakes like that from military nurses of the E-1, possibly E-2 pay grade. Not a practitioner who is one step below a doctor in her career currently.

 

My other concern occurred later in the night. The other lab rats volunteers wanted to do the communal thing. The suggestion was a video. Of course, movie night in the vaccination lab. I overheard the title “Reservoir Dogs”, and I immediately asked them through my room’s open sliding door were they going to watch that. The dietitian, who is actually a music teacher, responded that they could. Now, “Reservoir Dogs” is one of Quentin Tarantino’s earlier pieces of a diamond heist gone wrong. The piece is actually a classic. Unfortunately, Tarantino has a penchant for forgetting he doesn’t have a Black Pass with everyone.

 

So, as I went out to view portions of the film, I embarked on the three scene combo in the movie where Tarantino decides to write that “niggers always kill each other”, “Jungle Bunnies can kill anyone and get a terrific parole officer,” and “niggers talk about raping men.” Of course, those are just my interpretations as a Black man. I understand the going argument that if you don’t behave as such it shouldn’t be offensive, but the term is not in reference to just a behavior, it is in reference to a group of people who have been stereotyped as acting as such. Ultimately, I’ve already seen the movie, I just conveniently blocked out those parts from my memory, because I do like the movie. But when in a room with three Caucasians, and a brother from Kenya, you feel it.

 

I’ve really had a difficult inner war with the word “nigger” and all of its cool(quote-unquote) derivatives. I understand the word as a term of endearment. I’ve felt the camaraderie and what we call “the love” from American Black brothers and sisters who have used the term in reference to me. I also understand the implication that poses when white people who might be sympathetic, or really just culturally can’t identify with any other group but American Blacks. I understand that American Blacks are an interesting group of people, and that many are curious about our ways to the degree of trying to fit in among us. I understand that many whites want to discuss the cultural significance of such things, and even be candid about their feeling towards blacks. I get that. But I feel uncomfortable when white people use the term “nigger” in any manner.

 

I have for the last year been considering dropping the term from my own vernacular. The night’s events definitely give me a reason to do as such. I am not to the point of many of my Moorish friends who will hit anybody, black or pink, for using the term. I’m not offended when blacks use it, but there are certain situations when it becomes embarrassing to hear it said. I know that reading those words might seem contradictory, and I’d simply write, welcome to the world of the “nigger”. All jokes aside, I don’t necessarily need to have a moratorium for the word, but I feel for my type of sensibilities, it would be better if I didn’t use it, and if I asked other blacks not to use it in my presence.

 

Other than that, my vitals are fine. Seems that my blood pressure is fluctuating, but at it is coming down. I am still not showing any symptoms from either of the bacteria strands, and I am not feeling any way ill. I’m still drinking plenty of water, and exercising more. So far so good…