In the new film Django Unchained, the N-Word is said over 100 times. Alot is being made in the American mainstream media about whether this crosses some imaginary line of good taste or decency.
So the N-word. Look I wish I could simply say the word in full right now, as N-Word makes me feel there are friend’s three-year kids standing around who should be shielded from just about everything I’ll ever say. But there’s no three year olds reading this, only you, an adult.
Let’s start by pointing out I am a white male and the greatest oppression I’ve faced in my life is being forced to use right handed scissors. That’s right I’m left-handed, deal with it.
Let’s also say that while I’ve studied American history I’ve never lived it. I can’t appreciate all the tragedies and travesties that have befallen it’s people.
I can say that the use of the N-word in the Django Unchained (once every 2 minutes roughly) seemed right. Pretty much every single time it’s said.
It’s because the N-word is not a bad word.
It’s a terrible, horrible, powerful, inflammatory, useful and painful word. To call it ‘bad’ is to abuse the English language.
So for a film to use it over and over, should do so with purpose and razor sharp intent. It should give the word meaning, and the film the same. It should evoke something in you. When you go and see Django Unchained (and you should) revel in hearing it. While the film is not a documentary on history by any stretch, it’s a powerful commentary upon it. One all wrapped up in typical Tarantino B-grade comical gore and wit. It will make you feel the way you should feel about slavery and racism.
Perhaps that’s why one of it’s stars, Samuel L Jackson insisted a reporter use the full word and not the N-word in an interview. Because it is a word that should not be locked away in the depths of a vault deep under the earth. It’s a word that needs to be understood, and uttered only with empathy and understanding. So let’s take off the velvet gloves and just be considerate in what we say to each other, whatever the words might be.
Again I’m white, male and Australian. So what do I know?
I do know this. Perhaps more horrific and offensive in Django Unchained is Tarantino’s cameo as as an ‘ocka’ Australian slavetrader.
In a film set in Mississippi.
At a time when Australians still sounded most probably like Irishmen.
It seems no consideration was given to our history or basic good taste there.
Truly truly offensive Quentin.