American Violence Is Not Quentin Tarantino’s Fault

From screenrant.comHere we go again…Quentin Tarantino has written and directed a new film, Django Unchained.  It was released on Christmas Day and it’s been criticized for many things, including the number of times the “N” word is used and the graphic violence throughout the film.  He’s been on a press tour to promote the movie for quite some time now and you just knew he was going to become a target.  Kids are being gunned down in schools, movie theatres are being shot up, people are arming themselves with weapons and doing crazy things and all of a sudden Tarantino has to defend his movie because he’s contributing to our dilapidated society.

REALLY?

It appears as though Mr. Tarantino has assumed the role of scapegoat here.  Apparently it is now his responsibility to do something about the wackos roaming around in our society.  It looks like there are many that would like to slap a bit of censorship on what comes out of the movie industry because Hollywood is now solely responsible for making people crazy enough the go out and purchase assault weapons and use them on unsuspecting normal-types like you and me.

Give me a break.  Give me a huge, serious break.

First off, movies are a form of art, just as paintings, sculptures and even architecture.  Art forms are what makes culture, well, culture.  Without the influence of the arts we are a bland, useless life form void of emotion.  You know, like Al Gore.  People write and produce movies as a form of artistic expression just as a musician writes songs.  Over time our government has tried to censor art forms and they usually succeed in one way or another.  Speaking of Al Gore, his wife Tipper came up with her own legal form of censorship when she was able to introduce warning stickers on albums that contained what some experts referred to as content questionable for younger listeners.  That sticker represents censorship.  Censorship makes me want to vomit.

If you’ve followed Quentin Tarantino’s career, you know what type of movies he creates.  They always feature a lot of graphic violence, foul language, and he usually touches on plots most people don’t like to talk about in public, but think about often in the privacy of their own minds.  I’ve probably seen every movie he’s done and what I like about Tarantino’s style is his movies never fail to entertain me regardless of the plot.

When Vic Vega cut off Marvin Nash’s ear and soaked him in gasoline in  1992’s Reservoir Dogs  torture scene I thought it was great stuff.  It wasn’t the violence in the scene that I liked, it was the depiction of Vega’s character being ruthless enough to actually do something like that.  Watching  Aldo Raine carve a swastika into Hans Landa’s forehead with a knife in 2009’s Inglorious Bastards wasn’t exciting because of the excellent graphic work, it was the emotional payoff you get when someone who had done great wrong pays the price for it in the end.

Django Unchained isn’t supposed to be an accurate depiction of reality.  If you’ve seen Inglorious Bastards, you know World War II didn’t really end as depicted in the film.  Django Unchained is supposed to be about good cinema.  Tarantino doesn’t have to spend countless hours researching slavery to deliver this film.  He doesn’t have to be an expert on any of the subject matter – his goal is to be an expert at producing films and cinema.

Quentin Tarantino is an artist, just like any other writer, director or producer.  He chooses to tackle plots that make some of us squirm.  But as an artist he has the right to do just that if he chooses to.  Actors who have worked with Tarantino praise him as an excellent director to work for.  If you look at the list of actors who have worked with him, the list is very impressive.  He is considered to be one of the best in his profession.  Seeing that he has the right to create what he feels is art, I can’t help but think he can’t be held responsible for what is going wrong with violence in this country.  It’s not his personal axe to grind or cross to bear.

The reality is you can’t control who sees what when it comes to releasing movies for public viewing.  In 1968 the Motion Picture Association of America revamped the film rating system so it would better suit the way movie subjects and content were changing.  That system consisted of the following ratings:

  • Rated G: General Audiences – Suggested for General Audiences – All Ages Admitted
  • Rated M: Mature Audiences – Suggested for Mature Audiences (Parental Discretion Advised)
  • Rated R: Restricted – Persons Under 16 Not Admitted Unless Accompanied by Parent or Adult Guardian
  • Rated X: Adults Only – Persons Under 18 will not be Admitted

Obviously these ratings have been changed since 1968.  But what do these ratings really mean?  Yes, movie theatres can restrict who sees what within the doors of the theatre itself but then what?  What is the difference between a 17-year-old seeing an R rated film versus a 22-year-old seeing it when of legal age?  Who is to say a movie containing violence and strong language will impact a younger viewer differently than an older viewer at any age?  Watching Pulp Fiction can possibly have a negative effect on a 50-year-old and not effect an 18-year-old at all!

On cable these days they have gone with a sub-rating system.  If a movie is rated PG they will also note other warnings such as mild language or mature situations, etc.  The Motion Picture Association of America needs to follow this type of rating system.  The current system is very generalized and not flexible enough.

Oh, I certainly understand that just changing or enhancing the rating system isn’t going to solve the issue.  That’s because this isn’t really the issue at all!  The point here is the process of writing and creating a motion picture is art and should not be censored.  Those who create the art cannot be held responsible for the actions of those who witness their art because all art is open to personal interpretation.  Just as two people can derive two completely different impressions from the same painting, a motion picture can have different impacts on each person watching the film.  The only way violent movies can be kept from the big screen is if the American film industry establishes boundaries as to what film content is permissible, and that is indeed censorship.

People have a choice when deciding to see a movie, buy a compact disc or even listen to a certain radio station.  You have the choice to either see or not see a movie.  The press has already told you all about Quentin Tarantino’s latest effort.  You probably already know the exact number of times the “N” word is used (110).  Tarantino has been on several talk and interview shows promoting Django Unchained so by now you have a good idea of what the movie is about.  You are armed with enough information to make a decision to either go see it or choose something else to spend your money on.  That part is all your responsibility.

But when Mr. Tarantino agrees to do an interview promoting his new movie and the interviewer attacks him and holds him accountable for aiding and abetting the violence problem in this country, that is simply wrong and unjust.  This violence issue isn’t something you can pin on any one person or any one industry.  If it were that simple, we would be able to eradicate the problem pretty easily and we would have done so by now.

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1 Comment

  1. cptnemo7029

     /  January 13, 2013

    Awesome!

    Reply

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