Quentin Tarantino Thinks Black Critics Talk About His Race Too Much
Quentin Tarantino did an interview with the New York Times’ T Magazine, conducted by Bret Easton Ellis and oh wow, you guys. If you’ve ever wanted a well-documented glimpse into a clubhouse meeting of proudly un-PC whiny white dudes (you didn’t), here it is.
Among other things, the two men talked about the Oscars, and how pissed they both were that Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker won Best Picture over Inglourious Basterds back in 2010. Tarantino mused, “”The Kathryn Bigelow thing — I got it. Look, it was exciting that a woman had made such a good war film, and it was the first movie about the Iraq War that said something.” Of course Ellis, ever the champion of the oppressed white man, made his Bigelow feelings clear years ago.
Kathryn Bigelow would be considered a mildly interesting filmmaker if she was a man but since she's a very hot woman she's really overrated.— Bret Easton Ellis (@BretEastonEllis) December 6, 2012
The two also talked about Selma. Tarantino thought it was good but wasn’t surprised Ava DuVernay was snubbed at the Oscars since at best, Selma “deserved an Emmy.” Ellis thinks Django Unchained “is a much more shocking and forward-thinking movie than Selma.” Quick question: can you drown in condescension? Like, do you think you can literally die from condescension just by reading an interview. Cause it’s starting to feel that way.
Speaking of Django, Tarantino has a lot of hurt feelings over the way black critics talk about his whiteness. Basically, he thinks they do it too much.
”If you’ve made money being a critic in black culture in the last 20 years you have to deal with me,” he says. ”You must have an opinion of me. You must deal with what I’m saying and deal with the consequences.” He pauses, considers. ”If you sift through the criticism,” he says, ”you’ll see it’s pretty evenly divided between pros and cons. But when the black critics came out with savage think pieces about Django, I couldn’t have cared less. If people don’t like my movies, they don’t like my movies, and if they don’t get it, it doesn’t matter. The bad taste that was left in my mouth had to do with this: It’s been a long time since the subject of a writer’s skin was mentioned as often as mine. You wouldn’t think the color of a writer’s skin should have any effect on the words themselves. In a lot of the more ugly pieces my motives were really brought to bear in the most negative way. It’s like I’m some supervillain coming up with this stuff.”
By and large, critics (of ALL races) loved Django, but OF COURSE THEY’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT RACE. That movie is ABOUT race relations. And Tarantino’s style is so in-your-face limit-testing, he walked a fine line with that movie in regard to who the butt of every joke was: white characters, black characters, society, the audience… Cord Jefferson at Gawker wrote a poignant piece about what he dubbed the “Django Moment,” when you realize you (in this case, the black audience) are being laughed at instead of with. Tarantino deliberately played with those moments, and again, it’s not inherently a criticism to note that they feel different coming from a white director than a black one. And even beyond Django, Tarantino makes heavy use of black characters, blaxploitation homage, and the N-word. OF COURSE we’re going to take notice of the fact that he’s a white auteur. It’s not always a criticism. But to criticize the criticism is basically waving a flag of naiveté and privilege.