On Tuesday morning’s “The Howard Stern Show,” the King of All Media came to an enthusiastic defense of Quentin Tarantino over the blogosphere circlejerk surrounding “Django Unchained”. Basically, Stern’s words stick it to Spike Lee and action figure activist Najee Ali.
“A couple black guys who have spoken out against Quentin Tarantino’s use of the N-word are just jealous that they didn’t make this movie,” Stern said 30 minutes into his SiriusXM Radio show. “['Django'] accomplishes something Americans need to know. Our country is based on one of the most barbaric, brutal histories … Imagine being born on this planet and spending your life in the servitude of some fucking cracker who’s ignorant, who’s fucking your mother in a barn. Quentin not only portrays what life was like but does it in a way that keeps you engaged.”
News anchor and Peruvian Ayahuasca expert Robin Quivers chimed with her beefs about the film’s depiction of slavery but got steamrolled by Stern’s spiel. Listen to the five-minute clip from Tuesday’s show here:
If anything, Stern’s argument echoes the bold essay Esquire’s Stephen Marche wrote in December. Albeit fantasy, Tarantino’s film, Marche says, is a more legitimate portrayal of American history than Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-nominated $65 million school play.
From Marche’s “Why Django Unchained Is A Better Movie About Slavery Than Lincoln”:
The only really graphic scene [in "Lincoln"] is a battlefield filled with the (mostly white) bodies of Union soldiers. Their suffering is the film’s focus, the glorious dead who paid a price so that American law could be corrected.
Django Unchained knows that America’s relationship to slavery was not merely through legal institutions; it was a physical reaction to black flesh — a potently horrific mixture of abjection fused with desire.
Needless to say, Tarantino’s movie will not receive nearly the adulation that Lincoln will at the Academy Awards. The Oscars likes its racial redemption delivered by white people, through clean, legal means that can be accompanied by swelling music. But Django Unchained is more honest … Tarantino understands that the laws were only the screen of the real crimes of torture and rape and murder.