Please Don’t Let Your Current Sensitivities Towards Gun Violence and The Word “Nigger” Stop You From Seeing ‘Django Unchained’

Poster by Federico Mancosu Design

Many news outlets, blogs, people, etc. who have been lucky enough to catch Quentin Tarantino’s latest work ‘Django Unchained’ have been commenting on the film’s controversial nature, specifically of violence and language. Especially with the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary and the shooting of two Rochester, NY firefighters this morning, the topic of gun violence is incredibly tense right now in this country. This has made some people ‘iffy’ about ‘Django Unchained’, a film filled with gunfighting from start to finish. Those worries are in addition to some people’s knee jerk reaction to Tarantino’s trademark over-the-top depiction of violence, of which there is plenty in ‘Django’. Some notable advance screenings were cancelled when the news from Newtown broke, as it would be perceived to be inappropriate to have such a movie at a time of national tragedy. 

We were some of the fortunate people that got to see ‘Django Unchained’ at one of the non-cancelled screenings before it’s nationwide release tomorrow and we have to say that it is one of Tarantino’s best and most accessible films within his storied career as a writer/director. All the performances are Oscar worthy and it’s laugh-out-loud-applause-break funny, which is why we’re writing about it here.

In short, it’s a movie you should go see and don’t think you’re a bad person if you do and end up liking it too.

The issue of the word nigga/nigger (yes, we are not typing out the psuedo-PC “n-word”) has also been brought up as it is said throughout the entirety of ‘Django Unchained’. People live in fear of that word even when it’s said in such a far-removed context (i.e. in a movie about slavery depicting slave owners as evil people) that it shouldn’t actually be offensive upon hearing it. Much of the humor in Django comes from how sensitive we generally are with the word.

The things that are considered offensive nowadays, as far as entertainment and media are concerned, are largely offensive perceptually and pre-emptively. Rather than people actually being offended, it’s all a guessing game as to whether people should be offended whenever buzz words like race or, over the last two weeks, guns, has been brought up. On the surface, you can pick at Django Unchained’s depiction of several people shown being shot with a gun on camera or claim it’s using the word ‘nigga’ flippantly, but then why aren’t you writing a firebrand of an essay about the evils of rap music and nearly every action movie ever despite whether a tragic shooting has just happened or not? 

You weren’t offended then, supposedly. If you were, you probably did what most people do, they just turn it off or ignore it. Why the attitude adjustment now? So someone doesn’t make a disappointed face at you at a party because you’re somehow an insensitive person for watching a movie where people get shot and say nigga a bunch? How do you know that’s even going to happen? 

The root of the issue here is thinking for yourself versus just going with the flow. Be offended because you’re offended, not because it just happens to be appropriate and you think that people won’t think you’re a jerk. If you’re truly offended at violence on screen or the word “nigga” because of some traumatic past experience, that’s fair enough and then maybe you won’t want to watch ‘Django Unchained’ and hundreds of other great movies.