Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Django Action Figures?!?!

On December 25, 2012 (Christmas Day), controversial director Quentin Tarantino released his latest film "Django Unchained", to a whirlwind of criticism. The film is about an African-American slave who goes on a mission to save his wife from an especially evil slave master, as of there was any other kind, and gets revenge in the process. The films graphic depiction of slavery, mixed with humor, gratuitous violence, and the flagrant use of the n-word has infuriated many in the African-American community. Tarantino and the star's of the film have defended its content, calling it necessary for the films authenticity. I have always been a fan of Tarantino's film's but his latest attempt to publicize this particular movie is disturbing and insensitive.
Tarantino has teamed up with the National Entertainment Collectibles Association in tandem with the Weinstein Company, to produce action figures based on characters from the film.
Apparently the consensus between the collaborator's is that it is totally appropriate to manufacture "slave toys" as if slavery was some sort of fun ordeal that modern day children want to re-enact during play time. What's next, "Missy" Barbie and Slave Master Ken with a "whip action grip", (play chain's sold separately), or "I am Django" T-shirts?
Some thing's cannot be, and should not be marketed or merchandised. Case in point, has anyone ever manufactured "Schindler's List" action figures? The answer is emphatically no. Not only because of the fact that the tragedy of the holocaust is not something that should be used to turn a profit, but also because every Jewish American would be up in arms over this insult to their history. The fact that the Weinstein company, which I assume is owned and or operated by Jewish American's, is involved, is shocking, and frankly kind of puzzling. I would have expected empathy on some level given the fact that mass genocide is of great cultural significance to them. But I guess profit trumps everything else in the eyes of some people.
America's legacy of slavery as it relates to Black people in this country is relegated to nothing more than ancient history, rarely acknowledged or taken seriously by anyone outside of the black community. Despite having done the research that it obviously took to direct this film Tarantino still doesn't get it. I wonder how the stars of this movie who seemed to fawn over him during press junkets are affected by this latest development. Surely this type of blatant insensitivity cannot be lost on them. Unless, they are lost themselves.


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