Oh, where to begin on this topic. Nothing I could ever say would be adequate or add in any meaningful way to the discussion of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday. I think most of us can willingly admit to shedding more than a few tears in regard to the 20 children and 6 adults who lost their lives at the hands of a sick gunman (whom I refuse to dignify by typing his name), and the tragedy has also stirred up a massive political debate in regards to the readily available access to firearms in this country as well as mental health issues. To state the obvious, there are no easy answers here as to why this happened, and I think the best thing to do is to continue to honor the victims instead of immediately falling into a left-right hate debate. That’s easier said than done, I know.
The day after the shootings, a press junket was held for Django Unchained, which is (of course) Quentin Tarantino’s revenge movie on the subject of black slavery in the United States. Naturally, the subject of the Sandy Hook massacre came up, and Quentin stated his opinion that violence in film has absolutely nothing to do with anything that happens in real life. Django himself, Jamie Foxx, respectfully disagrees with QT’s opinion. Here are the details:
Don’t blame Quentin Tarantino for Friday’s tragic Newtown, Conn., shooting.
The Django Unchained director is tired of having to defend his use of violence in film.
“I just think, you know, there’s violence in the world, tragedies happen, blame the playmakers,” he said Saturday at a press junket, per the BBC. “It’s a Western. Give me a break.”
Django Unchained star Jamie Foxx, however, disagrees with Tarantino. “We cannot turn our back and say that violence in films or anything that we do doesn’t have a sort of influence,” the actor said. “It does.”
Christoph Waltz, another actor in the flick, said that the “media’s responsibility is greater than the storyteller is because… Django is violent, but it’s not inspiring violence.”
Kerry Washington added, “I do think that it’s important when we have the opportunity to talk about violence and not just kind of have it as entertainment, but connect it to the wrongs, the injustices, the social ills.”
[From E! Online]
Okay, Tarantino sounds a little punchy here because he probably went into the junket wary of precisely this type of question. Yes, he was asked to defend his work in the context of last Friday’s tragedy, and it must have been a very uncomfortable situation for him to withstand such scrutiny. What QT says does make some sense even if he didn’t exactly phrase his answer in the most sensitive way. I mean, I grew up on violent films, and I remember the height of HBO when Commando, Terminator, and the Death Wish movies would essentially play on repeat during the entirety of summer vacation, and my parents let me freely watch this stuff. Lots of other people my age grew up the same way, and the vast majority of us are (mostly) well-adjusted adults now.
Certainly, the argument can be made that violence in movies (as well as music, video games, etc.) can influence unstable minds and provoke them to imitation. Right now, all thoughts should be with the victims of the shooting as well as their suffering families. Throughout the media and social media outlets, however, so many people are quick to point the blame at something, anything, that could possibly be held accountable for one sick man’s actions. Personally, I’d like to hold his mother responsible for at least providing the weapons used for mass slaughter, but that’s kind of a no-brainer at this point. Overall, it’s just a terribly sad situation with no easy solution for future preventative measures coming anytime soon.
Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN