The Django Wars

I haven't seen Django Unchained, and won't see it, anytime soon. With that said, I'm really happy the movie exists because of moments like this:


If you aren't naturally attuned to the frequency at which internet conservatives are currently shaking with rage, you might've been surprised when you visited right-wing aggregation site the Drudge Report this morning and were confronted with the following headline, in 40-point type: "'N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER. N*GGER.'" Clicking on the headline wouldn't satisfy your confusion: it linked to The Hollywood Reporter's review of Quentin Tarantino's new slave-revenge movie Django Unchained -- a review that barely touches on the word's use in the movie. It's just a review...

This isn't the first time Django Unchained has been on the Drudge Report this week. On Monday, it got a photo and headline above the main story: "UNCHAINED: Foxx Jokes About Killing 'All The White People' In New Movie..." Above the headline, Drudge had a production still of Foxx, in a cowboy hat, holding a revolver. 

The link took readers to Jamie Foxx's Saturday Night Live monologue, which was one of Monday's big "stories" in the online conservative media. "Black is in," Foxx had riffed. In his new movie, he said, "I play a slave. How black is that? [...] I get free. I save my wife and I kill all the white people in the movie. How great is that?"

As Max Read notes, the response is reverberating out through right-wing media. This is not me merely taking pleasure in the wailing of my enemies. It is me taking pleasure in my enemies being forced to cope with other stories. It's me taking pleasure in the world being forced into something beyond the "Good Old Confederate/Never Meaning No Harm/Never Owned No Slaves/Yankees Raped And Killed My Wife/I Fought To Protect My Home."

More, I'm hoping we get more stories that are willing to do something different, more stories that are going to trouble our memory. My previous criticisms aside, I'm less concerned that all of those stories appeal to everyone. (The reviews so far are really good.) I just really hope Django (and Lincoln) clear some room for more of their kind.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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