Tag Archives: Misogyny

Tarantino and His Love Affair with the N Word and “Bitch” in The Hateful Eight

8 Dec
Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Bruce Dern in The Hateful Eight

Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Bruce Dern in The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is now playing in theaters, and the film raises numerous questions about the director’s goals and messages intended in this work.  The film is being shown in 70 mm film, in line with Tarantino’s love of the medium, and it also stars several of Tarantino’s favorite recurring actors, including Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Samuel L. Jackson.  What I took away from this film is that Tarantino essentially wants his audience to be disgusted by the things they are amused by.  This includes the use of racially-tinged language, violence against women, and rape.  Tarantino wants us to look at ourselves in a way that he first hinted at in Inglourious Basterds.  Unlike the revenge films of Tarantino’s earlier canon, The Hateful Eight is modeled more on a mystery whodunit.

Many people are already saying that this film is racist and misogynist.  However, Tarantino’s message is exactly that our society is racist and misogynist.  The action of the film follows John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell), a bounty hunter who captures Daisy Damergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), for murder.  Ruth’s intention is to take Daisy to Red Rock to be hanged for her crime, but a blizzard impedes their travels, causing the two to have to seek shelter at Minnie’s Haberdashery.  We never really learn any of the details of who Daisy killed, which is key to the understanding of how Daisy is supposed to function.  Leigh plays Daisy as a disgusting, foul-mouthed wretch, and within the first few minutes of the film, Ruth elbows her in the nose, calling her a “bitch” who needs to “shut up”.  This moment should frighten the audience.  Our hero character, Ruth, may not be trustworthy in this moment, and the remainder of the film is a slow-burning mystery that is not revealed completely until the last scenes.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this film is that the audience is made to feel uncomfortable in various ways.  The most obvious way is Tarantino’s use of the word “nigger,” which appears around seventy times in this film.  It’s not simply the use of the word that is bothersome, it is the comical and drawn-out manner in which the word is uttered by several of the actors that makes it unpalatable.  Several actors pronounce the word more like “niggaaaaahhh” to place strong emphasis on what they are saying.  This choice may appear to be insensitive, but I found it very purposeful and indicative of the way that Tarantino wants his filmgoers to question the use of language.

The treatment of Jennifer Jason Leigh’s character is also highly effective in drawing out Tarantino’s intended messages on misogyny.  We never learn the nature of the murder that Daisy commits, nor do we really know anything about who she is, except for small hints of a colorful personality.  John Ruth intends to take her to Red Rock to be hanged, but in the interim, Ruth has no problem with striking Daisy with brute force, calling her a “bitch” each time.  The first time Ruth hits Daisy, a game is established.  The other characters use Ruth as a punching bag.

Tarantino certainly does not hate women. He is not a misogynist by any means, as we can see that from the numerous examples of strong women in his previous films – Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, The Bride and O-Ren Ishii in Kill Bill, and Shoshanna Dreyfus in Inglorious Basterds all come to mind.  Tarantino worships these women, and his characters are strong and multi-faceted.  Daisy is no different, who is strong in her own way.

Near the end of the film, the crux of  the action is revealed by a character.  Oswaldo Mulberry (Tim Roth) delivers some very critical lines about justice versus frontier justice.  When speaking to Daisy, he explains that when there is a murder and a trial takes place, followed by a hanging, that is true justice.  However, if no trial takes place and the people take control of the matter, simply hanging the accused in the town square, that is “frontier justice”.  This film is thusly more about the application of “justice” and how we apply it to the violence of today.  Is it right to simply go ahead and hang someone without knowing their intentions or the validity of their guilt?  Or is it more wise to hold a trial and act fairly?  This is the question that the audience is left to ponder, and Tarantino is making a very valid point.  Should we flay the filmmaker for his use of jarring images and offensive words?  Or is he trying to deliver a deeper message?

This is a very difficult film made by a director and writer who does not shy away from difficult subject matter.  For hardcore Tarantino fans, this film will be appreciated as a part of his canon for years to come.

Advertisements

Stuart Cobb: The Biggest Idiot I Know (At Least for Today)

21 Jan

I attended high school with the author of  a horrendously written “article” that is circulating the internet as an example of  the worst in college male misogynistic tendencies.  Stuart Cobb, a fool who lives up to the idiocy of being named  Stuart and born after 1954, wrote an entry for his recurring column (“Fancy That”) titled: “Seven women you meet at DU.”  I should preface my ribbing of Stuart’s awful work with the interesting coincidence that only two weeks before this piece found its way on one of my favorite blogs, Jezebel, that I had the displeasure of encountering Cobb at a friend’s house.

As a discussion emerged, we somehow landed on the topic of debutante balls. Stuart is an admitted guzzler of all things imbued with alcohol, and a womanizer who claims that he now has a girlfriend. I pity that poor girl, if she exists. I questioned Mr. Cobb on whether debutante balls are necessary in today’s world. His response: “I don’t know. You get free alcohol.”  I further pressed Cobb on how the female candidates are chosen for our area’s debutante balls.  Response: ‘Well, you know, they all come from families that have contributed a lot to the community. Mostly the Fine Arts Center.”  This was a terrible answer.  Multi-million dollar donations sustain the Fine Arts Center, and if these families wish to contribute to something worthwhile, perhaps they should look to give money to the homeless shelters around town and somehow contribute to the elimination of the growing tent cities that pepper the streets surrounding said Fine Arts Center. I made a final suggestion to Stuart: “Perhaps they should give their money to battered women.” Stuart’s response: “Whatever. I like the free booze and watching girls pass out when their dresses are too tight.”

That is a portrait of Stuart Cobb, the same author of an “opinion” piece entitled “Seven women you meet at DU.”  Stuart, without giving him any credit, made a shortlist of  stereotypes of college women. It is not the wording of Stuart’s “writing” that is offensive; it is the simple audacity that the author of such bullshit could believe that he is being completely original, when this is done over and over again (See: Tucker Max). Stuart Cobb is a completely self-assured dipshit. He knows that he’s a jerk, and he just doesn’t care.

On Saturday, The Clarion published a completely u letter of apology from Stuart.  This can only be a last-ditch effort for Stuart to somehow salvage a writing career from the damage he has caused – perhaps Stu will compile the auto sale listings for a third-tier paper in the midwest.  In this letter, Stuart claims that his plan all along was to write a similar list of the “Seven men you meet at DU.” I do not believe this for a damn milli-vanilli second. Stuart has a history of misogynistic writing under his belt – a trend that began when he wrote for the Cheyenne Mountain High School Chieftain.  Why would a young man so full of himself even dare to claim such an asinine intention? Stuart is glib and ignorant of the impact that words can have.

Only two days ago, Stuart issued another letter of apology that contained a resignation from his post as an opinion columnist for The Clarion.  Stuart is a senior.  He’s already had over three years to fill the student newspaper with his trash writing.  It hardly matters that he will no longer write during his last semester at DU.  It does matter, however, if Stuart miraculously stumbles upon a position at a legitimate journalistic source. Editors of the free world – do not hire Stuart Cobb. Not only is his writing sub par, but he will also offend women and men alike. There is one winner in this situation: Tucker Max has found a new bro.