On one side you have pushy journalist, England's "Channel 4 Evening News" host, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, desperate to make a political headline. On the other you have an Academy Award-winning director obviously tired of seeing his latest film used as a pawn in a left-wing political debate. The quotes and the headlines, however, make the exchange sound much more contentious than it really was. Surprisingly, the sparring (which starts at the 4:30 mark) isn't even uncomfortable to watch:
And let me tell you, Tarantino was a helluva lot more civil than I would've been. But the headlines and press have been overwhelmingly nasty because, according to the media, Tarantino's on the wrong side of this issue. Yes, that's right, the government is threatening censorship and Tarantino is on the wrong side because he opposes censorship.
Is this still America?
Look at what's happening in this country this very day: As I write this (Friday), the Vice President of the United States ... of America is meeting with video game creators and the film industry letting them know in no uncertain terms that if they don’t do something to tone down the violence, the government's going to do it for them -- this is Republicans and Democrats, by the way. And thus far, Quentin Tarantino is the only high-profile member of the Entertainment Class (I'm aware of) who's shown the stones to push back against this fascism.
Before I get too far out on this, let me be clear on a couple of things. While I love Tarantino's movies, there is nothing I would like more than take him to the woodshed whenever the opportunity arises. Unfortunately, he's just another ignorant Hollywood wimp in favor of gun control and just another politically correct Hollywood liar who leveled a provably false slander against John Ford last month. (Just for starters, you idiot, years before such a thing would become tres' chick and a full half-century before "Django Unchained," John Ford presented America with a black Western hero in a big budget studio film.)
But that doesn’t mean Tarantino's wrong about violence in films and doesn’t deserve credit for being a lone (high -profile) voice fighting back against this push for outright censorship.
Think about how cowardly the rest of Hollywood is on this issue. This is the same Hollywood that can't stop congratulating itself for all the "courage" it took to shove off the Production Code in the mid-sixties. This is also the same Hollywood that's raised the bloody shirt of the Hollywood Blacklist at least once a month for going on six decades now.
You know, because Hollywood's all about The Freedom, man.
Except, here's the thing: that Production Code and Hollywood Blacklist…? Both were self-inflicted and self-imposed; that's right, both were institutional decisions made by the Hollywood powers-that-be at the time to regulate, censor, and politically discriminate. That's a long way from an overbearing government moving in, isn't it?
But overbearing government moving in is exactly what's being threatened today by, yes, the overbearing government and members of the elite media. And yet the industry's (and the elite media's) only response to this threat has been to kiss Joe Biden's ring.
If you would like to hear the entertainment industry's movers and shakers howl to the heavens in favor of liberty and against censorship, don't threaten them with government censorship. Oh, no. Instead, put a 97 pound nun holding a picket sign in front of a movie theatre screening the latest from Miramax, "The Cub Scout and the Pope: A Love Story."
If you want to get Harvey Weinstein's attention over the issue of artistic freedom, don't threaten him with literal fascism imposed by our government. Oh no. You need only have some Philistine take a stand in the "aye" column when it comes to those convicted of sodomizing children paying their debts to society. Even talented directors like Roman Polanski.
If you want to watch Sean Penn put on his grown up act, furrow his brow, pull out his Thesaurus, and make big boy talk about the First Amendment, you need not have the government threaten his artistic freedom. Oh no. You need only suggest that maybe-possibly over-burdened taxpayers not fund something as frivolous as the kind of art unable to survive on its own in the private sector.
Don't get me wrong, Tarantino's no Braveheart. My guess is that he didn't want to talk about the issue with this reporter because he has a film up for some Oscars and knows he's surrounded by an industry of cowards, hypocrites, Statists, and snivelers -- many of whom are members of the Academy. But when you're dealing with a morally illiterate cesspool like Hollywood, dumbing down the definition of bravery is your only option.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC