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November 1994, Week 2


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 11 Nov 1994 14:22:02 CST
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I whole heartedly agree with those of you who feel that Tarantino's flippant
use of the word, "nigger" throughout Pulp Fiction does not constitute racism.
 It merely adds a fraternal nature to the Wallace "organization."  These guys
are all friends.  They share a mutual respect for one another.  The fact that
both black and white characters use the word in reference to eachother pokes
fun at the word itself, and thereby serves to diminish its power to offend.
Has everyone forgotten that the Jimmy's  wife is apparently a black woman?
 (Granted, we only see her in a "imagine that!" flash forward.)  Now... if
the scene in question was intended to support racism rather than scoff at it,
would Tarantino have done this?  He played the character himself, after all.
 Hell... the character makes a point of telling us how much he loves the
woman and doesn't want a divorce.  (I can imagine the retort.  "But... the
woman was portrayed as an overbearing beast!)  To that I have to say this:
 Those of you wish to see racism in something, will find a way to see it.  We
see what we want to see.  If you can't be objective, you are destined to a
life of discontent.
That being said, I have to add that Tarantino probably didn't even consider
racial overtones, be they pro-racism or anti-racism, depending on your
perceptions.  He set out to create an atmosphere and a mood, and he did it...
rather well.  I also believe that Tarantino conceived of the structure/rhythm
of the film before he had "designed the stories."  I can't help thinking that
he took a "coloring book" approach and created the stories to stay within the
lines of his admittedly wonderful structure.  Granted... the stories were
supposed to be "pulp" genre... but they appeared contrived.  I'm not second
guessing anyone here. I rather enjoyed the film.  In fact gleaned a lot from
Please comment further...
Michael D. Klenner
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