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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


OPINION: Violence is a deflection in Tarantino’s cop-hate debate

Director Quentin Tarantino is a lot of things. Divisive creator? Yes. Guy with a foot fetish? Debatable. But a hater of cops? No — that is far, far from the truth.

Tarantino recently came under fire from the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, an oddly ominous sounding police union, after he made comments at a rally in New York protesting police brutality.

“It’s no surprise that someone who makes a living glorifying crime and violence is a cop-hater, too,” NYCPBA president Patrick J. Lynch said in a statement. “The police officers that Quentin Tarantino calls ‘murderers’ aren’t living in one of his depraved big screen fantasies — they’re risking and sometimes sacrificing their lives to protect communities from real crime and mayhem.”

All this is in response to Tarantino’s participation in the rally, mostly in response to one comment.

“If you believe there’s murder going on, then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I’m here to say I’m on the side of the murdered,” Tarantino said at the rally, according to the Associated Press.

Tarantino isn’t being extremely explicit here, so there is some space for interpretation. Later, Tarantino explained his statements further as not being an indictment of “all cops” but rather the ones who are abusing their power, such as those who killed Eric Garner and Tamir Rice.

All of this took place in late October, and yet we’re here in November with the NYCPBA and police organizations all over the country calling for a boycott of Tarantino’s upcoming film, “The Hateful Eight,” and the director’s other works. What exactly is being boycotted here?

Because at this point, the boycott isn’t for the good cops. The good cops don’t need a boycott right now; they need to be acknowledged as doing a sterling job thus far.

I, for one, love rules. I keep to the right when walking, jaywalking gives me panic attacks and I wait for the little sign to tell me I can walk regardless of traffic flow.

I love that we have people who enforce laws. I love that they’re usually pretty cool about it, and I like that the University of Arizona Police Department takes the time every once in a while to ask “how are you doing?” I always answer “great.”

But that’s the difference between the knee jerk, “you’re with us or you’re against us” mentality and the thought that, as humans, police are fallible, prone to prejudice and violence and need guidance like anyone else.

When you say you want to be a cop, you’re in a place to be extra sensitive to these inclinations. You need to watch yourself more than anyone else or the system goes straight to hell.

Tarantino is not someone who’s ever really demonstrated a systematic hate for authority, much less cops.

In his film “Reservoir Dogs,” the only characters with even a shred of humanity and loyalty are Mr. White (Harvey Keitel), Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) and Officer Marvin Nash (Kirk Baltz). The latter two are cops — one undercover (Orange), one taken hostage (Marvin).

Everyone else in the film is a criminal and an agitating person.

Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) doesn’t even tip waitresses; you’re not supposed to like that guy.

Nash dies protecting the identity of his fellow officer, as one of the members of the film’s central heist correctly deduces that his group was set up to fail by someone within it.

And when Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) tortures Officer Nash, it’s not cathartic. It’s not a crowd pleaser of a death; it’s gnarly. It’s drawn out and meant to engender disgust. It’s indicative of how much you’re not supposed to like Mr. Blonde.

Nash’s death was noble. It was tragic. It was violent, yes, but that’s just seeing surface level.
“Tarantino is stoking the fires of hate and division that have made him a very wealthy man,” said Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, in a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter.

The Fraternal Order is another group angered by Tarantino’s comments, and one that has claimed it has a “surprise” in store for Tarantino.

Film violence here is solely a deflection. The violence of Tarantino’s movies isn’t contributing negatively to race relations right now.

Follow Sasha Hawkins on Twitter.

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