Let’s start by saying that of course, Django Unchained is not meant for children. As its R rating and even a modicum of common sense dictate, plenty of thought should be given as to whether anyone under 17 should bear witness to the cruelty and violence in Quentin Tarantino’s spaghetti Western/slave revenge fantasy. Most children will not see it. But a lot of teenagers will. Because it’s got a great trailer and Jamie Foxx looks like a badass in it. Because Tarantino has a string of popular movies behind him. Because it feels just a bit naughty yet righteous. Pick your reason.
But in our “post-racial” world, where the Civil Rights movement feels like ancient history for our children (though it was only about 60 years ago) and slavery is at best something barely covered in history classes, with about the same resonance as the lesson on George Washington crossing the Delaware, does the very existence of a stylized slavery tale require us to try for some sort of balance of the conversation? Or even acknowledgement that it’s a conversation that still needs to be had? Do we need to make sure, risking heavyhandedness, that the basic facts of the matter are known and can temper the entertainment prism, either by having actual verbal conversations with kids or by providing them alternative viewing? READ FULL STORY »