Spike Lee has a problem with Django Unchained, obviously
While most of us awoke to a 2013 in which we are all post-human creatures of pure light and lovely, ashen gray skin, indistinguishable within our silver jumpsuits, some people have had trouble letting go of old feuds. For instance, Spike Lee, whose tendency to see other directors as John Turturro in Do The Right Thing has reared its head yet again over Quentin Tarantino.
"American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them," Lee tweeted in his typically haughty, halting manner, calling out Tarantino's Django Unchained for what he perceives as the film's flippant treatment of the subject. Of course, "perceives" is the key word, as Lee previously told Vibe that he "can't speak on it 'cause I'm not gonna see it. I'm not seeing it. All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors, to see that film," therefore safely ensconcing himself behind the privilege of assumption, which is much easier than actually experiencing and evaluating something. Fun, too.
But apparently not everyone is against digging up the skulls of Spike Lee's ancestors and putting cowboy hats on them and using them for a puppet show, while their tormented spirits moan in agony (metaphorically speaking). Director Antoine Fuqua came to Tarantino's defense during an interview at the Capri Film Festival, first and foremost criticizing Lee for making his objections public. "If you disagree with the way a colleague did something, call him up, invite him out for a coffee, talk about it. But don’t do it publicly," Fuqua said to a journalist from The Hollywood Reporter who was holding a tape recorder, and who then printed his comments in a widely read international news story. Adding another layer of irony, Fuqua admitted he hadn't seen Django Unchained either, but said, "I don’t think Quentin Tarantino has a racist bone in his body. Besides, I’m good friends with Jamie Foxx and he wouldn’t have anything to do with a film that had anything racist to it." (Ah, the old "It can't be racist; I have lots of Jamie Foxx friends" defense.)
Anyway, unlike the previous brouhaha over Jackie Brown—in which Spike Lee fired the immortal "What does [Tarantino] want to be made—an honorary black man?" shot, and Samuel L. Jackson responded with an awesome barb about how Spike Lee hadn't made any good films in a while—no one involved with Django has yet to legitimize Spike Lee's complaint with a response. But the general weariness with that line of criticism in this, Space Year: 2013, can probably be summed up by the exchange at 13:56 between Jackson and a Houston film critic.