I’m not a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino movies. He’s very talented; a great director, but his stories area a little too realistic for me. I prefer lighter movies that make me laugh more and cringe less. [Though, I did enjoy Pulp Fiction]. But I caught an interview with him on NPR’s Fresh Air, with Terry Gross that really impressed me.
Whether you agree with, or even like Tarantino, consider how YOU, personally, would react if you had been asked if your work had contributed to, or caused a national tragedy.
Terry asked a valid question in light of the current news of the day and she was very nice about it. Tarantino, not backing down, presented his side nicely as well. It was all very civil, in light of such an emotionally charged topic.
They are on such polar opposite sides of the issue that they go back and forth, almost as if they can’t believe each other really exist, in an attempt to find common ground.
She asked him if he ever lost his taste for violence in his movies, in light of the Sandy Hook massacre. In a very matter of fact way, Tarantino claimed that it was separate, and one didn’t have anything to do with the other.
GROSS: So it’s so completely separate, that the reality of violence doesn’t affect at all your feelings about making or viewing very violent or sadistic…
TARANTINO: Sadistic? I don’t know. I do know what, I don’t know. I think, you know, you’re putting a judgment on it.
GROSS: No, no, no…
TARANTINO: You’re putting a judgment on it.
GROSS: The characters are sadistic. The characters are sadistic. I’m not talking about, you know, the filmmaker. I’m talking about the characters. I mean, the characters are undeniably sadistic.
GROSS: You sound annoyed that I’m…
TARANTINO: Yeah, I am.
GROSS: I know you’ve been asked this a lot.
TARANTINO: Yeah, I’m really annoyed. I think it’s disrespectful. I think it’s disrespectful to their memory, actually.
GROSS: With whose memory?
TARANTINO: The memory of the people who died to talk about movies. I think it’s totally disrespectful to their memory. Obviously, the issue is gun control and mental health.
The interview went on very cordially and easily after this. I was so impressed with both Tarantino and Gross because they both made their points without getting ugly. I have had several political conversations that have gone the opposite way. It’s easy to get caught in the passion even if you are not fully vested in the issue…and then it becomes personal with the rude comments that will often ensue.
Tarantino on defense behaved much better than a lot of people would have. He chose to respond, rather than react. He made it clear that he was annoyed, but didn’t take it out on Gross, or resort to personal attacks. I kept waiting for him to walk out, as I might have been inclined to do in my reptilian mode; but he calmly defended his work. Terry Gross handled herself better than many would have after a tense situation.
I was very impressed with this exchange because it was a true and respectful exchange of ideas. There was no yelling, just honest questions and honest responses, which is the only way to really find common ground. There are always going to be people who seem to have extreme beliefs, just because they differ from you.
We need more of these “higher brained” exchanges.