Feb 12, 2010
Quentin Tarantino's war: t'was ever thus
Interviewing Quentin Tarantino on her show last night, Rachel Maddow made the point that Inglourious Basterds “is not just a revenge fantasy about World War II; it’s a torture and terrorism fantasy.” She pointed out that the Basterds' methods are terroristic — their aim is not to so much dead Germans as it is to sow fear in the hearts of the living. I wish she'd taken it further. One of those most unsettling things about Inglorious Basterds was its retooling of the second world war as bloody Bush-era revenge fantasy. This may not be what Tarantino had in mind when he made it, but it is almost certainly what has made it a hit. The torture of Nazis soothes the conscience of Abu-Ghraib-era America: don't worry, it says, our standards haven't slipped, we've always tortured our POWs. We've always fought this lawlessly. Nothing was ever any different.