The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

REPOST: The Ethics of a Basterd...

So, I've seen "Inglourious Basterds," I love "Inglourious Basterds" and I do what some other fans do, I lurk and read the opinions of others, the thoughts of others, and in this case, I was floored by some of what I was reading. I know that Quentin Tarantino is not for everybody. So, I expected the usual complaints I've read from those who aren't fans of his work. But, I found something else entirely.

People are misinterpreting this movie by saying the Basterds were “savage” and “sadistic” and “as bad as Nazis.”There wasn’t a hidden anti-Semitic message in the movie, Tarantino just wanted to make us think by providing three dimensional characters. But in spite of that, the bad guys were still bad and the good guys were still good.

Was scalping Nazis bad? No, they were already dead. Many bodies became much more mutilated during wars; getting burned, blown up, etc.

Was carving Swastikas into Nazi’s heads bad? No, it was an obvious reply to Nazis who had Star of David tattooed on Jews.

Were they as bad as Nazis? Not by a long shot, the Nazis tortured and killed defenseless civilians for the dumbest reason. The Basterds were there to kill killers.

Yes, I realize some Nazis were drafted and didn’t want to be there but if they had any backbone they would have turned traitor like Hugo Stiglitz. We were not meant admire the “brave” Nazi that got his skull smashed in with a bat. Tarantino was throwing our concept of courage and loyalty into question. That guy was brave and loyal, but who was he loyal to? People should stop holding bravery in such high regards and pay more attention to how good of a person you are. Private Zoller wasn’t such a good person either. He wasn’t “in love” with Shosanna, he just wanted to get in her pants. If found out the truth about her being Jewish he would have ratted her out in a heartbeat.

Hugo Stiglitz was the only good Nazi in this movie. He may be a fictional character but his story was not unique: There were quite a few cases of German soldiers turning traitor when they realized how sick Nazism was. In my opinion Stiglitz was the most heroic character in the movie; I hate it when people say he was a psychopath.

Brad Pitt’s character wasn’t a psycho either; Aldo was justified to his hatred for Nazis. The rope scar on his neck tells us a lot about his past. He has a southern accent and the rural south in the 1940’s was not a pleasant place for Jews or black people. Aldo's rope-scar couldn’t have been from a legal execution because he wouldn’t have survived. It must have been from an attempted lynching by crazed rednecks. He has dealt with anti-Semites before and has a good reason to hate them.

I find my biggest problem with the movie is that I wish it was real. I wish we had plugged Hitler and Goebbels while they sat there masturbating their egos instead of letting them commit suicide.

This movie was about justice. I, for one, cannot muster sympathy for people who commit genocide against another race of people for no other reason than that you feel you are superior. The only German in this movie I felt even a moment's sympathy for was Wilhelm, and even that was mainly for his son.

Even Zoller was about as unsympathetic as it gets. He stalks a woman, brags about his sniping skills and the fact that they made a movie out of it, has her abducted so they can have lunch together, and then forces his way into her projection room so that he can rape her. Anybody who suggests that he was really a nice guy obviously didn't get the point. He could be charming, but he wasn't in the war because he was drafted and didn't want to be there. He was in the war because he was a Nazi.

Now, in real life, if I watched someone get beat in the head with a baseball bat I'd probably throw up. I certainly wouldn't have it in me to do it myself. But there was something very cathartic about watching it happen to a man who willingly sided with a genocidal, racist monster like Hitler.

There are modern-day "peace-mongers" who seem to think that peace at any cost is justifiable. They are wrong. There are evil men who do not wish peace with you. They wish to either rule you utterly or destroy you. Hitler was one of those men. Any who would side with him willingly deserve what they get.

It is beyond backward to look at a film that depicts the oppressed rising up and beating the shit out of their oppressors and declare that they must be "evil" or "as bad as the Nazis." Were they killing and scalping Nazis because they thought themselves superior? No, they were killing and scalping Nazis because the Nazis had done that and worse to them.


  1. Peace-mongers? They sound like the goblins I seen on Adventure Time: wanting peace because any confrontation would scare them.

    About Stiglitz, he was a bit of a knife nut.

  2. Greg,
    Absolutely agree with you... You touch on a concept (especially your last two paragraphs) known to many in the military: sheep often have problems distinguishing between the wolf who attacks the herd and the sheep-dog who protects it. Both look like threats to the sheep, both are capable of great violence, and the sheep often times can't tell the difference. Google ""On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs". Great metaphor.

  3. Unfortunately, I've heard this idiotic "we should go easy on the enemy who wants us all dead in order to make peace" mentality before. You'd think Nazis would be acceptable targets for anything, but alas...