I want to tell you a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down. It started a couple weeks ago when the awesome collectible manufacturer NECA released a line of Django Unchained action figures. These things were hoss, similar to the ones released for Inglorious Basterds, that is, they were tall, well made, and something an adult could have in his house. Plus, one of them was of James Remar, and how cool would it be to have a James Remar action figure? SUPER COOL.
However, I hadn’t yet seen the film. I saw the price on-line: about $40. Not bad, but what if the movie sucked? I am not the biggest Tarantino fan in the world, so I figured I’d wait until after I saw the movie before deciding whether or not to get one.
My plan worked perfectly, or rather, it would have, if not for Al Sharpton and other overly sensitive ass-bags who want to ruin everything for everyone that isn’t them.
You see, dear reader, Django Unchained is about slavery. In the film, a slave, Django, is freed. He then sets about trying to obtain the freedom of his wife, Broomhilda, from a slaver. Much cursing follows and a comedic amount of blood is spilled.
At no time during the watching of this film would you ever consider it to be an accurate accounting of history. Slavery is shown to be a terrible thing (which it was) and slavers are shown to be generally rather horrible people (which they were). The film in no way celebrates or demeans slavery. Again, I stress, the film shows slavery to be a terrible and violent thing. But, the movie, being a movie, and a work of fiction, decides to use the setting to offer some entertainment in the way of a freed slave murdering the fuck out of a ton of people who are, in general, racist, evil assholes. Much laughter is had, when appropriate.
Since Tarantino films are almost always well-received and fans are rather happy to spend money on collectibles, it’s only logical that action figures would follow. High quality ones, at that. Though, to be honest, calling them “action” figures is a bit of a stretch as they really look more like dolls than anything else.
Where is the problem? Oh yes.
So recently, after seeing the film and deciding “Why yes, I would like a James Remar action figure” I went to purchase one, only to find the price had skyrocketed. People are asking anywhere from $300 all the way up to $8,000 for the figures. For single figures. Granted, I’m sure very few people would even entertain the idea of paying that much, but still. What gives? Was it a limited run? A special occurrence?
Or did a few assholes get all butt hurt and decide to complain and stopped production of the line? I’m sure by now you’ve guessed it.
Al Sharpton and others, namely Naji Ali of Project Islamic Hope, complained about the toys as celebrating slavery or otherwise being inappropriate. What in the actual fuck are they talking about? Sharpton said the dolls were offensive and called for a boycott, because that’s just how he do. What is offensive about these toys? Did he even look at them? Doubtful.
Let’s break down each toy and find out how it’s offensive.
- Django. The hero, the freed slave, the man willing to do anything for love, the one compared to a Germanic hero. He is presented in bounty hunting gear, not slave attire. Not sure what’s offensive about this.
- Schultz. Another hero, a man who throughout the course of the film directly frees at least six slaves, kills many a bad man, and goes to great lengths to assist Django. Not offensive.
- Candie. Ah, the asshole racist slaver. Here he is dressed like a dandy. I suppose one could find this offensive, if one were an idiot. I mean, it’s not like he comes equipped with a whip and a couple of dead mandigos at his feet. He looks more like he’s going to sit down and read a book in his study.
- Stephen. As portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson. A true asshole of a character who gets what he deserves, and is seen here dressed like a butler. Can’t fathom this is entirely racist as there’s nothing wrong with being a butler. Hell, Alfred is awesome at it.
- Broomhilda. A slave, shown here in full evening attire, fluent in German, educated, smart, strong willed. A very good character. Can’t see how this is offensive, she’s not locked in a hot box with a gaggle of Klansmen over her.
- Butch. Oh, James Remar, it was not to be, sadly. I miss you, having never known you. Butch is Candie’s muscle, a well dressed man, who must at least implicitly be okay with slavery, though he rarely speaks in the film and doesn’t do anything that any random thug wouldn’t do. Not offensive.
Well shit, that’s it. I’ve gone through all of them. It’s not like there was a beaten to death Mandigo or a guy pulled apart by dogs. There is no cotton field playset, no whip accessory, no “Pull & Slander” string where Candie talks about measuring foreheads and other drivel.
Indeed, these toys do absolutely nothing to endorse or glorify slavery. They are, in fact, harmless toys, by and large, of fierce, freedom loving, slavery hating heroic characters.
Action figures, dolls, and toys have a long history of being awesome and portraying both sides of the fight. What good is GI Joe without a Cobra Commander to jump kick? Who does George Patton punch if not Adolf Hitler?
Where are we in the world when fucking dolls rile someone up enough to call for a boycott? I mean, I would understand, but not agree, if the dolls were some how racist or offensive. If Candie came with a whip and a swinging arm and a cut up slave, sure, I could see how that’s kind of an offensive toy – but who the fuck cares? It’s a collectible marketed to adults. These are not something kids want or would get. So what Al Sharpton has a problem with is a fucking adult wanting to have a damned James Remar doll in his room. Fuck you, Al Sharpton. I love you, James Remar.
Though I can’t just blame Al Sharpton and anyone else who complained about cloth covered bits of plastic that adults may want to display on their DVD shelves. I also have to blame the Weinstein Company for folding so alarmingly quickly, without putting up a fight. Shame on you, Weinstein Co. Why not support the one director who still makes good movies for your company? Why not support one of the two films that has earned you Oscar nominations?
I’m way past my boiling point on this one. No one should be able to tell a grown man what he can or can not have, especially when it’s something as silly as a doll in fancy dress and no one should be able to stop me from having a James Remar action figure.