Rhetorical Regeneration and the Politics of Identity
Introduction: The Need for Regeneration
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The Need for Regeneration
In Quentin Tarantino’s WWII film Inglourious Basterds, it’s the good guys who act like thugs. That’s a terrible idea. (Mendelsohn 73)
Jewish vengeance, like any other reprisal, requires rationale. Violent, lawless, anarchic retribution is not acceptable without it, particularly for a film that vies for Academy Award Best Picture recognition. When a rationale is offered, it often goes something like, “Holocaust movies always have Jews as victims … I want to see something different,” which is how Quentin Tarantino described his motivation for making his Oscar®-nominated World War II revengefest Inglourious Basterds (2009). Newsweek reified this logic by devoting the cover of its Culture section to Tarantino’s sentiment in the form of a bold-print pull-quote superimposed over the iconic black and white image of railroad tracks leading into Auschwitz. Turn that page and the headline for Daniel Mendelsohn’s review of the film screams, “When Jews Attack” (72).
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