Saturday, November 03, 2007

Connotation From A Word

Recently, Dog the Bounty Hunter used the N-word in a conversation in the privacy of his home but a tape was made and it has caused quite a furor, just like with other celebrities whose tongue got over their eye-tooth and they couldn't see what they were saying. Things are changing, so it seems. Here is a clip from "Pulp Fiction" that was made only twelve years ago. Is there a difference in connotation of a word in film and literature than in commentary and private talk? What is happening?


Cheesemeister said...

I think it was understood that Pulp Fiction was satire. The characters were gangsters. I don't think that Samuel L. Jackson would have played the part in the film if he found there were any actual race hatred.
The problem with what Dog the Bounty Hunter said, which really should not have been made public but nonetheless it was, is that whether he harbors actual race hate or the use of such language is due to his having spent time in prison and being in touch with the criminal element even afterwards, is mostly the context in which he used it. Thus whether or not he actually is racist, the context made him sound racist. I think it's unfortunate that he chose that word. As I said in my post on my lame=ass blog, I actually like Dog. I like the fact that he brought an evil serial rapist to justice. But I was disappointed to learn that he called his son's girlfriend a "nigger."

Hobbes said...

In fictional media, we know it's a character who is speaking, so the author's use of "nigger" does not necessarily reflect his opinion. We have to evaluate the character and decide whether his or her racist language reflects the author's views.
When Dog uses "nigger," it reflects his views.

Tom & Icy said...

I'm sure that Tarantino, who wrote the play and acted the part in the movie, gets along well and fairly with his co-actors. He played the part himself rather than having another actor do it. I once saw some administrators talking and one said that Shakespeare was prejudice against women because of what some of his characters said in his plays. I always felt that was not right and you couldn't judge an author by what his characters say.

Cheesemeister said...

If you could judge an author by what his or her characters say, I'd be the scum of the earth, because some of my characters are complete scum!