It was by accident yesterday that I stumbled upon this book, used as a part of college curriculum. All about Tarantino's film and its pop culture influences, my writing of Shosanna/Fredrick and other posts analyzing their scenes made it into a very scathing portion within.
Assembled by an editor, the entire book is just various interpretive and analytical essays by various folk with the kinds of advanced degrees which allow them to write about Quentin Tarantino films and make money off of it. Barring the making money part, it's not terribly different from what I enjoy doing here and on tumblr with meta pieces, so not a big deal, right?
Well, I suppose what I do is quite different from these writers, as one of them felt so apt to point out:
Todd Herzog, the man himself.
Mr. Herzog is well aware of what I and others in the Inglourious Basterds fandom have been doing, and he's displeased.
After this introduction, he really gets into it, criticizing my writing and the writing of others (I am only including the excerpts on mine):
From his academic approach to defining shipping to his total disdain for fans gathering in fan-spaces to be fans, Mr. Herzog comes across as a befuddled old man. Most of all, he comes across as an outsider to a world he wants no part of, but feels compelled to lurk within and criticize.
There's a lot there I feel bothered by, such as the insinuation that I can't tell the difference between the actors and their characters (let us never forget):
"It was a strange relationship, actually. We had real fun in Paris when he came to read the lines with me during casting. I know he said to Quentin, "It's her." So I have to say thanks to Daniel for that. There was this chemistry between us immediately, but after that we had these little fights -- but cute fights! Like, "You're so French!" Or, "You're so German." We were like little children, fighting over these very stupid things. Then we had this moment at that festival in Capri [last December] where we finally discovered each other and had fun and said, "OK, let's make peace." But even without those little stupid stories, every time I was so glad to have a scene with him, because he's so professional and very, very generous. When he's off camera [during another actor's close-up], he's still "here," performing a scene for you. So we had a lot of fun together." (X)
Then there's the constant referral of me as "he", but most egregious of all to me is the notion that there was nothing between Shosanna and Fredrick, even though that has been disputed by Quentin Tarantino himself time and time again:
"I might have more sympathy for Zoller than most American audiences do. I’ve heard people applaud when Zoller gets shot, not in any screenings I’ve been to, but other screenings I’ve been told of. And I was like, 'Hmm…I don’t like that.' You know because, Audie Murphy is a hero, Fredrick Zoller is a hero." (X)
"And there is this aspect that all these people were trying to kill Zoller, he's just the one who won. And everything he’s doing he’s doing with the best intentions. He’s screwing her up so bad it’s not even funny, but he doesn’t know that. And to me, at the end, there’s an almost Romeo and Juliet quality to their end. And in a different time, things could have been different." (X)
"Because there was something about Zoller. He really liked her. Everything Zoller did that ended up fucking her up and putting her in this situation, he did with good intentions. His biggest crime was liking her. I think of that scene as a romantic scene. It's Romeo and Juliet. Those bullets? That's them consummating their relationship. In any other time in the 20th century, they could have been in love. Except for that one time." (X)
"I see them as my tragic lovers: My Romeo and Juliet. His only crime is being attracted to her under the worst possible circumstances. Any other time, it might have worked." (X)
And of course, from the screenplay:
He gives her a little salute, and walks into the black of a
curfew imposed night.
She looks after him. She didn't show it, but he kinda got to
her. After all, for any true cinema lover, it's hard to hate
anybody who, CINEMA MON AMOUR.
The face on the silver screen breaks the young girl's heart.
I mean, I could stuff this post full of quotes from Tarantino and call it a day, but this whole situation makes me feel itchy and somehow wrong - that I've done something wrong and awful, even though Mr. Herzog's writings have no more legitimacy than mine.
It was his conclusion here that really made my stomach turn:
Not that I expect a professor to read an entire fanwork, but for all the time he spent not researching Tarantino's viewpoints and trawling through the online blogs of women in their twenties, Mr. Herzog could've been a bit more thorough in his reading.
What so captures my interest in Shosanna and Fredrick is what they are: tragic.
They were, ultimately, two kids forced into a war they had no choice in, and they represent the loss of innocence. By the end, we see just how damaged they are, and they have in death what life denied them.
There's much I've written on them, but it's evident Mr. Herzog didn't look at any of those posts; rather, he skimmed the first chapter of KFAD, looked over a very old post of Shosanna/Fredrick graphics, and a fanmix I compiled to further express how much their mutual tragedy moves me. I thought that came through in all of my fanworks for them, and maybe it doesn't, maybe that fault is on me. However, none of that justifies Mr. Herzog's dismissive attitude towards me and all that I've created.
Daniel Brühl and Mélanie Laurent moved me beyond measure with their performances, and all I seek is to explore their circumstance and the possibilities therein - with that comes all of their trauma and loss of the war and the Holocaust, something I tread carefully in regards to. To me, the war is not a backdrop for their romance, but a force behind that allows them to have what wasn't possible in the canon of the film - that they can overcome their pasts, but still carry it with them as they move on together. I want to explore them as survivors.
My writing - my perspective - is just as valid as any of those other essays within that book.
I suppose I'm just disappointed with Mr. Herzog's pompous condescension and his total inability to have an open dialogue with myself and the others he berated. He's making money off of me and the fanworks that brought me a great deal of joy to create, and I did not consent to that. It's lazy, insulting, and thoroughly unethical.