The Drudge Report's homepage went full troll today, displaying a photo of Quentin Tarantino alongside a headline that repeated the n-word seven times. The headline linked to Todd McCarthy's The Hollywood Reporter review of Tarantino's new film Django Unchained, a movie about slavery in the South, with Tarantino's signature stylized manner.
Perhaps the most perplexing part of Drudge's alarming splash was that he wrapped the entire string of repeated words in quotation marks — that repetition never actually appears in the Django review. In fact, the "n-word" is only mentioned once and only in that context, whereas Drudge actually spells out most of the world, only substituting a star for one letter. McCarthy writes:
Quite naturally, given the historical setting, the N-word gets a heavy workout, by whites and blacks alike. But much more forceful is the cruelty dispensed by the Southern whites, both as punishment and whim; attack dogs are unleashed on one man, Mandingo fighters (in a homage to the unforgettable 1975 Mandingo) battle to the death in a beautifully appointed drawing room for the wealthy’s amusement, a woman is locked naked in a metal “hot box,” genital mutilation is arranged for a man and much more.
Politico's Dylan Byers pointed out the discrepancies between Drudge's headline and the story it takes readers to:
Drudge has the N-word pasted across the top of the page. It links to a film review in the Hollywood Reporter mentioning "N-word" in 9th graf— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) December 12, 2012
As was to be expected, Drudge got an instant reaction. Yes, there is a discussion to be had about Tarantino's use of the word (and it's been and will probably continue to be had), but the Drudge Report's headline does little beyond provoke:
Civil Rights Activist Matt Drudge splashes "nigger" all over his front page, ostensibly as a critique of Tarantino twitpic.com/blbuph— AdamSerwer (@AdamSerwer) December 12, 2012
Actually not a fan of Tarantino's down white boy act, but Drudge is a tier one race baiter and anti-racist criticism from him is laughable.— AdamSerwer (@AdamSerwer) December 12, 2012
I don't think Drudge knows who Quentin Tarantino is.— Mike Hayes (@michaelhayes) December 12, 2012
Some came to the conclusion that it was a vicarious move on Drudge's part:
Let's act like we don't think Drudge has been waiting for years to publish a hed like this. twitter.com/SteveHuff/stat…— STEVE HUFF (@SteveHuff) December 12, 2012
Hey, Matt Drudge: Tell us how you *really* feel! drudgereport.com— Anna Holmes (@AnnaHolmes) December 12, 2012
Drudge Uses Tarantino Film Review To Blast Out A Series Of N-Bombs bit.ly/TPckOf just say it, matt. just freaking say it.— Oliver Willis (@owillis) December 12, 2012
But since we all know Drudge's tendencies, the sensational headline struck others as nothing new:
Drudge's current headline is a distillation of his entire election year coverage.— Bob Schooley (@Rschooley) December 12, 2012
Drudge's actions were not without defenders, though: the conservatives over at Twitchy jumped to the site's defense.