Quentin Tarantino appeared on The Tonight Show Tuesday (8/25/09) to plug his movie Inglorious Basterds. He talked about how his characters scalped Nazis as a form of psychological warfare. He joked that Conan O'Brien's hair would make an impressive scalp. He showed a clip of Aldo (Brad Pitt) ordering his men to collect 100 scalps from 100 dead Nazis.
But Tarantino and O'Brien didn't say anything about Indians. There was nothing about how the "basterds" were emulating Apaches. Or about Tarantino's childhood Cherokee revenge fantasy. And certainly nothing about how scalping reinforces the worst Indian stereotypes.
I wonder if this omission was intentional. How would it have sounded for Conan to tell millions of Americans that Tarantino's characters were scalping people like savage Indians? I'm guessing that wouldn't have gone over too well, and Conan probably knew it.
For more on The Tonight Show, see Medicine Crow Joke on Tonight Show and "Chief" Joke on Tonight Show.