Unless the virtual world were itself a contagious, collective hallucination, a parasite or symbiote of the imagination rather than a simple virus like the Ring or Snowcrash. It would need people to actively imagine it as much as it needed them to transmit it.
There's no question that Tarantino wants us to cheer when Shoshanna Dreyfuss and her lover Marcel burn down her movie theater, trapping Hitler and his fellow Nazis inside. There's no question that we're meant to whoop when the Basterds inside the flaming theater shoot SS officers like sitting ducks.
But this is not an uncomplicated victory. ... Her revenge plot ... swallows her whole.
And doesn't it swallow us as well? Consider this: Just before the Nazis get burned, we see them clapping and cheering as they watch a movie about a German sniper who kills vulnerable American soldiers. It's framed as a horrible event. Yet a few moments later, the film puts us in the position of those Nazi moviegoers. If we feel excited to see Hitler and Goebells get assassinated by Basterds, or if we cheer as the Germans on the cinema floor get shot from the balcony, then we are behaving just like the Nazis as they watch their propaganda film.
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