Ice Cube Is Ellis From Die Hard

Illustration for article titled Ice Cube Is Ellis From Die Hard
Photo: Phillip Faraone/Die Hard (Getty Images)

Do you remember this guy? If you’re my age (41) or older, you probably do. I’m sure Ice Cube does, because he’s old as fuck! If you don’t, his name is Ellis and he’s from a movie called Die Hard.


In it, a group of sophisticated terrorists—led by the iconic Hans Gruber—take a building hostage as they attempt to steal a bunch of really expensive papers or whatever from it. Their plans, however, are thwarted by John McClane, a preternaturally resourceful cop who just happens to also be in the building because his wife works there. After ambushing and killing a few of the terrorists, John manages to procure one of their walkie-talkies, and is able to communicate with Hans and a police officer on the street. A cat and mouse game ensues as John repeatedly sabotages them while the terrorists try to find him.

Ellis is one of the hostages, and embodies a perfect amalgamation of every douchey finance dipshit, literally everyone who’s ever been named “Connor,” and every “it’s chess, not checkers”-ass nigga. He’s a boat shoe dipped in scotch and bigen. Basically, he’s Don Trump Jr.

Anyway, Ellis decides its wise to enter the office Hans is stationed in, pretend to be John’s close friend, and negotiate John’s surrender. Hans gives Ellis his walkie-talkie, and Ellis “begs” John to give up or they’re going to kill him.

High off coke and the crust from his own anus, Ellis thinks he’s becoming chummy with Hans, and doesn’t believe he’d actually shoot him. John, however, knows exactly what type of man Hans is, and that Ellis is about to get murked. Which he does.

This is what happens when you’re too “smart” for your own good. When you don’t listen to the people who just know more about things than you do. When you’re so high off your own seminal supply that you don’t/can’t/won’t see that your actions endanger everyone. When you’re so accustomed to having your voice platformed that sitting the fuck down and shutting the fuck up remains elusive.

What John knew—and what Ellis and Ice Cube and the rest of the “seat at the table”-ass niggas don’t—is that there’s no negotiating with terrorists. Either they win or you win, but there is no winning together. No symbiosis. No quid pro quo. If you’re not actively attempting to punish them, you are a pawn to them, and you will be discarded the moment they’ve exhausted their use for you. (Unless, of course, you just want to be a terrorist too.)

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)


Lord Whistledown

I guess in this analogy, I’m Argyle, sitting in the limo waiting for this shit to play out.