Why do Pandorans get to be traditionalists?

That is the question raised by Mark Richardson about James Cameron’s Avatar. Quoting Fjordman’s description of the film as “one of the most anti-Western and especially anti-white Hollywood movies I have seen in a long time,” Richardson continues:

There are two things that have to be explained about all this. The first is why white liberals would fantasise about being traitors to their own race. The second is why liberal moderns, who think of themselves as progressives, would support the traditionalism of non-white societies.

The answer, I’ve suggested in a comment, is very simple: whites are evil, nonwhites are good. So there is no double standard here, but a single standard: rejection of (white) evil, affirmation of (nonwhite) good.

- end of initial entry -

December 23

Alex K. writes:

The Navi (the Pandoran blue people) society is actually deeply amenable to liberals. It’s egalitarian—there’s a couple leaders, but they live the same as the others, and there’s no hierarchy other than them. There’s no socioeconomic disparity, there’s no property, the men and women are socially interchangeable (they all hunt and fight equally well, we never see any children or childbearing), the religion is a Gaia-worshipping/pan-animist thing that ends up being materially demonstrable (the whole planet really is synaptically linked or something, and it literally rises up against the invaders, with Gaia commanding nature to resist the human invaders), and basically there’s barely anything about the society a liberal could really object to. I mean, they eat animals, but they apologize to them after killing them. Obviously, there’s no racism. The Navi Juliet heroine is betrothed to one of the Navi males (the Paris character, I guess that would make him). But she is assigned to train the human Romeo character in the ways of the Navi when he arrives to join them. So they two of them spend most of the days together for months, she teaching him the ways of the Navi, which involves her demonstrating how to do masculine things like hunt and break horses (flying alien horses, but basically it’s horsebreaking), which of course she’s great at, the men and women of the Navi being socially interchangeable. Of course they fall in love. The idea that a betrothed woman and man should spend all that time together would be considered weird in any traditionalist society, and the outcome would be considered exactly an example of why. In Navi culture it’s totally normal, and the when he finds out the Paris character registers a few seconds of discontent about it before it’s forgotten. The point is, this movie doesn’t just forgive non-whites their traditionalism, as liberals will do, it goes ahead and depicts the non-whites as living in an idyllic liberal society.

LA replies:

How much easier to embrace the Other when they are already perfect liberals!

What a cheap liberal fantasy. Mankind goes to a distant planet, and the people living there just happen to be the liberal ideal! Why doesn’t Cameron make a movie that challenges liberalism, say, a movie about humans going to another planet and the people there are like Pakistani villagers (who brutally oppress their women) or Indonesian head hunters? How about a movie version of Robert Edgerton’s Sick Societies?

Alex replies:

He didn’t even bother with a staged, Reichstag-fire-like atrocity against the humans, which the villainous human leadership then blames on the virtuous Navi to justify attack. Let alone an oppressive society that cries out for neocon-like intervention. He just has the humans be happy to attack for the sake of gold.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 21, 2009 11:10 AM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):