Avatar, a liberal bible, recommended for conservatives

Yago Campos writes:

I’d think that the special reaction liberals have to Avatar is about the meaning of being human. Of course environmentalism is a religious movement, and liberals, being quasi-atheists, crave for meaning in their lives. Monotheist religions claim that man is made in the image of God, so being human means having a special relationship with God (we’re like him, unlike other things of nature). If you deny God, or make nature into your god, then what’s the meaning of being human? What makes us different from other animals? In Avatar, the whole world is connected by a biological neural network or some such nonsense, and there is a conscience-like thing that controls the whole nature of the planet. The white human-like beings are capable of communicating with that conscience (i.e. god, Gaia or whatever you may call it). Which makes the human-like beings the closest animals to god, god’s messengers.

For a liberal angry with the world, such a vision of life has to be very appealing. That’s why people love the world of Avatar and are depressed that they can’t be part of it.

Atheism has to be depressing, because you as a human have no higher value than a dog or whale (or a worm). Which also explains the insane animal rights movement.

Avatar is a hateful movie, but it does make you think. Think of it as the bible of liberals and go see it.

- end of initial entry -

Cesar Tort (here is his blog, The West’s Darkest Hour) writes:

Your commenter writes:

“Think of it as the bible of liberals and go see it.”

Yes: that’s what Avatar really is.

I have uploaded a YouTube video criticizing Avatar and its director. I speak in Spanish, but it’s subtitled in English.

Paul K. writes:

I think people are making WAY too much of the political implications of Avatar. Cameron’s Titanic also had a political message: he depicted the rich people on the Titanic as selfish and cruel to those in steerage. Did that really influence anyone’s political views? Movies like Titanic or Avatar, which have so little connection with anyone’s lives, are not going to have much political impact.

Avatar takes place on a beautiful, though very dangerous, alien world. It’s a beautiful place to visit, even in travelogue form. The villain is not America, but a huge earth-based mining corporation that is willing to despoil the planet to loot its riches. Does this very familiar theme threaten capitalism? [LA replies: I hear you. It’s been done a million times before. It’s as hackneyed as could be. So how could it set off some new wave of liberalism?]

In the Daily Telegraph, Nile Gardner professed himself astonished by “the roars of approval which greeted the on-screen killing of U.S. military personnel.” They were NOT U.S. military personnel—they were a multicultural mercenary force that worked for a corporation.

One mercenary turns against the corporation, but his reasons are understandable. First, he is a paraplegic who has full possession of superhuman physical abilities when he assumes his alien avatar. Secondly, in Captain Kirk fashion, he falls in love with a beautiful alien woman. Finally, given the simplistic good/evil conflict, I think most people would find it easy to understand that the hero does not want this planet to be destroyed.

Is there an anti-militarist message? It’s hard to make that argument when the aliens are themselves warriors and drive the mining company off their planet by defeating the mercenaries in battle.

I found the movie to be a highly enjoyable roller-coaster ride and non-stop special-effects extravaganza. The political message, such as it was, didn’t upset me particularly. It was no worse than the feeble liberalism that pervades nearly every form of entertainment out there, and far less insidious than most. Note that I say this as someone who is sickened by a films that I feel have a dangerously corrupting influence on their audiences, such as Pulp Fiction and Fight Club. I was appalled by a movie my teenaged daughter rented, Virgin Suicides, which glamorized teenage suicide.

Mark P. writes:

Paul K. is not right. Avatar is certainly a subversive movie, even more so than Titanic. As I recall, many documentaries that dealt with the Titanic had to address Cameron’s plot line about the treatment of people in steerage, among other things. In other words, real historical treatments of an event needed to navigate around the pop-culture fantasies of these Hollywood filmmakers. Avatar is shaping up to do the same.

True, Avatar sets up a cliched evil corporation as an antagonist, but it is really not clear why the mining company is evil. For example, the Weyland-Yutani Corporation in Aliens is evil because it did evil things: It was willing to sacrifice the lives of the crew in an attempt to smuggle a dangerous organism past quarantine for their weapons division. It was not, however, inherently evil simply because it was a corporation. In Avatar, the mining company is evil because it is a mining company.

Furthermore, in Aliens, the W-Y company had a legitimate mission: it wanted to figure out what happened to their terra-forming colony, why the communications died out. In Avatar, the company does not even have a legitimate mission. It is there simply to rape and pillage the planet. Never mind that what is being mined is, clearly, a high-temperature superconductor that is so valuable because it is solving problems back home on Earth, hence the “price of $20 million a kilo” (and the various references to the gray and dying Earth compared to Pandora.)

What’s worse, Cameron pushes this PC theme by sacrificing logic and reason in the plot development. For one, the main character, the Marine, is a completely superfluous. There was no reason for him to be on Pandora to begin with. According to the plot, he is the twin brother of a brilliant scientist who died. They needed the Marine to take his brother’s place because the Avatars are genetically-linked to their users. This makes it sound like the Avatar project is new; that the body was a prototype and that a freak circumstance required the Marine’s presence. Well, it turns out that there are dozens of Avatars with dozens of other users. They were already interacting with the Na’vi using these bodies, building schools, learning each others languages, trying to trade, etc. That means the twin brother was simply filling a scientific job description that could have gone to someone else. Yet the company decides to assign the Marine instead and give him a security role guarding Segourney Weaver’s character, complete with scaled-up equipment to match the Na’vi’s size. Yet, the military hardware available was far more effective at guarding her than any Avatar.

Clearly, relations had broken down between the company and the Na’vi, yet that is unexplained, given the overtures the company made to the Na’vi. Furthermore, the female Na’vi the Marine eventually meets seem utterly surprised by his presence and unaware of what an Avatar is, even though she’s been in contact with them before.

The movie is riddled with these plot holes. Oh, did I mention that the Na’vi act and talk like an African tribe?

The only real hero in the movie is the Colonel. Here he is trying to ensure Earth’s supply of badly-needed unobtainium, a simple and noble task if he ever had one. Yet, he is surrounded by incompetence: Ineffectual corporate management on the one hand, and limp-wristed, tree-hugging, trust-fund scientists on the other. Taking advantage of what clearly is a Human Resource error, he recruits a fellow Marine to help spy on the Na’vi and gain intelligence. Maybe he can use surgical strikes instead of something more scorched-earth. In exchange for the Marine’s help, the Colonel offers to get the company to pay for the surgery to give the Marine back the use of his legs, knowing full well that rationed, national healthcare would never cover such an expense. Instead, the Marine betrays him. He goes native and throws a proverbial hand-grenade in the Colonel’s tent. The Colonel is forced to engage in extreme measures to save the operation. He dies heroically, brought down by the subversives in his midst.

Hopefully, in Avatar 2, the Colonel’s brother returns with a battlegroup and nukes the planet from high orbit, like they did those lizard-creatures with the acid for blood. Movie should last about 15 minutes.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 09, 2010 04:20 PM | Send

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