Green Room

In a world of their own: Conservatives and Avatar

posted at 10:00 pm on January 8, 2010 by

Having immensely enjoyed the audio-visual orgy of James Cameron’s Avatar, as the kind of out-of-body experience that big movies are for, I find myself feeling sorry for the many conservatives – published critics, self-publishing bloggers, and commenters – who have blanketed, one might say wet-blanketed, the right side of the internet with their complaints and indictments.

Hollywood has given our anti-nonsense reflexes a lot of exercise in recent years, but I had still expected greater enthusiasm for this movie, or at worst neutrality, from my fellow conservatives.  Regardless of how some people feel about Cameron personally, or about any statements he may have made about Avatar‘s intended messages, he remains the same director who gave us  Terminator, Terminator 2, Aliens, and True Lies.  By the day that the Avatar trailer played to a national NFL TV audience and on the gigantic new video screen at Cowboys Stadium, it was clear to millions that an audacious effort was under way to re-vitalize the great American movie spectacle – a $400 million gamble by one of our leading auteur-entrepreneurs, in the shape of an advertisement for democratic capitalism at its most innovative, and for the creativity and vitality of American culture during a time when American declinism and every other brand of pessimism about our future have been spreading to an extent not seen since the 1970s.

Those on the right who have been impotently and priggishly attacking the movie, their small-spirited wishes for its failure decisively dashed by a quick $1 Billion in worldwide ticket sales, have not just been embarrassing themselves and their political-cultural allies.  They may even have been doing harm to the conservative movement, at least as much as the movie itself may do with its incidental Gore- and Obamaisms.

No one is obligated to like any film, of course.  One blogger’s eye candy is another blogger’s eye strain, but the first reviews from the right didn’t just seek some distance from off-putting aspects of Avatar, they full-throatedly assaulted the entire effort.  “Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ Is a Big, Dull, America-Hating, PC Revenge Fantasy,” was the headline over Big Hollywood‘s review, which included a bizarre attempt to charge Cameron with politically exploiting 9/11.  Other rightwing bloggers seemed to compete with each other over who could write the best put-downs:  “cinema for the hate America crowd,” “Production: $183,000,000. Script: $14.25,” Dances with Smurfs – drink more vodka and 3-D headache goes away,””a suicide fantasy, the Hollywood blockbuster equivalent of a troubled teenager’s notebook sketches, scribbled by someone who hates himself only marginally less than he hates the rest of the world.”  Gregg Easterbrook, not on the right but here writing from a right-ish perspective, even got espn.com in on the action, explaining at length why soldiers and I guess mining engineers, too, ought to feel deeply “insulted” by the film.

John Podhoretz’s review at The Weekly Standard bought its ticket for the put-down sweepstakes with the title “Avatarocious.”  In the review itself, Podhoretz writes of astonishment, not headaches, at the film’s technical achievement, but compensates with the critic’s equivalent of a cuss-out:  “blitheringly stupid… among the dumbest movies I’ve ever seen… an undigested mass of clichés… unbelievably banal and idiotic” and so forth.  Unfortunately for his credibility as a reviewer, however, he repeatedly refers to the film as humorless, at one point asserting that “it doesn’t have a single joke in it.”  Anyone who has actually seen the film, or merely viewed the TV ads and trailers, is left to wonder whether Podhoretz was too busy re-combining derogatory phrases in his head to be paying minimal attention to the movie – which, to be clear, offers a Cameron-typical assortment of one-liners and visual gags.  As for Avatar‘s themes, Podhoretz declines to take them seriously except to argue that Cameron’s presumed marketing calculations may demonstrate how “deeply rooted… anti-American, anti-human politics” have become.

Like other reviewers, Podhoretz also indulges in the predictable and familiar charge that the movie’s narrative elements are predictable and familiar.  Since Avatar stands in other ways as novelty itself – right before your eyes, in glorious 3-D – to focus overly much on derivative aspects of its storyline would seem an ungracious gesture, even if its selections from among finite narrative alternatives (boy meets female humanoid, boy loses female humanoid, etc.) were poorly justified or badly executed.  I don’t concede the last, but, either way, audiences would likely have been disappointed if Cameron had denied them certain expected narrative beats – the step by step development of the love interest, the hero’s education to the ways of the alien tribe.  A significant part of the pleasure of a movie like this one is seeing traditional story elements transformed in a new setting, while otherwise the narrative chiefly serves to organize, elaborate, and extend the sensual experience.

Same for the dialogue, another common attack point:  Whether you respect the craft on display or decry its lack of expressive power and wit, the dialogue is not the movie’s main, secondary, or even tertiary reason for existence.  Anyway, as someone who in a previous life read and critiqued thousands of screenplays, I feel professionally qualified, very likely much better qualified than any of the critics I’ve quoted, to declare Avatar‘s dialogue better than movie-competent – maybe a little broader than necessary even for an all-ages global audience, but at the same time demonstrative of Cameron’s unrivaled skill at inserting new phrases into popular discussion:  “I see you!” may be a bit too peek-a-boo to achieve the same status as “I’ll be back,” but it’s already an understood punch-line on the Daily Show and RedEye.

The charges of being anti-American and anti-military might seem more significant, but they’re harder to take seriously in relation to a film that includes exactly as many references to the United States of America as Podhoretz says it has jokes:  Zero.

The movie is set in the year 2154, a multi-lightyear interstellar void away from planet Earth.  We never learn whether the U.S. of A even exists 140+ years from now.  The soldiers do seem American, some Australian accents notwithstanding, but, even so, our main character informs us early on that they are the tools of corporate interests, not the armed forces of a nation:  “Back home, we fight for freedom.  Out here, we’re hired guns.”  It’s possible that corporatist liberals in the Vietnam Era LBJ mode may have come to power in the elections of 2148 or so, assuming there were elections, but we don’t really know the precise extent to which the soldiers are mercenaries, and, if not, whether they’re misused conscripts or volunteers or something wholly other and 22nd Century.

At most, the force represents a military or paramilitary force with some apparent American roots or resonances, on a mission gone wrong, its bad ends defeated by… a typically exceptional, highly sympathetic, and more than equally American, underdog-supporting Marine and his friends.  To call the resultant developments “anti-military” or “anti-American” would be like calling “Dirty” Harry Callahan, Die Hard‘s John McClane, and Robocop‘s Officer Murphy anti-police figures; or calling John Rambo an anti-American and anti-war icon.  Following this paranoid logic, the same logic that has led some conservatives to mis-identify Jason Bourne as anti-American, 300‘s Leonidas would become an icon of kneejerk leftwing anti-imperialism.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington becomes an attack on constitutional government.  Mr. Incredible becomes an animated Ché Guevara.  All of them, even Leonidas (and even Ché as fictional construct, come to think of it), are typical and very American heroes, loners whose personal characters, experiences, and moral courage lead them to fight against enemies who have corrupted and distorted whatever powerful forces or institutions they have come to control.

Such hero figures are legion in American popular art, with a lineage stretching back to America’s origins as a revolutionary and Judeo-Christian enterprise, and to our first breakaway action blockbuster, James Fenimoore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans, featuring Hawkeye, the ultimate “gone-native” American warrior.  Our Hawkeyes are almost always isolated, and are frequently reviled – on the way to eventual, audience-pleasing redemptions, when “everyone” realizes how right they always were.  In Avatar “everyone” is represented on screen by the defeated soldiers and corporate lackeys sent bedraggledly back to from where they came, secondarily by those who will greet them – Terrans or Americans who, we are repeatedly given to believe, would also disapprove of what the depraved Colonel Quaritch orders his soldiers to do.

Conservatives should have little difficulty envisioning Avatar‘s bad guys as futuristic neo-liberals and their lackeys, unrestrained by authentic republican democracy, indulging in ill-conceived and gradually escalated measures that inevitably lurch to overkill and self-defeat, but many of us have forgotten both our real history and our movie history – the truths of Vietnam and Somalia, for example, and also the truths underlying the final scenes of a bygone conservative fave like Rambo, a glorious rampage against military bean counters and their machines.  Bad or misled American soldiers have done bad things on bad American orders, and it’s not un-American or anti-military or un-conservative to admit as much, to try to understand why, to hope for and believe in something better, or to dramatize it all for broad consumption.

The conservative Avatar-haters know this all as well as anyone, a fact that makes me think that what they’re really unhappy about has little to do with Avatar, and much more to with Hollywood’s near complete refusal to celebrate America’s contemporary military heroes.  I share that disappointment:  There are by now several Summers’ worth of un-made blockbusters that should have portrayed the brilliant feats of arms and moral courage of American soldiers in places that for most of us might as well be alien planets.

On the happy Wednesdays and Fridays of at least one possible future in which those movies are finally released, blowing and bloodying up theaters in vivid 3D, Avatar may indeed be revealed as a relic of an abbreviated Age of Obama.  Yet most of those stories, if treated honestly and interestingly, will likely depict the dynamic tension between, on the one side, bad ideas, bad leadership, and tragic costs in blood and treasure, and, on the other side, the valiance of our real-life Rambos:  Jake Sully Petraeus opposing an array of institutional forces… accused of going native… gathering a few allies… learning to fight, think, and work with insurgents… on the way to a glorious synthesis of high tech Americanism and indigenous culture.

I predict that few conservatives will be complaining at that time, if it ever comes, about predictable story beats.

As for the other criticisms of Avatar, I find it odd that anyone is significantly concerned with the conjectural practicalities of “unobtanium” mining, or the next-century economics of spinal medicine.  I don’t see a conservative problem with a good-hearted red-blooded tech-enabled American guy fighting for truth, justice, and the 10-foot-tall blue humanoid  he very monogamously loves.  I’m not willing to give the theme of spiritual re-birth – “one life ends, another begins” – to the left or leave it for New Age hippies only, partly because I don’t see Christianity as merely a “suicide fantasy.”  And it strikes me that something may have gone wrong in American conservatism if any hint of the “noble savage,” of intimate and mysterious connections to nature as God’s creation,  has become off-limits according to the same people who, at a different time of the day or night, or a different blog post, will be celebrating the authentic frontier virtues, character, and elitist-mystifying spirituality of Sarah Palin.

Finally, the idea that the film (or, in theory, any film) could be “anti-human” may be the most interesting criticism, partly for its relation to extreme environmentalism, but mainly because it’s confronted directly within Avatar‘s own central themes – the parallel pscyhological, technical, and emotional challenges before the hero, the film maker, and the audience:  to recognize the “Na’vi” as human; to see refusal of their humanity as wrong, primordially inhumane.   It’s a dynamic similar to the one at the center of Blade Runner – Deckard and his “replicant” beloved Rachel, and us, on one side; “skin-job”-hating cops on the other (Roy Batty flying above everyone).

Cameron’s ability to exploit such “true lies” in his story concepts and on the level of form goes back to the Terminator, a character whose outward humanity was precisely the condition of his threat to humanity.  Since that time, Cameron’s science fiction has crossed back and forth across the question “what is human?” – as in Aliens‘ species-traitor Burke, less human than an acid-blooded monster; as in the machine from T2 who fully attains humanity in a paradoxical final act of self-sacrifice.  Along the way, in exquisitely multi-leveled film-authorial gestures, the supposed neo-Luddite Cameron has also explored the ability of special effects technology to erase the difference between “natural” and “manufactured” realities in the universe of cinema.  The objective testimony of box office receipts proves he has done so with fantastic success.  The lack of interest by supposedly conservative critics in such matters, and their unconsciousness of where they’re aligning themselves, will prompt a fan of the film to wonder who in the end the real skowns are.

Do American conservatives now believe that the left owns nature, spirituality, communitarian values, bold trips where no one has gone before, and all willingness to defy mealy-mouthed corporate squishes and sociopaths in or out of uniform?  Of course not.  But some are acting that way.  Playing up and then decrying these messages, in this context, implicitly defining them as wholly owned property of the left, is to cede invaluable cultural and therefore political ground for no good reason.  At a certain point, it becomes something worse than “blithering stupidity”:  It becomes an unforced, hard to repair political error, reinforcing the stereotype of the conservative as aggressively defensive moralizer, living in a world of his own anger and prejudice.  It’s a much less attractive and interesting place than James Cameron’s Pandora.

cross-posted from Zombie Contentions

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DGOOCH on January 10, 2010 at 5:32 PM

CK’s argument in his review seems to suggests that conservatives are seeing something that isn’t in the Avatar movie itself…lead astray by our own ideology. My question for CK is, if that is so, why is it all these liberal / no-apparent-ideology reviewers saying the same thing?

I don’t feel obligated at all to take responsibility for stray reviewers’ opinions, or to presume any level of credibility. The vast majority of reviewers have very little of any great interest to say, and I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them – right, left, apolitical, doesn’t matter.

In a comment above that struck me as both snide and poorly reasoned, Professor Blather criticized me for referring to my prior experience in Hollywood when discussing the quality of Avatar’s dialogue. He didn’t seem to process the point I was making – that it’s easy just to declare the dialogue good or bad, or the plot good or bad, and then depend upon either your qualifications or merely the harshness of your rhetoric to prove your point.

In response to the the other critics’ vouching – “blithering idiocy” or any of the examples you cite – I engaged in some counter-vouching – “as a former pro, I declare…” – within the larger context of “so what?” The movie isn’t about its dialogue or for that matter about the originality of its character and plot concepts. Complicated dialogue and a busy plot would have been counterproductive within the parameters of the film, which, in addition to having a ton of audio-visual high explosives to deliver on target, also had to communicate some fairly arcane and complex science fiction concepts to an all-ages global audience.

In short, it takes more work and thought to address the purpose of a story element – dialogue, plot, setting, character, etc. – within the concept and development of the specific film. Other approaches are in my opinion no more valid than pulling a kid off the street and asking him what he thought about the movie, especially since Cameron as a film maker is at least equally interested in the kid pulled off the street as in a dime (if that) per dozen blogger or reviewer.

The conservative critics’ tendencies that I observed and evidenced struck me as hyperbolically negative in terms of aesthetics as well as politics, resulting in a kind of feedback relationship. It’s a common pattern, just as it’s common for movies that are aesthetically successful and coherent also to be resistant to bad politics.

As one famous critic put it, there is no such thing as a great anti-semitic book. There may be great books by anti-semites or with anti-semitic content, but anti-semitic content will always be a flaw – a crudeness, a misperception, a false note, a non-universal aspect, etc. – of the book. At some point, the formal/aesthetic characteristics and ideas/content will tend to converge and become inseparable, according to the particular work’s internal rules of development.

CK MacLeod on January 10, 2010 at 10:46 PM

I’m going to say it again since you clearly missed it the first time. Although since you’ve taken the time to refute every little comment posted, I doubt you’ll listen. If I don’t agree with their politics, I don’t spend a penny on their movie. I’m not missing anything. They’re missing out on my $$$$.

Apparently you missed this when it was posted on Hotair as well:

Avatar: The Suicide Fantasy.

Logboy on January 10, 2010 at 11:26 PM

Logboy on January 10, 2010 at 11:26 PM

Speaking about missing things, the HotAir posting you just linked was quoted and linked in the top post, and has been discussed extensively on this thread, including in a multi-part dialogue with the author himself.

CK MacLeod on January 11, 2010 at 12:10 AM

Is Avatar an attack on the Iraq War?

“According to The Times, the Avatar director is linking his new film to the Iraq War and the wider war on terror, “declaring that American had a ‘moral responsibility’ to understand the impact that their country’s recent military campaigns had had.”

As Cameron himself put it, just before the London premiere of Avatar:

We went down a path that cost several hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. I don’t think the American people even know why it was done. So it’s all about opening your eyes.

Avatar is the story of a US military expedition to exploit mineral wealth on a far flung planet in the middle of the 22nd Century. The humans resort to “shock and awe” tactics against the native Na’vi tribes, in order to secure the planet for business interests back on earth. Cameron draws a direct analogy between the war in his film, and the war on terror in real life, declaring:

We know what it feels like to launch the missiles. We don’t know what it feels like for them to land on our home soil, not in America. I think there’s a moral responsibility to understand that. “

Logboy on January 11, 2010 at 1:14 AM

Logboy on January 11, 2010 at 1:14 AM

Thanks.

I supported the war and still think it was the correct thing to do, given what we knew at the time, and despite the many ways in which it was mishandled.

If Cameron thinks his film depicts a situation analogous to the War on Terror, then he’s wrong. However, what he says about a moral responsibility to think about the war from the other side is sensible. I’d go further, and argue that it’s not just a moral responsibility, it’s wise if you intend actually to win the war and achieve other objectives. If I had a chance to send him a message, it would be to say that the moral responsibility works both ways, and that he needs to think more about his own country and civilization.

It doesn’t affect what I think about the movie very much, or how I think conservatives should react to it: It doesn’t make his movie anti-American, anti-human, or anti-military.

Some of the best military history, fiction, and movies that have ever been done were done by people with whom I disagree. Up above, Doctor Zero offered one of his internal organs to see THE MOTE IN GOD’S EYE made into a movie. One of the two authors, Jerry Pournelle, opposed both Gulf Wars – if more from what you might loosely call an isolationist perspective than a leftwing one.

CK MacLeod on January 11, 2010 at 2:00 AM

I decided the night that I had watched this that this was best enjoyed as a mimetic/speculative story, because it totally lacked any didactic parallels.

They knocked down OUR “One Tree”, we didn’t knock down theirs. The Navi were not right in thinking that they didn’t need anything from us, because their “Mother” obviously saw the need for the technology. Sully cannot be wrong that we have “killed our mother” because of the materialistic explanation for the intelligence of Pandora does not work for Earth. We don’t have connections between tree roots like synapses where you can measure energy shooting between them.

Plus the whole idea of a public opinion was a force and letting a corporation have a go all by itself at a planet conflicted itself at every turn. In a way, the company makes a sort of progressive decision: the public will be so happy with the Unobtanium that they won’t remember their outrage over exploiting the native people. Also Cameron’s ecological disaster is taken more from 60s-70s type ecology rather than AGW theory as it currently stands today. The concern of AGW is that Mother Nature will rid itself of us, not that we are going to do in Mother Nature.

In the end Cameron’s people are strawmen at best. As they represent no cause we recognize, we can only take the movie as “What If”. And when we take it that way, I can’t imagine that a serious conservative can root for the race that wants to trash another planet, provided that they’ve trashed one already.

Besides that one should remember that it is the guiding, deep, and unfathomable intelligence (the N’avi get it wrong) that solves the problem, with technology only as a tool. If the movie can be taken as any rational statement it can be on the corruptibility of the earthly (Terran) system, and that the victory does not go to the strongest, but to the ones blessed by “Providence”, and not as the New Atheists like to believe by understanding everything and making no mistaken judgements–because again the N’avi are proven wrong in their understandings.

In fact, if this movie has any coherent message it demonstrates how great the need for “salvation” is from our unseeing ways. Now, since we don’t have evidence that the trees operate like synapses on this planet, it says nothing about the savior that would be our hope on this planet. But suggests, using the backdrop of fleshly blindness, that we need one, nonetheless.

So, my point of view is 1) Avatar is ineffective as social commentary or prediction or analogy, so ineffective that one must remove it from a sphere of argument and look at it as happenstance. 2) From that point the movie becomes about right and wrong and blindness and providence.

And it works for me on that level.

Axeman on January 13, 2010 at 1:20 AM

Axeman on January 13, 2010 at 1:20 AM

I don’t agree with everything you say and am not quite sure I understand your opening paragraphs.

For instance, the Pandoran bio-computer might be very valuable in any of number ways, all the more so because we don’t have anything quite like it in our ecosystem. I also don’t think that it’s important whether the Na’vi savior would be a a savior for us. However, I think you have an interesting take on the movie, and the logic of your position might still stand in critical ways.

Having discussed this movie at great lenght here and also on my “home blog,” I particularly appreciate the fact that you’re willing to go at the movie in terms of what it actually says, or can’t help but saying, rather than what people, perhaps including the writer-director, say it says.

I’d like to know more about what you see as the Na’vi mistakes.

I also liked your distinction on the story’s brand of ecologism. It’s not quite clear to me why everyone jumps immediately from Pandora to Copenhagen, other than because Climate Change is so much in the news. Everyone assumes any environmentalism/the Earth is our Mother-ism must immediately lead to Al Gore, Carbon Credits, and the IPCC, even though there’s zero rational basis for it in the movie.

CK MacLeod on January 13, 2010 at 2:13 AM

CK,

The mistakes of the Na’vi are:

1. That they have no use for technology. It wasn’t by dumping spears or arrows down the exhaust shoot that they brought the big ship down, but grenades. It can be argued that the planet chose Jake from the beginning because it knew he could handle the weapons that would really bring the Terrans down.
2. That the planet does not take sides. Yet it did.
3. The death of the enemy is something to be desired IF the stakes are high enough.

So they knew somethings about the force of providence in its normal mode, as a steady continuum, but their logic failed them for singular incidents of utmost importance. They had made themselves believe that they understood the “Mother”, but they only understood what was necessary and common. Mother does not take sides in the duel between the hunter and the hunted, but can cause those seed pods to put a deliberate stamp on the savior, who would kill many enemies. Thus they had extrapolated wrongly.

Again, the reason that their “savior” cannot be ours is that the scientific rationale is given in alien terms. It is the way the planet is formed. All the things cited by Grace that make the tree roots possible synapses, don’t exist here on earth. The research uses all these things to argue that Pandora and the Na’vi are in sync in a way that we are not (and because of the lack of species traits can never be.)

So when Jake comments that this principle should have worked on earth, he becomes an unreliable source, because he has no basis for extrapolating this to earth with the same visible evidence that gives such alien characteristics to Pandora.

So the cure for the damage done by short-sighted human urges, cannot be a sentient foreseeing planet, unless we invest a lot of non-scientific speculation about this one. The humans have no such savior. They are the victims of an insufficient planet and insufficient adaptation. We can’t just plug our pony tails into the tree-root internet, we had to bust things out of the ground in order to achieve anything close to what the provident mind of Pandora gives the Na’vi at birth.

The Terrans are victims of chance and an uncaring earth and the Na’vi are benefactors of providence and one can almost think “design”. Cameron, a liberal, dotes on the Na’vi, who by the scientific rationale presented in the film have a true connection and signs and an afterlife, while we just yearn for such on our dying planet as lesser species of a lesser planet. Despite that they have won the “universal lottery” suggested in the materialistic appeal of the film.

We are sad homunculi. Able to see and dream of “being real”, but unable by our makeup to join with it. We are destroyed by our blindness for our sins. The Na’vi are saved despite their blindness.

It doesn’t work for New Atheists either. The planet pointed out Jake by landing a bunch of pods on him. The Na’vi, who previously had the attitude that there was nothing they needed from us, didn’t do anything but read the simple–somewhat ambiguous, except as traditional meaning–signs that the planet gave them. Nyteri from that point felt bound and obeyed the signs. They weren’t saved by recognizing through a methodology that Jake actually had something to offer.

The ironies are striking. In some ways I believe that Cameron was trying to be so honest that this is not his story to tell. It doesn’t say anything near what he was trying to say, and if pressed in that direction says everything with utter ineptitude.

I am a Christian. And I believe that, through some mechanism, the Holy Spirit hijacks this story and makes it a testament to the intuition in every human heart that our passions take us astray that empiricism has its gaps and we need a plan of salvation to save us from the empty randomness of survival and give us promise of unity and eternity–and we just might need a plan, a savior come down from above.

The irony that 1) this makes the liberal argument so badly and 2) urban liberals become enamored of hunters killing animals for food and obeying signs–and never advancing–with even less writing than the “Dark Ages” had!!–reminds me that God through his “folly” frustrates the wisdom of the wise.

As for words that I used in the first two paragraphs, “mimetic” and “didactic” are not that common concepts. Mimesis is simply telling a story, reflecting life as it occurs. If can often be deeper than didacticism, which tries to teach a principle. However because SF rarely “reflects life” as often extrapolates, one might use the word “speculative” for the case of looking at “what if” scenarios. My argument is that “extrapolation” is really an SF form of didacticism, because the idea is that something is argued to be likely, and is not just taken as the circumstance. Because there is so little extrapolation involved in Avatar, it seems that only “speculation” remains as a valid name.

And when I say that “they” knocked down OUR “One Tree”, I mean that we did not fly planes into buildings housing ~100,000 people to knock it down. How we have victimized the Arab people can be debated, but it can never be debated that we launched a missile at a civilian site in an effort to take massive casualties, even if our goal had been to move them off their oil.

Axeman on January 13, 2010 at 4:40 AM

Thanks, again, Axeman. A conservative with a somewhat similar or perhaps complementary response to the film has posted a review on our blog that I think you might find interesting:

http://ckmac.com/thewholething/2010/01/in-a-world-of-their-own-conservatives-and-avatar/?#comment-18790

I’ve also recommended to some of our readers that they check out your submissions here. I’m thinking over my own response to both of you, and may have some further requests for clarification or elaboration – if you’re around to provide them!

CK MacLeod on January 13, 2010 at 12:46 PM

One last scratch of dirt over this pile of dung -

http://bighollywood.breitbart.com/jjmnolte/2010/01/13/james-cameron-like-the-redneck-nra-supporters-they-are/

James Cameron: ‘Like the Redneck NRA Supporters They Are’
by John Nolte

This appears to be accurate. Both Ain’t It Cool News and JoBlo.com have posted James Cameron’s full “Avatar” script. To triple-check I went to the 20th Century-Fox site and found that they posted the same script, as well. After being as careful as possible (wouldn’t want to smear Cameron like he did the U.S. Marines. NOTE for Leftist hair-splitters: former Marines), I bring you a scene written by James Cameron that was cut from the final film but serves as a glimpse at the director’s childish prejudices and mindset:

INT. ARMOR BAY – DAY

TROOPERS issue automatic weapons and magazines to a long line of mine workers. The miners lock and load like the redblooded redneck NRA supporters they are.

And Macleod, give the automatic gainsaying a rest. Nobody cares, when you start off by calling them stupid. Accept that this line of argument made you look like a fool.

rayra on January 13, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Not sure why you think your opinions carry any weight with me, rayra – on the subject of this thread, on the thread itself, or about me personally. Please feel free to go away and never return to this or any thread of mine, but thanks, I guess, for keeping me up to date on Nolte’s latest attacks on Cameron.

All in all, not a very interesting fight to me – though I guess it impresses you a lot.

CK MacLeod on January 13, 2010 at 4:23 PM

As Cameron himself put it, just before the London premiere of Avatar:

We went down a path that cost several hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. I don’t think the American people even know why it was done. So it’s all about opening your eyes.

Hey, that’s great! I think I’m going to send that guy some cash to watch his movie and really stick it to Bushitler and Darth Cheney!

Take THAT, Haliburton!

I’ll even go see it several times to help ensure it becomes a lasting dynasty with sequels far into the future. “Opening the eyes” of an entire generation of children to Bushitlers genocide against the Iraqi people isn’t enough, we need to catch the generations that follow as well.

And I can’t wait to see the cute little Na’vi costumes all the kids will be wearing next Holloween, not to mention in 10, 20, 30 and 50 years, at all of the many Avatar conventions all.over.the.world.

/sarc

I think James Cameron has finally hit on a successful formula that may finally lead to the victory of leftist ideology over America: Couch your propaganda in such an elaborate spectacle of big-budget sci-fi that even conservatives will enthusiastically wrap surgical tubing around their arms and shoot it directly into their veins.

Then beg for more.

And Avatar is only the beginning. Wait until some lefty media conglomerate like Dreamworks, (or whatever, I don’t know), invents the first mass marketable virtual reality get-up and patents it such that they have exclusive content rights. By that time movies like Avatar will have trained enough conservatives, or former conservatives at any rate, to crave their next fix and they wont even question it anymore nor try to justify their addiction, just so long as they can maintain their high and never come back down.

Hey, maaaaan, don’t bogart that high-tech left-wing propaganda!

(No offense intended to those that have paid to watch it. I’m a big sci-fi fan and can understand the temptation even though so far I haven’t had any difficulty resisting.)

FloatingRock on January 15, 2010 at 4:51 AM

FloatingRock on January 15, 2010 at 4:51 AM

Just walk into the trap like the rest of our friends, FloatingRock. I don’t think this issue matters a lot, but encouraging people to see conservatives as prejudiced, censorious, motivated by reflexive ideology, unimaginative, unwilling or unable to withstand criticism or implied criticism, uninterested in alternative points of view is probably more harmful than abstract notions filtered through a 2154 scenario about theoretical propaganda aimed at Bush-Cheney era War on Terror policy. Encouraging Avatar fans to see how the movie undermines Obamaism or supports much more fundamental conservative precepts – despite the film maker’s possible intentions, or his willingness to poke his dental probe into exposed conservative nerves – would be a more positive and more mature

CK MacLeod on January 15, 2010 at 12:40 PM

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