That is how I refer to Avatar, James Cameron’s new epic to encourage self-loathing for human beings. Many have commented about the anti military angle and the enviro-worship. Rather than repeat that, I suggest reading those links for very interesting commentary. Rather, I’ll address the anti-human angle.
Of course the humans are thinly disguised Americans, but it is the human-beingness that is of interest to me. Humans are the invaders who have ruined their own world, paraphrasing what the avatar-guy says. Humans have nothing to offer the Na’vi, while the Na’vi have everything to offer humans. There is no opportunity for some kind of relationship, only a form of power and control vs. longing. One human takes an interest in Na’vi culture, but none of the Pandoran clans are interested in humans, only interested in getting rid of them. That one human has tried to educate the Na’vi, but about what is totally unclear. The Na’vi are presented as essentially fully evolved; they can develop no further because they are, in essence, perfect. They show only the most minimal of inventions (essentially bow-and-arrow and riding techniques). They neither want nor need technology. They have universal healthcare by tapping into Pandora. The Avatar can become Na’vi and stay but cannot remain human and stay (let alone be loved as a human).
In essence Cameron has penned an anti-human manifesto, similar to those who decry human beings as a plague upon the earth and become apoplectic about the fantasy of overpopulation. The technophobic Na’vi are made the heroes of a movie that showcases the most advanced technology the film industry has ever seen. It is a deeply cynical piece of film-making, as Cameron celebrates a society that in essence has a king and queen and a whole lot of drones, while he is a meglomaniac director who tries to control everyone and everything he comes across. Better to be on top, I guess.
The scenery is extraordinary and the visual effects are magnificent. Of course, so were those for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, possibly the most watched television program in history. Does that mean everyone desires to become a communist? I think not. People are paying to watch a spectacle, and Cameron hopes to sneak in his propaganda. Of course, his work is filled with contradictions. Only a human could have made it.
David Stockman's Contra Corner
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