Sea Shanty

February 26, 2010 at 7:24 am (Uncategorized)

So I finally gave into the theater of spectacle and went and saw “Avatar” last night. And while I was blown away by the visual array I couldn’t help but try and think through some of the messages hurling from the screen in 3D. I have heard people wrangle with whether its racist. I see the point that its a retelling of Pocahontas-all white man coming in and falling in love with one of the natives in contrast with the genocidal attitudes of his peers. But if you try to read it as parable it makes things really weird. At one point, when (spoiler alert) giant CG animals showed up to save the day, I exclaimed to my partner that it was too bad Elephants weren’t bigger and couldn’t save the Indians. But what I ended up rambling about at length to my poor companion was the justification of force, potentially against the US or its people that Avatar seems to rationalize.
In the movie the hero, when he feels like his folks are doing wrong, turns against them violently. How is this different from an american joining up with the taliban to save america from itself through Jihad? The conflict in this case had more of a save the rainforest, last firefly, feel to it, but the issue is the same. It reminded me in fact of what I recently learned about the Somali pirates who briefly occupied the mind of the media last year. Turns out that a bunch of them are local fishermen who got tired of international fleets taking advantage of their dearth of govt to poach fish and dump toxic waste and began to patrol Somali waters in response. And low and behold the same countries whose boats are culprits are happy to seek harsh responses to the piratism. Well it seems to me that James Cameron should be the great defender of the Somali pirates in this case. He should make a movie about them. They are just like the Na’avi, trying to protect their home from foreign imperialism and abuse- right? Avatar is pretty political after all…check out the pirate story…


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