Tag Archives: Avatar

Life imitates art in occupied Palestine

REFILE - CORRECTING VILLAGE  Protesters dressed as characters ...

A Demonstrator dressed as a figure of the movie 'Avatar', shouts ...

In this photo taken Friday, Feb. 12, 2010, demonstrators dressed ...

Palestinians and foreign activists dressed as characters from ...

Reuters and Associated Press photos

Palestinian protesters have likened themselves to the persecuted Na’vi of the blockbuster film “Avatar.” The comparison is apt. 

I love this little news item from The Associated Press yesterday:

Jerusalem – Palestinian protesters have added a colorful twist to demonstrations against Israel’s separation barrier, painting themselves blue and posing as characters from the hit film “Avatar.”

The demonstrators also donned long hair and loincloths Friday for the weekly protest against the barrier near the village of Bilin.

They equated their struggle to the intergalactic one portrayed in the film.

Israel says the barrier is needed for its security. Palestinians consider it a land grab.

The protests have become a symbol of opposition. They often end in clashes with Israeli security forces involving stones and tear gas….

Stones against the mightiest military force in the Middle East, which is made possible by the United States of America — well, by you and me, since it’s our tax dollars that are funneled to Israel.

Israel historically has been the No. 1 recipient of U.S. foreign aid (it is No. 2 right now only because Vietraq surpassed it in 2003), and the extent to which the United States of America is Israel’s little bitch is evident in the logo for the Israel first lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), whose logo is a morphing of Israel’s Star of David and the United States’ stars and stripes, and who has virtually every politician, Repugnican and Democrat, in its pocket:

Tea Party Princess/Queen Sarah Palin-Quayle, when she delivered her keynote speech to the Wingnut Super Bowl in Nashville, Tenn., recently, wore both a U.S. flag lapel pin and an Israeli flag lapel pin.

That the Israel first lobby’s ass must continue to be dutifully licked, even though the United States of America itself is in the fucking toilet, seems to be the one thing on which the Repugnicans and the Democrats don’t differ at all.

Yet as Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, the wingnuts have slammed Mexican Americans for proudly displaying Mexico’s flag here in the United States, yet the same wingnuts have no problem whatsofuckingever with the display of the Israeli flag here — shit, like Palin-Quayle does, they even wear it — and they apparently have no problem with AIPAC’s morphing of the U.S. flag and the Israeli flag, which even the Mexican Americans do not, to my knowledge, dare to do.

So back to our friends, the real-life Na’vi in Israel-occupied Palestine, the occupation that is made possible by the United States’ continued military support:

Yeah, it’s a pretty fair comparison, the Palestinians to the Na’vi, a people whose land has been taken over by evil, greedy humans with a superior military force and with no conscience whatsofuckingever.

Stand up for the oppressed Palestinians, however, and the Israel first lobby calls you a “Holocaust-denying” “anti-Semite.”

Fuck. That. Shit. I don’t bow to any theocrat, so the Jews who would oppress me for not bowing to them can go fuck themselves as much as can any other religious group that would do so, including the self-proclaimed “Christians” and yes, any Muslims, too.

I certainly don’t deny the Holocaust, which is why I find it incredibly ironic, sad and pathetic that a group of people who once were horribly oppressed themselves would then turn around and, using that historical oppression as a fucking excuse and as fucking cover, horribly oppress another group of people.

It’s not about picking one religion or ethnicity over another — it’s about fairness and it’s about what’s right and what’s wrong, concepts that entirely elude those Israelis and those American Jews who support the continued persecution of the Palestinian people and those non-Jewish Americans who stupidly aid and abet them.

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Assorted shit

The Vatican doesn’t like “Avatar.” Apparently Pope Palpatine is petrified by the very thought of a “new pantheism tinged with neo-paganism, which would see the source of man’s salvation in nature alone.”

Oh, fuck the pope.

The Catholic church isn’t interested in humankind’s enlightenment, liberation or happiness. The Catholic church just wants to continue to keep as many human beings enslaved to it as possible.

The church’s main problem with “Avatar” is that the church just hates the competition.

I am reminded of the scene in “Doubt” in which Meryl Streep’s character of the nun who desperately needs a dildo proclaims that the song “Frosty the Snowman” is inappropriate for the Christmas program because it’s about witchcraft or magic or the like.

Speaking of the Catholic church, The Associated Press reports today that Archbishop Joseph Serge Miot, 63, was killed in yesterday’s devastating earthquake in Haiti. 

As much as I hate the Catholic church, you won’t see me proclaiming that that must have been a sign from God that God hates or that God wished to punish the Catholic church.

Pat Robertson, however, proclaims that Haiti was stricken by the earthquake because Haitians at one point in history “swore a pact with the devil.” (I couldn’t make shit like that up.)

This satanic pact is why Haitians historically have been impoverished, Robertson helpfully explains.

Haiti’s poverty has had nothing to do with its history as a slave colony and with whitey’s history of colonialism and enslavement of African natives. No! It was those Haitians’ pact with the devil!

Um, yeah, I blame the blue-eyed devils for Haiti’s poverty, and I officially move Pat Robertson into my Top 10 Wingnuts Whose Deaths I’d Celebrate List for 2010. He made my 2007 list but didn’t make my 2010 list, but he’s earned a place back on it. I put him at No. 10, with Carrie Prejean and Prick Warren. (Yes, they’re having a very unGodly little three-way.)

Memo to Robertson and Sarah Palin-Quayle and others who claim that they know God’s will: there are quite effective antipsychotics available for that.

Back to “Avatar,” there’s actually a news item about “‘Avatar’-induced depression.” (Yes, soon there will be a head med for that, too.)

Apparently people are getting sucked into the almost three hours of the alternate world of “Avatar” and they hate to have to return to their dull and dreary lives outside of the movie theater.

Get a grip, people. I liked “Avatar,” but its New Agey thing frequently borders on schmaltz. I like most of James Cameron’s films, but I have to suspect that “Avatar” is the “spiritual” film that baby boomer Cameron wanted to make before he dies, and baby boomers have a special way of turning the spiritual into something like Cheez Whiz. (Think “The Secret,” which was huge with the boomers.)

Anyway, memo to those afflicted with “‘Avatar’-induced depression”: If you can’t stand to live in the time and place in which you were born — if you are into Renaissance festivals or into “Star Trek” conventions or the like — then you’re a maladjusted dork. If you’re not a virgin, then you’re probably at least chronically single.

However, if you find that you just can’t get over your “‘Avatar’-induced depression,” might I suggest neo-paganism?

Finally, I was puzzled to read this news item today from The Associated Press:

Washington – President Barack Obama says he has not succeeded in bringing the country together, acknowledging an atmosphere of divisiveness that has washed away the lofty national feeling surrounding his inauguration a year ago.

“That’s what’s been lost this year … that whole sense of changing how Washington works,” Obama said in an interview with People magazine.

The president said his second-year agenda will be refocused on uniting the country around common values, “whether we’re Democrats or Republicans.” …

Uh, only someone who thinks that he or she knows the will of God or who is prone to “‘Avatar’-induced depression” would think that ObamaMan! could have United the Nation in a Single Bound!

Here is a map of the slave states in red and the free states in green:

The map below shows the states won by Obama and Joe Biden in blue and by Repugnicans John McCainosaurus and Sarah Palin-Quayle in red.

ElectoralCollege2008.svg

Now is it me, or do those of the former slave states sure the fuck hold a fucking grudge?

I don’t blame Barack Obama that the nation isn’t united. I blame the backasswards, racist/white supremacist, mouth-breathing fucktards who voted for McCainosauraus in November 2008 and who think that Sarah Palin-Quayle would make a great fucking president! (After all, she says that God says so!)

The white supremacists are never going to accept Obama, and this white guy sure the fuck is never going to accept the white supremacists, so the nation is just going to have to remain divided.

Hell, I’m even for the red states’ secession. Then my great state of California will get back $1 for every $1 that it puts into the federal government kitty, instead of the paltry 78 cents that it receives, with the rest of our money going to keep the podunk states afloat (like Sarah Palin-Quayle’s Alaska, which gets almost $2 in return for every $1 that it puts into the federal piggy bank).

Anyway, if Obama truly thought that he could unite the nation (which I doubt), then he needs to have his ego surgically reduced. Anyone else who truly thought that he could unite the nation should see about the possibility of watching an endless loop of “Avatar.”

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In James Cameron’s magnum opus ‘Avatar,’ the Bad Guys R Us

Film review

In this film publicity image released by 20th Century Fox, Jake ...

Above: Jake Sully (played by the rather yummy Sam Worthington) inspects his brand-new “avatar” in the James Cameron epic (that’s redundant, isn’t it?) “Avatar.” Below: Jake, in his avatar, bonds with native Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana.

In this film publicity image released by 20th Century Fox, the ...

James Cameron’s “Avatar,” which I finally saw yesterday (I was waiting for the crowds to die down), is pissing off everyone, right and left. Cameron must have done something right.

Being such a political creature, if a film has the least bit possible sociopolitical bent to it, I’m going to notice it right off. In “Avatar,” such a bent abounds.

Most notably, in “Avatar,” we — the United States of America — are the bad guys. Well, not we, not really. “We” as in the military-industrial complex that has come to represent the United States of America around the world is the bad guy in “Avatar.”

I have read that, unsurprisingly, the wingnuts are not happy about this, especially given the film’s wild commercial success. (Fuck ’em.)

The villains of “Avatar” are an over-the-top corporate hack and an over-the-top colonel who work in tandem — not unlike how the Catholic church’s missionaries and the Spanish crown’s soldiers worked in tandem to conquer the “new world” — to conquer the lush planet of Pandora, which has an element (called “unobtainium,” ha ha ha) that the invading Earthlings want. (The Spanish monarchy wanted gold, of course, and the Catholic church wanted converts. We’re never told in “Avatar” what practical application, if any, “unobtainium” has, so my guess is that, like with gold, “unobtainium’s” main value is that it is, um, valuable…)

To conquer the tall, blue, feline-faced, tail-possessing people of Pandora — the Na’vi — the Earthlings (whom the Na’vi call the “sky people”) decide to infiltrate them with “avatars,” biologically fabricated Na’vi bodies that are inhabited by the consciousness of human beings controlling the biologically fabricated Na’vi bodies.

Now, the Na’vi natives are a bit too accepting of these “avatars,” whom the natives know aren’t fellow natives. If you weren’t born into and raised by the tribe, why would the tribe just accept you at all as one of them? I mean, if it were clear to us human beings that some alien race were coming to us in human bodies, would we embrace these aliens in human bodies as one of us? Prolly not.

But it would ruin “Avatar” if the avatars didn’t get some degree of acceptance from the Na’vi, and so they do.

Anyway, in “Avatar” the invading Earthlings clearly are the bad guys, and while watching what’s probably the biggest, loudest scene in “Avatar,” the Earthlings’ military forces destroying a site that is very sacred to the Na’vi, I couldn’t help but think of the internationally televised so-called “shock and awe” that many if not most of my fellow Americans got off on when the unelected Bush regime (yeah, the same regime that my fellow Americans just allowed to steal the White House in late 2000) illegally, immorally, unprovokedly and unjustly invaded Iraq, which had had nothing to do with 9/11 and which of course never possessed the weapons of mass destruction that the members of the Bush regime had lied through their fangs about, in March 2003.  

Yeah, it takes a big, tough, studly nation to attack a relatively defenseless one.

In the middle of all of this, the conflict between the rapacious Earthlings, who are represented by a very American-like military-industrial complex, and the Native-American-like Na’vi (they even wear warpaint and let out war cries), is Marine Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington, who appears to be in just about every movie these days, which is OK with me, since he has a definite certain sexiness about him), who unexpectedly finds himself recruited to man an avatar. (Of course, he has to make a deal with the devil: for infiltrating the Na’vi and helping to subdue them, the wheelchair-bound Jake is promised that his paraplegia will be cured.)

As you already know from the previews, after he’s been manning his avatar, Jake changes his allegiance from the military-industrial complex to the Na’vi.

You probably already suspect that Jake ends up being the big hero of the film, and that of course he and his female Na’vi companion, Neytiri (wonderfully played by Zoe Saldana), go from their initially tense relationship (which showcases some great dialogue) to becoming lifemates.

That the white Marine, instead of one of the Na’vi natives, becomes the big hero of “Avatar” has pissed some people off, I read in today’s news. Reports The Associated Press:

Near the end of the hit film “Avatar,” the villain snarls at the hero, “How does it feel to betray your own race?” Both men are white — although the hero is inhabiting a blue-skinned, 9-foot-tall, long-tailed alien.

Strange as it may seem for a film that pits greedy, immoral humans against noble denizens of a faraway moon, “Avatar” is being criticized by a small but vocal group of people who allege it contains racist themes — the white hero once again saving the primitive natives.

Since the film opened to widespread critical acclaim three weeks ago, hundreds of blog posts, newspaper articles, tweets and YouTube videos have said things such as the film is “a fantasy about race told from the point of view of white people” and that it reinforces “the white Messiah fable.”

The film’s writer and director, James Cameron, says the real theme is about respecting others’ differences….

Adding to the racial dynamic [of “Avatar”] is that the main Na’vi characters are played by actors of color, led by a Dominican, Zoe Saldana, as the princess. The film also is an obvious metaphor for how European settlers in America wiped out the Indians.

Robinne Lee, an actress in such recent films as “Seven Pounds” and “Hotel for Dogs,” said that “Avatar” was “beautiful” and that she understood the economic logic of casting a white lead if most of the audience is white.

But she said the film, which so far has the second-highest worldwide box-office gross ever, still reminded her of Hollywood’s “Pocahontas” story — “the Indian woman leads the white man into the wilderness, and he learns the way of the people and becomes the savior.”

“It’s really upsetting in many ways,” said Lee, who is black with Jamaican and Chinese ancestry. “It would be nice if we could save ourselves.” …

Yes, come to think of it, “Avatar” is basically a futuristic “Pocahontas” in which Jake Sully would be John Smith and Neytiri would be Pocahontas.

And it did occur to me while I was watching “Avatar” that it seemed off that a a white guy who wasn’t even one of the Na’vi would end up as their savior.

I understand why historically oppressed peoples wouldn’t be pleased to see a white guy emerge as the hero, but I think that “Avatar’s” surprisingly subversive message succeeds as it does because it’s the white guy who realizes that what the military-industrial complex that he has been a member of has been doing is wrong, and so he decides to fight for the other side.

And it’s not just the character of Jake whose allegiance changes; there’s the character of a great Latina fighter pilot (played by Michelle Rodriguez, of whom I’d like to have seen more of in “Avatar”) and a few others whose allegiance changes, and this kind of pop-culture image in which the “turncoats” are the heroes can’t be good for the U.S. military-industrial complex, which expects its soldiers to be blindly obedient cannon fodder who die for rich white men’s fortunes while believing that they are fighting for such noble causes as “freedom” and “democracy” and “God” and “Jesus” and puppies and kittens, for fuck’s sake.

I mean, fuck. Before “Avatar” began, I had to watch an endless fucking recruitment advertisement for the National Fucking Guard. (The recruitment ad didn’t show any maimed or dead soldiers, of course, but looked like something out of “Top Gun,” as usual.) The U.S. military-industrial complex has millions if not billions of dollars — our tax dollars — at its disposal to brainwash our young people into believing that the U.S. military really is about defense and patriotism instead of about what it really is about: war profiteering, feeding the endless greed of the military-industrial complex and the greedy fucking white men who run it and who personally profit from it.

Trust me, oppressed peoples of the world, “Avatar” does much more for your cause by having its hero a white guy — a Marine, for fuck’s sake — who realizes that he’s been fighting on the wrong side and then switches sides, than it would have done for your cause had its hero been one of the Na’vi natives.

The millions of young American males (and females) who see “Avatar” might think twice before joining the U.S. military, and that’s a good thing for a planet that probably cannot survive a World War III.

Indeed, Cameron’s intent, I believe, was to send a message of peace, and it’s whitey, with his (and her) beloved military-industrial complex, who needs to get that message more than does anyone else. Those long oppressed by whitey already know the value of peace.

The Associated Press reports that Cameron wrote the AP in an e-mail that “Avatar” “asks us to open our eyes and truly see others, respecting them even though they are different, in the hope that we may find a way to prevent conflict and live more harmoniously on this world. I hardly think that is a racist message.”

Agreed.

The AP also reports of “Avatar”:

“Can’t people just enjoy movies anymore?” a person named Michelle posted on the website for Essence, the magazine for black women, which had 371 comments on a story debating the issue [of whether “Avatar” is racist].

OK, that’s a valid question.

Although it’s a rhetorical question, the answer to the question, for me, anyway, is no, I can’t just enjoy a movie anymore.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed “Avatar.” It is a visually stunning film, and I love its profuse use of greens and blues and purples, which, actually, reminded me a lot of “The Princess and the Frog,” which, come to think of it, is a bit like “Avatar”: Both films have heroines with African blood in them (Zoe Saldana apparently has African blood in her) who meet up with bumbling men whom the heroines have to turn into heroes, and both films largely take place in green, blue and purple, swampy, lush settings.

“Avatar” succeeds on the sensory level (as it should, given the millions and millions of dollars that were put into it ) — although the ubiquitous DayGlo stuff does get a little bit tiresome after a while and although Pandora’s plethora of creatures, including its Na’vi, look way too much like Earth’s creatures, including its human beings — but sue me if I am able to enjoy a movie on more than one level.

I can multi-task; I can take in all of the technical achievements of a film like “Avatar” while seeing its obvious sociopolitical statements, statements that I can’t be accused of having pulled out of my moonbatty ass because James Cameron himself says are his intended statements.

It’s a rare film that can entertain and that can stimulate public debate on important sociopolitical issues, so kudos to Cameron for having achieved that with “Avatar.”

“Avatar” is such a cultural achievement that I have to wonder if from now on people are going to go around saying to each other, in all seriousness: “I see you.” (Even though it’s a bit cheesy, I kind of hope so…)

Yes, “Avatar” is a bit derivative of other films, not just of “Pocahontas” but also of Cameron’s past films — we even get the “Alien” series’ Sigourney Weaver as a protagonist in “Avatar” (I have to say that I found Weaver’s avatar to be a bit creepy-looking, to look a bit too much like Weaver), we get the manned robots that we saw in “Aliens,” and we even get “The Company” in “Avatar” (is the amoral, profit-piggy, generic “The Company” in “Avatar” the same one that was in the “Alien” series, I wonder?).

But “Avatar” succeeds on its own and probably will be Cameron’s magnum opus. 

My grade: A

P.S. I read a news account that President Barack Obama took his girls to see “Avatar” recently. Mr. President, I sure the fuck hope that you learned something, and that having your girls there with you drove the point home.

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