Skip to main content

The Avatar Effect

Took young grandson to see James Cameron's "Avatar" in 3D today, through the blinding snow. Was expecting to be bored, except perhaps by the special effects, but was totally gripped all the way through. The special effects were indeed staggering, probing a whole new level of virtual realism, but the story line surprised by not being so crypto-fascist as most American sci-fi blockbusters have been  (StarWars, Dune, Starship Troopers, Armageddon, Independence Day etc. etc). Sure it's simplistic, melodramatic, romantic - just as popular story telling has to be. The surprise is that it over-simplifies in an anti-corporate, anti-imperialist direction for a change.

The US Right is furious - this is a product of Murdoch's Fox don't forget - with lots of websites telling people not to go and see it (some chance). One of the milder comments is "Cameron needs to stop making anti American films. The United States invades foreign countries when necessary" [from  www.topix.com]. But what's quite amusing is to watch
leftish British commentators desperately trying to think of reasons to hate the movie anyway:

"Avatar is overlong, dramatically two-dimensional, smug and simplistic" - Philip French, Observer

"Even more tedious than the film's plot is the ideology enshrining it. In punctilious compliance with liberal pieties" - David Cox, Guardian

Several critics sought to belittle the film by comparing it to "A Man Called Horse" and "Dances With Wolves", but it owes at least as much (which is not very much) to "Seven Samurai" and "Viva Zapata". Avatar is indeed smug and simplistic, but then propaganda always was and always will be. Of course the British Left has entirely forgotten how to do propaganda, being so far up itself with political correctness and post-modern pseudo-radicalism. Avatar might indoctrinate a whole generation of under-16s that American militarism is the problem, which is certainly simplistic. But ever since Star Wars, blockbuster movies have been indoctrinating them that American militarism is the solution, and I know which I prefer... 


originally posted 21 Dec 2009 22:05 by Dick Pountain   [ updated 22 Dec 2009 05:08 ]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A New Age of Sabotage

I haven't posted much recently because every time I think of something to say, the extraordinary pace of events makes it sound lame by the next morning: New York under water, Obama re-elected, News International in the dock, rockets falling on Tel Aviv, and that's even before we reach the Mayan apocalypse on Dec 21. However I've finally plucked up courage to wade into the torrent of the miraculous-horrific thanks to a fortunate discovery on the web. In this previous post I confessed an increasing interest in the radical Norwegian-American economist Thorstein Veblen, but that interest was quite narrowly based on reading only three of his works, namely The Theory of the Leisure Class, The Theory of Business Enterprise and his important essay The Socialist Economics of Karl Marx and His Followers. This wasn't just due to laziness but to the difficulty of obtaining many of Veblen's books, which have been out of print for a long time.

But I re-read Veblen's Wikiped…

Trump of Doom?

Thought for the day. The type of economy we call social democracy depended for its success on a willingness of the majority of the population to cooperate as well as compete with one another, giving up a portion of their income in taxes to be spent on various public goods like medicine, education and transport. If the population loses its willingness to make these reasonable sacrifices then it becomes impossible to maintain a social democracy.

The UK population was so willing for at least 30 years following WWII, to a large extent thanks to the experience of necessary cooperation among the generation who fought that war. But over the *last* 30+ years that willingness has been steadily eroded by many factors, including (but by no means confined to): greater individualism stemming from precisely the relative affluence and economic freedom that post-war social democracy conferred; successive economic crises (some related to oil, some to financial recklessness); industrial decline, outsou…

Social Democracy Uber Alles

The outcry over the revoking of Uber's London licence shows that the service it provides is popular, and it's unquestionably a significant, innovative use of new technology to improve transport. On the other hand the outcry from drivers about lack of benefits and job security show that the application of technology is being used (not uncommonly) both to increase exploitation of the labour force and to flout legal regulation designed to protect labour and customers. The outcry of Black Cab drivers against Uber ignores the fact that people flocked to Uber not merely for convenience (though that is considerable) but because Black Cabs had priced themselves out of the market with the last big price hike.

Put all this together and it's clear that all the parties need to get together and find a workable solution, which is highly unlikely to happen because of the vastly different political atmospheres between UK and USA, and a general lack of adult leadership on both sides. I ca…