Poor James Cameron. The most cartoonish thing about his animation movie was its politics. See, while I’m sure there’s nothing poor in the material sense about James Cameron [the beatitudes would have probably had to number 888 before he was covered], I am similarly sure he longs for relevance [next need on the Maslovian-artiste pecking order he is ready to audit, Scientologically-speaking]. Already wealthy before Avatar, he will probably be approaching the TARP-recipient stratosphere by the time he’s finished negotiating the network television release in 2011. But to paraphrase T Montana, formerly of South Beach, once ‘jugotdemonyandewuman,’ then the world of respect [where the dissed are never silent] comes a calling.
If only the post-production part of this movie had only taken 36 months instead of 52, the movie could have been released when evil-itself-personified was still president. Oh well, apparently Hell hath no fury like a prickish [married 5 times] Canadian wanting to show Big Brother USA that he can’t be intimidated. So while great artistic and financial success are fine and all, Cameron needed to make a statement. Knowing his audience, Cameron didn’t want to risk them not identifying the movie’s bad guys as Americans [the post 9-11 Executive Branch type] drunk with power, so he employs his own shock and awe by having one his most cartoonish character [the non-Avatar type] spew out the line, “fight terrorism with terrorism!”
Like most of the audience I assume, up to that point, the silly story had barely registered. Afterwards, I identified with the Na’vi for the first time, since I knew my people [non-socialist Americans] were under attack. Unfortunately, partisanship being innate in this conservative, my thoughts quickly turned to wondering why we couldn’t employ napalm or drones to wipe out those pesky Na’vidians standing between us and progress.
But my partisanship had clearly clouded my judgment. I know that now because I read the following brilliant and clear-headed defense of the ‘America’ Cameron thought he was attacking. Please enjoy the beautifully logical review from Lauren Bans at the This Recording blog – an excerpt:
But the more blatant lesson of Avatar is not that American imperialism is bad, but that in fact it’s necessary. Sure there are some bad Americans—the ones with tanks ready to mercilessly kill the Na’vi population, but Jake is set up as the real embodiment of the American spirit. He learns Na’vi fighting tactics better than the Na’vi themselves, he takes the King’s daughter for his own, he becomes the only Na’vi warrior in centuries to tame this wild dragon bird thing. Even in someone else’s society the American is the chosen one. He’s going to come in, lead your army, fuck your princesses, and just generally save the day for you. Got it? This is how we do it.