Counterculture Con HQ

January 12, 2010

Avatar: When Metaphors Attack

Metaphors attacking.

James Cameron’s metaphors coming back to haunt him?  This one’s rich with irony.  Fisk it with me.


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.

That, gentle readers, is what falls under the general category “soft racism.”  It’s very common amongst our Lib friends.  In the real world it’s not an avatar-driving Marine, it’s a white Liberal “doing good” by all his little brothers and sister of color.  Don’t be too hard on them, like Jake Sully in Avatar, they mean well.

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.

That curious.  Cameron says the “real” theme is about respecting each other’s differences.  Did we see any respect shown for humanity in Avatar?  What about the Marines?  You’d have to look real hard to find it.  They were hardly even depicted as human, let alone “respected.”  His respect extends only to the little brown people of the forest (or big and blue on Pandora), precisely the kind of soft racism he’s being accused of here.

Adding to the racial dynamic 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.”

Lee, who is not white, thinks it would be nice if “we could save ourselves.”  But she clearly misses the whole point of being a Liberal.  THEY want to save you, Ms. Lee.  If you saved yourselves, Liberalism would lose it’s reason for being.  You wouldn’t want that would you?  It’s a symbiotic relationship– they save you, you give them the credit for saving you.

Annalee Newitz, editor-in-chief of the sci-fi Web site, likened “Avatar” to the recent film “District 9,” in which a white man accidentally becomes an alien and then helps save them, and 1984’s “Dune,” in which a white man becomes an alien Messiah.

“Main white characters realize that they are complicit in a system which is destroying aliens, AKA people of color … (then) go beyond assimilation and become leaders of the people they once oppressed,” she wrote.

“When will whites stop making these movies and start thinking about race in a new way?” wrote Newitz, who is white.

Good question.  Answer:  that will  happen when all whites become conservatives.  That will be the day you begin to be treated as equals.  Until then, you will just have to suffer these Lib messianic wannabes saving you every time you look at them sideways because they think you are savages; albeit “noble”, but savages nonetheless.

Is Cameron actually exposing the historical evils of white colonizers? Does the existence of an alien species expose the reality that all humans are actually one race?

Can’t people just enjoy movies any more?” a person named Michelle posted on the Web site for Essence, the magazine for black women, which had 371 comments on a story debating the issue.

“Can’t we just enjoy movies anymore,” she asks.  I feel your pain, Michelle.  I feel your pain.

More racial handwringing here.

1 Comment »

  1. Yep! Racists is what they be. Probably conservative haters.

    Comment by greyrooster — January 13, 2010 @ 21:52

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