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January 06, 2010

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christian

Yes, I take seriously this National Review stooge who wrote "Liberal Fascism." What a racket these guys are in -- non-stop media pontifications despite never being right about anything.

bill

Christian, the liberal stooge non-stop media pontification racket, despite being wrong, is frickin' BOOMING. You should be pleased!

Anyway, I still haven't seen the film, so won't comment any more than I already have elsewhere, but when I first read the Goldberg quote, I thought he was talking about THE AVIATOR. That was a confusing moment.

christian

I'd argue that there is no one train of liberal stooge thought in the media now. You have lefties throwing around Obama=Bush and you have the others saying, whoa down. I'm tired of all he usual talking heads. But Goldberg is a genuine moron. Bill Buckley would be shocked that an idiot like Palin ("elite Ivy League spinelessness") represents conservative thought.

bill

But she doesn't. She represents a segment of it that I'm no happier about than I'm sure you are about certain liberal thinkers (I won't presume to guess who you agree with and who you don't, but I'm sure you can fill in those blanks) who take a disproportionate amount of the spotlight.

Also remember, from before? AVIATOR, AVATAR...crazy, huh?!

Ryan Kelly

The article writes that the film has "distinct religious, anti-war and pro-environment themes". I'm sorry, how could any human being walk out of the movie and think it's anti-war in the slightest? The movie ends with a huge battle! According to Cameron, violence is still the answer, if we were to even try to read that much into it, which is probably a mistake.

And yes Bill, that "Aviator/Avatar" slip up is vintage Bill R.

Zach

Where, I wonder half-seriously, is the pundit furor over the parallels between Avatar and Inglorious Basterds? About, you know, the fact that Cameron is (allegorically, at least) "rewriting" the history of American imperialism, where this time, instead of near-total decimation of the indigenous population, they band together and repulse their invaders?

otherbill

What fascinated me about AVATAR (which I finished watching an hour ago) is that Cameron spent 400 mil making THUNDERCATS MEET DANCES WITH POCAHONTAS IN FERNGULLY and all I could think was that if there's a Cameron avatar in the film it's Stephen Lang. That alpha-dog, super intense, "I'm god on this set and all these toys are mine" vibe that he seems to love to project. I can easily envision alternate Cameron films in which that character becomes the hero because he sees what those "damned stuffed shirts in command don't realize about the situation on the ground!!".

That ties into the whole craziness of a guy who's made movie after movie that drips with scorn for corporations while practicing his craft in a manner made possible only by the resources of giant corporations. I seem to remember reading an interview with Cameron years ago in which he said he watched all the highest grossing films and distilled a formula of 8 or 10 aspects they all shared. He used that to write TERMINATOR and everything else he's ever done. I think the anticorporate stuff in his work is really him just pushing the "underdog protagonist" button in a way that gets a knee jerk reaction from most audience members. Inserting "shock and awe" constitutes using a buzzword that will catch audience members ears and add some kind of resonance (I think he thinks). I'm not saying I feel that the above makes some of the parallels he's trying to draw any less specious or aggravating. Though I must say that my ire was largely tempered by the sense I had that I was watching the equivalent of a kid using curse words because he knew they had an effect. That, and my overwhelming boredom. Except for Lang- I hate prequels but can we get one with that character STAT?

Glenn Kenny

@otherbill, that's an extremely refined and convincing analysis. And I'm still sleepy and pre-occupied, but I look forward to engaging it further.

Tess

My two cents on Avatar: the dialogue made me want to gag myself with a pitchfork. But, visually very cool. If I were inclined to take acid as a movie-going enhancement, this would have been a good one. That, and I’d love an avatar of myself if only because I’d be super tall and skinny.

hisnewreasons

What irks certain members of the right is that Avatar frustrates their business models. Ever since "Hollywood vs. America" came out, culture warriors have maintained that 'liberal propaganda' equals 'box office flop.' Perhaps it's best for them to admit that, indeed, nobody knows anything.

On a side note, I don't really get the argument that James Cameron can't critique capitalism while making a blockbuster movie. Creating expensive special effects and seizing other people's land for its resources don't strike me as comparable actions. If the worst thing capitalism can produce is big budget flicks, then it is truly the greatest economic system ever devised. Not to say James Cameron has made a particular incisive analysis of capitalism with Avatar. Or even an effectively blunt one. But let's ease up on the false equivalencies.

Tess

And, the tail. I'd love to have tail.

Dan Coyle

The most entertainingly lunatic reaction from a conservative, IMO, is Leigh Scott's up at BH, where he argues, uh, that it's actually secretly conservative, and Cameron didn't realize it, because it's against beauracracy, but if that's so doesn't that mean it's arguing corporations are bad because AAAAHH LEIGH SCOTT HAS ACTUALLY PRODUCED A FILM

I didn't like the movie, and I found the politics to be muddled, and the script tiresome. But most horribly, I found myself agreeing with John Nolte's review in some parts, and that's one of the biggest crimes a film can commit.

Peter Nellhaus

Who is Ross Douthat and why is the NYT giving him space? He seemed to use "Avatar" primarily as an excuse to attack pantheism. I almost want to strap him down like Malcolm McDowell in "A Clockwork Orange" and force him to watch "Tropical Malady".

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