Friday, January 15, 2010

Brain Wanders Off To Pandora While I Am Stuck At Work

Brain does that often, when I am stuck doing something that does not require a lot from Brain. It is not rare that I realize I am stuck doing some boring task while Brain has gone off somewhere far more exciting. Brain peaks back occasionally to check the time on the computer screen but is back out almost immediately. In all honesty, I do not blame Brain.

This time, Brain pondered about Avatar for a while. Naturally, Brain was blown away with the effects and the visuals and the techniques and the colors and the captivating creations from the film's design department. However, Brain's focus today was the obvious; the not so hidden messages in the storyline and why, while it is unabashed in its criticism of the politics of power, there seems to be one missing link in the whole.

Like Brain pointed out, the political message was obvious, but we'll state it anyway.

Let us look at our parameters, shall we?

A piece of land? Check.

That has a seductive supply of a rich resource? Check.

An indigenous people living on said piece of land? Check.

The people are not white? Check.

A powerful outsider? Check.

This outsider wants the resource badly? Check.

The outsider sees the indigenous people as an obstacle to get to the resource? Check.

The outsider sees the indigenous people as a less civilized, savage, uncultured society? Check.

The outsider feels it needs to "educate" the indigenous people? Check.

When the outside fails to "educate" the indigenous people, he labels them as violent and non responsive to dialogue? Check.

the outsider resorts to violence in their relation with the indigenous people? Check.

the outsider supports his claim of the natives' violence when the natives try to defend themselves against his aggressions? Check.

the outsider attacks with weapons and technologies far more advanced then the natives? Check.

the situation reaches a stage where the natives are in danger of extinction? Check.

the outsider justifies the need to demolish the homes of the natives? Check.

the natives need to ask the help of the other clans? Check.

the natives eventually reach desperate measures and use "horrifying" means to be able to stand in the face of the outsider in order to survive? Check.

Within the scenario he has set up, Cameron wants the viewer to sympathize with the outsider and be appalled by the actions of the natives? Ch... erm... No actually, it is the exact opposite.

Wait! WHAT? But, the last 17 points can be describing word for word tens of cases in the world today, and thousands throughout history. But in the world we live in today, point 18 is also part of the situation.

SO I wonder who has it wrong. Is Cameron mistaken that we should sympathize and root for the oppressed? Or is our modern world blinded with its support of the oppressor?

Brain and I are glad to see that we have our "Avatar" glasses at all times.