David Brooks (famously the liberals’ favorite conservative), whom I generally find insightful, actually sucks today. He’s jumping into the swamp that is the conservative horror about the hit film Avatar being anti-American. In so doing, he indulges in more cliches than he accuses the film of employing. (Hey David, remember when WE were the ‘White Messiah’ ? Can you say Rudyard Kipling?). Brooks is generally better than this:
“The peace-loving natives — compiled from a mélange of Native American, African, Vietnamese, Iraqi and other cultural fragments . . .” Huh? African? Iraqi?? What is Brooks smoking? Maybe Tibetans? Maybe Pacific islanders? Maybe native Hawaiians? But Iraqis??? Dear god.
“The white guy notices that the peace-loving natives are much cooler than the greedy corporate tools and the bloodthirsty U.S. military types . . .” Do we deny that these types of companies exist? How about Shell Oil? (In 1995, environmentalist Ken Saro-Wiwa was executed by the Nigerian military government, along with eight other Ogoni activists, for protesting against the devastation of the Niger Delta by oil companies, particularly Royal Dutch Shell.”
“When the military-industrial complex comes in to strip mine their homes, they need a White Messiah to lead and inspire the defense.” So those West Virginians fighting the big evil industrial complex strip mining their communities and poisoning their water are what? Who is their white messiah?
“As John Podhoretz wrote in The Weekly Standard, “Cameron has simply used these familiar bromides as shorthand to give his special-effects spectacular some resonance.” Here, I just disagree because Cameron made a story with characters I cared about. For me, that is the test of a good movie. Special effects movies have fail when they lack character development. The new Star Trek was superb. 2012 was awful.