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AVATAR SPOILERS Am I weird because...



I don't see racism everywhere like others do?

edit: I should have put this behind a cut and I'm sorry I didn't but the computer is acting screwy.  Anyway, you have been warned and can choose not to read if you so wish.

In the past twelve hours, I have heard two things said regarding James Cameron's Avatar and racism.  One thing was said off hand and the other was an article I read this morning.

This is the article.

Ok so I understand all the points made in this article but I think it's sort of...too easy to play the "Hollywood is racist" game?

The White Messiah myth - ok, this could easily be said about the film but I feel like it kind of, oh I don't know, ignores the plot and point of the movie.  Jake Sully gives up his body (the "whiteness") and opts instead for a Na'vi body.  When the military man asks him, "How does it feel to betray your own race," it's an interesting moment because you suddenly understand that Jake's true "race" is Na'vi.  Not because of the spongy flesh and brittle bones that made him human but because of what is inside him.  He now understands the importance and the harmony of Pandora.  He has seen the horrors that have been inflicted on the people first hand.  And he connects to it.  It's what makes sense to him. 

Jake Sully starts off feeling like a red-headed step child that's worth nothing now that he's been paralyzed.  He has no direction, he has no connections.  The Na'vi people and their culture bring him full circle to finding himself.

Ok, So Jake Sully saves the day, big whoop.  Honestly, it has nothing to do with him being white.  It boils down to a simple plot device - the man with the insider information who knows how the enemy is going to attack (because that was once his life) and what the weaknesses of the strategies are is going to know best how to lead an army of people who know little about the enemy.

And that doesn't make the Na'vi stupid or even naive.  They have weapons, they are capable of brutality, and they have an advanced society (the focus of advancement is more spiritual and natural than technological so it looks different from the humans advanced society).  They will go in with their all and dammit can they put up a fight.  But certain tips and tricks are helpful.

For example, Jake Sully thinks its best to go up to the floating mountains to fight.  Why?  Because he knows that the military's computers go haywire up there and that the Na'vi will have the upper hand in the battle at least on that end.  I'm going to take a wild leap of faith here and assume that, because they had not been exposed to the technology, the Na'vi had no idea that would happen.

All I mean is that Jake knows crap that the Na'vi does not.  So he imparts his knowledge to help them.

Now I don't know a lot about football so this metaphor might be a stretch but check this out: I'm pretty sure Eli Manning plays for the Giants.  Now.  Say that Manning got traded to the Cowboys.  And say that the Giants, before Manning left, came up with some super duper awesome secret thing that would destroy the Cowboys.  Now, Manning knows all about this secret thing so the next time the Cowboys play the Giants, Manning dispenses his knowledge  to the team and coaches.  Does that make Eli Manning the white messiah to a team made up of a lot of black guys?  No, it makes Manning a good team mate even though he's playing against those who he used to align himself with.

This might seem goofy to you but sports are actually a perfect metaphor for what we're talking about here.  The very nature of a sports game reflects a war theme. 

FURTHERMORE, Jake Sully isn't even the only grand hero if he's even the hero at all.  I'm glad everyone forgot about Neytiri killing off the bad guy and saving whitey's ass.  Or how about Mother Nature coming in and kicking serious ass.  Or the whole entire Na'vi clan from all over Pandora uniting together to defend the home.

To say Jake is a white messiah fable is to say that none of the shit that anyone else did even mattered.  That no matter what Jake Sully would have saved the day simply because he is white.  And quite simply, that is retarded.  Because if the other tribes decided to stay at home and watch American Idol instead or if Neytiri suddenly decided that she was bored and went off to look at some flowers or if Mother Nature said, you know what fuck it you're on your own then Jake Sully, with all of his "whiteness" would have been up a creek without a paddle.

Meh.  It's impossible for people to enjoy movies anymore.  People want to pick everything apart and make sure they find something horrific in a film.  And in doing so, sometimes they ignore other key elements.  But I guess if you're working so hard to make it fit a formula, it's easy to cut out the things that negate your point.

Ugh, I'm going to repeat myself again but whatever.  It really annoys me that a huge blue woman (played by a Dominicana) actually saves the fucking day and still people can only focus on the damn white messiah fable.  I love how while pointing the finger of racism, they take away the glory of what actually happens.  Nice going, you bleeding heart cry babies.

Note: the article DOES mention Neytiri killing the bad guy but what irks me is a) they don't mention her by name (thanks sexism) and b) they sort of brush over what she adds to the triumph over the enemy humans as if it was just a silly little nothing.  All in the name of poutrage.

Hm, I think I should make a blog about incidents of poutrage.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
phiregod
Jan. 13th, 2010 03:49 am (UTC)
your poutrages are some of the best stuff on Livejournal and are always worth taking a few minutes of my time to sit down and read.

Keep poutraging!
fightthedayaway
Jan. 15th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks! The funny thing about talking about poutrage is that I usually end up guilty of it in the process. Haha, oh well.
liliane
Jan. 14th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
Bravo. Hooray for Avatar!
fightthedayaway
Jan. 15th, 2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
Lol. I love how this movie has generated so much discussion. This and Jersey Shore.
liliane
Jan. 15th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)
It's true! Though I plan to remain blissfully ignorant of Jersey Shore...
fightthedayaway
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
I had to watch it. Simply had no choice. I went to high school with one of them so I felt morbidly compelled to watch an episode. It's so bad it's almost artistic.
liliane
Jan. 20th, 2010 08:38 pm (UTC)
Ok, knowing someone on the show erases you from blame. ;)
fightthedayaway
Jan. 22nd, 2010 05:04 pm (UTC)
Haha, oddly enough, I feel partially responsible for the horror that is this show. Merely because I rubbed elbows with "the situation."
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )