Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Instead of a review, by a man who hasn't seen the movie yet

"The movie," of course, is Avatar. I want to see it. I plan to see it. I just haven't got around to seeing it yet.

So why blog about it? Well, the title of an LA Times article by Patrick Goldstein caught my eye over at memeorandum: "'Avatar' arouses conservatives' ire."

[G]uess who hates the movie? America's prickly cadre of political conservatives. ... As a host of critics have noted, the film offers a blatantly pro-environmental message; it portrays U.S. military contractors in a decidedly negative light; and it clearly evokes the can't-we-all-get along vibe of the 1960s counterculture. These are all messages guaranteed to alienate everyday moviegoers, so say the right-wing pundits -- and yet the film has been wholeheartedly embraced by audiences everywhere, from Mississippi to Manhattan.

It may be the conservatives who are bashing Avatar, but I think maybe the person who should be most worried by it is President Barack Obama.

Over the course of 2007 and 2008, Obama's presidential campaign raised $650 million and mobilized eight million volunteers. He managed that by selling out the anti-war vote, hedging his bets a bit to the right on energy/environmental issues ("clean coal," nuclear, etc.), and presenting himself as the next FDR, poster boy for monolithic government.

It only took Avatar -- a film which glorifies the resistance of an apparently stateless1 gaggle of nature-worshiping, long-hair, hippy-dippy-doo aliens (i.e. other-worldly cousins of the lefty voters Obama sold down the river to win the presidency) to the military/commercial adventures of Earth's political class -- three weeks to pass $1 billion in box office revenues. At ten bucks a ticket, that's 100 million "volunteers."2 And those volunteers didn't just click a button on Facebook like most of Obama's did. They actually drove themselves to theaters and planted their asses in seats for three hours of total involvement with "the cause."

Beware, "moderate" Democrats: The Avatar vote is in play!

1. I say "apparently" because like I said, I haven't seen the movie yet. The main Na'vi character is identified in the Wikipedia article on Avatar as a "princess," but all other descriptions I've seen indicate that they comprise a family/clan-oriented society, possibly a kritarchy, rather than any kind of nation-state mode of social organization.

2. Of course, those totals are worldwide. For the US, the box office in the first 18 days was $360,209,452, which at $10/ticket would break down to 36 million "volunteers" -- still more than four times Obama's support, and more than half his total money take over a period about 1/20th as long.

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