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Monday, May 3, 2010

Avatar, the Authenticity Fetish and Illegal Immigration

Avatar is a good movie. The action is crisp, the acting par, the visuals stunning and most of the science fiction believable. What bothered me about it, other than the sledgehammer style of message deliverance, was the Na'vi, the pure and innocent native race on moon Pandora. While Dances with Wolves and other Indian-perspective movies portray human tribes with varying degrees of accuracy, they're still human beings. In Avatar, the Na'vi had a real psychic connection to nature, not the religiously implied connection that various real indigenous cultures have. While I can imagine giant space ships, floating minerals and even the Avatar-mind transferring program, what I could not digest was that the Na'vi had their own Avatar program through their psychic connection with their moon. This demolishes the very message that Cameron thinks he's giving to the world. Humanity doesn't have the collective mind. It doesn't have psychic powers. There is no coincidental organic equivalent to the electrical technology we have. I bring this up because Avatar's director, James Cameron, had a very narrow and very ideological reason for creating Avatar, to push the message of radical environmentalism and its promiscuous mother called authenticity.

Base environmentalism isn't a bad thing. I'm an environmentalist in that I love being out in nature, I think we should keep our national parks and we should do our best to not pollute the air, sea and land. I think global warming is mostly a natural cycle (our last mini-ice age was only 500 years ago), I don't think the impact of our industrial world has been zero. We've done some carbon “damage”, but nowhere near the amount to create giant floods that'll kill only the poor and brown, as Matthew Ygelisis likes to bray.

The thing is about radical environmentalism, the environmentalism of the far left, of Al Gore, of the eco-terrorists, and of James Cameron, is that it isn't a science based or even a Romanticism based ideology. Today's radical environmentalism is based on the fetish of authenticity, an idea that's born Marxist schools of ethnic, religious and psychological idiocy. One can't simply create better technology for fuel or heating, or TVs that use less energy than they did 5 years ago; the entire nation must change to a more “authentic” (aka, a more indigenous) style civilization. While energy corporations and university scientists work making coal cleaner, drilling safer and hydrogen the next gasoline, the radicals want cars off the road, trucks in garages and bikes mandatory. While most of the country and Western civilization wants greener products and cleaner air within the capitalist system, people like James Cameron (who can afford to make his giant house entirely green) are pushing for a environmental revolution that excises capitalism, individualism and technology from civilization. Instead of a movie where human civilization is saved by new technology, innovation and hard work, Cameron made a movie that doomed humanity (Western civilization) to its (perceived) self-induced misery. Instead of saving our race (civilization), Cameron wants us to abandon it for a more authentically environmental one. Yet, the one he gives us in Avatar, is physically impossible to have. Such is the far-left ideology in all things: impossible.

This relates to immigration in that the authenticity drive that makes sane middle-class people buy inauthentic and expensive yuppie-weaved dreamcatchers is the same authenticity that convinces them that every illegal immigrant that crosses the border is the authentic salt of the earth, unlike the pudgy American. Ask an open borders advocate and you'll get a bookshelf of explanations of how America and capitalism pushes these people to come to America for work, but we shouldn't ask them to assimilate to American culture, values or even language. That would de-autheniticize them and then they'd lose their roots (aka, ideological and psychological usefulness to the Left) to the soulless system. America doesn't have a culture, just consumerism, that's why its inauthentic! Really, how can you slap a guilt trip on the country when the people you say you're fighting for are happier buying McDonalds and sipping a Pasbt than participating in a round table on the Latino-American situation in the Southwest spoken entirely in Aztec?

There's nothing wrong with having a multitude of cultures in America, as long as those cultures assimilate to the few things all Americans assimilate to: individual rights and English. It's not that hard. First, you must respect, not believe in, but respect that in a free country people will not agree with you. That means agreeing to disagree, not shouting down, pieing or any other kind of violence against your political rivals. College students seem to have a hard time learning something many of their “protected” understand. Second, you must be able to communicate. Millions of ex-pats in dozens of countries have learned this. You don't have to be Muslim when living in the UAE, but it sure as hell helps to learn Arabic and not break the social taboos. In many nations, that's the norm, but not in the West. In England you can call for the death of Jews, but don't put up the Union Jack, it may offend someone. In America, at least in some places, being for a border wall is racism (who cares if it stops human trafficing, drug smuggling and tens of thousands of deaths a year), but promoting a racial purge of whites (which includes a few dozen or more ethnicities) in the Southwest is authentic tribal pride.

American culture may not be as glamorous as the Sioux (don't tell that to the Pawnee) or the Na'vi. We may not have religious connections to the soil (well, none that don't involve that evil faith of Christianity) or dances we can show off to other cultures (well, we did, but body grinding, head banging and jazzercise kind of drowned them out), but we do have a real culture. We have a mindset (individualism), a rich history (all the way back to England and the Netherlands, and that's just the WASPs) and customs (WAZZZZZUP! Fo' shizzle! Hello!). Our culture is just as authentic as any other, but supporting the dominant culture, no matter how little it asks you to give to join with it, doesn't fit with the underdog obsession of the Left. There must be an opposite to us, if only to shove in the face of the ignorant fools (whites, males, Southerners, white male Southerners... their wives too!) that someone thinks differently. There's a reason straight parades or white pride parades (as in cultural past, not racial/biological hate) are looked down upon, but gay pride parades (both the simple and the sexually explicit) and anti-American, far-left Aztlan parades are encouraged by almost every level of government to show their "understanding" of the "authenticity" of whatever Marxist claptrap they've been teaching at UCLA.

Authenticity is a psychological fantasy. Authenticity is rebellious dominant culture children, like James Cameron, playing make believe to sate some hole in their psyche that could be plugged by the Bible or Kant or some other, less superficial philosophy. Most of all, authenticity isn't reality. In reality, the Sioux conquered the Pawnee, the Na'vi apparently hate gays and humans (you find neither in Avatar at the end) and the MS-13 members dragging along their drug mules (aka, people) aren't exactly the best example of Mexican culture. That would be the legal immigrants. In reality, the safest way to import people into the country isn't by the death trap called the Mexican border, but through legal channels, which absolutely need to be fixed. The best way of stopping illegal immigration, drug trafficking and cross-border gang violence isn't "understanding", but building the damn border wall. We will save more lives, help more Latinos and promote a "better world" if we do everything we can to stop the lucrative criminal enterprises that exploit our unattended border.

When you watch a movie about natives or think that how much more fun it would be to be in another culture, read a bit. You'll realize that the Last Samurai was about a deranged soldier supporting the last gasp of a violent caste system, or that the bad guys in Roots are not only the white slave trader, but the native and Arab ones that sold to the Europeans. In my own case, the Spartans, a culture I have affinity for, murdered their babies if they were sick or deformed, and were one of the most xenophobic of Greek peoples. I know it may not fit one's daydreaming, but that's how the world is and we have to recognize it.

Reality bites. Sorry, James.


Anonymous said...

I think you misinterpreted the actual reasoning behind the collective mind part of Avatar.

Cameron wanted to make an original specifies of life. Life not bound to oxygen, carbon ect but taking on it's own evolutionary tree based on the specific atmosphere and properties of that celestial body.

Thus things such as florescent bioluminescence is a large warning system to predators instead of sound, color in our spectrum of vision, physical ect.

mandika said...

"Original species" or not - Cameron absolutely made the point that "Down with Corporations! Be damned for your sins against Nature!"

I loved the movie - but if the special effects and acting hadn't been so spot on I would have walked out - the political message was that loud. I didn't go in to watch Michael Moore and Al Gore get together in an orgy - which was what the political message reminded me of. BUT, it was a good STORY, great imaginations, awesome special effects... and worth the occasional grinding of the teeth.