WILLIAM WATSON BIRCH SAID:
“But this beloved American armed-forces were going in to destroy a tribe of people in order to acquire something which did not belong to them in the first place. I hardly think that that is something to be admired. The American-soldier-turned-‘jihadist,’ as you put it, was defending the weak and oppressed.”
Which completely misses the point. It’s tautologically true that if you concoct a defamatory fictitious narrative in which the American armed-forces really are the villains, then you’ve turned the tables on who the good guys are and who the bad guys are.
That, however, in no way justifies a defamatory narrative which vilifies the American armed-forces in the first place. Given the defamatory narrative, that reaction justifiable–but the narrative itself is unjustifiable.
What Cameron has done is to stack the deck against our troops.
“The movie mirrored what the English did in coming to America, when it was occupied by Native Americans.”
Well, that’s grossly simplistic on several levels. It wasn’t just the “English” settlers. What about the French and Spanish?
And it’s not as if the American Indians were flower-children or lotus-eaters. What we had, instead, was a clash between different warrior cultures. All parties concerned were warrior cultures.
In addition, relations between English settlers and American Indians were complex and varied.
“I certainly wasn't cheering for the oppressive and destructive Americans in this movie.”
Naturally, since that would require a modicum of critical detachment. But Birch is made to order for Cameron’s allegorical propaganda-machine.
“And who would?”
That’s because the film is a set-up. Like any adept propagandist, Cameron is attempting–quite successfully, in Billy’s case–to sway the attitudes and emotions of the audience. And Billy is playing the role that Cameron assigned him to play. He cheers the sympathetic characters and jeers the unsympathetic characters. Funny how a freewill theist is so easily manipulated. Cameron is pulling his strings.
“Destroying the homes and lives of people for sordid gain is hardly something to defend.”
And defending a scurrilous political allegory is equally indefensible.
“The American soldier who ‘turned against his country’ was defending the weak and oppressed - a godly attribute, no?”
It’s not a godly attribute to play the chump for a Hollywood director with twisted values. It’s not a godly attribute to root for a thinly-veiled political allegory which slanders the very men who put their lives on the line to protect us from our mortal enemies.
“Since this script was created over 15 years ago, it is hard to imagine that Cameron’s motive was based on a reaction to our place in Iraq. Neither do the events in Avatar mirror-image the events which led up to our place in that country. I’m not seeing the connection.”
The fact that the script was rough-drafted 15 years ago hardly means that Cameron can’t update it with topical allusions. And, in fact, he’s already tipped his hand, both in the heavy-handed allusions in the film itself as well as his public statements. For example:
However, it [Avatar] also contains heavy implicit criticism of America’s conduct in the War on Terror…Cameron said yesterday the theme was not the main point of Avatar, but added that Americans had a “moral responsibility” to understand the impact that their country’s recent military campaigns had had.
“We went down a path that cost several hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. I don’t think the American people even know why it was done. So it’s all about opening your eyes.”
This is where the politics comes in. The hero is with the Na’vi when the humans attack their homes. The fusillade of gas, incendiary bombs and guided missiles that wreck their ancient habitat is described as “shock and awe”, the term popularised by the US military assault on Baghdad that opened the Iraq war in 2003.
The humans’ military commander declares: “Our survival relies on pre-emptive action. We will fight terror, with terror.” One of the more sympathetic characters preparing to resist the human invasion bemoans the need for “martyrdom”.
After the Na’vi homes collapse in flames the landscape is coated in ash and floating embers in scenes reminiscent of Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks.
Cameron, who was born in Canada, said he had been “surprised at how much it did look like September 11. I didn’t think that was necessarily a bad thing”.
Referring to the “shock and awe” sequence, he said: “We know what it feels like to launch the missiles. We don’t know what it feels like for them to land on our home soil, not in America. I think there’s a moral responsibility to understand that.
Moreover, it scarcely seems coincidental that Cameron chose to specify American forces. Futuristic films don’t ordinarily have American forces. In futuristic films, you either have a pan-national/pan-galactic “peacekeeping” force under the aegis of a UN-style one-world gov’t, or else you have private mercenary armies employed by evil multinational corporations.
The only reason that Cameron has to specify an American force is because the film is a political allegory, ostensibly set in the future, but really about the “war on terror” and other alleged atrocities of US domestic and foreign policy.
“I see this review as yet another over-reaction by Christians who missed the mark.”
I see Birch’s response as the mark of someone who is easily duped.
“What if the US Army began to oppress and murder innocent people (as is portrayed in this movie)? Hypothetically, what if the US Army began to murder Jews, for example. Would you then ‘fight against your own country and ‘brothers’ in arms’?
Murdering innocent people is not acceptable in any country - not ‘even’ in the United States of America.”
What is even less acceptable is to pose hypothetical questions which deflect attention away from unambiguously evil and dangerous enemies like the jihadis. Not to mention defending the calumnious viewpoint of said film.
“Comments such as this one, from one who has yet to see the movie, is what concerns me most about Christians today, especially Southern Baptists. Here there is zeal without knowledge.”
That’s very ironic coming from a guy that Cameron successfully recruited to promote his own political agenda. Funny how a freewill theist plays the puppet to Cameron’s puppet-master.
Once again, I have no problem with folks who go see the film or enjoy the film for its artistic imagination. I do have a problem with Americans who are so disloyal and ungrateful to the men in uniform who live and die so that we may live in freedom and safety.